Matt Webb posted “Inbox Hero” about a month back (via AJ):

Rand: The question isn’t who is going to let me; it’s who is going to stop me.

Anyway, I’ve been thinking about an email app built on a principle of Objectivism. At the moment, my email client defaults to doing nothing, and I must intervene to create action (ie, write a reply).

But if I had an Objectivist email app, it would automatically respond to all emails with stock enabling and forceful replies after a period of (say) 15 minutes, and I would have to intervene if I wanted it to not do that.

I shared it in Google Reader and Tom Wolf (who I’ve quoted before) replied:

This is a neat way to think about building applications. Rather than starting from “let’s solve a problem”, start from “given this solution, how should it behave assuming I hold X as my primary belief framework?” I’m not sure it’s a practical way to build apps for the masses, but it’s pretty cool nonetheless :)

And just in minor regards to Objectivism, I inadvertently dabbled in it when I was about 14 but fortunately quickly outgrew it.

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I am remiss to finally get around to blogging Day of the Shirt, which I launched back in October, 2010. It’s a straightforward and (hopefully) aesthetically-pleasing t-shirt aggregator.

What’s nifty about Day of the Shirt is that it’s built entirely with PHP Simple HTML DOM Parser. And when I say entirely, I mean entirely: there is no database backend, everything is scraped, including itself. Day of the Shirt…

  1. scrapes t-shirt vendors to get names, links and thumbnails (which are cropped and cached);
  2. scrapes, parses and rewrites its own DOM when new shirts are added (we’re serving completely static html);
  3. and scrapes itself to compose its daily tweets.

That last step is a little extravagant, but I wanted to separate the early-morning website update from the mid-morning tweeting—otherwise only the early birds would ever see the tweet. Of course, I re-used the tweet-composing algorithm from Panlexicon.

Now the unfortunate part of this project was that I did a fair amount of competition research prior to building this website—but it wasn’t until about a week after I launched that I discovered an equivalent service: Tee MagnetC’est la vie.

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Exploring the recesses of my email I came across some bad ideas I gave to a good friend, neighbor and excellent “Social Media Community Architect and Manager” as we were exploring possible resume headers for him:

If I were to take the best amalgamation of words, I would go with “Social Media Community Architect and Manager”—which is somewhat awkward. I think you want the words:

  1. social (which is the buzzword of online social networking);
  2. community (which is both online and offline and has a certain fuzziness to it); and
  3. something that describes the process of creation… and management.

I would shy clear of the word technology… “media” definitely has more hotness right now. Maybe “Social Media and Community Architect”.

What about “Social Media and Community Entrepreneur” (everyone loves an Entrepreneur and I would say you qualify more than anyone I know… though it is somewhat heartless)

I went through my contacts on LinkedIn and picked out some words/phrases they use to describe themselves:

  • Community Technologist
  • Online Community Manager
  • strategic planning for your online social network initiatives
  • Building and Executing Social Media Business Strategy
  • Rich Media Developer
  • Interactive Marketing Executive
  • Technology Coordinator
  • Community Architect
  • community & communications coordinator
  • New Media
  • hybrid social media
  • collaboration technology
  • listening technology
  • Emerging
  • Link Development
  • Interactive

I think he went with something sensible like “Community Alchemist”.

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It’s kind’ve funny how in some contexts I’m a shut-up-and-go radical and in others I’m a hold-your-horses conservative. In response to this article on the Nonprofiteer:

If institutions of higher learning want to maintain their tax-favored status, they should abolish legacy preferences. If they don’t—if they go on practicing white people’s affirmative action—they deserve to be knocked off the comfortable perch on which they now sit.

… I left this comment

I’m sympathetic to the overall sentiment, but I’m always worried when an organization’s activities are judged against an arbitrary measure of “nonprofitness”. The strength of the sector—hard fought over 150 years of legislation and case law—is the breadth of allowable activity. The danger of reform is codifying subjective and contemporary distaste as unlawful behavior, thus limiting the ability of truly transformative organizations to form or function. How might Howard University, for example, find egalitarian social benefit in favoring legacy students?

When an organization’s status as a “nonprofit” is the basis for allegations of hypocrisy I find that the outcome usually furthers the goals of those who wish to do away with the nonprofit sector by doing away with taxes entirely (and by extension their social and redistributive benefits). Which is not to dismiss all nonprofit reform (I am quite in support of transparency and reporting), but the real issue here is not “How can we get more poor kids into Harvard?” but “Harvard should not be your only or best option.”

And I agree with the response I received back from the Nonprofiteer—which goes to the strength of dialogue as tool for navigating between two extremes:

Fair point–and I may have overstated my own (so new?). I certainly am not part of the group you describe which opposes taxes–far from it. But the nonprofit community has long regarded itself as above criticism, and I think the portions of it which foster inequality should be called to account. Perhaps depriving those institutions of their nonprofit status is using a sledgehammer where a scalpel would be preferable–I’m certainly open to that possibility. But that there is an ailment to be addressed strikes me as indisputable.

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I’m still parsing through H.R.1363, the $38 billion appropriations bill passed late last night, but this is generally representative of the sausage trading to pay Paul approach:

Sec. 8079. In addition to the amounts appropriated or otherwise made available elsewhere in this Act, $65,200,000 is hereby appropriated to the Department of Defense: Provided, That upon the determination of the Secretary of Defense that it shall serve the national interest, he shall make grants in the amounts specified as follows: $20,000,000 to the United Service Organizations; $24,000,000 to the Red Cross; $1,200,000 to the Special Olympics; and $20,000,000 to the Youth Mentoring Grants Program: Provided further, That funds available in this section for the Youth Mentoring Grants Program may be available for transfer to the Department of Justice Youth Mentoring Grants Program.

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