Chris Walquist's blog

9 September 2013

Some Frequently Asked Questions about DTHeartAndSoul.com

Filed under: DTHeartAndSoul — walquis @ 1:01 pm

On 19 August, I was privileged to be on a conference call with the impressive Lisa Rachel Ramlogan, who brought to me some questions raised by disciples on the Single Disciples facebook page.  She asked three questions, which I will answer here.

How do you separate who is serious from who is not?

Why does the site cost so much? 

What are you doing to improve the ratio of brothers to sisters?

 

Before I go into the answers, a little background on me and on DTHeartAndSoul.com:

I have been a disciple of Jesus for 25 years, married for 22, and a father of 3 wonderful daughters aged 20, 16, and 12.  I work as a team lead for a proprietary trading company in Chicago, automating software build systems and building/maintaining internal websites.  I have volunteered with DisciplesToday since 2004, working at that time with others on establishing disciplestoday.org to preserve the connections between our worldwide fellowship of churches–connections that at that time were in grave danger of evaporating…but that is another story.

In 2008, Roger Lamb approached me about building a singles matching website.  A visionary and generous married couple in the church had offered Disciples Today $100,000 in seed money to build a singles matching site for disciples in our Cooperation fellowship, on the condition that the site be self-supporting.  The site would consist only of single disciples in our fellowship.  In order to participate, each single would need to be commended by a leader in the local congregation as spiritually ready to pursue a godly marriage relationship.

It had been 22+ years since I envisioned myself in an active role in a singles ministry, but God obviously had a different vision.  So I prayed, and then got to work!  We found a web company that did the initial version in a few months of development, and DT Heart & Soul 1.0 went live in June 2009.

From then until now (August 2013), DT Heart & Soul has seen seven marriages, with more on the way. We are translating DT Heart & Soul into Russian, which will also lay a foundation for other translations in the future.

So, back to the questions:

 

How do you separate who is serious from who is not?

This is the easiest to answer of the three:  As our home page states, DT Heart & Soul is for those who are ready and serious about finding a spouse.  If you are not serious about getting married, DT Heart & Soul is not for you at this time.

 

Why does the site cost so much?

A little perspective is useful here:  DTHS supports a two-tier pricing system (see Learn More) to accommodate developing-nation budgets.  Our industrialized-nation pricing tier compares very favorably with eHarmony, being about half eHarmony’s rate, and is similar to ChristianMingle.com‘s prices.  Most significantly, compared to these sites DTHS is very safe–all members must be verified by their local ministry leader before they can communicate with other members.

As for where the money goes:  The personality profile is done by a third party, MatchScale.com.  We pay for each survey, as well as a fixed annual rate for the service.  Some revenue goes toward feature development (e.g., translation into Russian), some for a part-time person for administration and user support, and some for web hosting expenses.  At the moment, we are running a project to build up membership, but this is also part-time work.  So at this point, DT Heart & Soul runs with no dedicated full-time positions.

Cookie-cutter website services make it seem easy or even trivial to put up a website, but when one starts getting into custom work, the price climbs at a dizzying rate.  (If you were wondering, DT Heart & Soul is extremely customized!)   A typical rate for a competent web developer is $150/hour, and associated project management time often adds more on top of that.  Although we started out with a web development company, we eventually had to part ways; among other reasons, their chosen web development platform, although quite powerful, could not meet our needs, and they did not have the in-house expertise for other options.  When considering how to move forward from there, we put together a detailed RFQ (Request for Quote), ran it by some reputable web development companies, and were rudely reacquainted with reality:  Prices started at $500K and came with a year-long project schedule!

DT Heart & Soul’s budget being tiny, we elected to try doing our next phase with volunteer work.  It’s yet another story how this happened, but suffice it to say that God blessed it richly.  The web development for the current version of our site is all-volunteer except for the matching survey itself.

For a final bit of perspective:  Compare the cost of a DTHS subscription with the costs of attending a singles conference in another city, state, and/or country–registration, transportation, hotel, food, etc.  Even with activities geared toward matching people quickly (speed-dating, etc.), you are not likely to achieve nearly the focus and effectiveness as you can on DTHS–a site exclusively for singles serious about marriage, designed to highlight who you are, what you are looking for in a spouse, and your compatibility with other members based on a thorough personality survey–all at a fraction of the cost of one typical singles conference.

 

What are you doing to improve the ratio of brothers to sisters?

The ratio of sisters to brothers on the site has remained fairly constant at about 4 to 1, reflective of the singles gender gap in our fellowship as a whole.  Ultimately, this issue will need to be dealt with at a higher level than a singles matching site.  A thought-provoking book, “Why Men Hate Going to Church“, traces the origin of the problem back about seven hundred years (!), and observes that of all today’s major religions, only Christianity suffers a gender gap.  In a nutshell, Christendom has slipped into emphasizing Jesus’ feminine traits over his masculine.  As a management consultant would say, “Your system is perfectly designed to produce the results you are getting!”  The gender gap in most of our churches is not nearly as severe as in other fellowships, and some ministries are not gender-gapped at all.  I believe that singles themselves can make a big difference in this area, if they are made aware of the need and work together, drawing upon examples of ministries in our fellowship who are working to overcome this trend (such as http://mannight.net in Madison, Wisconsin).

