Don't pitch

Apr 1 2010

Last week I read this article on ReadWriteWeb that advises a startup to "Give It to Them Straight: Avoid "Pitching" to Your Board." The article explains how it can be bad to exaggerate your product and cover up problems that you are experiencing in...

Recent Meedan press

Mar 15 2010

I've had a great time working at Meedan recently as Director of Miscellany. We recently rolled out an update of the site and took of the "beta" label.

I was pleasantly surprised at the amount of interest generated — turns out people are actually pretty...

What could possibly go wrong?

Jan 23 2010

What could possibly go wrong? Thousands of volunteer hackers break ground on dozens of projects at a bunch of hastily organized unconferences promising to Save Haiti?

In a word: everything.

Tonight there are a number of people organizing some pretty...

'Slashtags' for citizen editors

Nov 9 2009

Updated Nov 16, 2009: @chrismessina created a wiki for the Twitter syntax

The NYT reported today on how the #fthood hashtag has failed:

Until lately, the main way to make sense of an urgent outpouring of...


Sep 29 2009

I have been keeping track of things that are interesting on Delicious for some time now.

Here're my top tags from September 2009 in case you are interested in checking out my Delicious feed.

How Much Do You Trust Your Own Network?

Sep 26 2009

Some time ago, I joined Twitter as @unthinkingly, and I loved it. Then, something felt wrong, and I deleted a bunch of followers. First I went down to 200 people, then 100, then 50, and it still was somehow wrong, so I quietly slipped out the door...

The "Special Case" of NEED Magazine

Sep 24 2009

During the collapse of the journalism industry, I have rarely been surprised — and only occasionally truly saddend — by a newspaper going out of business.

It's not that I don't have empathy. I have worked briefly as a journalist, have a degree in...

ICCM 09, the Crisis Mapping Conference

Sep 9 2009

In October I'll be geeking out at the ICCM 09, the first International Conference on Crisis Mapping. The conference is "harnessing mobile platforms, computational linguistics, geospatial technologies, and visual analytics to power effective early warning...

OpenStreetMap Cambodia

Jun 30 2009

I've been doing a series of presentations here at the InSTEDD lab in Phom Penh, and so far the best-received one has been (to my surprise) about something I really just getting into: OpenStreetMap. I figured that this would be a good-spirited critical...

Sustainable Interaction Design in Cambodia

Jun 29 2009

So, I've spent almost a month now as a resident geek at the InSTEDD Innovation Lab in Phnom Penh, Cambodia.

InSTEDD is working on epidemiology-related technologies that are very relevant to my research interests:

InSTEDD's mission is to harness...


May 7 2009

For the last 5 months I've been working with friends at Ushahidi and Meedan on a project nicknamed "Swift."

Our goal with Swift is to provide a crowdsourcing platform for "data triage." Imagine something like Mechanical Turk used only for tagging...

Trying to Quit

Dec 3 2008

I have been trying to quit programming for about six months.

I'm down to about 2 times a day, on average, sometimes more. It's a problem.

Don't get me wrong, programming is one of the best disciplines I ever stuck my nose into. Programming teaches...

Dealing Lightning with Both Hands

Dec 3 2008

ah doug

On December 9, 1968, Dr. Douglas C. Engelbart and the Augmentation Research Center (ARC) at Stanford Research Institute staged a 90-minute public multimedia demonstration at the Fall Joint Computer Conference in San Francisco. It was the world debut...

Eleventy Million New Flickr Posts

Nov 13 2008

Including lots of fun sketches for my new job. Working on a translation + foreign affairs + journalism + social project called Meedan. Back to the nonprofit world. Still in San Francisco. Fun stuff!

New stuff on flickr is here: UI and design stuff

Kermit: bonafide-trueblue- guarantee- your- money- back visual thinker

Oct 9 2008

Somehow Kermit managed to skewer the woo-woo hippie hype surrounding visual thinking 40 years ago.


But then of course he really gets to the truth of the CA design scene: "You really have to let...

suspicious infoviz of the day

Oct 9 2008


Just found out about Political Streams.

I really do like this idea, but reinventing the pie chart with those desaturated squares is not a good start. I'll be checking it out to see how they iterate on representing the concept, which is fascinating...

Ushahidi for the iPhone

Sep 18 2008

Update: The Ushahidi team has released a strong new open source iOS codebase.

After a few months of work, we have gotten a new wireframe of the mobile app running on the iPhone.

[ ...

Monday Night Telly

Aug 19 2008

For the User Experience people: Bill Buxton is a genius. Got me sketching. (And redefined "sketching.") 1.5 hr. lecture. Teaser: includes the phrase "Charlton Heston flying through the air." Oh and also please buy Sketching User Experiences. Operators...

Build Your Own Search Experience: Yahoo BOSS is pretty amazing

Aug 13 2008

Most of the gang at Bolt | Peters went to BayCHI tonight, and I was really impressed by a presentation from Yahoo about BOSS (Build your Own Search Service).

Turns out that, once you get beat badly by Google, you start to get really open. Nice.

Mozilla, The AP Aurora Concepts, and Open Source UX Design

Aug 6 2008

Today Adaptive Path, the godfather company of the interface and experience research industry, released the first of some amazingly high quality concept videos about the web browser of the future.

I'm really impressed, even though I spent most of...

Thursday Morning TV

Jun 26 2008

Actually this is better than Thursday morning TV, which, in my hometown at least, was pretty weak. This stuff is amazing.

  1. First some of the best nonprofit advertising I've ever seen.
  2. Second a great bike water filter pump.
  3. Lastly a favorite...

Visualizing Human Rights with the Google Charts API

Jun 20 2008

Smartly presented information is a nonprofit's best friend. If you can't communicate the problem, no one is going to give a damn. Hash's blog just pointed me to some powerful charts Sokwanele mapping project , which I've mentioned previously. These...

The Unevenly Distributed Future (of Mobile Application Design), Visualized

Jun 13 2008

Intel produced this fantastic map yesterday at the 2008 Research@Intel Day. Red countries have higher rates of technology adoption. This is really valuable data for thinking about how to influence the adoption of technology, and for thinking about...

Book of the Month Club for Interface & Design Geeks

May 31 2008

It's been a good book month for interface geeks and IXD/UX people. Congrats to AP on the new book and kudos especially to upstart publisher Rosenfeld for the innovative stuff they are doing, including user testing of their 500-page, large font digital...

The Future is All Android, All Open Source. And Underpants. And Ice Cream.

May 29 2008

On the occasion of amazing new videos of the latest prototype, it's worth remembering that Android (not the just-barely-open iPhone) is the future of mobile development for the masses. Especially when combined with the hardware support of the Open...

The Three Simplest and Most Effective Anti-Spam Hacks I Have Ever Seen

May 28 2008

Hack zero: Switch to Gmail This is not a joke: Gmail is a fantastic and nearly spam-free platform. Notably, you can hook it up with a custom domain name so no one knows you are part of the Goog machine like everyone else.

Hack one: Greylisting with...

