online software
From: Tim Mensch (
Date: Fri, 22 Aug 2008 15:50:13 -0700 (PDT)
Sharon Villines wrote:
We had a discussion some time ago about an online sign up software for meals. Is this still available/operable?

I wrote some software for Pleasant Hill Cohousing, and they're still using it. My life got too busy to continue to manage it, though, so they hired someone else to fix bugs as they were discovered, and it seems like it's quite stable now.

The software itself is available for free, but it requires a web guru to set up. I can put you in touch with the person who has been handling it for Pleasant Hill, if you want. He would likely be able to set up a new system for you--he's a contractor who I can vouch for, since I reviewed his code modification as they were applied to the system at Pleasant Hill, and the quality of his code was good. He also got his test system up without much help from me, so I know he can do it.

The one, large, caveat is that the system works based on what they wanted for a system in Pleasant Hill, which is based on the culture that has developed around common meals there. In particular, the system assumes that there's a set of people who are members of the "meal club," and who work and eat in a more-or-less fixed ratio (of about 5 meals eaten for every meal they work at, either cooking or cleaning). The system enforces this ratio: If you don't sign up to cook or clean enough, it will stop letting you sign up to eat until you've signed up to cook or clean. You effectively earn virtual "tokens" when you work, and you "spend" them when you sign up to eat. The system also handles the money side by allowing cooks to enter expenses, and the people who actually ate at their meals each pay a share in proportion to how many people were in their party. Kids cost less, and generally don't cost any tokens to eat along with an adult.

If you wanted a different system, that would also be possible, but would likely cost more, as it would require programming changes in addition to basic setup. If anyone is interested in this, please contact me off list and I'll send his contact information. I'm still too busy to volunteer my own time, or even to offer to do it for pay. Remodeling a house along with frequent showings of the house you live in can take up a lot of your free time... :)

Tim Mensch

Currently at Wild Sage (Boulder, CO):

Moving out! Our unit is for sale!

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