The HeliOS Project is now.....

The HeliOS Project is now.....
Same mission, same folks...just a different name

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Sunday, August 03, 2008

Eyes That Will Now See

Stuff Happens. Sometimes it is lousy stuff...stuff you neither see coming or deserve. Of course, the fact that you didn't see it coming doesn't mean you were blind-sided...

It could mean that you weren't paying attention when you should have been paying attention.

That's where one comes to understand that retrospective "blaming" or becoming a resident in the land of What-If's just stops one from doing the important thing.

Reacting and adapting correctly to that change.

Here it is in a nutshell...and as much as I respect those who've been a part of my life in the past 4 years, this is something that I really don't want to discuss. Not on a "let-me-help-you-get-through-this" level.

I don't want that to sound stand-offish...those that have offered to do just that are some of the closest and most important people in my life...yeah, that's some of you. I'm just not in a place where I want to do it. I thank you for your sincere concern.

I came home from Felton and was told that I was no longer part of our marriage. She asked for a divorce.

Again, nothing I particularly feel the need to talk about. It happened and it's up to me to react and adapt to that change. So I did. Odd the way some things come around.

I accepted just shy of 10 Large from a FOSS friend and went to rebuild a Linux Lab that was destroyed by Dolly.

I got a call from the person that in her own right, started this whole Komputer4Kids/Helios Project thing. Vickie Johnson is the school teacher I spoke with while awaiting to get a flu shot a few short years ago. Vickie accepted a position, or in actuality, a business proposal to start a Montesorri School down on the southern tip of the Texas Coast. You can't get any more "southern" in the United States of America. Just pull up a map and look for Brownsville or McAllen Texas.

That's where I went. Just me. I didn't ask for help because it was something I thought I could do myself. And I did. I didn't ask for money because someone who recently found the Freedom of Linux and FOSS was beyond kind and financed the whole shebang.

That in itself is amazing. It was, as I mentioned, just under ten thousand dollars.

So with a 1994 Izuzu Rodeo and 8 foot trailer full of computers, cable, parts and good faith, I left Austin for the 6 hour drive to the southern-most tip of Texas.

It wasn't an hour after I got there that the construction crew got there and began ripping out the rotting framing and floors. I came right behind them with the cabling, routers, hubs (all inset on platforms within the walls thank you) and splice-points. By the second day, the frame and sheet rock was up and the only thing left to do was wait for the wall guys to finish their part.

Hearing about this effort, two brothers that own a computer store a couple of towns away showed up without notice and offered their help. Their expertise was all the more valuable in that they are Linux Network gurus. I could have hacked a network together, but with their apache skills, it came together flawlessly.

I had brought 12 ready machines from Austin but the majority of the machines were still in boxes and bags. These two guys worked with me for an entire night to make sure the machines were ready to go. We had, what some would argue, an impossible task. We had to get this lab up and running by 8 AM on the 4th of August. When I am allowed to post the pictures, you will see why some thought it to be impossible. The flood waters had come up so high as to leave mud deposits inside the machines that were in good for only metal recycle and landfill materials.

There was no "magic" in the doing. It was hot and after a while you just let the mosquitoes fall off of you from being full they couldn't fly away. It simply became too much work to slap them into splatter prints on your skin. The "investors" in the school...the parents of these gifted children, began bringing us food and drinks, a local newspaper stopped by to take pictures and get "the story". I let them take all the pictures they wanted.

I gave them no story.

What do you think I am...? An attention whore?

I suppose you can google it here in a bit and you will find out what you need to know about it. No where will you find the name "Ken Starks", or "Helios Solutions".... Just a guy who requested to remain anonymous.

That was by design and for reasons I will keep to myself. Well, maybe not...

Sometimes finding a way to help others is the best remedy to make stuff inside you stop hurting.

But then again...that would turn this whole thing around and make it a bit selfish wouldn't it?

I'm sure there will be more than one or two of you that will try to make that point. It doesn't matter. It's done, it's Linux and there's nothing you can do to stop it now. Sometimes, I have to ask myself about some of your motives...the last time I checked, doing nothing still gave you a zero result. And that's at best. Sometimes it can put you so far back that there's barely a chance of recovery. Maybe that's what some of you are shooting for. Not many of you actually feel this insignificant handful really. To that small group, I will ask this. Have you heard of Midori?

And really, from my heart of those that may feel that way...?

There is an effort in the making now...and you will hear about it soon enough. An effort to bring Linux to Television, Radio and the Glossy Magazine venue. The money is being pulled together as we speak and if everything works right... It will be 5th Avenue-type marketing that makes Superbowl commercials look tame. And no...I have nothing to do with it...but I will. I've been asked to come aboard and work with them. That's how I know what they have planned. Now let's see if they can pull it off.

Some of you are going to have absolute insignificant handful.

There is a small, dark part of me that gets immense joy from that.

All Righty Then...


Anonymous said...

Ken, did you delete my comment? If you did, I apologize for posting "the rest of the story". I simply thought people needed to know what you had to deal with as a result of doing this project. I didn't mean to cross any boundries. Email me and let me know what happened.


kozmcrae said...