Agile Engineering vs. Interaction Design: Pissing money away and leaving scar tissue

May 22 2008

I was never super into Alan Cooper (of Inmates are Running the Asylum fame) until I read this hilarious argument with Kent Beck, the godfather of Agile programming. ... it's pretty depressing that this doesn't exist anywhere except for the zombieweb...

On being "unixy"

May 20 2008

Several times this weekend I used the phrase "unixlike" or "unixy" to describe applications or devices.

This is what I meant:

  1. Most importantly, it means that you play well with others, as in the Unix concept of standard out: Whatever your...

Wherecamp 2008 Notes on Flickr

May 18 2008

if i had more coffee it would have been better

Poverty, Phones and User Experience Meetup

Apr 16 2008

[' by meanestindian via flickr']

Just a quick open invitation, if you are in San Francisco this weekend:

UPDATE: Changed the time to 4pm.

I'm meeting with designer-researchers Niti Bahn...

Can the Cellphone Help End Global Poverty? (Readers' Digest Version)

Apr 12 2008

So I went to this Street Hacks talk 2 nights ago is here: (it was awesome, you missed it. Clam Pizza.) And then it turns out Chipchase just got all famous this week, seriously: First a rad video in the Economist.


Zimbabwe Election Watch Map

Apr 11 2008

The Zimbabwe Election Watch is doing a pretty amazing job of aggregating media reports about the Zimbabwe elections and using Google Maps to present the results. I'm both impressed and depressed about it.

zimbabwe election watch

Two favorite artists

Apr 11 2008

Glenn Gould; he was at his best when he was young, wearing his bathrobe, hunched waaay to low, and doing incredible interpretations of Bach ... and doing this awful singing thing ...

Just like he is here:

[ a mobile phone-based research platform

Apr 11 2008

Now this is what I am talking about: A mobile phone based API for doing things like managing quantitative research projects. Supports a bazillion types of phones. Developed by a South African company. You own your own data. Sounds like a brilliant...

Personal metrics, infoviz porn & productivity obsession

Apr 11 2008

I've recently been reading quite a bit about "personal metrics" (aka "attention data", aka your "information wake"). Pictured are some examples from, Nike+ and RescueTime (which I used for a few days this week! My Saturday computing is visualized...

Favorite Rails tools

Apr 11 2008

Next week I'm sure Rails will be completely pass in favor of Merb (managed by git, of course). But for now, here's the stuff that makes me a happy programmer this weekend:

Education is the only permanent social change

Apr 11 2008

I've felt for a long time that education is the most important vehicle for social change. I mean, really how else does anything actually get done? You've got to have some kick ass teachers along the way, or you're gonna be a vegetable. And vegetabledom...

Command line metrics

Apr 11 2008

Speaking of personal metrics ...

simone:~ chris$ history|awk '{a[$2]++} END{for(i in a){printf "%5d\t%s\n",a[i],i}}'|sort -rn|head
   80   cd
   70   ruby
   44   svn
   33   rake
   28   ll
   24   ls
   23   rm
   17   ssh
   17   df
   12   mate...

Chipchase mobile phone talk tomorrow

Apr 11 2008

Very much looking forward to this Adaptive Path event (San Francisco) tomorrow:

Street Hacks and Long Wows - An Evening with Chipchase, Burns, and Schauer

How long have you been using your current cell phone? And what happened to your previous model...

The Future of Money

Mar 21 2008

If there is anything I hate more than cell phones, it's money.

I mean, of course everybody likes money, but seriously, who wants to actually deal with it? Going to the bank, cutting checks to the landlord, saving receipts, budgeting, negotiating...

Happy Hosting

Feb 21 2008

If you need a professional application server, particularly for rails, I'm recommending Rimuhost these days.

Their VPS plans are a reasonable deal, but, as always, the support is what is always most important when choosing a host unless it's a super...

Kestrel update.

Feb 20 2008

Things are looking great so far with this hairbrained project of ours.

Fabulous, actually: Bolt | Peters is super interested in the project and wants me to work on it for some percent of my total time at work. Which is fan-freaking-tastic! Thanks...

In Praise of Shitty Programmers

Feb 11 2008

There's this great movie called A Beautiful Mind that I saw once, and in the last few months I've been quoting it a few times when talking about my programming career. Overall it's a great story, but the one scene that really gets me is when he (John...

Sunday Afternoon Telly

Feb 10 2008

Three videos for your Sunday afternoon enjoyment. (The first two are for the hippies, the last one is for the geeks.)

The Corporation

"Among the 40 interview subjects are CEOs and top-level executives from a range of industries: oil, pharmaceutical...

Ode To Ethan

Feb 4 2008

The other day I referenced Jan Chipchase's blog as "almost certainly my favorite." This is patently false. I am a big fat liar when I get excited. (Chipchase is probably tied for second with a few other exceptionally cool writers.)

The blogger at...

Cellphones FTW

Feb 2 2008

I am obsessed with cell phones right now. Mostly I bloody hate them. I haven't had one for six months, but work made me get one last week. So since they made me get one I am lobbying to get into some cell-phone-type research, partly to figure out my...

Kestrel: A Simple Web App for Community Supported Agriculture

Jan 3 2008

I'm just getting started on a new project nicknamed Kestrel.

The basic idea a simple and user-centered web app that helps facilitate ordering, billing and member management for CSA's. Things are JUST getting started and I am soliciting help in doing...

OK, Nevermind. Actually, The Future is in the Past

Dec 21 2007

Cometbus zine. I've been following the recent debate about the future of web standards and whatnot. It's been making me think a bit about what I really want to see in the future of web standards. And I can't get this great California zine Cometbus out of my head...

The Future of CSS is Here .... It's Just Not Evenly Distributed

Dec 17 2007

In light of the litigious, melodramatic backwater that the CSS spec has fallen into, I thought it would be worth writing up a teensy, non-brilliant-but-incredibly-useful DIY hack for stylesheets.

The future is nowIn my mind, there is really no way of getting around...

svn up

Dec 14 2007

svn up

Why I moved to San Francisco

Dec 2 2007

"Move to San Francisco" seems to be the advice that I've been giving to pretty much all of the geek + activisty folks that I know. There have been really great conferences like An Event Apart and CompostModern, green socialite stuff and Green Fest

The Joy of e-waste

Jun 18 2007

Recently I've been really worked up about all these computers in the closet. It's a bunch of junk.

Monitors in the office. Akk.

A bunch of dot-com-bubble bullshit that never needed to be purchased in the first place. I've been stressed out about that festering backwater of...

Genocide vs. Gadgets

Jun 15 2007


I've never seen gadget hype reach the levels that have been achieved by the iPhone. And I've never been so caught up in it myself. After visiting I've decided that I'm giving my iPhone budget to Amnesty International: $50 a month...

Wanted: An open-source, user-centered touchscreen platform

May 13 2007

There has been a lot of excitement recently around a couple of developments in touch screen interfaces: First there was the insane presentation at TED 2006. Secondly, of course, the iPhone made everyone all hot in the pants for it's touchable goodness...

