Archive for December, 2004

Comparing Charity Organizations

December 30, 04 by kenrich

Since I donated some money to the Asia Earthquake Fund, I have been comparing different charity organizations. Specifically, I was looking at how they use the money that you give to them. Some charities give as little as 60% of your donation to the program you are donating to while the rest is used for administrative costs or to the charity’s coffers.

My choiced to donate to (Care International) gives 92% of your donation right where it’s needed. Another (Direct Relief) will deliver a full 99% of your donation to where it’s needed. The difference is that Direct Relief only has a staff of 24 people and is a very small operation run out of Santa Barbara. Care International is a huge organization with offices and employees around the world.

The trick is to decide what proportion of money you thing should go to support the charity and what amount should go directly where you want it. I am very skeptical of any donation given to the Red Cross after the 9/11 debacle. I hope that you do your research before you donate to a charity.

Suprnova’s Exeem Bit Torrent Client

December 30, 04 by kenrich

Today, Suprnova made its big announcement regarding the future of their web site. Supernova was a site where you could find links to “torrents” that file downloaders use to share files. I guess they finally bowed to the pressure of the MPAA and RIAA and shut down their site.

In an act of defiance, they are releasing a new file-sharing program that works like bit-torrent without a centralized server. Unfortunately, the program is only being released for windows and is going to be loaded with “adware”. Even though the program will be free to download, they will make money off the program through the mandatory “adware” provided by Gain.

Gain is one of the most intrusive spyware applications available and I wouldn’t trust having it on my computer. If you have any doubts whether or not you have spyware on your computer, you should download a trial version of ad-aware or similar software to scan your computer.

Wiki Web Site Authoring

December 29, 04 by kenrich

Today I tried out a new Wiki authoring software called PmWiki. For those of you who don’t know Wiki is a web site authoring tool that allows you to create pages, update or delete pages by using nothing more than a web browser. It is intended to be open for anyone to make changes or additions to the content in a quick and efficient manner.

With PmWiki, I believe I have found one of the most efficient Wiki platforms. While it is small, it still manages to provide a great set of features to make it a valuable platform for a new site or an addition to an existing site.

I have a Linux resource site that I need to modify to use this Wiki software. In combination with PmWiki, I am going to add the Phorums PHP message board software to make a community-supported documentation site. More details on this when I get ready to launch.

Who Says “It Never Rains in So. Cal?”

December 29, 04 by kenrich

It has been raining cats and dogs down here in San Diego. We got two inches of rain today preceded by one inch of rain yesterday. Near the end of the rain, we got some very windy conditions which managed to blow down a lot of things. On my way to work this morning, I saw no less than 7 trees which had been blown over and were laying in the road.

I guess there was some flooding in parts of San Diego, but I live on pretty high ground so I don’t really have anything to worry about. The only thing I have to be careful about is my drive to work in the morning.

Friday is a holiday for me at work. Today was my last chance to take my last remaining sick day. But I decided to give it up because I had a lot of work to take care of today. I have a lot more ASP programming work to do before my task is finished though.

Earthquake Donation to Care International

December 28, 04 by kenrich

Just wanted to drop a note and let you know that I have made a donation to Care USA in the amount of $50 to the Sumatra Earthquake victims. This seems to be a good charity since 92% of the money collected goes directly where it’s needed.

The scope of the disaster is staggering and it only looks to be growing bigger. The good news is that the United States has increased it’s aid to the affected areas by $20 million bringing the total to $35 million. That contribution is likely to be increased since some say the total cost could be in the billions of dollars.

My Company Forbids Me to be Sick

December 28, 04 by kenrich

This week looks to be another slow week at work. I haven’t seen my boss yet today but he should be slinking in anytime soon. Today is my first day back at work since the Christmas holiday.

Yesterday, I attempted to use up my last sick day by taking a day off of work. But apparently, there is some fine print in our employee manual that reads “You are not allowed to take a sick day adjacent to a paid holiday. Since we got Friday off for Christmas, you can just imagine what happened.

Our HR manager sent me a lovely note that reads: “If I mark you out as sick on this day, you will not be paid for the holiday of 12/24. You can take [the day] as a vacation day (you will need [your bosses] approval), then you will be paid the holiday. Please let me know what you want to do.”. It would have been nice if my boss or HR person would have called me because I didn’t get this e-mail until it was already too late.

The funny thing is that I’m paid a salary, so I get paid the same regardless. Maybe I’ll just take another sick day tomorrow. It will be my last chance before the year runs out and I lose my “earned” sick days anyways. If my boss hadn’t stiffed me so bad on my annual bonus, I would gladly give them my unused sick days. Oh well, such is life!

Sumatra Earthquake and Charity Organizations

December 27, 04 by kenrich

It was really sad to see all of the destruction and devastation wrought by the huge earthquake near Sumatra yesterday. For those who haven’t heard, it was a 9.0 earthquake that occurred underneath the sea and caused a massive Tsunami which killed over 14,000 lives. It’s amazing that they didn’t have any form of early detection or warning in places like Sri Lanka.

On the positive side, it’s good to see that other countries have pledged aid to help those victims. I saw the Europe pledged $4 million and the Red Cross pledged $6 million. The United States said they would also provide aid but didn’t provide a figure. I hope that money is put to good use unlike the aid that was sent for the 9/11 catastrophe.

I am always wary of donating money to a charity – especially one that was created “ad hoc” to administer aid to a specific cause. One charity I have found that really interests me is Donors Choose. They allow you to donate money to teachers in America who need school supplies or educational aids. Although I haven’t donated any money yet, I plan on doing so soon.

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

December 26, 04 by kenrich

Well Christmas is finally over and our kids both had a wonderful time. Everyone got a bunch of wonderful gifts this year. I got a new vest, a set of utencils, a battery charger, a new flashlight and a nice fat check from my parents.

The best part was the Christmas dinner with turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes, green beans, corn and of course gravy. Afterwards we had rhubarb pie and chocolate pie. Needless to say, I was pretty stuffed after all that.

Tonight I am going over to my brother’s friend’s house for an “after Christmas” dinner. It should be more of the same. We are looking forward to doing that. I have some google invites that I would like to give away if anyone is interested. Just post a comment here and I will hook you up.

Ho Ho Ho! Merry Christmas

December 25, 04 by kenrich

Merry Christmas everyone! I can’t believe another Christmas is already here. Good thing my wife and I got the shopping done a long time ago (back in June). Today looks like it is going to be another great Christmas day.

I will be going over to my parent’s house today to partake of the Christmas festivities and a wonderful Christmas dinner. Our kids (girls aged 3 and 4) should really enjoy this Christmas celebration. They are the perfect age to really enjoy the celebrations.

Everyone stay safe and have a wonderful Christmas. I wish you all the best and a happy new year!

Welcome Blog Explosion! – My Only Traffic Source

December 24, 04 by kenrich

Welcome, Blog Explosion members… this site is a brand new site that I have put together to host my blog. Along with this I have purchased this new domain name for my blog. I agree that it is a pretty generic domain name, but at least it is easy-to-remember and easy-to-type.

Right now the only traffic I am getting is from the good folks at Blog Explosion. Besides submitting my site to the search engines, I plan on doing some other marketing for my blog. It feels kind of weird doing marketing for a blog since you aren’t really making money off of it. I know that for some people, it’s nice to know that you have the traffic, so you could start making money off of your blog by selling advertising.

I am also considering posting “less technical” blog entires in here. If only because targetting web developers and programmers is too narrow of a group and isn’t well-suited to building an interesting blog. Also, I will try posting a personal bio of myself so you can understand a little more about my background.