That said, we believe there are some things DTHS can do to make things better.  We recently brought in a consultant with marketing experience at a major online dating site to help us increase the overall membership.  We are also working on attracting more brothers to DT Heart & Soul through surveys of former and existing members, promotions aimed at single brothers, and building features to manage multiple photos on the profile page (this feature is frequently requested by both brothers and sisters).

 

Conclusion

I hope the above comments have provided insight.  Please know that your brothers and sisters in Christ who work on DT Heart & Soul are pouring a great deal of time, energy, and prayer into building this great resource for God’s church, and we feel deeply the burden of trust He has placed on us.  Ultimately it is your resource, and it will succeed or fail in large part based on whether it is tended properly.  May we each do our part to water, and may God continue to grow it!

Love in Christ,
-chris walquist

P.S.  Please direct any response to this post to the Single Disciples facebook page.

15 August 2013

Handy MySQL commands

Filed under: nutrition — walquis @ 4:35 pm

SELECT * FROM mysql.user  # Shows users

SHOW TABLE STATUS in <my_db_name>  # Shows table info

show variables like ‘%somestring%’;  # Handy for showing system settings.

use mysql;
create database mydatabase default charset utf8;
grant all privileges on mydatabase.* to myuser@’%‘ identified by ‘mypassword‘;
grant all privileges on mydatabase.* to myuser@’localhost‘ identified by ‘mypassword‘;
revoke all privileges, grant option from myuser;
revoke all privileges, grant option from myuser@localhost;
select host, user, password from user;
select host, db, user from db;
flush privileges;

# Clear out user, database, privileges…
#
drop database mydatabase;
drop user myuser;
drop user myuser@localhost;

 

# NOTE: Oddly, the ‘%’ wildcard does not include ‘localhost’; it must be handled separately.

 

21 November 2011

My beginner’s notes on using Git effectively

Filed under: information technology — walquis @ 6:08 pm

A Hodge-Podge of Basic Git

Understanding staging, index, and cache

Git for computer scientists - Brief intro.  Lots of git commands and diagrammed results.  Includes git rebase, git merge remotes/../.., git clone, git tag.

Restoring lost commits - How to reverse e.g. "git reset --hard HEAD^".   gitready.com is good at clear explanations.  git fsck, git reflog, git merge, git show-ref.

Interactive rebasing - Scott Chacon (author of the Pro-Git book) runs this site.  He knows his stuff.

Git Treeishes - Scott's.  http://book.git-scm.com
Git Log - Also Scott's.  Cool options for graphing, topo-order, etc., such as git log --pretty=format:"%h %s" --graph
Managing Remotes - From help.github.com.  git remote prune, git remote rename, git push, etc.

Best MacOsx Git Client - SourceTree
Tig - graphical history viewer in Curses. Download/install instructions

git svn tutorialtrac.parrot.org
git diff --staged    -- diff staged against committed
git log -p  -- diff per-commit ("patch")
git reset HEAD <file>  -- Unstage <file>
git remote show origin
git update-ref
git reflog    -- Show previous values of HEAD and other commit pointers
git tag -a annotated
git log --name-status --abbrev-commit --relative-date  --graph --pretty=format:"%h "cd %an"
git push origin [tagname]   -- Like pushing a branch
git push origin --tags   -- Push all tags along w/branch
git reset --hard HEAD^    --  Set HEAD to the (1st) parent of HEAD (Throw away most recent commit)
git fsck --lost-found    -- Show dangling commits
git checkout -b newbranch    -- Create newbranch & switch to it (NOTE: "git branch newbranch" creates the branch, but does not switch to it!)

For Administrators

Getting rid of unwanted history

git gc –aggressiveNot usually a good idea, according to Linus Torvalds (from 6 Dec 2007).  Only applies when “I know I have a really bad pack, and I want to throw away all the bad packing decisions I have done”.  Nice explanation of how git delta-chains work.

A Ruby script for finding big files in Git history:

#!/usr/bin/env ruby -w
head, threshold = ARGV
head ||= 'HEAD'
threshold ||= 1 # Megabyte
big_files = {}
`git rev-list #{head}`.split("\n").each do |commit|
`git ls-tree -zrl #{commit}`.split("\0").each do |object|
bits, type, sha, size, path = object.split(/\s+/, 5)
size = size.to_i
big_files[sha] = [path, size, commit] if size >= threshold.to_f * 1024 * 1024
end
end
big_files.each do |sha, (path, size, commit)|
where = `git show -s #{commit} --format='%h: %cr'`.chomp
puts "%4.1fM\t%s\t(%s)" % [size.to_f/(1024*1024), path, where]
end
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