Online banking = overdue leapfrogging technology

May 13 2007

Seems like Paypal is one of those "leapfrogging" technologies that could help entire regions skip the process of developing a banking infrastructure, which apparently takes about 200 years of war (judging from how the West has done it).

Good as it...

Who's linking to our website? New tools.

Feb 6 2007

6/25/07 UPDATE: I am obligated to point out that this little script has graduated from interesting to useless — thanks to the new Google Analytics, which is hands down the best tool for understanding web traffic. And it's bloody free. You probably...

Thinking About The Search for Jim Gray

Feb 4 2007

[update: there's a great new post on about this. -cb ]

I spent some time today searching for sailboats in satellite imagery, looking for signs of computer scientist Jim Gray. The story is covered here.

JimgrayamazonThe significance of using...

The last mile wikipedia launches

Jan 31 2007
moulin, the brainchild of Geekcorps volunteers Frederic Renet and Renaud Gaudin, started off as a side project of Geekcorps' Last Mile Initiative. Frederic and Renaud quickly developed an initial prototype of the system to run on a Nokia 770. Excited...

Experimenting with IBM's "Many Eyes"

Jan 28 2007

IBM's new Many Eyes rocks. I experimented with the nptech data last weekend and built this in about 10 minutes. It's a very rough bubble map of the users of the nptech tag. Interesting how it shows the distribution of the tagging activity. Related...

The Panopticon. Now With An Improved Menu!

Jan 20 2007
"When I go to a restaurant, and look at leftovers on my plate, I don't see food, I see information. If the restaurant were Google, they wouldn't just take that plate and scrape it off into the trash. There would be a camera in the kitchen, photographing...

The Culture of Open Networks, or: Watch What You Tag

Jan 20 2007

I'm getting into an excellent free pdf called "In the Shade of the Commons," a publication from the Waag Society, which bills itself as a small group of enthusiastic idealists ... with a mission "to make new media available for groups of people that...

A question for

Jan 15 2007

I am still working on developing a tool for analyzing community tags in, but I have run into a problem that messes up the data pretty significantly. I would be interested to know if anyone has any ideas what is going on.

The problem is...

Understanding a community tag: the history of nptech

Jan 11 2007

Recently there has been a lot of discussion among the nonprofit technology geeks about the use (and usefulness) of the tag "nptech".

When the nptech tag started one of the ideas was to gather enough data to look and see what words people were using...

The Linux Desktop in 2007

Jan 7 2007

Linux and open source computing is going to have a great 2007. In spite of a few hiccups in some communities, and the astonishing lack of penetration into the mainstream brain, it is obvious that we are seeing more and more people getting it.


Great Blog

Jan 7 2007
I'll be operating from the assumption that everything that happens in cyberspace is part of the same reality that our physical bodies occupy (sounds obvious, doesn't it?), and that a sustainable application of technology is one which increases our...

Tux is dead-ish

Jan 5 2007

I think that Tux Magazine started a couple of years ago.

For a number of reasons--not all financial--the model we had built for TUX was not sustainable. At this point, a group of us who were involved in TUX are tossing some ideas around. Where it will...

Low-Bandwidth user experience

Jan 5 2007

I make websites, and I manage a few web servers. Making sure that pages load quickly is a pretty fundamental part of my job.

Lately I have been thinking a lot about how much more important this concern is for people who are in low-bandwidth environments...

An Open Source Strike?

Dec 18 2006


Many Debian developers denounced the Dunc-Tank proposal. Some even demanded that Towns be removed as leader because he supported Dunc-Tank. Their objection was that by financially supporting developers, Debian would become a two-class system and that...

The Darfur Wall

Dec 17 2006

Darfur Wall

The Darfur Wall is a beautifully executed charity project that fills a very simple, traditional purpose (collecting money) using an innovative and stark interface. The black and white, no-images design reinforces the tragedy of the situation without...

The tools we use

Dec 14 2006

Softwarewise I really am overdue to give appreciation to my favorite independent software artists:

The Foldaway Emergency House and Other "Afrigadgets"

Dec 11 2006

Rajan Harinarain, a South African entrepreneur and inventor has come up with a temporary foldaway house for use in emergency situations complete with electrical wiring and fittings, doors and windows that can be erected by a small team in 5 minutes...

Geekcorps Writeup on Newsforge

Dec 11 2006

I missed this writeup from a little while ago. It is a good description of what Geekcorps is doing in Mali. Some of their really interesting projects are the Water Bottle Antenna, which provides a powered wifi antenna for about $3 (compared to $100...

Blood Diamonds in the News

Dec 11 2006

Ethan Zuckerman has a great post about the recent newsines (trendiness?) about "conflict" diamonds, pointing to a parody site It's a sendup of DeBeers and Co. (It's an exact parody of their PR-campaign website,

Ubuntu in Kurdish!

Dec 7 2006

Ubuntu Linux has been translated into Kurdish!

Ubuntu ku

Controversy followed the release of a Kurdish translation of Ubuntu in Turkey last week. The release was originally reported in Millyet, a Turkish national newspaper, on November 21. This first release...

Need Magazine Debuts

Dec 6 2006

I'm looking forward to getting this in the mail. I am excited to see a publication that is addressing this type of issue from a nonpolitical stance. (Or rather, I think, it is implicitly political). If you subscribe now you can still get the first...

Design for Maximum Constraints

Dec 6 2006

flashlightJohn Maeda writes thoughtfully about simplicity and design at his MIT-based blog. He just posted a great bit about Paul Polak's design for a low-resouce flashlight. Design under difficult conditions can lead to the same creative insight as design on...

You Are The Enemy: "Information Rights" vs Open Source

Dec 6 2006

Ever since the introduction of Microsoft Office 2003 it has been possible to distribute documents that can only be used in the way that you want them to be used — such as limiting who can copy, print or forward the information. This type of control...

TED Reaches out to the Proles

Jul 11 2006

Featuring super-lovely production and a cast of all stars, TEDTalks emerges from its walled garden with a serious web presence.

"Each year, TED hosts some of the world's most fascinating people: Trusted voices and convention-breaking mavericks, icons...

The Reality of the Open Source Desktop in Developing World

Jun 29 2006

Great, reveling post about the remaining difficulty of running Ubuntu (the "sexiest" open source Windows-killer yet) in Ethopia by Andrew Heavens over at Meskel Square.

There is one thing that the bright-eyed fans of Ubuntu and its kind never tell...

Instant Live Support for Everything Geek

Jun 29 2006

Just had a really great first experience at Qunu asking obscure questions about our email server. It was an obscure subject, but I needed generalized advice, so I didn't have a listserv (such as a particular software group) to turn to immediately....

Linux Overview

Jun 24 2006

Just found this nice, basic, summary of the various Linux distributions.

Linux is an operating system that was initially created as a hobby by a young student, Linus Torvalds, at the University of Helsinki in Finland. Linus had an interest in Minix...

