Wednesday, February 25, 2004

Second disbursement to ays

ays requested that his email account be upgraded so he can use outlook express to send and retrieve his mail from his yahoo account. Hopefully this will reduce his internet connect time as picking up emails through pop3 will be much more efficient than browsing for them.

Fortunately this disbursement of $19.99 USD only took about 5 minutes.

Update* (same day less than two hours later) ays has received and sent his first email via outlook express. Ain't technology cool.

Sunday, February 22, 2004

What ays plans to do with the money

Got the following email from ays concerning what to do with the rest of the money that has been donated.
Dear Tom,

I want to spend some of the 334$ to help the poor families here in Baghdad, I want to buy some toys and food for them, I bought a camera, and I want to take some photos for them and see them happy, I wonder if you can send the money for me ( if it does not bother you as you got tired last time from the delay) but the Kuwaiti Bank that Omar send its address for you is very good, if you want me to send the address again, just tell me that. Of course you should use my name instead.

For now, I found this is a great idea to help the people and make them happy even for moments..right? I intend this new type of work in the blog. Then, I will invest the donations ( if there are more donations) in advertisements or other things.

thank you very much Tom, I appreciate your efforts very very much.

take care,

ays

I sent email back about the advertising as these would be Blog Ads and that would make money, not spend it.

I will wait until I hear back from Omar and hopefully we can send the money as a single wire to minimize the transfer fees.

Saturday, February 21, 2004

Signing Up Other Iraqi Blogs

I was hoping that after we had a proven method of getting money into Iraq that more Iraqi bloggers would sign up for help, but this hasn't happened. Right now Iraq has the attention of the world but that will not last forever so if we are going to help them we need to get started now.

If you have developed developed a relationship with any of the other Iraqi bloggers please mention that a method exist for collecting donations to assist in paying for their Internet and associated blogging fees. Go here for the details.

Tuesday, February 17, 2004

What next

The money transfer to ays has finally arrived and he was able to collect the money today. You can read about it here. This transfer was for $750 USD which leaves a little under $2000 USD to be distributed among all the bloggers. Considering it took over a month for the money to finally be delivered I'm not sure I want to use the same method to transfer money. Omar has suggested I use a different intermediate bank, but there is also the option of waiting until some of the western bank's operations come online. I want to find out what fees where charged by the intermediate banks before making a final decision.

There is also the option that Omar, ays, and/or Samard may want to invest the money until they really need it. I'll be emailing all them soon with a list of choices on what to do with the money and then wait for them to decide.

I also want to take a moment to thank everyone that made this possible starting with my customer service rep at e*Trade who had to enlist a measurable percentage of the entire company's resources to make this happen, the intermediaries at PayPal, Bank of New York, Jordan Kuwait Bank, and the Credit Bank of Iraq. And of course the biggest thanks goes to those who donated money that got the whole thing rolling.

Request for help with RSS Feeds

Receive the following from Justin Alexander asking for helping with setting an RSS feed for all the Iraqi bloggers. If you have the skills and want to help you can email Justin for how to get started.

From: "Justin Alexander (Jubilee Iraq)"
Subject: RSS feed for Iraqi websites
Date: Tue, 10 Feb 2004 16:01:53 -0000

Hi guys,

There’s quite a community of people trying to support Iraqi bloggers now! For a while last year I was trying to organise something like or (I think I told Émigré about this) but my tech skills were insufficient and the people who offered to help lost interest. However I’ve now discovered how easy it’s becoming to organise RSS feeds (I use one on the front page of www.jubileeiraq.org to feed in the headlines from www.jubileeiraq.org/blog/news.htm) using sites like www.blogstreet.com. I figure it would be easy to set up an RSS feed from all the Iraqi blogs, which they (and other bloggers) could paste in their sidebars displaying the titles of the latest posts from each blogger, and helping develop the community and introduce readers to people beyond Salam, River and Zeyad. I’ve mentioned this to Majid Jarrar (of afamilyinbaghdad) and he seems keen. Do either of you have RSS experience, or know someone who does, and would like to search the net a bit for the best way of doing this. I’m busy organising a Jubilee Iraq conference in Berlin, writing a report and planning to emigrate to Iraq in April… on top of a day job… so annoyingly I haven’t got the time needed to devote to this and consult with the Iraqi bloggers about what they’d like (and get them publishing .xml versions of their blogs).

What do you reckon?

Justin Alexander

Wednesday, February 11, 2004

Phone call with The Jordan Kuwait Ban

Talked to The Jordan Kuwait Bank and they claim the money was sent to the Credit Bank of Iraq on Feb 8 which means they held the money for 10 days. Kind of annoying, but not much you can do. But since ays is not in Baghdad, I'm not sure when we will get confirmation that he has the money. He left instructions with the Credit Bank of Iraq to call his family, but even if they already have the money I doubt they'll be able to contact ays. So I guess it is more hurry up and wait.

I'm going to sleep now.

Saturday, February 07, 2004

Foreign Banks to open branches in Iraq

Update on money transfer to Ays

Not much to report except more waiting. I am a little concenred as I do have confirmation the money has been in Jordan for a week but still hasn't been made available to Ays. Ays did email me to say that since he will leave Baghdad, he has left instructions with his bank to call his family when the money arrives.

I have sent a fax to Mr. Milad Faraj at the Jordan Kuwait Bank requesting some status information. If I don't hear back soon, I'll try to call the guy.

Most likely spam, but just in case...

Received the following email today. Most likely this is nothing more than spam since the sender isn't willing to reveal his real name and the only way to contact them is through an email address. But just in case it is a legitimate request I am posting the email in full. If I hear back from them about the posting I'll know this isn't just some kind of Nigerian type money scam. Of course if they really want to know my bank and one of the bankers names all they have to do is read this site.

X-Apparently-To: tvillars@yahoo.com via 66.218.93.84; Sat, 07 Feb 2004 00:54:32 -0800
Return-Path:
Received: from 216.136.226.109 (HELO web20726.mail.yahoo.com) (216.136.226.109) by mta150.mail.scd.yahoo.com with SMTP; Sat, 07 Feb 2004 00:54:32 -0800
Message-ID: <20040207085432.56345.qmail@web20726.mail.yahoo.com>
Received: from [24.26.189.126] by web20726.mail.yahoo.com via HTTP; Sat, 07 Feb 2004 00:54:32 PST
Date: Sat, 7 Feb 2004 00:54:32 -0800 (PST)
From: Donation Scams
Subject: donation scam
To: tvillars@yahoo.com
MIME-Version: 1.0
Content-Type: text/plain; charset=us-ascii
Content-Length: 938

Tom,

You are operating what appears to be an online
donation scam via PayPal. I'm interested in
determining whether this is the case.

I'd like to verify that the wire transfers mentioned
on your site have been made. Please provide me with
the name and address of the bank which initiated the
wire transfers mentioned on your site, as well as the
name of a banker who I can speak with in order to
verify the transfers. I will contact the bank via the
bank's number as listed in directory assistance.

If you can't provide me with this information, I will
have to assume that this is a donation scam. If this
is the case, please take down the web sites in
question immediately. This will save us both the
trouble of going through PayPal's fraud detection
department.

Thank you,

Donation Scams