Friday, June 29, 2007

When You Outsource Your Administration to Geeks

The day-to-day running of things around here has fallen to a bunch of math-cs-type people. We put together the day's schedule, reserve the rooms, and deal with all the logistics. Most of us use Macs; a few of us use linux. There might be someone with a computer that can dual-boot into Windows. I'm so happy that I can subscribe to the daily calendar in iCal. Things Just Work.

All of the pre-planning was done back ot the Home Office, which is run by the sort of hard-working and dedicated people who run foundations. And this is a relatively small foundation. It does some great work, but it has taken "do more with less" to heart. The people who ran the program two years ago wrote up in their final evaluation: Please make the Home Office stop using MS Office.

We now have a mantra around here: "We need a database, not a spreadsheet."

The folks back at the home office have been recording everything in MS Excel. If you want to find a datum about a participant, you have to find the right spreadsheet and look it up. So many things that we want to do are made more difficult by this data faux pas. I think that an organic revolt is going to happen and a database shall be written and thrust upon the Home Office.


ps. Still crazy-busy here.
pps. I'll be at the AT&T store in Central Square today, but I don't have either the time or inclination to wait in a frickin' line. I can wait until the next shipment arrives if need be.