Smart doctypes and other internet flora

Jun 19 2006

If you are interested in keeping up with the best practices of mime types, content types, character encoding and doctypes ....

A very nice survey of document types from the best developers on the web:

GNOME needs women

Jun 19 2006

Last I checked, only about 2 percent of developers were women.

Just now read this:

The GNOME Foundation received 181 applications for the Google Summer of Code (SoC) program, but not a single application was from a female developer. The lack of...

New Wi-Fi distance record: 279 km!

Jun 9 2006

New Wi-Fi distance record: 279 km!: Ermanno Pietrosemoli and Javier Trivio (of EsLaRed) and Carlo Fonda (from the ICTP) have successfully established a whopping 279 km wifi link in Venezuela. They did it using a pair of Linksys WRT54Gs running DD-WRT...

Hi, I'm alive

Jun 9 2006

I'm posting again after a couple months absence though mostly I think I'll just be doing short excerpts from the stuff I'm reading. At any rate, comments are open again. Please indulge.

Temporarily Offline

Mar 30 2006

I have a wonderful new job (wrangling Linux servers) and am too busy learning to post at present. After I get through the stack of O'Reilly books on my desk I'll be back (and much better informed).

Relatively Simple RSS Aggregation

Mar 20 2006

I recently posted about my need for a simpler RSS aggregator.

I worked through the massive list of existing RSS aggregators at wikipedia and couldn't reallly find something that did exactly what I wanted and worked.

I needed something that was...

Getting Real

Mar 6 2006

My favorite non-open-source software company published a book today, and I think it's likely that it will do quite well. Considering the fact that they practically have their little Web-2.0 paws up the proverbial skirt of every well-intended, moleskine...

ReliefWeb Maps for Humanitarian Crisis

Feb 25 2006

[Image: DRC-migration]

I have a love for maps because they can be the most rich, yet easy-to-understand communication tools. ReliefWeb, a website devoted to distributing time-sensitive information about humanitarian crises, is an excellent resource...

Power to the People: Free (as in Beer) O'Reilly Books and More

Feb 25 2006

This is where it's at folks: free programming and web design books. Make your computer do impossible feats of inhuman strength with this collection of languages and techniques, from old-school Fortran to Web 2.0 hipster-standards AJAX or Ruby.


Combining RSS feeds and Displaying them on Your Page with Javascript and PHP

Feb 24 2006

Last night I was trying to do something that I thought would be pretty simple: display a bunch of recent weblog posts on one page.

There is a great online community of folks in the biofuels blogosphere, and this page would give a quick summary of...

Online Focus Groups are Getting Simple, Cheap and Pretty

Feb 22 2006

37 Signals is a super-smart little company known for creating easy-to-use web-based project management tools (namely the Basecamp suite), and they have just announced the latest in their product family: Campfire. campfirelogo

According to their website, "Campfire...

On Teachers Moving from Web 0.5 to Web 3.0

Feb 16 2006

David Warlick posts insightfully about the uses of technology in education. Right now he seems like a pretty stressed out guy.

I'm not an educator (though I do work in education via nonprofit evaluation). And I don't get quite as excited as he does...

Brief Clip from a Great Post

Feb 16 2006

LinuxChix logo WorldChanging: Another World Is Here: LinuxChix Africa "LinuxChix Africa manages to shatter two stereotypes at the same time: the idea that women aren't interested in free/open source software development; and the idea that women in Africa are bound...

NGO in a Box: FOSS Mixtapes for Change

Feb 8 2006

The Tactical Technology Collective is a nonprofit based in Amsterdam that has been doing great work distributing Free/Open Source technology to the global NGO sector.

This morning I was reminded (via Worldchanging) that they are working on creating...

Visualizing Community News

Feb 1 2006

Mike Davidson has been working lately on an innovative (I said innovative, not trendy) online news company, Newsvine, that provides articles from mainstream media outlets. The Newsvine team is a well-respected web group, most of them formerly of Starwave...

Truth in a Home Page

Jan 31 2006

Great advice on crafting a home page from A List Apart. In short: build it last, and work first on the details (the smallest, ubiquitous elements of your site). A great homepage with poor search results or product page will only lead to disappointment...

Networking Wirelessly, Freely

Jan 29 2006

Thomas Krag has a great-looking new book (with lead editor Rob Flickenger) about wireless networking in the developing world. And it's always nice to see people taking advantage of the print-on-demand services of

The massive popularity...

Rosetta Provides Collaborative Online FOSS Translation

Jan 27 2006

Rosetta is a web-based platform that does exactly what I thought needed to be done: it makes open source software translation really easy for lots of people, and it makes it easy to collaborate on a translation project.

Instead of having to edit...

1.) post to your blog 2.) post to and 3.) save all your links using, all at the same time. This, I think will work well for a new biofuels ...

Jan 26 2006

I've been using this tutorial from Alexandra Samuel to set up a workflow that allows you to 1.) post to your blog 2.) post to and 3.) save all your links using, all at the same time. This, I think will work well for a new biofuels...

ConsultantCommons Provides Free Nonprofit Technology Support

Jan 26 2006

Consultant-commonsA beta project from CompuMentor, Consultant Commons provides a platform to share and collaborate on resources around nonprofit technology consulting. I wish I could recommend this site, but it has a long way to go before it really works well. For now...

Biofuels Community with Google Maps

Jan 26 2006

biofuels-map This Washington state map is an example of what is creating for my local (NC) biofuels community website (in the works).

This new biofuels website, I hope, will have a map that functions better than most of the buggy hatchet-jobs...

Great Podcast: Jonathan Schwartz - The Participation Age

Jan 25 2006

I love this podcast (and I adore the entire IT Conversations series). Here's a link and a blurb.

IT Conversations: Jonathan Schwartz - The Participation Age

The free and open source software movement is moving, rapidly. The open sourcing of Solaris...

Technicolor Tools

Jan 23 2006

ColorsWow. Steve at has an amazing color palette generator based on the design technique of Andy Clark.

You enter a hex code value for a color, then another to mix it with, and out comes a beautiful png graphic of the color scheme. Extremely...

Where Does Your Favorite Organization Fit?

Jan 23 2006

From Emily's World comes an updated rundown of the "digital divide" among nonprofits.

Where does your nonprofit fit?

1. This group has added a blog, rss feeds, and/or podcasts to their website. 2. This group has a well designed website. They...

The Internet is a War Weapon

Jan 23 2006

An interesting article from the Washington Post, (via Kenyanpundit) :African Rebels Take Their Battles Online.

In countries where newspapers and radio stations are routinely shut down and dissidents are often jailed, the Internet is also giving ordinary...

Don't Make Me Think

Jan 23 2006

There are very few web design books that have any currency after about 2 years. Very few. And half of these are notable because their very outdatedness is instructive. The rare remaining 50% of this minority of web design books is the "on-every-designer...

"Decolonizing Cyberspace"

Jan 23 2006

I had the pleasure of spending this weekend with Ndesanjo Macha (English Blog/Kiswahili Blog/Profile at Global Voices) in Greensboro, N.C., about an hour from my house in the woods near Pittsboro. We're working together on a Kiswahili translation of...

