The HeliOS Project is now.....

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

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Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Austin Texas - Linux Against Poverty 2010

It's spring time in Texas.

The Bluebonnets are fixin' to get ready to bloom, today's temperature is going to be around 80 degrees Fahrenheit and a solid date for the second annual Linux Against Poverty is, with a fair amount of certainty... official.

June 19th, 2010.

While we had planned a May event, that date has been further for us to 'splain.

For those who may not know what we do, The HeliOS Project takes donated P4 computers, refurbishes or repairs them and then gives them to Austin or Central Texas kids who normally would not be able to afford one.  Linux Against Poverty is an annual event put together by Lynn Bender in order to collect those computers while members of the Austin Tech Community gather to repair and prepare them to be given away.

We had initially planned a May event but with South By South West happening within that 90 day window, we thought it would be a good idea to let both events have some breathing room.

With the Upcoming Texas Linux Fest, it's going to be a busy spring in Austin Texas.  Hopefully, we'll be meeting with Robbie Williamson of Canonical on these pages to talk more about that event in particular in the next week or so..

But for now, let's talk about Linux Against Poverty.

Lynn Bender, founder of  and the organizational force behind LAP, called me last night to talk about how this year will be different.

We had a fair amount of corporate involvement last year.  Many companies donated their decommissioned computers and sundry hardware components, however we didn't see the participation we had hoped for.  Individual donations and drop-offs carried the day.  We gained just over 200 placeable computers by the time the day ended.  Those computers were gone by November that same year.

This year, we think and hope we might be able to increase that participation.

With several companies already showing an interest in offering prizes, Lynn has begun to put together a prize drawing to entice equipment donations.  Each computer donated will enter the donor into a drawing at the end of the day and winners will be awarded prizes from the participating businesses. Businesses who donate computers can give their drawing tickets to their employees if they wish to do so.  We have yet to firm up those prizes and companies so watch this blog or the facebook page for LAP for details.

Many of the people who volunteer for Linux Against Poverty work at large corporations that may have a back room full of these decommissioned computers just waiting for Goodwill or the scrap yard.  You can see our specific needs on our website. If you work for such a company, please let them know that we will put these computers and equipment to good use and their donations are tax deductible.  Oh and again...we cannot accept CRT monitors any more...the liability and storage costs just won't allow it.

While Union Park is almost certainly available for us as a venue this year, there are a number of other businesses and places that have shown an interest in hosting the event for us.  Lynn will announce the location for Linux Against Poverty 2010 when it is decided and I will pass it along to you via this blog as soon as it is known.

Other Bid'ness

While we were able to obtain permission from The Cristo Rey Catholic Church to name our computer learning center after Bruno Knaapen we have not yet been able to raise the funds for the brass plaque for that room.  Unfortunately, response from Bruno's community has not been very good so I thought I would come here to mention it.  If you would like to help us purchase this plaque, you can do so here.

AND...we are in need of a small flatbed scanner for our operations.  With funding being as tight as it is, we've not been able to allocate the money to buy one so if you have one laying around, we sure could use it.  If I had a wishlist to write to, I would hope that it would be USB-powered.  We don't need anything powerful as much as we need it compact...our administrative space is small.

We are also humbled to be named as a nominee for the Dewey Winburne Community Service Award.  The party and ceremony will be held at 6 PM on March 15th at Sholtz Garden in Austin during the SXSW Interactive portion of SXSW.  Dewey Winburne was the PowerSource behind SXSW Interactive.

May God rest him.

Volunteer sign-up for LAP 2010 is doing extremely well and I want to thank those who are returning for the second event.  I appreciate you more than you know...especially when I know YOU know just how much work last year was.  We hope to streamline some of that this year and make it that much smoother.

Stay Tooned...

All-Righty Then


2 Buckets said...

Great work you folks are doing there in Austin. We had a similar project going in Ardmore, OK a few years ago but it kind of fell apart after I moved out of the state. Anyway, it's great to see these computers revived and not in the landfill somewhere.

Randy Meyers said...

@ 2Buckets

"but it kind of fell apart after I moved out of the state"

There are a lot of people who preach that one person does not a team or effort make. I think this demonstrates the fallacy of that statement. When Ken got so sick last year, I could almost see The HeliOS Project start to unravel. I certainly hope that he has a contingency plan to keep the project alive if something should happen to him

We are also humbled to be named as a nominee for the Dewey Winburne Community Service Award.

I appreciate your humility Ken but I think YOU are being given the award. (see above statement). You have kept this effort alive by the force of your will at times and I cannot begin to imagine what that took. I helped you unload trucks at last years LAP Ken and I know how hard you worked. I also know it almost killed you.

Delegate my friend...delegate.


Alessandro Ebersol said...

Here is Linux helping give a new life to perfect(or, not that perfect, but still useful) hardware and avoiding the piles of e-waste going to Ghana, India or China, thus making an environmental problem in those countries.
Good luck and my best wishes Mr. Starks!

Alessandro Ebersol said...

Mr. Starks,
I did post in Ghabuntu´s blog a topic regarding how open source(and Linux) can fight e-waste. And i mentioned you and your work.
Hope you like it.

Best wishes,