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EGR: ashamed of my terrible mistake  clo-@panix.com
 Sep 29, 2005 10:36 PDT 

Valued Readers,

The more astute among you (how many times have I written that in an EGR
send?) may have noticed that I haven't been dunning you lately for
donations to keep me alive. That's because I've been getting paid actual
US dollars by a client in California that just today is bringing up a
new site. The project is called NetSquared, and it's here:

   http://www.netsquared.org

Now, most consultants, if you get them drunk enough, will admit that
they really hate their clients. They will tell you that, really, their
clients are mean and stupid and there's no hope for them. Another few
rounds and they'll tell you that if they won the PowerBall they'd move
to the Bering Straits or Tierra del Fuego or someplace where there
aren't any clients, because they never want to see one again as long as
they live. I've had a few like that. But this group isn't like that.
These folks are cut from a different cloth altogether.

Why should believe me? How *can* you believe me? After all, they're
paying me, and you have a pretty good idea what I'd do for a nickel.
Sell my grandmother, that's right. If the old bird were still kicking.
But I can prove to you that this bunch is all right. Take a look at a
snatch or two of what I wrote on the blog that will greet you when you
hit the above URL...

   Me, I'm still stuffing M-80s under garbage cans to
   see how sky-high I can blow them. I thank God every
   morning that I can still honestly say: I'm an
   unreconstructed no-good punk. (btw, that link on
   M-80s is for you youngsters who were deprived of a
   proper childhood.)

And be sure not to miss the post: "where's Mr. Natural when we really
need him?"

Now, your *average* client? Your *average* client is not going hire you
to blog that sort of thing. Not hardly. Not ever. No way.

Here's another taste:

   Ashamed of my terrible mistake, I decided to wear a
   symbolic HazMat suit for penance.

What was my terrible mistake? *Oh* no. I know your ways. I know how lazy
you are. I'm not making it *that* easy for you. You have to move your
index finger onto the mouse button, put it right over this...

   http://www.netsquared.org

...and click. There, that wasn't so bad, was it?

Of course, those clips tell you absolutely zip about what kind of site
this is, or what it's plans are. For that, you can click again, this
time to another thing I wrote that explains a bit more:

   Why NetSquared?
   http://www.netsquared.org/whynet2

The first graf says...

   Welcome to NetSquared -- the beginnings of a very
   large project to encourage and support collaboration
   among and between nonprofit organizations and
   non-governmental agencies that are doing crucial work
   that otherwise wouldn't get done.

Amazed? Yes, you are amazed! And why? Class? Anyone?

That's correct, Judy. You are amazed because THERE IS NO PRODUCT!!!

Nothing to buy. No salesman will call. Unless, that is, you're the CEO
of a Fortune 500 company and would like to discuss dropping a large wad
of cash on a deserving -- not to mention exciting -- community of
communities all slogging toward a viable human world using only the web
and weird little webby tools left lying around combined with the efforts
of a committed band of code-freaks, mind-bandits and other assorted
social miscreants.

   IMPORTANT FORWARD LOOKING STATEMENT DISCLAIMER
   While it's true that not *all* the volunteers have been
   committed, we feel certain that it's only matter of
   time before this happens.

As there are several thousands of you on this list, who, simply by
virtue of having subscribed to such a low-life e-pub, fit the above
description to a T, you are all hereby PRE-QUALIFIED to volunteer your
skills-in-whatever-department to the NetSquared initiative. The first
5,000 volunteers will be given a Wolf Badge and secret decoder ring with
locator function for finding Atlantis, Lemuria, and the Lost City of
Zenge. Remember: your Special Prize awaits your arrival once you
complete the full treasure hunt and have mastered the 43 Subtle Chakra
Inklings.

Uh... well, no, not really.

But the project does need volunteers -- at first, mostly to get the word
around. To find out how you can get involved, start here...

   http://www.netsquared.org/participate

There's also an About section, that starts off like so...

   Net2 is, well... we're trying to figure that out. As
   Chris says, grab a hammer. As a result, these about
   pages are going to change and expand. Right now,
   we're talking about a web-wide conversation that
   culminates in a blow-out, face-to-face San Francisco
   event in April, 2006.

...and pretty much ends that way too. Fortunately, there are subsections
that say more. Like this page of team bios:

   http://www.netsquared.org/about/team

As I mentioned, it's not your average team. The bio for the president of
the company says, for instance:

   Daniel has lived on the same corner of SF's Potrero
   Hill since 1976, but became a homeowner only in 2004.
   So now, he and Jamie are discovering their inner
   Martha Stewarts...

If you're warming to the idea of helping to grow web-based nonprofit
communities, you could do worse than to check the links in the bios for
Marnie Webb and Alexandra Samuel, a couple of very cool people who know
their way around tech and social networking. I'm learning a lot from them.

There's also a bio for Christopher Locke, but it's the same old
self-serving crap you've already heard ad nauseam. Safe to skip over
that one.

This thing really is quite exciting, though, and it's just now lifting
off. Please do come around and kick the tires. Sign up, subscribe to the
blog, like that. For, as the beatles once said (not quite true yet, but
it could happen):

   It's a thousand pages, give or take a few,
   I'll be writing more in a week or two.

Lux et Veritas,

RB

PS: Though I hesitate to load you up with even more URLs, you might want
to know something about the outfit behind all this (which is itself a
nonprofit). It's been around for 18 years doing excellent, useful stuff.
It has two parts:

   CompuMentor
   http://www.compumentor.org

and

   TechSoup
   http://www.techsoup.org
	
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