RIP: The Committee to Protect Bloggers(?)

Jan 12 2006

The Committee to Protect Bloggers is shutting down! Can anyone help?

If you are an individual or a company with sufficient funds to sponsor the Committee's activities for a year, please contact committeetoprotectbloggers(at)gmail(dot)com. Website...

Google Rankings and "Canonical" URLs (technical)

Jan 12 2006

Finally some useful help from the "celebrity engineer" Matt Cutts, one of the few people in the world that has had intimate relations with the Google Pagerank algorithm. (EDIT: He also happens to use Wordpress, not Blogger. Hmmm.)

This is a description...

What a Relief: Google Maps for Mac

Jan 10 2006

This is minor news in most contexts: Google Earth (the software power tool that feels like a toy) has been released for the Mac.

Aside from the obvious usefulness of this release, this signals a money-where-their-mouth-is confirmation thae Google...

Mapping Bird Flu

Jan 9 2006

I have spent an awful lot of (relative) time writing about maps in this space over the last month, but this one really caught my eye.

Declan Butler has recently worked with the journal Nature to publish a map of the H5N1 avian influenza virus outbreaks...

Web Developer's Handbook: developing web-sites, exploring own imagination | CSS, Color Tools, SEO, Usability etc.

Jan 6 2006

The reason I love web design so much is that anyone can do it. The web is just full of tutorials, examples and geeks on call.

Here's a massive resource of good links. It's well organized and through, but it also manages to focus on reputable sources...

Just a few ICT4D Listservs

Jan 4 2006

Listservs are always so easy to miss. Sometimes they're a joy and sometimes they're dead, but they're always elusive, popping up just when you think you know every fold of your little online landscape. So, at the risk of being pedestrian, here's a...

Web Developer Toolbar Reaches 1.0 Release

Jan 3 2006

R. Johansson says it best. This is the single most important tool any web developer can have.

Web Developer Extension 1.0 for Firefox, Flock, and Mozilla has been released. There are many new features and bug fixes, so upgrading is highly recommended...

Sign Your Name for Open Maps

Jan 3 2006

All state-collected geographic information should be shared, for a myriad of reasons. Now you can add your name to a growing list of folks that agree.

Geodata is a public good. Open access to it, under a 'Commons' (ShareAlike) license, is the best...

Community Mapping Network (CMN)

Jan 3 2006

The Community Mapping Network (CMN)provides an online mapping application that allows folks in British Columbia, Canada, to create and edit information about environmental resources in their areas.

The application is used for sustainable city planning...

Internationalizing your Web Site

Dec 30 2005

Not that I have followed any of this advice yet, but here's a thoughtful article about preparing websites for an international audience from Molly Holzschlag:

Despite the fact that the Web has been international in scope from its inception, the predominant...

Google's Librarian Newsletter Offers New Explanation of Pagerank

Dec 30 2005

Google has a new librarian's newsletter that offers a nice clear (and brief) look at how their rankings work.

Nice to see a little bit of transparency from the behemoth Google, which is known to be more than a little secretive about its algorithms...

Sino-Blogosphere is on the Map

Dec 28 2005

Ethan Zuckerman notes that the Chinese are starting to show up in (blog search engine)

Basically, the Chinese language blogosphere appears to be exploding in popularity. And the 12 Chinese blogs listed in Technorati's top 100 may...

Beautiful Maps of Africa

Dec 21 2005

Just discovered a beautiful resource of maps (mostly environmental info, especially soil) for most of the countries of Africa. (Found via Kikuyumoja’s realm.)

This is an incredibly thorough, high-quality resource, with scanned resolutions that will...

Updated Tactics for Making Your Information Findable

Dec 20 2005

This kind of stuff is (Search Engine Optimization, or SEO) is relevant to every website, but I think that nonprofits and do-gooders can use it the most. Here's a chance to brush-up, as the rules change slightly every day.

Yaro Starak has written...

Mobile Web Design: Tips & Techniques (Technical)

Dec 20 2005

Web Designers everywhere are taking a break.

Sometime about 5 years ago people began to realize the frustrating limits of web development because the existing standards were so poorly followed by existing browsers. It was something like what Frost...

Evaluating ICT Impact With An Eye on Gender

Dec 20 2005

Last week a 2004 article turned up on Eldis: a consideration of how to measure the impact of ICTs in women's lives. The article begins with a great discussion of what a gender perspective means for people working with technologies of communication...

The Digital Dashboard: Graphing ICT Change

Dec 19 2005

Here's an interesting feature from a nonprofit organization called the gov3 Network, which appears to be a kind of ICT government consultancy. They have a interesting feature on their website that dynamically draws data comparing a country (of your...

Web Design: Learning to Problem Solve with Mezzoblue's CSS Crib Sheet

Dec 16 2005

Learning to use CSS can make you insane if you don't have a good instructor. And who does?

Some of the best advice I've ever gotten about web communication relates to debugging your code: you have to learn to problem solve efficiently.

Enter Mezzoblue...

Beautiful Packaging, Ugly Statistics

Dec 16 2005

Recently in my commutes to work I've been using these incredible flash-based, interactive representations of development statistics. (Don't worry, I ride the bus.) These modules, created by a Swedish group called Gapminder, are attractively designed...

Combatting Poverty (and ICT fads)

Dec 15 2005

I've been reading an excellent report from Eldis (an incredible clearinghouse of development information) about the implementation of ICT programs in developing countries. In part the report seeks to question some conventional wisdom about the necessity...

Cheap groupware for web-based project managment

Dec 15 2005

Basecamp, a lovely organizational tool for groups that are working together on the web, now offers and ftp service for its paid plans, which I think makes it much more useful (you don't need your own ftp server).

Basecamp logoNew to Basecamp? In short: it's a...

Developments - The International Development Magazine - Only connect

Dec 13 2005

I've just been getting into a magazine called "Developments: The International Development Magazine." It features respectable journalists writing informed pieces about new issues in international development. The most recent issue is a great bit about... is coming up

Dec 8 2005

Brian Russell of Audio Activism is putting together (along with a bunch of help, I'm sure he would modestly point out) the next Podcaster Conference in NC.

I missed it last year, but I love the idea of a unconference: "The event will not have traditional...

Digital Libraries for Education

Nov 28 2005

The Digital Library for Earth Systems Education is a good example of the potential for using the web as a community repository of educational resources.

Unlike some of the other educational websites I've seen (which typically distribute prepackaged...

ICT4D Africa Scan: An Inventory of ICT Activity in Africa

Nov 23 2005

The ICT4D (Informaiton and Communication Technology for Development) Africa Scan is a serious undertaking that seeks to provide a reference of the major ICT development activities in Africa.

This is a useful place for researchers to begin when attempting...

eRiders Are Taking Off, I Hope

Nov 18 2005

The concept of eRiders is deceptively simple: people with lots of tech skills don't need to be on the staff of every NGO or nonprofit, they can "ride" a circut of folks that they help. This idea is being presented at WSIS this week, and I think it...