I often have trouble with the GOTCHA... I mean CAPTCHA. Sometimes it's not clear to me if my comment has been accepted and it's ok to move on or not accepted and it's ok to move on. More than once I thought my comment was accepted and it wasn't because I was perceived to be a spammer.

Amenditman said...

If the big, slick media campaign happens, please keep us in the loop.


Anonymous said...

OK...that's all I needed to know Ken, thanks. I understand perfectly your concern but screw them...what did you say? An "insignifcant handful?"

Then let them stay insignificant.

What Ken didn't tell you in this blog is that because of Ubuntu's crack team of bug squashers, the 845 intel chip bug hosed 8 of the computers and he ended up purchasing 8 Nvidia agp cards for 50 bucks each. Thinking his finance guy would paypal him the money, he bought them not realizing Ed had left on vacation. The 400 bucks he spent left him with 20 some dollars to his name and he only got half way home before he ran out of gas. He found a motel with wifi and crashed in the parking lot there until he could get someone to send him enough money to get home on. I want to personally thank that person and I will just let the name go...that seemed to be the rub, right?

To that person. Should you EVER need anything that I can produce, do or coerce from anyone, you let me know. I owe you more than I can pay for helping Kenny.

Ryan Sommers
US Army Afghanistan

Anonymous said...

@ Richie

Yeah, it does it to lots of us. When I was working with Ken in Austin, we had fits finding one that would work without letting spam in. We even tried to do without it and we were flooded with spam within 5 minutes of posting the blog. This one is the best of the bunch and although it's far from good, it's as good as we can find.


FelixTheCat said...

"Sometimes finding a way to help others is the best remedy to make stuff inside you stop hurting. But then again...that would turn this whole thing around and make it a bit selfish wouldn't it?"

No, it wouldn't. Unapologetically, I say it is actually quite Biblical to help someone else when you need to help yourself work through stuff in your own life. There are several reasons and I won't list them here, but it's a good idea and ultimately excellent therapy. :)

Anonymous said...

You don't know me and probably never will but I say "Welcome back" to you. I only wish I could help some way but Social Security only goes so far. You have my prayers.

A 2 year Ubuntu user

Unknown said...

@ 2 year Ubuntu user

That means more to me than you could possibly ever know.


Anonymous said...

It occured to me as I read this, there is a certain couple of bloggers that no matter what this guy does, they immediately jump up and declare his effort "insignificant". I have two questions for said Pulitzer Canidates.

If his work is so "insignificant", why do you feel the need to lift your leg on it and mark it so every time something he does is talked about?

Did it ever occur to you that the author was just "a stupid Windows User" at one time? Did you ever stop to think that maybe just one or two people he introduces to Linux might take up the advocacy cross and bear it along with him?

Helios isn't an anomaly. He's an inspiration to some. I think maybe it's you who NEEDS his work to be insignificant. There's only so much mileage one can get from sitting behind a keyboard and talking about other's work.


Anonymous said...

The way I see it, you go through life and you push for what is right, and you primarily do that through helping other people, less fortunate folks, and you make their lives a little better, sometimes a lot better. Some people do this through a structured community service organization such as the United Way, some folks volunteer in a soup kitchen, some folks work through their church...there are a million ways to tackle the issue of helping the less fortunate, sometimes even just a kind word is enough. People like h, Larry Cafiero or even Richard Stallman, love them or not, always agree with them or not, are doing what they can on the particular front they are fighting this battle on...and working to free up knowledge is one of the noblest aims a person can have, IMO, because it works to empower the individual and bolster their sense of independence, their sense of self-reliance, their sense of community. If you don't like the way they do it, say "Ken, let's YOU AND ME do things a little differently" a participant in the solution, not just a commenter on the problem.

Okay, blah, blah...just thanks, h, for the effort you put forth.


Anonymous said...

@ rij,

Now you are a thinking person. I've often emailed Ken and asked him if those who criticize him ever offer any suggestions to how he might improve his "technique". Somehow, he thinks that is extremely funny. I suppose given the level of vitriol I've measured in some of the public comments he receives, it would be funny in a dark sort of way.

Yeah helios, what rij fact, I'd turn it up a notch just to show some people how impotent their nasty comments are. But that's just me. What is really funny is that regardless of what they do, they can't do a damned thing to stop you.


Anonymous said...

Why would anyone post nasty comments about someone that is actually doing a lot to move things forward? Only if they have an agenda to see to it that stuff like Windows keeps getting used.

Anonymous said...

Why would anyone post nasty comments about someone that is actually doing a lot to move things forward? Only if they have an agenda to see to it that stuff like Windows keeps getting used.

For a variety of reasons and none of them make much sense in the form you frame the question. Ken has an assertive, get-things-done style and there are those that don't care for his ways of getting things done. Often, he drags elements of the Linux "community" screaming and kicking, out of their enertia. Others just don't like the fact that this guy goes out and does stuff then writes about it. Some think the "just writing about it" part is enough.

Pity they judge him from the little they know of him here. He's one of the best friends a person can have.

Ryan Sommers