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Posts tagged as “Reglue”

Respinning Linux

A talk with Randy Noseworthy, the man behind the Linux respins on the old computers that Reglue makes new again.

The Heart of Linux

It started back in 2009, the first year of Lynn Bender’s fantastic brainstorm “Linux Against Poverty.” Lynn’s idea and subsequent involvement with our organization, then named The HeliOS Project, would infuse our effort with an energy and inventory we still rely on today.

Respin LinuxRespin LinuxBender contacted me early in 2009 and proposed we organize an event to bring the greater Austin community, the Austin Tech community and HeliOS under one roof. We would ask people to bring unused or broken computers to our event. Through Lynn’s network connections, a 6th Street bar owner gave up his bar for an entire Saturday. That, in turn, allowed over 50 Austin geeks to converge on 6th Street to set up stations and transform the broken computers coming in the front door into fully-functioning computers going out the back door and into our waiting truck.

Ken StarksKen Starks

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

When A Computer Is Ready for the Junk Pile

Just because it can be kept running doesn’t mean it hasn’t outlived its usefulness.

The Heart of Linux

A month or so ago on Google Plus a spirited discussion took place on old hardware. Many held the belief that if old hardware can be used, for any reasonable need, it should stay out of the recycle cycle for as long as its able to be used, for any reasonable need. Well yeah…ya think? My organization has been doing this going on eleven years now.

Old Computer PartOld Computer Part

To that point, there was a report that a mail server failure in a large business office remained a mystery for two days until someone found an old Pentium II back in the corner of some obscure closet with a burned out power supply. It is reported that the Slackware/Debian/Red Hat machine had been plugging away as a mail server for a number of years, completely unattended. That’s feasible I suppose, but I further suppose that it’s a modern day parable about how open source can indeed, carry the day.

Ken StarksKen Starks

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

The Sun Shines Through the Rain at the Linux Workshop

The Heart of Linux

Sometimes it’s downright easy to tell the difference between synchronicity and mere coincidence.

I grew up in the Illinois heartland. The place where soybeans, corn and hog futures were discussed in-depth while the Bay of Pigs raged on without notice. I grew up in a place where detasseling corn and getting the hay crop in was second only to treating our livestock for thrush. We were up at 4:30 a.m. and in bed by 9 p.m. Rarely was there an exception. Maybe when my mom was going into town on Saturday for supplies.

Ice covered barnIce covered barn
An ice covered barn, not unlike the one that was crushed in this story.
During the winter of 1967. Northeastern Illinois experienced one of the most destructive ice storms in that region’s history. Barns and out buildings collapsed under the tremendous weight of ice and snow. Many family dwellings suffered the same fate. Livestock had to be turned out into the cold for fear they would be crushed to death by the collapsing structure. We worked furiously against the subzero cold and wind to get weather breaks built. We used hay bales and timber, any resource at hand, in order for the livestock to have some shelter from the freezing winds. Some cattle froze to death while still standing, their backs turned to the frigid, driving wind.

Ken StarksKen Starks

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

Teaching New Linux on Old Hardware

The Heart of Linux

It seems, according to this, that the customer service offered by Reglue far exceeds that offered by any big box retail outlet — and the clients get preinstalled Linux to boot.

In 2005, I found myself at a career crossroad. A career-ending injury threw the biggest of monkey wrenches into the works for me. I owned my own business and business was good, but it was only good with a maximum of four employees, counting myself. I attempted to become a “gentleman” owner but I found that paying the extra man proved to be costly as well as difficult to administer. That injury led to me doing what I do now.

I give computers to kids who cannot afford one.

The decision I faced was life-changing either way I went. My inclination was to go back to school and get the certs I needed to work in the Linux administration field. I already had the base knowledge and experience; it was just a matter of jumping through the hoops to get a piece of paper saying I already knew what I was learning. Not that I wouldn’t learn a thing or two along the way.

