The HeliOS Project is now.....

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

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Thursday, October 14, 2010

Christmas? It's Still 90 Degrees Here..

I stepped out this morning to get some mice and keyboards stored in the cargo bay of our delivery vehicle.  This is a beautiful time in Austin.  The beleaguering heat of Central Texas gives way to cool winds and a promise of relief.

The kind of relief an ant might feel if you pull away the magnifying glass just prior to combustion.

But the forecast promises an afternoon in the low 90's.

Of course that temperature range sounds apocalyptic to my European friends...

A list of call-backs had stacked up between 8 and 10 AM...the time I use to prep any machines going out late that day or early the next.  One of them was from a contact with Child Protective Services in the next county.

She wanted to talk about computers for some of her kids for Christmas.


The Holiday Season.

A clustering of time when many of the world's religions choose to celebrate their beliefs and pay homage....


Here in the US, it's mostly a time of year that we get lambasted with advertisements from every media known to man.

Unceasing, wearing and unrelenting  advertisements to buy our children and loved ones "that perfect gift" for the holiday.

Heaven help you if you are in a fairly new relationship when this time of year rolls around.

But for us with with The HeliOS Project, it's one of the most satisfying times of the year...haranguing advertising notwithstanding.

Last year, between November 1st and December 25th, we built and gave away 41 computers.  Three of them I delivered and set up on Christmas Day.

I don't have the words...I don't know the words that can convey the satisfaction of doing this work.  Of course, ahem...with the weight gain I've accomplished in the past year, I can see how, with the proper costume, I could be mistaken for Santa Claus.

Madeline asked me if we could supply 9 computers for some of her most disadvantaged kids this Christmas.  I said that I would try but I couldn't promise.

We've blown through the machines gathered at this year's Linux Against Poverty event, planned and hosted by Lynn Bender.  Having such an all-encompassing event twice in one year is just too much to ask of takes months to plan and over 50 people to execute.

Execute the plan that is...not the people.

We won't be doing either this year.

But we will be having a hardware drive in December.

Greg over at I-Tech Electronics has agreed to host an event for us on the 11th of December.  We will start the media requests on the first of November to mingle with the Toys-R-US and jewelery store commercials.  Greg has a 10X10 tent that will be set up in the parking lot for our use and hopefully we can draw enough attention to fill our holiday orders.

Kenneth Dublin, Founder and CEO of The Learning Pad, is working with us to possibly provide a temporary or full-time work space for The HeliOS Project.  We have to vacate our donated space here in the near future so his help is hugely appreciated.  Kenneth also coordinates machine donations for HeliOS and will be a great partner for our efforts.

 We will post more about the event as we draw sponsors, vendors and volunteers.  Basically, we're just going to collect machine donations...there will be no repairs or diagnosis on site like there is during Linux Against Poverty.  We'll take care of that on this end.  However we could use some of our great volunteers to help staff the event. Please email me if you are interested in helping on that Saturday.

Skip Guenter and I will be there to represent HeliOS.

Right now, we just need to get some decent machines into our inventory.

We will also be asking for parts.  What we need most at this time are DVD CD RW drives and Nvidia/ATI video cards.

If you work for a company that might have decommissioned machines sitting around somewhere, please let them know of our efforts.

We'll see if we can't get these order filled.  We expect at least 30 during the holiday season.

All-Righty Then...



Gavin said...

What kind of optical drives? DVD burners or just DVD readers with CD burning? SATA or PATA?

And what kind of vid cards? PCI only? Some AGP versions? PCIe yet?

Unknown said...

@ Gavin

We would really like to put in a drive that burns dvds as well as cds. The less bays we have to fill the better. If the computer has a cd rw in it, we will add one but if it's only got a cd reader, we will just put in one dvd cd rw. Sata and Pata either or are fine. We have the adapters to go from ide to sata if necessary but we are getting more and more Sata machines these days.

PCI cards are always welcome but as mentioned, we are beginning to get newer machines donated and many have pciX or AGP. We can use just about anything nowdays...but in a pinch the PCI cards are nice albeit a bit slower.

ya work with whatcha got...


Anonymous said...

PCIe, PCIX is a bus seen almost exclusively in servers and a few workstations. PCI express is avreviated PCIe.

Anonymous said...

Have you thought about doing a post christmas donation period? If you advertise beforehand, you might find the people with cash to spare would be happy to upgrade their (own or significant other's) not so old gear, and instead of just feeding their technolust they'd get to support those less well off. Win-win.

Anonymous said...

I am retired, last worked at a very large multinational that has presences in TX - I believe Austin is one. Just now I found that they have an alumni program and have signed up, to suggest that they donate to the project. They will probably for security reasons remove hard disks from any computers they donate, hopefully they will also donate some money to buy new disks ...