Soup’s On!

No soup for you! OK, 1 TechSoup for Charitocracy!

I want to give a shout out to another nonprofit this week, TechSoup.

"TechSoup equips changemakers with transformative technology solutions and skills they need to improve lives globally and locally."

Jessica and I met with our accountant recently who advised us to use QuickBooks to manage Charitocracy's accounts. No big surprise there. Jessica thought we could get the cheapest version of QuickBooks Online for $120/year by having them extend their introductory $10/month rate beyond the initial 6 month period. But then I discovered TechSoup's offering.

After confirming our 501(c)(3) status, we qualified for a donation of QuickBooks Online Plus, which normally costs $40/month and is often discounted to $24/month. We only had to pay TechSoup's administrative fee of $50. And we'll be able to renew for another $50 in future years. This is a big savings if you compare it to the $288 we'd pay for this "plus" edition or $120 for the cheapest one!

Thank you, TechSoup. It was a painless process to register for this donation. And thanks to Intuit, maker of QuickBooks, for donating their software through TechSoup!

TechSoup, here's to your hotness

A Droplet in the Ocean

Charitocracy, I'd like to donate some sharks with frickin' laser beams attached to their heads

This week I pulled my first all-day-all-night-all-dayer for Charitocracy, and probably the first of my entire career! In the past I've always gone home and slept after an all-nighter. Have I mentioned how much I love working on this stuff?

What was I working on that's so engrossing I just couldn't stop? I was migrating Charitocracy's staging server off my laptop onto a virtual private server (VPS) "droplet" at one of DigitalOcean's NYC data centers.

Here's a brief rundown of my long, long day:

  • Signed up using $10 off discount code I saw on Facebook, effectively giving me a nice long free trial. You can support Charitocracy by using our referral URL to sign yourself up. You get $10 off (e.g. 2 months of their cheapest config) and Charitocracy gets $25 off our future bills!
  • After researching Linux distribution options, chose Ubuntu 16.04, the new long-term support (LTS) version.
  • Ran through the checklists for setting up and securing the system, installing Apache, MySQL, and PHP. This gave me a LAMP environment very similar to the MAMP environment I've been using, just on Linux instead of Mac.
  • Installed Let's Encrypt (remember?) along with a cronjob to automatically renew the TLS certificate as needed.
  • Dumped the MySQL database from my MacBook to a file, copied it over to the new server, and imported it to the new database.
  • Moved my git origin repository from iCloud to DropBox so it could be easily accessed not only from my Macs but also from Linux. Cloned the repository into the new server's Apache tree and took it for a spin!
  • Blinked a lot for a good hour or so.
  • Configured postfix email server like I had it on my Mac, using Gmail SMTP servers to send out emails from Charitocracy.
  • Discovered that I was hitting the RAM ceiling on the cheapest ($5/mo 512 MB) DigitalOcean config, leading to some MySQL queries failing, so resized my droplet to the $10/mo 1 GB config. I'm sure I'll quickly outgrow this one, too, but so far so good!

I can still easily sync the latest code and database back onto my Mac and fly it via PageKite if I have a need, but I don't foresee any. I've effectively obsoleted the local environment I set up 6 weeks ago, but really I've leveraged almost all of it, simply on a remote Linux server that's closer to the final production environment.

Progress! And finally, sleep!


Help Me!

First word, sounds like... You want my kelp?

We've been asked by some of you how you can help, and don't always know quite how to answer. Feed me coffee and chocolate from dusk 'til dawn? Don't wake me up before noon? Distract me with trivia and beer and movies once in a while? All pretty obvious stuff.

Our dear friend, Melia, has undertaken an important task: writing a guide for volunteer moderators. A large part of the activity on Charitocracy will be weighing the relative merits of different causes in a discussion forum. We'll need some moderators who can help remind donors that we're all on the same team, and to keep the discourse positive and constructive. Thank you Melia for spearheading this!! And do give us a yell if you don't mind doing some moderating once we go live.

For others who want to help without biting off such a big chunk, here are two easy ways to help today:

  1. Like us on Facebook and/or follow us on Twitter. If you already do, then please share/retweet with your friends and encourage them to follow us. If we build momentum now before the site opens, the size of the pot for month #1 will be meaningful instead of simply... cute. Might I suggest something like "My amazing and handsome friends are launching a <insert region-appropriate equivalent to wicked pissah> non-profit soon, please support them by liking their page and following along!"
  2. Ask us a question! We'll need to start fleshing out a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) for the site, and could use some ideas. What do you want to know about Charitocracy? Some of it might be obvious once you can actually go in there and look around, but I want the FAQ to be useful to people who haven't signed up yet, so they'll have many of the same questions you do now! Pose questions, broad and narrow alike, here on the blog, Facebook, Twitter, wherever is convenient for you. Maybe we'll even answer your question in a blog post!

Thanks for your continued support. We're getting close!

Help! is on the way!

These Go to 40

Why don't you just make 39 be the top number? ... ... These go to 40.This weekend we celebrate as Jessica joins me amongst the ranks of quadragenarians. She's not going quietly, either.

Charitocracy is lucky to have someone of her age maturity seniority experience at the helm! Let's wish her a year, nay a decade, full of meaning and purpose and 80s references... while she can still remember them.

24 candles later... I'm still waiting for you, Jessica