Windmills for Wi-Fi

Nov 17 2005

Woo Hoo! Wind-powered wireless!:

"A University of Texas professor creates tiny windmills to tilt at providing electricity: The prof has developed a system with his group that uses piezoelectric crystals which, when flexed by the small pressures...

The Wireless Internet Opportunity For Developing Countries

Nov 17 2005

While poking around on stuff related to the WSIS in Tunis, I found this excellent document about wireless internet in Africa, which was used at the first meeting of the WSIS in 2003. I only wish that there was an updated copy somewhere ...

"The most...

Open Source Software in the Developing World

Nov 17 2005

This report details how budget-strapped organizations working in the developing world are able to use open source software to accomplish computing task that would otherwise just be too expensive.

From the introduction:

The emphasis on openness in...

Free Nonprofit Webhosting

Nov 17 2005

If you need a free place to host your website, make sure you check out AmbitiousLemon. They look very good at what they do; they at least have a very capable open source software setup on their server, with Ruby On Rails, PHP, Perl, Apache etc. :

Fear and Loathing in Tunis

Nov 16 2005

It seems somehow appropriate that the second phase of the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) is being held in Tunis. What to do with a government widely criticized for its repressive watchfulness in the public sphere? Let them host a mega...

Triangle Blogger's Bash, Durham, November 15

Nov 12 2005

Here's this via Audio Activism, for folks in the Triangle, NC area. Looks to be a great night of the up-and-coming Triangle blogging community:

"On Tuesday, November 15 from 7-9 p.m we’re having a Triangle Blogger’s Bash at Durham’s American Tobacco...

The Evolution of the Library: a Tool of Development

Nov 12 2005

Soon we'll have far fewer excuses for not distributing the worlds most valuable information resources: libraries. What will it take for us to start reorganizing and exporting our libraries digitally for the sake of global education?

The good news...

Study Says Software Makers Supply Tools to Censor Web

Nov 12 2005

The misuse of good technology. Or perhaps just the use of bad technology.

Study Says Software Makers Supply Tools to Censor Web: "A new report raises questions about the use of filtering technologies by autocratic governments bent on controlling...

People Tagging with Tagalag

Nov 12 2005

If you like the idea of tagging you web pages and your books, how about tagging your people? Sounds a bit like info-tainment to me, but I felt obligated to post it because of the compelling freakiness of it all.

Tagalag is a service that lets...

More accounts of the 1-Laptop-Per-Child Laptop at MIT

Nov 12 2005

Here's another update on the laptop debate/idea from Ethan Zuckerman, the ICT-blogger-fellow at Harvard. He usefully recounts the point of the new prototypical $100 laptop as being a radical step toward computer-aided learning in developing countries...

Location-aware en masse

Nov 12 2005

How do you make a regular cellphone location-aware? Apparently, you monitor the records indicating which tower the phone is on. Movement from one tower to the next can give highly accurate readouts on the movement of individuals and crowds.

I wouldn...

Keeping Communications Equipment Powered in an Emergency

Nov 12 2005

Here's this:

"An emergency power kit can help you keep important communications equipment running in the midst of a crisis. Read about how to put together your own kit.
[Read more in Technology Planning.]"

Read it: Keeping Communications Equipment...

Hooray for Progressive Podcasting

Nov 12 2005

Podcasting is not complicated. It's just audio. The problem lies in finding something worth listening to.

I subscribe to about a dozen podcasts, most of them technology-related, though some are about education or the media. (Technology-anything...

Google Earmarks $265 Million for Charity and Social Causes

Nov 12 2005

Ok, now who can write grant proposals?

From today's NYT:

Google Earmarks $265 Million for Charity and Social Causes: "Google gave the first details of how it would carry out its commitment to devote a share of its lucrative public stock offering...

French Police Fear That Blogs Have Helped Incite Rioting

Nov 12 2005

Here's this:

"The banners and bullhorns of protest are being replaced in volatile French neighborhoods by cellphone messages and Skyblog."

Read it: French Police Fear That Blogs Have Helped Incite Rioting

(Found on:NYT > Technology.)

Five fun facts from Broadband Wiki

Nov 12 2005

Here's this from global-minded site about broadband technologies:

"And now for the fun part…. Did you know that Iceland is only behind South Korea, Netherlands and Denmark in Internet penetration, and 84% of its households have Internet connection...

Computers Twice Wasted

Nov 12 2005

A recent article in the New York Times discusses a report that computers are being "improperly recycled" (read: dumped) on developing countries as a way to avoid the expense of refurbishing them before redistribution.

"The report, titled "The Digital...

Welcome Back to WordPress

Nov 10 2005

Things are back in order here. Again, WordPress rocks. Thanks to all the good people there who work on this project and make a wholly excellent open source blogging platform.

Technical Difficulties

Nov 5 2005

Sorry for the lack of post in the last month. We've had several large projects at, and (more relevantly) I've had a major database snafu. I'm switching to WordPress, an elegant, open source platform based on php. I should've done...

Participatory Design

Oct 3 2005

I am currently researching a field of design known as "Participatory Design" that has a fascinating history (dealing with Scandinavian labor unions) and a very promising future. In short, PD is about incorporating the user in the design process from...

ICT in Education

Sep 25 2005

The Scottish government has an excellent collection of resources regarding the use of Information Communication Technology in classrooms. They have multi-part articles grouped by subject (Biology, Drama, Physics), and examples of how, for example,...

Blogger Handbook Chat

Sep 23 2005

As a follow up to the previous post (see just below this one) please be 'ware that Global Voices is hosting an online (IRC) discussion of the handbook on Tuesday at 15:00 GMT (that's 11:00 AM, New York time).

New to IRC chatting? It's simple. Here...

The "Dissident" Blogger Handbook

Sep 22 2005

Reporters Without Borders has today released a wonderful handbook of international blogging. The 84-page guide includes sections that discuss the basics of blogs and blogging terminology, and it moves quickly into a serious how-to guide for blogging...

Yahoo Participates in Chinese Censorship

Sep 19 2005

screenshot chinese yahoo

Recently, the mega search engine Yahoo! collaborated with Chinese authorities in jailing Chinese journalist Shi Tao for allegedly distributing state secrets. Apparently Yahoo has taken the initiative to provide the journalist's email address and...

Raising International Awareness Through Innovative Cartography

Sep 14 2005

Being a great way to communicate quickly, maps can also be incredibly dense with information. When they are put to a wholesome use, maps, like apple pie and puppies, deserve to have a special place in every home.

Take, for example, the incredible...

Geeks Responding to Katrina: Relief 2.0

Sep 14 2005

Ethan Zuckerman is one of the best bloggers in the world; he must get paid by Harvard to do it, or something. (He does.)

His musing last week on the ICT/geek community's response to the Katrina relief effort is a fascinating look at how we can potentially...

What if the Flood Was in Washington?

