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The Year Ahead for Reglue

The Heart of Linux

I’ve never been a big believer in luck. Some of us believe that in some cases some sort of predetermination takes place: one thing happening to allow another thing to happen that in turn produces something significant in one or more lives. Not all the time, but often enough to make it something to ponder when we’re in a position to ponder such things. But I don’t make predictions, whether for a new year or a new place or a new time. I simply no longer predict anything. I’ve been wrong too many times.

Example? Oh, you want an example? Okay, just a sample of my worst yet:

“Google? Hell no. It’s a stupid idea and you have to be a slobbering idiot to put any money into such a ridiculous startup. Internet advertising? Pfffttt. Might as well give your money to…” You can name your favorite way to throw money down the drain.

But by way of comparison, believe it or not, there have been some historically treasured wrong predictions in the recent and not so recent past. Oh, let’s take a look…shall we?

Online shopping

rocketmail technologyIn 1966, Time magazine ran a bold prediction: “Remote shopping, while entirely feasible, will flop — because women like to get out of the house, like to handle merchandise, like to be able to change their minds.”

Rocket mail

Arthur Summerfield, U.S. Postmaster General under President Dwight D. Eisenhower, is perhaps best known for a prediction he made in 1959:

“Before man reaches the moon,” he said, “your mail will be delivered within hours from New York to Australia by guided missiles. We stand on the threshold of rocket mail.” For anyone waiting for that special package from Amazon, this must sound like a tantalizing proposition — and it was briefly under development.

No, really. It honestly was.

ac/dc technologyIn the same year Summerfield made his bold statement, the U.S. Post Office tested “Missile Mail” for the first and last time. A rocket was launched from the submarine Barbero to Naval Station Mayport in Florida. The entire trip lasted 22 minutes, and the two mail containers it carried were delivered successfully.

The program was never implemented. From what I’ve dug up, an unnamed congressional staffer from that period said it was an absolutely idiotic idea. Wow…I wish there was solid evidence of that statement. It would indicate that somewhere and at some time, at least one congressman has a brain with an occasional synapse firing.

Defeating running dog capitalist lackeys

However, being wrong can haunt you for the rest of your life and sometimes, into the lives of your children. For us old school folks, there will always be Nikkie K standing at the podium and threatening to bury the United States while angrily pounding the podium with his shoe. One such outburst occurred in 1956, when Khrushchev was addressing Western ambassadors at the Polish Embassy in Moscow. He was as combative as ever, telling his audience that that communism’s defeat of capitalism was inevitable.

“History is on our side,” he said. “We will bury you.”

Thirty-three years later, communism collapsed, and two years after that the Soviet Union was dissolved. I wonder if he ever found that other shoe? Maybe I could show him something in a nice velcro or slip on?

Sheesh. Dictators, right?

Making a difference

All of that being said, my days of predicting anything are over. However, that doesn’t have anything do to with a good set of plans and goals. I’ve set a few of them for the coming year and I want to share them with you.

I will start by answering a question, because it’s connected with our plans for the year. Did Reglue host the 12 Geeks of Christmas this year? Unfortunately no. Our annual fund drive this year was focused on raising money for a vehicle for Reglue, so there just wasn’t enough money this year for the 12 Geeks event. However, we do have 12 Geeks of Christmas in the 2016 budget, so stay tuned…

Our first major project for the 2016 year is establishing a program that insures every student who resides within the Taylor Texas Housing Authority has both a computer and an Internet connection. I have been working one-on-one with Mr. Bob VanTil to iron out the logistics of this effort. Bob makes sure that this subsidized housing project doesn’t look or feel like government subsidized housing.

The easy part of our effort at Reglue is installing the computers into these homes. The hard part is getting Time Warner to cooperate. As far as reliability and true broadband, they are the only game in town, and they act like the monopoly they are. Even if we offer to pay a lot of the money it takes to get these homes hooked up, the company is sluggish at best to get things going.

Big surprise there, huh?