Ken StarksKen Starks

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

The Great 2016 Dell Latitude Massacre

The Heart of Linux

The story of a donation that should have happened, but didn’t.

That sinking feeling. The feeling you get in the microseconds after someone sneaks up from behind and scares the bejeebus out of you. The feeling you get when you pat your back pocket and discover your wallet isn’t there. The gut dropping three seconds directly after reading the email notifying you of imminent layoff. The feeling that something has taken place that is going to impact your life, and possibly the lives of others, in the most unpleasant of ways.

Reglue placing laptopReglue placing laptop
Not to be confused with Michael Stipe, that’s me in the corner handing over the Samsung paper thin laptop mentioned in this article to a deserving family.
I had one of those moments just last week. As much as I tell myself that I can’t erase the event or remind myself that suckification happens…it still nags at me like a tenacious ear ache or like a hangnail that induces the impulse to scream every time it’s brushed against something. It’s the feeling that washes over you when you find out you have lost something extremely important and there is no way in the real world that you will be able to reverse that loss.

Ken StarksKen Starks

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

Reglue Seeks USB Wireless Adapters and Speakers

The Southeast Texas nonprofit, Reglue, needs a total of 86 USB wireless adapters and speaker sets to complete a project to bring computers and Internet connectivity to 125 families with school aged children.

Reglue, a nonprofit that supplies free refurbished computers to financially strapped families with school children in Southeast Texas, has announced that it needs donations of USB wireless adapters and speakers. The devices are needed for a project that will bring computers and Internet connectivity to all families with school aged children living in housing controlled by the Taylor [Texas] Housing Authority. The authority and Reglue have already reached an agreement with Time Warner to supply housing units with wireless connections, and the adapters are needed so that Reglue’s “kids” can take advantage of those connections.

Reglue logoReglue logoIn a March 14 post on the Reglue website, Ken Starks, the organization’s founder (full disclosure: Starks is also a writer at FOSS Force), explained that the shortfall is a result of the success of the program. “At first, we were informed that we could plan on doing about 40 [installations] in a year’s time…[but] we’re now looking at in the neighborhood of 125 machines.”

New Hope Technology Project Brings Linux to Taylor, Texas

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.

World of Goo on Reglue ComputersWorld of Goo on Reglue Computers

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.

Ken StarksKen Starks

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

Tomorrow’s Veterinarian Using Linux Today

The Heart of Linux

In Southeast Texas, a young girl easily harnesses the power of GNU/Linux as she prepares for her future as a veterinarian in America’s heartland.

This past Sunday I had scheduled a Reglue installation for a young lady a couple of towns east of Taylor. This part of Central Texas is dotted with small towns. Some towns flourished during the golden age of the railroad, some grew to support miners for a local aluminum mine, and even others gathered as a farming and cotton textile hub. I like spending some time in these places, since my small town is much like these. They are barely a shadow of their former selves, their industries having dwindled or disappeared, but for some reason they remain.

Caldwell, TexasCaldwell, Texas
Photo: Billy Hathorn at en.wikipedia.

The upside to these small towns is almost always the presence of extremely good school systems. The class sizes are at most 20 kids, but most often, in the mid teens. Some teachers who began their teaching careers here remain until they retire, at least those who do not have to move away due to spousal employment circumstances. It is not rare to have a fifth grade teacher attending his or her student’s high school graduation.

When I visit kids from these heartland towns, I feel like I’ve stepped into an alternate time. Not of time past, but a different kind of time. A time where grade school kids are challenged by their homework assignments and look forward to that challenge, high school kids take food orders on roller skates evenings and weekends at the local Sonic drive-in, farm kids work the land with their parents, and almost every boy learns how to turn wrenches with his dad on Saturday mornings. A time where being referred to as “Sir” or “Ma’am” is the norm.

Ken StarksKen Starks

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

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.

Ken StarksKen Starks

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

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