To Do: Be Generous

By James Fallows

GlobalGiving.com shows one way the Internet can transform how you support causes you believe in. The company (“Councils of War,” February 2002) has tried to create a marketplace, like eBay’s, whose large number of sellers will attract large numbers of buyers, and vice versa. In this case the sellers are groups, mainly in poor countries, that are launching or running environmental, public-health, educational, or human-rights projects and the like. The buyers are people who can contribute amounts ranging from a few dollars to a few thousand dollars. Everything that is intriguing about online shopping—easily comparing offerings, finding possibilities you hadn’t been aware of—is here as well. I imagine most people will end up giving more than they intended and feel good about it.

For the gadget-minded: a new utility called GyroQ, by the English company Gyronix, sounds ridiculously simple. It pops up when you press Ctl+Q, at any time, in any program, and lets you jot down an idea, a phone number, a Web site, or a to-do item. Then, when you’re ready to pay attention, it lets you collect and sort everything you’ve noted, for appropriate actions. It works with Mindjet’s MindManager and is at its best with ResultsManager, from Gyronix. I use the system all day, every day. The three programs combined cost well over $300 and won’t be worth it for everyone. You can judge for yourself with a free trial.

This article available online at:

http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2007/03/to-do-be-generous/305633/