Tuesday, June 22, 2010
It was hot early. this is, after all...Austin Tezas.
Last Saturday, Ron West arrived at the HeliOS Project shop out in Lakeway at 7:45 AM and after a short trip over to Lohman's Crossing to pick up our donated truck, we began loading the computers and equipment needed to get the day started. It was going to be a long day.
That Saturday marked the second annual Linux Against Poverty.
We had received about 30 computers prior to the event...we have several drop points around town and after some earlier news coverage, those shops filled up early...some with near-panicked calls to "come get this stuff", we're over-flowing."
While much of it was unusable or just simply junk, much of it was in great shape. This is the equipment we unloaded at 11 AM to get things rolling.
Like last year, the Austin Techs that volunteered for LAP just got it done. There was no drama or ego involved. Teams Leaders had already developed their teams and everyone knew their part. Roy Hall headed the Intake and Evaluation Team and they set up shop on the patio. This is where the various machines were tagged, triaged and inspected...their fate determined by a team that would send them to Repair, Install or.....Salvage.
Alex Thurlow led the salvage effort this year and his team did an outstanding job. As we talked about during the run-up to Linux Against Poverty...we were extremely short of RAM. We had just enough salvageable equipment to get the job done plus have some left over for HeliOS Project use during the year. Sharp eyes and people who knew what they were doing allowed us to harvest parts others would have deemed unimportant and thrown away. We are going to be able to use these components as opposed to filling a landfill somewhere.
The Repair Team was co-led by Andy Krell and Skip Guenter this year. As I stated to Omar Gallaga, the Austin American Statesman Tech Reporter who covered the event, I am not only grateful for the volunteers that helped us this year, I am humbled. The accumulated knowledge in the room that day was astounding. I mean, we had CIO's and IT Directors working along side of us grunts. When this happens, the whole community benefits from it and I want to thank everyone who made this thing work for us.
I do want to take a minute and thank a couple of people specifically...people who went way above and beyond what was expected of them.
Skip Guenter is a Director for The HeliOS Project so one would expect him to put in a little extra effort but Skip passed "a little extra" sometime in early May. Skip worked dozens of his own hours to get equipment running, computers operational and things organized for the technical side of the room. I also want to thank Ron West for his dedication to what we do and the sweat equity he put into Linux Against Poverty. What many people did not see was the pre-activities prior to LAP.
So how did we do this year? Well to be honest, not nearly as well as we expected. Whether it be a down-turn in the economy or the fact that we are asking for some specific level of computers we just didn't get the response we needed to have enough machines to finish the year. On the bright side, the equipment we did get is extremely good and the kids receiving these machines will benefit greatly from the generosity of both the Greater Austin Community and those who showed up at Union Park that Saturday.
You can see Austin's local News 8 coverage here
Thanks folks...thank you for helping us do what we do.
blather and mumbling provided by Ken Starks at 6:54 PM