When we first contacted Time Warner in 2011, we proposed that Reglue would pay the first three months of service for our clients. After that, the clients would have to pick up the service cost. That first 90 days gave our clients time to budget for the monthly charge for their Internet service. We would also pay any installation fees and if a client had an outstanding balance from a previous service, we would pay that as well, as long as it did not exceed $200.

That sounds like a good deal, huh? I mean, God forbid that we would ask Time Warner, one of the most stable companies on the Fortune 500 list, to donate even 10 percent to this project. Once we explained that we would be paying all the costs, we immediately received an email from Roger Castillo, a sales manager working out of San Antonio who introduced himself as the contact between between us and Time Warner.

From there, it went immediately downhill. I can only guess that an organization like Time Warner is so administratively bloated at the middle they cannot quickly deal with challenges. The whole project fell in on itself and we have yet to hear back from them on how we can get back on track. Bob VanTil has suggested the city of Taylor approach them for this currently-forming project, and I am fully on board with this. Truthfully, I am still punchy from our last round with Time Warner.

However, kvetching about this isn’t getting anything done, so we’ll see what the city can accomplish. Even as that partnership is gestating, Reglue will begin installing these kids’ computers and fill them with enough educational games and applications to keep them busy for at least for a while. We’re talking upwards of 90 machines. This effort will be spread throughout the year.

Educating outside of schools

Up next, Reglue will re-associate ourselves with our girls mentoring program. Come this spring, Reglue will approach young ladies who have expressed an interest in the technology side of computers. Moms and/or Dads are required to attend with their girls and we largely plan our outings and workshop sessions around the parent’s accessibility. If needed, Reglue can take our show on the road and have the sessions in the child’s home. We will then accept applications from these girls and their parents/guardians, in which they tell us why they are the perfect candidate for GirlsRgeekz2.

This is a good time to mention just how important the stable vehicle you helped us fund is to us. These kids and their parents ride in our vehicles and we cannot afford to transport anyone in an unsafe vehicle. Our fundraiser was successful, thanks to you, and we’ll be making that vehicle purchase the last week of this month.

Boys are not eliminated from our mentoring programs. We also hold a similar program for young men. However, their involvement is during the autumn, so as not to get us all scrunched up between ongoing programs. We have to take into consideration the availability of our volunteers; that plays a big part in how these programs and camps are scheduled during the year.

Between the young ladies’ project and the one for the young men in the fall, Reglue will be holding our annual Technology Learning Camp during the summer. In the past we’ve held these camps at a church in Hutto, Texas, but this year we’ve juggled things around to hold them at our Taylor facility.

These workshops and technology learning camps bring forth a huge treasure of local people who help us make these programs successful. Guys like Samuel Woods and Skip Guenter, Linux gurus who take their places, hands-on and in real time, to contribute to the success of these projects. They steer and assist these kids when their questions arise. It might surprise you just how often one-on-one spontaneous learning situations take place at these events.

And having fun…the hard way

Finally, but only finally for now, I will bring up our plan to Walk for Dollars this coming spring, in which we’ll schedule four Reglue installations between Taylor and Round Rock — but I won’t be driving to these locations.

I will be walking, and asking for pledges for each mile I complete. I will be pulling the computers behind me on a trailer made for motorcycles. We’re talking a good 40 mile round trip, so it’s not gonna be a quick turn around.

Yeah, I am serious. And, yeah, I know I’m getting old and have already crossed the finish line for the “getting” part of getting fat. The heaviest thing I’ve lifted in the past year is a good piece of silver while attending a graduation for a friend of mine. But I’ll start training for that right away…as soon as the chocolate and raspberry pies are gone. Oh yeah, and the home-made fudge. I’ll start training when the home-made fudge is gone. Honestly.

Oh, one last thing: I’ll write more about this in upcoming articles, but for now I’d like to remind you that you can help feed starving writers by becoming a subscriber to FOSS Force. Christine Hall has built FOSS Force into a première free and open source software website, and she’s built it on integrity and a hard-wired demand for keeping FOSS Force one of the best sites for fresh news and reviews available. Of course, she allows me to break that from time to time with things that might wander a bit from that direction, but you can’t scowl and concentrate all the time. Sometimes, it’s good to have some fun…

Sometime this week, FOSS Force will be going live with the second phase of our Indiegogo fundraising campaign. You can help us get a running start by making a donation now by becoming a subscriber.

