Jaryd

It’s Been a While (Updated)

In Business, Computers, Development, Internet, Philanthropy, Poverty, Public Education, Technology on December 30, 2008 at 4:11 am

UPDATE: I have decided to try my hand at the Twitter-like micro-blogging service. I have named it Tefilah, the Hebrew word for prayer, to emphasize the focus of the site. Feel free to join and try it out. Hopefully we will be able to grow it to a vibrant community of Christians.

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So it has been a while since I have written anything… I’ve wanted to write something for a couple of weeks now, but just couldn’t decided what to write about. I still don’t really have any idea, but I thought I would give it a shot and see what I come up with. I guess I will just go over a list of some possible projects I have been collecting in my head for the past few months:

Twitter-like Site     In case you have never heard of it, Twitter is an online micro-blogging service where you can keep your friends, or “followers” as they are known on Twitter, up to date about what you’re doing, where you are, or anything really. Your status can be updated via web or text, and it places your update in a timeline of all of your followers. For example, if I wanted to tell my followers that I was coming home to Puyallup for break, I could update my status to say “Jaryd is writing.” That would be added to my friends’ timeline, or even sent to them as a text or email if they have set their account to do so. The thing I really like about Twitter is that it is a non-obtrusive way to keep people up to date with what you are doing, thing, or where you are going.

But if Twitter is fine, why start another site just like it? Well it wouldn’t be just like that. The main difference would be that it would be used for prayer support or letting others know you have received an answer to prayer. It would be a non-invasive way to ask others for prayer support, or just keep people up to date on things that God has been doing in your life.

Honestly, it wouldn’t even be that difficult, thanks to the open-source software Laconica. All I would have to do would be to rent a server, install the server, and it would take care of pretty much all of the work. I would have to do a lot of work to get it up to the complexity of Twitter, though. I would love to be able to help people all over the world connect and support each other through the power of prayer.

I also would like to adapt this cool project called TwittEarth. It displays tweets (the name for status updates on Twitter) on a 3D globe showing the location of the user. It is a pretty cool way to look at the activity of individuals on a global scale. One last thing I would like to do is set up a daily verse for users to meditate on, or let others know what kind of meaning it has for them.

Mideals     I have written about this before in an earlier post, but I thought I would come back to it because I really do like it. The idea is that it is a commerce site in the style of Amazon, but users can set priorities on what aspects of a product or company are the most important to them. A user can set the order of importance of price, environmental impact, where it is made, the organizations the company supports, etc… Then a user could search for products or companies and the site would calculate which products match the user’s priorities and present them accordingly.

People talk about about what they feel is important, but at one point you have to put up or shut up. This could take away an excuse that keeps people from aligning their spending with their values.

University Microcredit Network     This was the focus of the last post I wrote, and I still like it. I believe microcredit will be one of the most fundamental tools the human race has in defeating poverty. As fundamental as the hammer for constructing houses, or the cornerstone of a foundation. Microcredit gives the tools to those that really have the incentive to use them.

I feel that the microcredit model of poverty reduction fits very well with college students. Microcredit is built around the fact that a little money can go a long way, and little money is something that college students do have. According to census.gov, there were 20.5 million students enrolled in colleges and universities in the United States (including under-graduate and graduate). I’m willing to bet that each student could donate $1 to microcredit programs and development programs.

Many microcredit program loans range from as little as $50 into the thousands of dollars. But for the sake of calculation, let’s say the average loan is $100. That makes for 205,000 loans made for the people around the world to better their situation, and most importantly the health of their family and the education of their children.

That’s just with $1 from each college and university student in US. That doesn’t seem all that unreasonable to me.

I will keep thinking over these to see if any of them speak to me enough to carve out some time to work on them. Let me know what you think about them, or any ideas you have in the comments!

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  1. I think another cool option you could do with the Twitter site is to have people’s random prayer requests sent to participants if they want via email so they could pray for them. That way you are allowing the Lord to direct you to prayer for people that you may not even know.

    Dad

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