Sep 10 2005

Andy Carvin, director of the Digital Divide Network, recently posted a fascinating, heartbreaking perspective just how much damage has been done. He found the images at a strange condo site, The images are overlays of the flooding with...

Google Maps: Is My House Underwater?

Sep 6 2005

Kathyn Cramer, based in New York, is doing great work with Google maps. The following information is quoted from her blog.

Step 1: Go to Google Maps and enter the address. Click on the button that says "Hybrid" on the upper right. You will get...

GIS and Humanitarian Crisis

Sep 2 2005

With a nod to International Blogging for Disaster Relief Day (Friday, Sept. 2). ... Crossposted on the DDN list.

I am beginning research into ways in which mapping technologies like GIS (wikipedia: GIS) are being used (and can potentially be used...


Aug 29 2005

Ever since the first Vatican broadcast of a sermon on the radio in 1931, there has been little doubt about the power of broadcast media as a part of religious practice.

Contemporary "church-theatres" (typically the kind with the lights and music...

Cellphones in Africa

Aug 25 2005

Today's New York Times carries a front-page article about the growth of the cell phone industry in Africa.

The article is as well-written a summary of the communications crisis in Africa as I have ever read — though it is an undeniably, perhaps inexplicably...

This Island Blog. (Or, What the Hell is a Blog?)

Aug 5 2005

Your dear author recently posted about the ambivalence and misunderstanding that abounds with regard to the concept of RSS. Based on this weeks hilarious (in a laughing-at-you, not-with-you way) usability survey of blogging from Catalyst Group Design...

Online Resources for Evaluation Nonprofit Programs

Aug 3 2005

Here's a link to a nice comparison of Google Scholar and Scrius. It points out that Google Scholar has become neglected and is no longer updated regularly. This is a super-unfortunate development; Google is the web's best hope for easy, inexpensive...

Measuring ICT Literacy

Aug 3 2005

Educational Testing Services — they're the folks that make the SAT and GRE — has a new test for ICT literacy. Despite a humorously useless Flash intro, the test appears to be fully baked. The sample questions on the ETS website look at the ways a test...

Qualitative Analysis Software Reviews

Jul 29 2005

Perhaps not what you've been waiting for all year — an extensive resource for researching various qualitative data analysis programs — but if you're in a research environment, this is actually extremely helpful.

This page is from a university in...

Online Resources for Evaluation Nonprofit Programs

Jul 29 2005

Evaluation is an important, albeit rarefied, science of promoting nonprofit organizations. Do you need to measure the effectiveness of a specific program — or your entire organization? Well, there's an entire discipline devoted to helping you do just...

A New Online Journal

Jul 29 2005

As of April, there is a new journal devoted to researching the (primarily sociological) aspects of Technology's influence. It's free, how lovely: Human Technology: An interdisciplinary Journal on Humans in ICT Environments

Only 2% of Developers are Women

Jul 27 2005

A Major O'Reilly Open Source Convention next week in Portland (OR) is hosting a panel of women developers (Update- It's even worse; women's representation in IT generally has gone down 20% since 1994.)

Databases with Purpose

Jul 25 2005

This post from Tech Soup is a good, brief introduction to the use of databases in your organization.

The author of this article (a nice techie from ONE/Northwest) finds that you should really call in the professional to get things set up — I would...

Exporting Technology, Exporting Ideas

Jul 21 2005

Summary: There is a new, exciting model for programs exporting technology to the developing world. But the real issue is about education, not just setting up a rural network.

Here's the scene: A decade after the technology-sector collapse in the...

Technology for the Poor

Jul 14 2005

A technology conference yesterday in England was host to a speaker Iqbal Quadir, who has sold about 100,000 cell phones to poor folks in Bangladesh. These are people who otherwise would have no digital communications, and Quadir feels that their new...

Researching Flies, and Colorblindness 101

Jul 13 2005

Drosphilia researchers have a leg up on web designers.

Well, at least they've got a decent explanation of colorblindness. A short paper on colorblind audiences was written a few years ago for researchers presenting their findings on the very latest...

Branding Advocacy

Jul 11 2005

Here's an interesting article from an old Harvard Business School Working Knowledge series. It's about branding, which from my perspective is a very diffucult thing to incorporate in online communications.

Websites and emails, for example, need to...

An Authoritarian "Third Way" on the Internet

Jul 9 2005

There's an old dream held by certain Englishmen of the Enlightenment: the perfect prison, the panopticon. In the panopticon, every cell can be seen into by a single guard standing in the center tower. But the prisoners can't see into the guard tower...

The Law and Blogging

Jun 28 2005

The Electronic Frontier Foundation has just released a great "Legal Guide For Bloggers," which goes into some of the concepts that you might not be familiar with.

If your organization is getting into blogging as a way to advocate your cause (and...

How "Marketing" Can Help Eliminate Extreme Poverty

Jun 25 2005

When Nonprofit X goes to county Y and begins handing out seeds and fertilizer to farmers as part of an agricultural intervention during a famine, how does Nonprofit X know that they aren't causing a greater problem or ignoring a better solution? Perhaps...

Community Informatics

Jun 1 2005

The Journal of Community Informatics, a new, academic approach to community technology, is now in its third issue.

It has an informative, though often long-winded, selection of peer-reviewed articles. The field is new and often misunderstood or poorly...

(Nearly) Free Software for 501(c)3's

May 28 2005

Techsoup just announced that they have Symantec Antivirus with multiple user licenses for under $100. (Single user licenses start at $100.) If you haven't priced antivirus software, well, that's a bad sign. Unless your'e on a Mac, but that's a different...

Audio Activism

May 18 2005

After getting back from a lecture at the most recent N-TEN Tech club meeting, I found myself enlightend as to the way of the podcast.

Brian Russell is a stand-up guy doing a lot of grunt work with the development of podcasting as a tool of activist...

What The Hell Is RSS?

May 5 2005

There's a good discussion going on now at TechSoup about how you can use technology to increase capacity of your nonprofit.

Their latest focus is on RSS, which is one of the more amazing technical innovations of modern communications. If you don...

Ranking Charities = Bad Science

May 4 2005

There is an interesting discussion going on (for some time now) over at the Stanford Social Innovation Review forum about charitable donations and the new "ranking systems" that have emerged to help the public find the most best organizations to give...

Let's Send More Emails!

May 3 2005

Here's a great resource for getting your email campaigns in a row: white papers from a consulting group that does email campaigns for a living. They're free; how nice.

Download them here: Return Path Solutions for Increased Email Delivery, Performance

For-Profit NTEN?

May 3 2005

It's rare that you see much criticism of nonprofit organizations. People are getting something done, after all, no matter what particulars you may take affront to their modus operandi.

But we should all be wary of the thought-stifling, fuzzy-feeling...

Email Works. It Even Has A Manifesto.

May 3 2005

If you are investing money in a website with a social justice purpose (do, please), you of course need to be thinking about getting people to your site.

Have you read The Gilbert Center's "Email Manifesto"? It is absolutely the best crystallization...

