The Heart of Linux
Reglue continues to make a difference in Southeastern Texas with its New Hope Computer Technology Project.
It’s said that the wheels of progress turn slowly. That proves to be true to the nth when dealing with any kind of government. Be that as it may, things do happen eventually. This week is a shining example of what can be accomplished when a city and a private group band together for the common good.
I am just bustin’-at-the-seams happy to announce The New Hope Computer Technology Project here in my small town of Taylor, Texas. After way too many meetings and committees formed to insure viability, Reglue is fully operational and in the midst of installing computers for people who need them most. To refresh memories here, The New Hope Computer Technology Project is named to celebrate the unselfish and giving doctors who treated my cancer, even when they knew I didn’t have a dime to spare.
When the Taylor Housing Authority approached us a couple months back, I don’t think either we nor they understood each others’ roles in the community.
In Austin, for example, the housing authority is extremely strict about protecting their clients’ confidentiality, while here in the relatively tiny burg of Taylor, everyone knows everyone anyway, so a wall of secrecy seems just plain silly. And at first the THA was under the impression that we were in the business of creating computer centers, because when they searched for an organization that could supply their clients with computers, this is what their results led them to believe, because a large part of the publicity we’ve received has been for these types of centers.
So after the background checks and the mass of minutia a government entity must wade through, we are now installing computers for these fine folks. Eighty percent of these homes house children who attend school here in Taylor, so this match was perfect for our community. This is the work Reglue was designed to do, even if we didn’t get off to a roaring start with this new project. I’ll not make it a secret…I was a bit disillusioned by the lack of response to our fliers and newspaper articles. We worked the doors at Walmart and the local grocery store, handing out fliers and talking to people about what we do. It’s not like we just sat and waited for requests to come to us.
We ran the numbers before we settled into our new home, and we calculated that we would have a solid six years of work here before we entered the thumb-twiddling stage. Seemingly that wasn’t correct. This fall and winter, as we began that stage of the project, we weren’t quite sure what we were doing wrong. In Austin we couldn’t take six steps without being stopped and asked about our project, but here in tiny Taylor, we were not having much success.
After almost a month of wading through possible factors involved in this sudden inactivity, we figured it out, and I feel dumber than a bag of hammers for not figuring it out much sooner.
The Taylor Independent School District had purchased an Asus Chromebook for every junior high and high school student on the rolls. They even went so far as to offer them to kids being home schooled. Well, that answered that. The timing almost matched perfectly…the positive correlation between those Chromebooks being handed out and the almost complete work stoppage we experienced shortly after school started.
But if it can be used as a indication of proof, the computers we’ve installed until now for those kids within the Taylor Housing Authority, our work should pick up quickly as we move deeper into the New Hope Project. Why? The package of educational games and applications are a huge hit with these kids.
Here’s a short list of some of the educational apps that are on a stock Reglue computer:
World of Goo
There are others, but that gives you an idea as to what we are supplying our Reglue kids. And the favorite of those named above? Tux Math. Yeah, go figure. I thought for sure that Tux Racer would be hands-down winner. To the Nopemobile, Robin. Tux Racer didn’t make it into the top three.
So in all, the old adage that you should be careful what you wish for? Yeah, it stands as true today. The newsletter that goes out to other city and county organizations made mention of our efforts with the THA and we are receiving calls and emails at about 6 per day since last Friday. We went from zero to Holy Crap in 3.1 seconds.
But that’s a good thing. To be honest with you, I’d like to get as much of these projects done as soon as possible. I’m not getting any younger and the cancer I’ve been battling has a nasty habit of making multiple curtain calls. While I am relatively healthy and willing to work, I want to thank you guys in the various Linux and open source communities. You are the folks who grease the skids for us. Without your help, none of this would happen and I think every bit of credit for what we do should go to you.
Every bit of it.
Our Indiegogo fundraiser ends tomorrow and we are still far from meeting our goal. If FOSS Force is valuable to you, please make a contribution.
Ken Starks is the founder of the Helios Project and Reglue, which for 20 years provided refurbished older computers running Linux to disadvantaged school kids, as well as providing digital help for senior citizens, in the Austin, Texas area. He was a columnist for FOSS Force from 2013-2016, and remains part of our family. Follow him on Twitter: @Reglue