Monthly Archives: July 2005

Who owns my content?

There are reasons that I use WordPress on my own server to publish this blog. I keep running into interesting web sites that I would like to sign up with, but two items in the privacy policies chase me right away:

“This privacy policy can be changed at any time without prior notice” is the equivalent of shrink-wrap software that reads, on the box:

“By opening this package you agree to the terms explained inside”.

What kind of world do we live in that allows this type of thing? Why is it so widespread? I’ve found that I have to accept this rider fairly often, or avoid web sites that are key pieces of my online toolset, like Yahoo! and Google.

But the one I’ll reject every time is the one that says, basically:

“Any content that you put on this site becomes the property of the web site, to use in any manner that we see fit.”

Two web sites that really intrigued me, but asked me to accept this ridiculous term, were rojo and rsscontacts. The privacy policy for the latter is here:

Now, I might be nit-picking here (It’s happened before). Rojo is primarily a news aggregator. Rsscontacts is a contact manager. They aren’t places where I’d be submitting copyrightable work, most likely. They probably borrowed the language for their policies from standard sources. But the disclaimer really concerns me because it opens the door to abuse. The mix of blogs and news sources that I aggregate reveal alot about me and my interests — great information for marketers. And the contacts I keep not only speak to my interests, they allow marketers to identify communities with similar interests.

Since my view of the web is, very simply, that the things that make it great are also the things that are tearing it apart — networking creates the environment that worms and viruses spread in. We have to pick and choose how much abuse we’re going to open the door to.

Looking for a nptech job?

Okay, I’m using my blog to blatantly advertise, but, hey, it’s for open jobs in my department, so I think it’s kosher…

I have two positions open at SF Goodwill in the IT Department that I manage there. I always prefer finding people who are motivated by our mission, and SF Goodwill is a particularly exciting place to be right now under the leadership of Deborah Alvarez-Rodriguez. With a dramatic change in management and a new focus on distributed leadership, Goodwill is now a place that considers technology a key enabler, and our recent budget approved a number of strategies that I think are particularly compelling.

Goodwill supports its mission of bringing people with barriers to employment into the workforce, and we do it by providing counseling, training, jobs and other forms of support to people coming out of poverty, drug habits, homelessness, the criminal system and other disabling conditions. We are a social enterprise, running businesses in order to support our services, and we are best known for our retail thrift operations. We are non-secular, unlike some well-known competitors, and, in addition to our goals of overcoming poverty and building communities so that every person who wishes to work, can work, we actively support the environment by running green operations, recycling computers and other goods, and actively promoting landfill diversion activities.

The two positions are a Database/Web Developer (System Integrator) and a Retail Technology Support Analyst. The first position is new; the second currently vacant.

On the retail side, we are looking at how we can better understand and market to our customers and donors, as well as how we can continue to automate our supply chain. Handling truckloads of donated goods daily is a laborious process, and we want to maximize efficiency while creating a healthy environment for our staff and clients, that will provide them with retail skills applicable beyond Goodwill. The main focus of the job is Point of Sale (POS)/Inventory Management, POS support and training, and retail project management.

You can read about the job and apply for it here

The new position might be particularly interesting to people excited by the nptech project. Goodwill, like most organizations, is run on a cluster of databases. We are committed to (where necessary) migrating our databases to client/server systems and building the links and data warehouses that will allow for high-level dashboards and work flow automation. We are also looking at our web sites (internal and external) and strategizing on how to move them to “Web 2.0” – the social web that is emerging. This job requires solid SQL skills, XML, and server-side scripting. Most of our existing web infrastructure is LAMP-based: Linux servers running Apache, MySQL and PHP. We see RSS as a core element of our web-publishing strategy. If this sounds broad, it’s because I don’t separate internal databases from external web sites – it’s all about managing information and communicating, so we take a holistic approach. We do have a web designer on staff — we’re looking for a programmer who knows SQL, PHP (or something equivalent — we won’t throw out Ruby or Python skills), XML and RSS, xHTML. Design talent is a plus, not a requirement.

You can scan this job description and apply here

Okay, so, yes, we are a non-profit. The pay is on the lower side of market, not the higher. The perks in this job are the environment (friendly, diverse, collaborative, exciting) and the mission (the end result of your work directly improves the community and people’s lives).

If either of these jobs are in your area and sound intriguing, go ahead and apply!