9 Comments

  1. Mindaugas Mindaugas January 5, 2016

    “Let the ruling classes tremble at a Communistic revolution. The proletarians have nothing to lose but their chains. They have a world to win. Workingmen of all countries unite!”
    ― Karl Marx, The Communist Manifesto

  2. tracyanne tracyanne January 5, 2016

    Instead the proletariat seems have chosen bread and circuses, while the wealthy become obscenely wealthy, at their expense. — Tracyanne’s Socialist observation.

    All the best for the new Year Ken, I love the read about the people you’ve helped.

  3. Carling Carling January 6, 2016

    Quote :- 1956, when Khrushchev was addressing Western ambassadors at the Polish Embassy in Moscow. He was as combative as ever, telling his audience that communism’s defeat of capitalism was inevitable.
    “History is on our side,” he said. “We will bury you.”
    Thirty-three years later, communism collapsed, and two years after that the Soviet Union was dissolved. I wonder if he ever found that other shoe? Maybe I could show him something in a nice velcro or slip on?
    Reply :- Communism is a word that Capitalist millionaires used to turn the world against Russia, The same thing is going on today we are being brainwash against everyday about Russia by the media

    You don’t understand the meaning of the word Communism, Yet you’re a part of the Communism movement in what you’re doing everyday. The word Communism means Community. The same has the Linux community that you have been using to fight against the capitalist education agenda in Texas

    That means the communism movement will never claps or die. What Khrushchev said in 1956 came true in the 90’s when Linus Torvald released his hobby Linux operating systems to the world. That now controls everything we do in our daily lives, For example watch the Youtube videos below
    Linux In Education, Video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f8Co37GO2Fc
    Linux is Everywhere Video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7XTHdcmjenI/
    Linux Foundation website
    http://www.linuxfoundation.org/about/members
    Free university Education for ALL
    http://edx.org/

    Now get your thinking cap on, Never use the word Communism to get your point across to make Communism look bad, In future Use the word Capitalism that would be far better. Think about it what has capitalism done for the American people only rob them blind and keeps them in thousands of dollars in higher education debt

  4. Mindaugas Mindaugas January 6, 2016

    Good comment, Carling!

  5. Bryan Bryan January 6, 2016

    First, it’s sad that Mr. Starks’ discussion of his future plans were usurped in the comments by Carling’s sad discussion of how good communism is. Let me rebut a few items:
    —“Communism is a word Capitalists use to turn the world against Russia…” Having lived thru the sixties with Russia threatening to put missiles in Cuba, I can tell you that communism, particularly Russian communism, was more than just a word. During this period Russia was particularly aggressive in eastern Europe and other parts of the world. You can easily verify this by reading a few good history books.
    —“The word Communism means Community.” Wrong! Community implies sharing based on one’s personal conviction to share what they have with others. Communism as written about and practiced by Karl Marx and his followers was an economic system where the centralized power of the government controlled and planned the GDP output of the country, and distributed that output in the manner it saw fit to whom it saw fit. Basically, government-enforced sharing.
    —“The same thing is going on today we are being brainwash against everyday about Russia by the media…” Really? Russia attacks and occupies The Ukraine, and the media is brainwashing us about Russia?
    —” the Linux community that you have been using to fight against the capitalist education agenda in Texas…” Not sure what you mean here by the capitalist education agenda in Texas, but if you are arguing about vendor lock-in, I may give you that point.
    —“Now get your thinking cap on, Never use the word Communism to get your point across to make Communism look bad, In future Use the word Capitalism that would be far better. Think about it what has capitalism done for the American people only rob them blind and keeps them in thousands of dollars in higher education debt.” Again, really? You explain how communism is great, but then say don’t use the word, use capitalism instead. This is a capitalist society. It allows everyone equal opportunity, not equal outcomes. How am I being robbed blind? People that take risks should be rewarded, and along the way if I help them by working for them and assuming those risks, I get rewarded, too. I’ve worked hard all my life, and I’m proud of what I have and what I’ve accomplished. Have you? Are you? Or are you expecting people who took the risks to share their good fortune with you just because you need them to?

