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Sun provides a good opportunity for non-profits to network with prospective developers, and a hotel horror story.
The JavaOne conference started early this year, with a Sunday session intended to connect willing developers with non-profits that need their services. The session was hosted by Sun Microsystems, which actually has people devoted to the task of connecting Sun employees with volunteer opportunites. It was organized by Net Squared, who is devoted to the task of expediting use of the web by non-profit organizations.
Before I get to that, though, I've got to say a few words about the Powell Hotel. It sounded nice enough when I registered, but it was somewhat shy of truly magnificent, if you get my drift.
The lobby was nice, and the staff was great. But the first impression of my room was "tiny". That was ok, though. It's not like I'll be having any basketball games in it. But then I began noticing things:
- It took forever to make an internet connection, and even when it said it was connected, it never really worked.
- There was no kitchen, refrigerator, or bureau. (In past years, I've stayed across town for a lot less, and had all three.)
- The TV reception was flaky, and the remote control even more so.
- The bathroom was freezing, because the window wouldn't close, and the faucet was loose.
- There was noise all night long from the ice machine around the corner.
And all this for a mere $144 a night! (The words "tourist trap" come to mind. The cable car stop is right outside the door, and that location is no doubt responsible for its continued existence.) In short, my stay there lasted exactly one night, and I've moved 6 blocks down the street.
As for the NonProfit meetup/mashup, it worked pretty well. There were about 50 people, even divided between projects and developers, and quite a few connections were made.
I was there with a project idea that can use the web to make money irrelevant to the election process. And I'm happy to say that I found some interested developers! (It's pretty simple, really: A filtering aggregator that puts all the voiting advice you need, all from people and organizations you trust, all in one place.)
I've written about the idea at length at CitizensAdvisory.org, you can see the Design paper to see how and why it will work. (I'm also looking for a non-profit to host the project. So if you know of one, send them my way!)
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|Eric Armstrong has been programming and writing professionally since before there were personal computers. His production experience includes artificial intelligence (AI) programs, system libraries, real-time programs, and business applications in a variety of languages. He works as a writer and software consultant in the San Francisco Bay Area. He wrote The JBuilder2 Bible and authored the Java/XML programming tutorial available at http://java.sun.com. Eric is also involved in efforts to design knowledge-based collaboration systems.