Digital Divide: Taking Stock

February 18, 2009

This past Monday we took our first concrete steps towards our first workshop. Six people came together to deal with half a living room of computer parts. We took apart the computers, sorted and labeled the parts, set up a test machine and sneezed a lot thanks to all the dust!

We also took the initiative to do some organizational work, starting with a new email account. You can reach our group at digitaldivide.tlh@gmail.com

We are keeping close tabs on our inventory, so table_of_partswe can also give some of our initial numbers in regards to donations:

  • 8x Power Supplies and cases
  • 16x Sticks of RAM (average of 256MB)
  • 10x Video cards
  • 16x Ethernet/Modem cards
  • 10x Hard Drives (average of 40GB)
  • 9x Motherboards (7x with processors)

With our initial goal of 5 computers for 5 children we have way more than enough parts to build them suitable machines! We will be having another meeting next week to test parts and prepare for our event on the 28th!

boxen

A big thanks to Rob, Nathan, Ana, Michelle and Raymond for coming out and working hard! I know a few people could not make it because of class so we look forward to seeing you guys next week!

Digital Divide: first steps

February 4, 2009

My idea for the Digital Divide project has taken root, and the first steps are laid out for us. Recently I spoke with Aurora Hansen from the Palmer Munroe Community Center and we have set a date for our first workshop and computer giveaway! On February 21st from 1-5pm we will be teaching 5 kids how to build and use their new computers. We are starting with 5 as a sort of test run. It should be a suitably small number to manage, since this will be the first time for most of us teaching kids, and it will be the first time for many of us doing this sort of project.

Sitting in my living room are 8 computers in various states of being. Some have all their parts and will work right now, others have more parts than they should and others still are missing pieces. We will meet up a day or two in advance and test components and select the hardware. We will also want to choose and test a good linux distribution as well as find some good educational and fun content to install. If there is one thing I’ve learned from all the student activities I’ve done it’s that preperation makes for a successful event.

This event will give the cause a solid foundation. How it turns out will determine where we can take this project. The experience we gain will let us know if we want to broaden our focus or scale up our efforts. The more help we have the smoother this event will go, and the smoother it goes the more we can do. I envision that success on February 21st could mean publicity which could mean a large increase in donations. The management of this hardware, as well as proactively seeking out donations and support will become essential to our growth. Already I am running out of space for the donations I have collected from personal connections, so the next step might be to obtain a charitable donation of space.

Like with all ideas, this project is what we make of it. I am really excited about all of the positive feedback I have recieved from friends, family, co-workers and community members. I’m looking forward to the 21st to turn this idea into reality!