    Finally, I apologize to Mr. Starks, but couldn’t let those comments go unchallenged. I’m a big fan of your work, both thru Reglue and as a blogger. I hope you can continue to do both for a long time.

  6. Carling Carling January 6, 2016

    Hi Bryan Let me first say “Grow up” understand what I was saying
    Quote :- Having lived thru the sixties with Russia threatening to put missiles in Cuba, I can tell you that communism, particularly Russian communism, was more than just a word.

    Reply :- I was talking about Communism their policy NOT the power hungry Communist Dictators who brought or bring terror to the rest of the world,

    Violence from out side of Russia didn’t bring the Berlin wall down. Neither did violence from within Russia, The Russian Community did it on their own. they fought against their Russian leaders dictatorship and won their freedom.

    Communities that unit will always win, Communities that are divided will always lose,

  7. Mindaugas Mindaugas January 7, 2016

    To Bryan. The developments in Syria, the Middle East, North Africa, Ukraine underscore that capital’s aggression against the peoples is intensifying, the inter-imperialist antagonisms are sharpening and that they lead to military interventions and wars, cost the peoples dearly, cause large-scale movements of immigrants and refugees.The USA, the imperialist alliances of the EU and NATO and their allies in the various regions, are playing the leading role in these dangerous developments. In this direction, they utilize amongst other things the criminals of the “Islamic State” in the Middle East, and armed fascist gangs in Ukraine.
    About USSR. Bryan. What do you know about USSR? Nothing, because you do not live in that state, but i do.
    Seven Myths about the USSR
    Myth #1. The Soviet Union had no popular support. On March 17, 1991, nine months before the Soviet Union’s demise, Soviet citizens went to the polls to vote on a referendum which asked whether they were in favor of preserving the USSR. Over three-quarters voted yes. Far from favoring the breakup of the union, most Soviet citizens wanted to preserve it.
    Myth #2. Russians hate Stalin. In 2009, Rossiya, a Russian TV channel, spent three months polling over 50 million Russians to find out who, in their view, were the greatest Russians of all time. Prince Alexander Nevsky, who successfully repelled an attempted Western invasion of Russia in the 13th century, came first. Second place went to Pyotr Stolypin, who served as prime minister to Tsar Nicholas II, and enacted agrarian reforms. In third place, behind Stolypin by only 5,500 votes, was Joseph Stalin, a man that Western opinion leaders routinely describe as a ruthless dictator with the blood of tens of millions on his hands. He may be reviled in the West, not surprisingly, since he was never one after the hearts of the corporate grandees who dominate the West’s ideological apparatus, but, it seems, Russians have a different view—one that fails to comport with the notion that Russians were victimized, rather than elevated, by Stalin’s leadership.
    Myth #3. Soviet socialism didn’t work. If this is true, then capitalism, by any equal measure, is an indisputable failure. From its inception in 1928, to the point at which it was dismantled in 1989, Soviet socialism never once, except during the extraordinary years of World War II, stumbled into recession, nor failed to provide full employment. What capitalist economy has ever grown unremittingly, without recession, and providing jobs for all, over a 56 year span (the period during which the Soviet economy was socialist and the country was not at war, 1928-1941 and 1946-1989)? Moreover, the Soviet economy grew faster than capitalist economies that were at an equal level of economic development when Stalin launched the first five year plan in 1928—and faster than the US economy through much of the socialist system’s existence. To be sure, the Soviet economy never caught up to or surpassed the advanced industrial economies of the capitalist core, but it started the race further back; was not aided, as Western countries were, by histories of slavery, colonial plunder, and economic imperialism; and was unremittingly the object of Western, and especially US, attempts to sabotage it. Particularly deleterious to Soviet economic development was the necessity of diverting material and human resources from the civilian to the military economy, to meet the challenge of Western military pressure. The Cold War and arms race, which entangled the Soviet Union in battles against a stronger foe, not state ownership and planning, kept the socialist economy from overtaking the advanced industrial economies of the capitalist West. And yet, despite the West’s unflagging efforts to cripple it, the Soviet socialist economy produced positive growth in each and every non-war year of its existence, providing a materially secure existence for all. Which capitalist economy can claim equal success?
