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Monday, September 15, 2008

Increasing Our Network: Computers headed to Jamaican school!

The collection of unused/refuse computers Lincoln Thompson and I began early this summer has been successful: As you can see in the video above, packed for transportation for shipment are ten complete work stations...plus an assortment of computer accessories, peripherals, and odds and ends. Most of this stuff was sitting around or headed for the trash. Now it has been cleaned, re-vitalized, re-purposed, and is already on its way to a "second life."
Lincoln and I (along with Lincoln's brother Clive and their cousin Kevin) collected about double this amount of stuff. Between all the computers and monitors, we cobbled together seven solid desktop stations and three laptops (including an assortment of Macintosh computers—one green iMac, an old (but working) MacBook laptop, and for those who know about such things, an old old Power Computing Macintosh clone running system 9!). It was dirty work, it was tricky work, and there was a plenty of work, but getting to sit down for days at a time cracking open all those computers and stuff, and then piecing it all together to make whole working computer work stations, well, that was just about as fun as it gets!

[Also, special thanks to Conch Town Cafe and Blue Heaven restaurants for the generous loan of space and resources. And extra special thanks to Sloppy Joe's, who provided us with a gift of used computers and peripherals which wound up accounting for about 25% of our collection. It was a terrific surprise to see such a huge player on our Island as Sloppy Joe's come to the table with such generosity.]

Speaking of which, there are (of course) two more things we could really use:

1) Unused Windows XP and Macintosh system disks.
2) A decent condition, good-sized wall unit air conditioner.

The use for the disks is obvious. To re-build some of the systems on the computers should anything go wrong. Back-ups.

The need for an air conditioner, however, is inspiring: The school Bramption Primary has re-dedictated and had rebuilt an entire room for the use, up-keep, and security of their new computer workstations. Since the computers have already shipped by container vessel (boat), an air conditioner will have to fly with us directly. But if we find one, I'll make certain it gets there.

Incidentally, if anyone knows of any students here are the Island who need computers, please let me know. I may be able to help with a solution.

And that's it. Lincoln and I are set to fly into Montego Bay on September 26. His wife will pick us up, and then I'll be there with them for two weeks of computer installation and instruction at Brampton Primary, Trelawny District.

Now think about that! A school of ninety kids (and their teachers) getting computers and being connected to the internet where before there has been neither! And remember, Olympian champion Usain Bolt is from Trelawny Parish! These kids are world-famous and don't even know it yet!

Can you imagine? Stay tuned. Stay tuned!

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