clivesay's blog

Childish Behavior

OK, I am about as upset as I have been for awhile. My not for profit work has almost come to a complete standstill because of childish adults.

Here's some background.....

The building I use for No Computer Left Behind is a wonderful old building that was up for demolition. A man came along and decided he wanted to save the building. He struck a deal with the Historic Landmarks of Indiana Inc. to refurbish the building. If he received a 501(c)3 federal NFP designation, they would sign the building over to him.

Well, on Monday, he received his 501(c)3 approval and faxed it to the organization. Today (Friday) as he is gone to a meeting at this organization, they sneak into town and change the locks on the building. They have decided now that they don't want to give him the building now that he has put thousands of his own dollars into it with new heating/air and other upgrades. So now, I cannot get to any of my equipment! He is meeting with the organization president on Monday morning so I will wait to hear from him before I do anything. He is determined to fight this in court and I am determined to get the press involved if they do not come to their senses. In the mean time, I am basically on hold. It's very frustrating because I was going to be giving PC's to kids on Monday evening.

Don't underestimate kids

Alot is said about getting Linux more accepted among the masses. I have said before that the only way to do that is through the kids. I saw an example of that last night.

I was meeting with 3 families to give them their first PC. For those that don't know, I use a remastered version of DSL for these machines. One family came in with 4 children. These kids had already seen one of my PC's from another family that had received one. The kids ran by their dad and right up to the PC. Immediately they clicked on the wmdrawer button, brought up their favorite games, and went to town!! They were having a ball! The fact that these PC's did not have M$ on them did not matter in the least to these children. They already knew how to navigate the OS and were having fun.

NCLB, a 501(c)3 Organization

Well, after several months of US bureaucracy I finally got the blessing of the federal government for No Computer Left Behind, Inc. to be recognized as a 501(c)3 not for profit organization. This will allow me to apply for grants and other things and hopefully will entice larger corporations to donate hardware or possibly warehouse space since they can get a tax write-off for their generosity. Getting hardware has proven to be very easy but getting a place to put it all has not! Hopefully, through a donation or a large grant I will be able to get a ‘home’ for the organization where I can setup workstations and accommodate volunteers.

NCLB switch to DSL base

Well, it's official. I have just completed remastering NCLB Linux to a DSL base. When you start over from scratch, you realize how much tweaking you have done in the past! I hope to wait quite awhile until have to start from scratch again! I used DSL version 0.9.1 as my remaster base so I hope nothing TOO COOL happens to the DSL base in the next several releases. :)

All my installs will be from frugal. I have made alot of little modifications to make the OS specific to my cause so many things are 'hard-coded' into the OS like having to have an /hda1 and /hda5 partition. At first I tried to avoid that but then again I knew I was only using this remaster for one specific purpose so I decided to take that route. Basically the image and backup.tar.gz will reside on hda1 while a data partion will reside on /hda5. I added commands to bootlocal so that a 'MyDocumnents' folder is created in /home/dsl, permissioned to dsl staff and mounted in fstab on /hda5. I also documented all the configuration files from all the apps that are created in /home/dsl and added them to filetool.lst so any personal settings/game scores/etc can be saved and restored. I have tried to automate as much as possible because I know that other NFP's like mine will be interested in this software and I want to try and minimize the learning curve for them to install.

Changing Lives

This last week has been incredible for me. The funny thing is that the biggest thing that happened has absolutely nothing to do with Christmas.

This week I gave out my first Linux PC's to 12 needy families. The looks on the kid's faces that were receiving their first PC was beyond words. More than half the parents thanked me for the computers and told me that I had changed their children's lives. Other than the birth of my children, I cannot think of another thing in my life thas brought me that level of joy.

The unbelievable thing is that I was doing this with 'throwaway' PC's. According to the previous owners, they we not good for anything and I was crazy for taking their 'junk'.

It has started.......

Last night I received two emails enquiring about PC's for poor families. Now that I have given away my first PC, the floodgates are being slowly opened. I only hope I can keep my head above water! I've had 3 inquiries all based off my first PC. As they say, word of mouth is the best form of advertisement. I will find out soon how well my OS design and documentation will hold up. Since one lady told me she didn't know what a modem was, I am guessing no amount of design or documentation is going to cover everything! :-)

Internet access will be the big thing. I am trying to find external modems in bulk but it isn't easy to find at a reasonable price. It is a selfish request but it would be great if DSL could natively support some of the common winmodems such is the case with MEPIS.

No Computer Left Behind, Inc.

Well, the Linux revolution has officially begun with NCLB. After tonight I will have given out two Linux PC's. The first was VERY well received by the family. I am expecting the floodgates to open in the next one to two months. They may open in the next few weeks....I found out yesterday that some idiot(s) broke into a room within our company and stole 41 gifts that were purchased for needy children. I offered to work around the clock before Christmas, if needed, to supply PC's to any children that did not have a home PC.

I am hoping to start networking with area LUG organizations to provide Linux support in their communities for children/families that receive Linux PC's.

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