    Myth #4. Now that they’ve experienced it, citizens of the former Soviet Union prefer capitalism. On the contrary, they prefer the Soviet system’s state planning, that is, socialism. Asked in a recent poll what socio-economic system they favor, Russians answered:
    • State planning and distribution, 58%
    • Private property and distribution, 28%
    • Hard to say, 14%
    • Total, 100%
    Myth #5. Twenty-two years later, citizens of the former Soviet Union see the USSR’s demise as more beneficial than harmful. Wrong again. According to a just-released Gallup poll, for every citizen of 15 former Soviet republics, including Russia, Ukraine and Belarus, who thinks the breakup of the Soviet Union benefited their country, two think it did harm. And the results are more strongly skewed toward the view that the breakup was harmful among those aged 45 years and over, namely, the people who knew the Soviet system best.
    Myth #6. Citizens of the former Soviet Union are better off today. To be sure, some are. But are most? Given that more prefer the former socialist system to the current capitalist one, and think that the USSR’s breakup has done more harm than good, we might infer that most aren’t better off—or at least, that they don’t see themselves as such. This view is confirmed, at least as regards life expectancy. In a paper in the prestigious British medical journal, The Lancet, sociologist David Stuckler and medical researcher Martin McKee, show that the transition to capitalism in the former USSR precipitated a sharp drop in life-expectancy, and that “only a little over half of the ex-Communist countries have regained their pre-transition life-expectancy levels.” Male life expectancy in Russia, for example, was 67 years in 1985, under communism. In 2007, it was less than 60 years. Life expectancy plunged five years between 1991 and 1994. The transition to capitalism, then, produced countless pre-mature deaths—and continues to produce a higher mortality rate than likely would have prevailed under the (more humane) socialist system. (A 1986 study by Shirley Ciresto and Howard Waitzkin, based on World Bank data, found that the socialist economies of the Soviet bloc produced more favorable outcomes on measures of physical quality of life, including life expectancy, infant mortality, and caloric intake, than did capitalist economies at the same level of economic development, and as good as capitalist economies at a higher level of development.
    Myth #7. If citizens of the former Soviet Union really wanted a return to socialism, they would just vote it in. If only it were so simple. Capitalist systems are structured to deliver public policy that suits capitalists, and not what’s popular, if what’s popular is against capitalist interests. Obamacare aside, the United States doesn’t have full public health insurance. Why not? According to the polls, most Americans want it. So, why don’t they just vote it in? The answer, of course, is that there are powerful capitalist interests, principally private insurance companies, that have used their wealth and connections to block a public policy that would attenuate their profits. What’s popular doesn’t always, or even often, prevail in societies where those who own and control the economy can use their wealth and connections to dominate the political system to win in contests that pit their elite interests against mass interests. As Michael Parenti writes,
    Capitalism is not just an economic system, but an entire social order. Once it takes hold, it is not voted out of existence by electing socialists or communists. They may occupy office but the wealth of the nation, the basic property relations, organic law, financial system, and debt structure, along with the national media, police power, and state institutions have all been fundamentally restructured.

  8. Mindaugas Mindaugas January 7, 2016

    About missiles in Cuba. The Cuban missile crisis was a direct result of America having missiles deployed in Italy & Turkey. And remember. The government of the United States is not the champion of freedom, but rather the perpetrator of exploitation and oppression against the peoples of the world and against a large part of its own population.

  9. FOSS Force FOSS Force January 7, 2016

    @Mindaugas
    @Carling
    @Bryan

    Time to end this communism vs capitalism discussion, which is interesting but has nothing to do with the content of this article. Any further off topic discussion will be deleted and that user’s future comments will not post until approved by a member of our staff. And yes, we do realize that the article did mention cold war politics as an aside.

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