A Bug's-Eye View

Apr 25 2005

From Digital Web Magazine (a reliable regular read), this article discusses the thought process behind designing a website. Written from the perspective of the web developer, it's also a good introduction for clients.

This is a good article for nonprofit...

Ivory Tower Blogs

Apr 23 2005

Here's a neat article on scholarly blogs from 2003 in the Chronicle of Higher Education. It's outdated but excellent, framing the issue in real-world concerns of "academic posturing" vs. "realtime idea exchanges."

Here's what I mean:

"In their skeptical...

Your Nonprofit Needs A Blog

Apr 22 2005

Mission-Driven nonprofits have, I think, the most to gain from blogging than any other organization or type of individual. If your organization has a site, I think you really should have a blog. There are a number of clear reasons. Seriously.


The Wonder That is

Apr 14 2005

An excellent new collection of advanced javascript for putting that new car smell back in your site.

Enjoy it here: - web 2.0 javascript

Easy to misuse (1997, anyone?) but a wonderful way to add some useful usability features to...

A Few Words Against Drivel and Detritus

Apr 14 2005

Create usable content? It doesn't sound like a difficult goal. But upon reconsideration, it is clear that the web (in particular) has become a waste of your time. The visual aspects of the internet are all distractions without quality content. And...

Stock Photos Anyone?

Mar 30 2005

Stock photography is pretty essential for web developers and designers. If your organization doesn't have a large budget for that kind of thing (stock photos are $50-$250, usually), there are a few alternatives with a decent selection — and the pictures...

RTPNet Conference in NC, USA

Mar 30 2005

Registration is now open for the RTPnet Conference, North Carolina's only annual statewide conference that focuses specifically on nonprofit technology. The conference mission is to help nonprofits use technology more effectively. It's May 20th.

Some Web Design Books Are Dangerous

Mar 29 2005

I recently picked up a copy of the "for Dummies" CSS tutorial book and was disappointed to find the following in a section about using named vs. hex color values (like cornflowerblue instead of #6495ED):

"... my advice is to just assume that...

Hey Buddy, Can You Spare A Secure Socket Layer?

Mar 17 2005

There's always a lot of curiosity about online fundraising among organizations that are new to the web. Rightly so. Having a "donate now" link could be, by itself, a reason to have a nonprofit website. You can give out the address of your site with...

Learning internet-think in Uzbekistan

Mar 13 2005

The Digital Divide Network has a wonderful, thoughtful article on the use of the internet and computers in Uzbekistan, where students and teachers face both poverty and technological illiteracy.

A recurring question in international technology development...

Growing Your Nonprofit: and Alternative Model

Feb 25 2005

How do nonprofits grow? That's a much discussed — and much answered question. There are thousands of books, articles, consultants even entire schools devoted to the subject of growing your nonprofit.

But there's not much to growth if you don't have...

Add A Simple Slideshow To Your Webpage

Feb 17 2005

If you need to easily display slideshows online, there are a couple of options that I have recently run across. The simplest, though not as sophisticated, process is to use a site called Flickr, which was recently acquired by Yahoo! and can be a lot...

Evaluation Software

Feb 13 2005

Here's a chart of evaluation software packages form the Evaluator's exchange. The list is untested by yours truly, but the Evaluation Exchange (From the Harvard Family Research Project) is an excellent resource for folks working with children.


Stop Making Crappy Ads

Feb 4 2005

Stephen Pinker writes in his book How Minds Work that "the emotions are mechanisms that set the brains highest-level goals." This, it seems, is a good description of why small, mission-driven nonprofits exist despite the innumerable difficulties of...


Jan 23 2005

NetCorps is now providing the "technology of list enhancement" for nonprofits in NC. I have't worked directly with them but they do good work (in Durham, NC and in Oregon). They have worked with folks at Volunteers for Youth that we are beginning a...

JavaScript Goodies

Jan 17 2005

Even if you're new to web design and Javascript spooks you, you'd do well to look into some of the techniques that are described in the attached article.

My Favorite Javascripts for Designers:

Here's a bit of the article:

Are there...


Jan 13 2005

The Linc project (based in NY) has an interesting article on their use of (a web service that maintains lists of links for you.) I really appreciated their technical description of everything they're doing with it, but it isn't a beach...

The Google Game

Jan 13 2005

There is no shortage of webmasters desperate to get their hard-won site noticed. After spending many sleepless nights coding and debugging a site for a nonprofit, it only makes sense that you would want it to actually show up when someone is searching...

Accessibility Is Important

Jan 10 2005

If you or your nonprofit is concerned about your pages being readable to people with limited sight or non-graphical browsers, you should check out this classic book on accessibility. Building Accessible Websites explains in clear, detailed steps how...

Branding a Nonprofit

Jan 9 2005

If you like to think about branding (not a really pleasant idea, I think), you'd do well to visit the wealth of information at the PND Nonprofits By Design Column.

Read it: PND Nonprofits By Design

What is ICT?

Jan 6 2005

ICT is Information Communication Technology, literally.

More generally, ICT is at the core of a movement that seeks to provide access to technology for people who would normally not have access to it. This, in turn, is part of a larger movement against...

Is Open Source Software Ready?

Dec 21 2004

Yes, it is.

Open source software is free. It is supported by communities of developers, not corporations. And it is ready.

Sure, sometimes, it doesn't work. Development can stop abruptly on a project, and support can be limited — because it's free...

ONE/NW on Using Bloglines and

Dec 20 2004

There are some very sophisticated techniques emerging into the semi-mainstream this year. You may not have noticed, and you may not care. But if you can get the hang of it managing the blogosphere, there's a lot to be learned.

Rediscover your interests...

Hacking Internet Explorer, the Definitive Guide

Jul 13 2004

Well, this is perhaps not a definitive guide, but a good one nonetheless. I like his method of including the CSS link in the commented rule, and I appreciate his concern that IE7 (the next release of IE) will have bugs resolved — making the hacks a...

The United Nations Report on Technology And Human Development

Jul 6 2004

Here's a great PDF version of a slightly dated — but far-seeing — report from the UN on the uses of emerging technologies in human development. It's optimism is tempered with a good deal of experience — it is clear that there is no single, technological...

Atlas.Ti: Four Star Research Software

May 21 2004

Do you work with interviews or documents in which you have to make meaningful correlations between themes?

Perhaps you have a lot of data from interviews and you want to know what your respondents associate with a problem.

Atlas.Ti isn't new, but...

Paul Farmer: A (Deserving) Nonprofit Celebrity

Feb 20 2004

Paul Farmer is an amazing member of the "nonprofit community," famous in his own circles of public health and international development. The Stanford Social Innovation Review, (an excellent magazine) has a lovely extended interview with him about his...

Some Rights Reserved: A Guide to the Creative Commons License

Feb 13 2004

If you're putting content on the web, you may want to look into the idea of creative commons licensing. It's a bit like copyrighting (obviously), and yet it is totally different. It's essentially used to promote, rather than restrict, the flow of information...