The HeliOS Project is now.....

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

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Saturday, February 27, 2010

Cool Heads (sometimes) Prevail...`

Last week, The HeliOS Project delivered and set up a computer for two boys in Round Rock new home of record.  Round Rock isn't the "bedroom community" it used to be.  Having grown into a town with a purpose and personality of its own (thanks to Dell), Round Rock is a pretty cool place to live. Once considered a suburb of Austin, it is now hard to tell where one stops and the other begins.  It's a pretty nice little town.

Megan, her mom and two boys think so too.  Megan works two jobs while her mom home-schools the two boys, ages 10 and 12.  Everett, while not quite a prodigy, is mathematically gifted and shows a sincere interest in the sciences.  He's already "auditing"  Robotic Science classes at the local junior college.

Sounds like an ideal project for HeliOS...right? 

It was...with one caveat.

The sometimes live-in boyfriend took it upon himself to wipe out the Linux install we had given them and put a hacked copy of Windows XP on their new machine.

It didn't go well.  Megan called me before the day was over and complained that the machine we had given them was not very good.  It was already giving her popups and refused to connect to the Internet.  Of course the boyfriend, knowing her computing ignorance, knew he could sell her that story without repercussion.

That ain't gonna happen.

I had planned and reported that I would be returning there to fix matters on Thursday.  I insisted that the boyfriend be there.

We had some things to discuss. 

He was to keep his front feet off their computer.  It did not belong to him.

We canceled our visit until Friday...that's when he would be there...and he was.

It was really a non-event.  It had been suggested that I take some reinforcements with me as this guy showed all the signs of being a bully and thug.  He probably is if I am any judge of character, but he wasn't on that Friday.

I took the time to "splain" some things to know the spiel...Linux is in every aspect...

Chapter and verse.

As a precaution though, I did password-protect the bios and even took the CD rom out of the boot sequence (bios upgrade needed thank you).  I gave the guy the benefit of the doubt and even sat up the old computer in the bedroom.  He can pirate all the music and movies he likes...on that computer. 

Cheap insurance I guess...let's hope.

I want to personally thank those who voiced a concern for any problems or possible violence that might have occurred during our revisit.  I especially want to thank my friend Ryan Sommers for offering to come all the way from San Antonio to make the visit with me.

Airborne Ranger Baybee....Hoorahhhhh.

It wasn't necessary...

That's always a good thing.

All-Righty Then


Anonymous said...

I can imagine that "boyfriend" even pretended to know about Linux. In hindsight you probably defused the situation by showing up alone. That showed backbone on your part and I'm glad things went well. "Boyfriend" probably only picks on people he knows he can bully. It goes without saying that you handled this well. Have a good day. Also, my Desktop PC has a sempron 3000 with one gig of ram and onboard nvidia geforce 2 graphics. It does have the AGP slot and ide drives. I don't know how that compares to P4. I hope to replace it this year finances permitting. Would this machine be useful to you if and when I replace it. As I live in Alabama I will need to ship it to you.
Paul Sams

Unknown said...

Good to hear that everything worked out.

kozmcrae said...

I like non events. Non events are good. Our concern for your safety Ken, betrays the kind of situation we are up against. Not that an armed revolt is in our future, but just how deeply entrenched Microsoft's proprietary system is. It could just as well have been a tattoo on that guys shoulder.

I can imagine that introducing people to GNU/Linux requires a special set of skills, training and knowledge. I think you must have learned at least half of that in the Service.

I'm grateful to be able to do my small part behind the keyboard and to know there are those like you who venture beyond the keyboard to introduce Linux and Open Source to families who need it most.

Amenditman said...


Great way to handle this.

Glad to hear all went well, without needing to 'protect' yourself.

I really hope your little talk will carry over into this family's daily situation.


PV said...

I'm glad it worked out. Then again, knowing what you've done and where you've installed computers, I figured as much.
Keep up the truly inspiring work.
a Linux Mint user since 2009 May 1

Kevin (Whizard72) said...

This is a good example of the kinds of ignorance that Windows breeds. Does anyone believe they'd learn ANYTHING about computer science by using Windows? I know firsthand they wouldn't because I used it for years and learned precisely nothing with the exception of my own studies into the subject. What windows does best is 'hiding' the details of what it does. There's a lot more to suspend and resume than most people would believe. I learned a lot more about computer science in the 5 years I've been using Linux than in 15+ years prior to that.

Unknown said...

@ Paul Sams

That would be a perfect computer for me helios at fixedbylinux dott kom and we'll talk.


Xetheriel said...

Good stuff Ken, glad it went well.

In other news, I have a new recruit so to speak. Went to fix a computer for a family member (70+ year old grand-mother).

She had windows Vista. You can only imagine what was wrong. I installed Linux Mint, explained a few quick things about it, taught her about Linux, and away she went. She raved about it all night I hear.

Score 1 for Linux. :)

Amenditman said...


I installed Linux Mint, explained a few quick things about it, taught her about Linux, and away she went. She raved about it all night I hear.

Score 1 for Linux. :)

This is the true model for how we take back our computing from the mega-corps who have dictated to us for so long.

Thanks Xetheriel

Alessandro Ebersol said...

Glad to know everything ended well.
Ahhh, and i am starting to migrate winblow$ stations to Linux in the schools' offices... It's a victory for us all...

Best regards!!!