Saturday, June 12, 2010
Well, maybe not being able to see the future is in itself a gift.
Preparation for an event this large and far-reaching is going to be a challenge...anyone going into it thinking otherwise is either delusional or....
Never mind...delusional will define it nicely.
For those who do not know, Linux Against Poverty is an event that couples the Austin Tech Community with businesses and individuals who donate computers to be given to disadvantaged kids in the area. Our Tech Guys fix 'em and we give them away. Last year we were donated just over 400 computers by business and individuals. Of those 400+, 219 were refurbishable or met our specifications. Those computers were passed to the HeliOS Project in August and by November, they were all in the homes of kids who needed them.
This year, as it was last year, Greg Bodle has graciously given us his Union Park bar on 6th street so the madness can ensue. Well, the madness was last year. We are hoping that lessons learned from the mayhem of 2009 will translate to a much smoother and efficient event. This year we have organized actual teams ahead of time as opposed to people just arriving and jumping in where they were needed. Our teams are broken down to Intake and Evaluation, Salvage and Parts, E-waste Management, Repair and then Install. If you would like to see the google group we've designed to harness the chaos, you can visit it here.
Planning for this year's event hasn't been without it's challenges and frustrations. Be it a flagging economy or a late run at publicity, we are critically short of some needed components and overall machine donations. It may be that we are specifically asking for P4 or AMD 2200+ machines.
The older machines, while they will run Linux just fine do not build to the specs our kids need to compete. We disposed of just under 50 percent of the machines donated last year because they weren't usable to us. Many other organizations were able to use them but the cost of storing and transporting them is an expenditure we just cannot make this year.
Our requests for components such as DDR and DDR2 RAM have yet to be met. We are also in need of LCD flat panel monitors and hard drives. CRT's have become a financial and physical liability for both us and the kids that receive them. Just one of these 80 lb monitors that get pulled over on a child will spell the end of The HeliOS Project.
We're not going to allow that to happen. We came close once but a pro bono arbitrator was able to make the whole thing go away. While the child was not injured, it was enough for us to quit the practice of delivering CRT's.
So, as always, when the greater Austin Community cannot or will not respond, we come here to let you know what our needs are. That's not to say that some have not stepped up. Our most sincere thanks go to Lionel Felix at Enfatico, the great people at Sicola Martin and Curt Hall at Genesis Today for their generous donations to Linux Against Poverty. Just a small group of companies are making a huge difference in what we do. Imagine if a dozen others just like them were aware of what we do.
If you work for a company or organization that might have the machines and components we need, please make them aware of what we are doing. As always, any equipment donations are tax deductible. Many of our donations come after the event so please don't think it all ends on June 19th We will gladly do pickups throughout the year.
This year, Lynn Bender; the organizer of Linux Against Poverty has arranged for some pretty cool prizes to be raffled off to equipment donors. First prize is a pass to next year's SXSW Interactive event. Make sure you or your company registers for the drawing....
And thanks folks...thank you for being part of what we do.
blather and mumbling provided by Ken Starks at 9:09 AM