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131

When I was in just out of college, there was a Guy who would stop by my house on recycling day and pick out all our cans and bottles that had a deposit. I became kind of friends with the Guy, I’d ask him how’s business, he’d ask me how I liked my cube and we’d have good laugh. One day we got to talking about what I do and I told him”I made things to help ...


94

Use your talent to earn lots of money, and donate a good part of it. As programmers, we are in the lucky situation to be able to earn more money than we need for our personal needs.


51

Contribute to open source software By making a contribution to open source software (or creating your own) you can have a direct effect on the overall cost of a computer system. This in turn lowers the cost poor or needy people (or charitable organizations) incur to provide them with computers. I know it's not very fancy but it could help!


47

It's cheaper Hiring people is generally much cheaper than normal contractor rates, not many companies will come out flat and say this though so they state a number of "non-reasons".


40

I've had the same question, and I've thought of two things: doing web dev work for a nonprofit, or assisting with computer courses, like an adult education course. There could be poor people there trying to catch up with technology, depending on where the class is offerred, the area, etc. Maybe you could volunteer to manage computers at your local library- ...


31

ask him to tell you about his thesis project; you won't have to say another word for two hours


29

Hmm. From the question it appears you want to be a consultant, not a contractor. You want to go to a company, give them the benefit of yout specialised expertise and then move on to the next. From my knowledge of how businesses work, what you want to do is set up a consulting company that can be hired to present your knowledge to the company and then be ...


28

I live in India but I want to make this answer more general, probably the answer will go to some political or on a non IT way, so apologies in advance. Poor people are poor because they can not enjoy some basic things like food, water, home, jobs and transportation. The lack of these basic things are the main cause of poverty. Our job is to make programs, ...


23

Unfortunately most causes of poverty don't respond well to programming solutions. Google made a valiant effort with the Google.org project, but after 6 years of trying, they've largely found that only donating money to lower-level "on the ground" organizations has much effect. A recent article in the New York Times highlights the problem: Google Finds It ...


22

Maintain a balance. Given something novel (e.g. playing a game, having a beer, etc.), we're able to focus and do that one thing for an extended amount of time. The only way to power through a mundane task (without overdosing on coffee) is to maintain a balance. I say 'mundane' because if this were a task you were really passionate about, you wouldn't have ...


21

Find a non-programming topic that you love, and build around it. Love pro wrestling? Write the comprehensive database of Wrestlemania results in whatever technology you want to learn. Love birds? Create a program that identifies birds based on photos taken. Love french literature? Write a parser that improves upon Google Translate.


18

PhD folks are still just people. Yes, they're often very smart (the ones I've met are, at any rate), and they've learned a lot about a particular niche of human knowledge. Maybe talk about something that's not directly related to either of your fields of work. That way neither of you need feel the conversation's about work. (I usually end up talking about ...


18

You'll run into this frequently, depending on where you live and where the company lives. The first thing we need to do is disassemble the term intellectual property. You have: Copyright Patent Trademark Lets look at these things individually. Copyright Under normal employment, depending on what you sign, your employer owns your output, sometimes ...


12

Realize that it won't happen overnight, no matter how motivated you are. Taking care of your health, exercising and meditating are great habits. However, you've just begun. Consider including Yoga in the mix. There's both the physical parts (which will help benefit your kung-fu training) and the meditation (as well as lifestyle) part. It's also easy to ...


11

I have a suggestion, We can develop a website, which will have the details of hospitals, free medical checkups, government free medical services. In case of emergency, people can search for the blood donor near by their state/region/town. Not only poor, you can help every single individual who really need someone in extreme emergency. +1 for this nobel ...


11

You can also participate in hackathons organized by Random Hacks of Kindness. From their website: Random Hacks of Kindness (RHoK) is all about using technology to make the world a better place by building a community of innovation. RHoK brings software engineers together with disaster risk management experts to identify critical global ...


11

Intimidated? You are a gainfully employed professional and he has no job. He might have academic smarts but you have real experience. Quite a lot to exchange there, methinks.


10

I think you need to manage your expectations about what's realistic and what's not and what's desirable and what's not. Your aim -is admirable but my personal experience is that the people who genuinely get the most out of life are those who don't force it and who find the natural level of activity which works for them and accept it. What you need to do is ...


9

You sound like you're tired really, you're doing a lot of stuff and that 4 hours of travelling is a killer (I do 3 a day so I can feel your pain). I'd recommend getting to sleep earlier, try take some time off work if you have any holidays available and rest and relax.


8

I live in Brazil and here, the software costs are prohibitive. This situation has been changed in last years, for the economic development. But it still is unconfortable. Almost every commercial software application imported is too expensive due to the differences in people's income and the minimum wage in relation to a rich nation. All the imported ...


7

Help the people doing the humanitarian aid and/or help alleviate the issues causing poverty. For example, you could: Develop software which enables doctors/teachers to help/work with remote villages more effectively. Help farmers increase the efficiency/yield per acre in poverty stricken areas This list goes on...


7

Geeks are geeks. Doesn't matter if they're PhD's or self-taught, beign a geek is your common ground. We geeks also love to talk about our work when someone is genuinely interested, and he will likely be no exception. It's so rare anyone is interested in what we do that when it happens, we're like pigs in.. well, something warm and moist but foul smelling. ...


7

"Deliver Good" would be a site built by a programmer to help match charities and donors that I believe is in the same ball park of what you mean. The site was started by someone in Calgary, Alberta, within the past year so it may still be gaining adoption to some extent. "Talking Shop: Beef up your resume by doing volunteer IT work" is an old article about ...


7

Bill Gates has been pushing to help eliminate Polio world wide, you can check the Bill and Melinda Gates foundation web site and see it there is anything you can do to help that effort. Maybe organize a local fundraiser or something. Its not specifically programming related but it will definitely help people in poor countries! Or how about a hack-a-thon ...


7

I'm no econ expert, but I've heard a lot of people say that lack of education and access to shared knowledge is what helps to keep poor people poor. If that's the case, then one could make a case for saying that FOSS could help lower the bar economically and allow the lesser privileged folks access to those realms. I know for a fact that a lot of schools ...


7

Setting targets is the only way for me to work... By the end of the hour, I want to have X done. And by lunch I want Y & Z finished. At lunch you review where you have got to, then set new targets. For completing each target, there is a reward; the reward might be a cuppa, or a walk from your desk or 10 mins on stackexchange... It's clearly better to ...


7

"Intellectual property" aside, there are other very good reasons not to take on an expert who can leave on a whim. Let's take you out of your comfort zone. Imagine you run a company that has decided to start a new project researching the genetic makeup of a particularly obscure virus. What you personally know about this virus could be written on the back ...


6

This can be a top town approach and things can be done at all levels. You can help the world by participating in developer challenges like the one from the World Bank Apps for Development that tackles the Millennium Development Goals. Those guys have a lot of data that can be processed in a lot of useful ways. Also you can search Google with "PROBLEM-NAME ...



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