in post

9 June 2021

Home Server

I only pretend to understand how to run my home server, and sort of bungle my way through. That's supposed to be inspiring: if I can do it, anyone can. I've managed to keep Hubzilla running and updated for a few months, and now added WordPress. Today I had some difficulties with the Hubzilla update, due to some changes I'd made to some bootstrap files, but in the end I sorted it out.

I've also been adding some plugins to WordPress so that I can write in Markdown, post automatically to Mastodon and Twitter. I still need to find a way of allowing subscriptions by email. I will see how these work. Without experimentation, none of this is fun. Another decision I've made with WordPress is to change the hyperlinks to suit my blogging style. The system I've decided on isn't very SEO friendly, but I don't care about that.

Office

We had a Zoom conference with an organization that wants to sell us access to their database of foundations; they can handle various other things, but the data they keep on donors is the core of their business. There are several such subscription-based databases on the market, and no doubt these steal and copy from each other. Fundraising and resource development can be a slimy sort of business at base. I have always preferred to do other things than be involved directly with fundraising. But we've have several excellent people who know how to fundraise while staying human, warm, and loving. It doesn't have to be ugly, the domain of sleazy slick schnorrers. Sometimes, when we have had to hire people, it's attracted that type. But usually they haven't stayed around very long.

Infrastructure

On our end, we still need to improve our database infrastructure. A couple of years ago I tried to set up Civi-CRM, a free open source system, with a large, friendly community. But I didn't find it very inspiring, and, after I'd left it alone for a few months, it stopped working and I floundered with the complexity of trying to update the thing. I may try to go back to it. Previously I'd tried Salesforce, which is significantly more complex. Now, maybe, we have the opportunity to use Microsoft products for free, but I have my doubts about whether they have produced something good. The main trouble with all these systems, for a small organization, is that staff who are trying to spend their hours on actual fundraising work do not have time to master and then maintain complex database systems. That's painstakingly tedious work, and, if the software is slow and clunky, that only adds an additional hurdle. One could hire someone to do this boring job, but a small organization cannot really afford to do add additional, non-productive salary positions. Foundations don't really want to see a large chunk of the money they give spent on administration. On the other hand, fundraising applications and reporting needs grow increasingly demanding. That's especially true for organizations that give large grants, such as the European Union, but not always. We have sometimes had to contend with foundations that gave small amounts but had huge demands, out of all proportion to the funding they had given.

Links

Revert to type: how Goa’s last typewriter repair shop defied the digital age - The Guardian


Fastly says single customer triggered bug behind mass internet outage - The Guardian
It's like with my car; I learn about these things when something goes wrong. I knew all about the infamous Cloudfare, mainly because of the troubles it creates when using Tor browser. I'd never heard of Fastly.

Maybe I really should consider moving to Gemini; the web as we know it becomes a less and less friendly place. The advantage with Gemini is that it would be much more difficult to commercialize and monetize.