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Posts tagged as “Reglue”

You Might’ve Noticed a Few Changes Around Here…

If you’ve been visiting FOSS Force for a while, you might have noticed some changes around here. Nothing serious. We didn’t do anything drastic like change our layout or put our content up in twenty page slide shows or anything like that. But we’ve expanded, and I think, improved our content. We’re offering more coverage of FOSS than ever before, while also expanding into territories of free tech that lie outside the arena of software and Linux.

FOSS Force beggingYou might have also noticed that the expansion began just after our May fundraising campaign in which you gave us $2,300 to improve our site. Thanks to you, we have been able to pay our writers — not much mind you, truthfully a small fraction of what they should be paid — which has been a key element to our improved coverage.

A Miracle Comes to Linux

His name is Morgan, but it hasn’t always been his name. What it was before doesn’t legally matter any longer. What does matter, to us, is the concentric circles by which “Morgan” arrived…came to be. Morgan doesn’t know any better. Many metaphors of consciousness can be applied, but for Morgan, your arguments on his condition fall outside of his realm of concern. Morgan is Morgan, and what Morgan does in the present is all that matters. What might have been his reality, to you, before “the incident,” is simply pabulum to Morgan. To Morgan, you are children trying to complete a puzzle with missing key pieces. You amuse him.

mindmind

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 Young, the Gifted & the Linux Proficient

Her name is Natalia and she doesn’t have a clue about what is in store for her tomorrow. Natalia started high school this year. She’s not only an honor roll student, she’s musically gifted as well. Natalia studies the piano, tenor sax and now the cello. She was inspired by the group “Two Cellos” and she begged her mom to buy her a cello. Well, that’s not possible in her home with their current income. Natalia’s mom works two jobs to make it and the only instrument she has at home is an old tenor sax that she found in a pawn shop. However, an uncle did respond and he is buying her a cello at the end of October.

MusicMusicNatalia is able to practice piano four hours a week. Two hours at her school, another hour at a local community-sponsored recreation center and one hour at the local library. That library has several music rooms. Her mom takes her to these various places when she returns from work each evening. Natalia’s mom doesn’t have much time to herself, she’s a single parent who wants nothing more than for her child to succeed.

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

Learning Linux: Who’s Teaching Whom?

Anomalies.

That’s what we are. We, as in those 50 years of age or more who not only know how to use a computer, but who make them do our bidding. Those of us who can upgrade to the latest kernel, edit photos in GIMP, use Audacity to edit sound files, or who think nothing of burning an ISO and creating a USB device that has our entire desktop system ready to carry in our pockets.

Nuclear SkullNuclear SkullReferring to us as anomolies in this sense isn’t hyperbole or overstatement. I see it almost every day. I am in a unique position, able to work with at least two generations of computer users:

  1. The generation who will put the first footprint on Mars and cure diabetes.
  2. The generation who cannot understand the difference between a right and a left mouse click.

I am going to be more honest with you than I should, and it’s probably not in my best interest. There was a time when I hit the wall. I could no longer sit with someone, holding their hand while they struggle to understand the simplest computer tasks.

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 & Sébastien Jodogne Receive FSF Awards

Ken Starks put another well deserved feather in his cap on Saturday when he accepted an award for Reglue from the Free Software Foundation (FSF) at the LibrePlanet conference in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Reglue was announced as this year’s winner of the Project of Social Benefit Award by FSF executive director John Sullivan, who also announced that Sébastien Jodogne had won this year’s award for Advancement of Free Software. The event took place on the MIT campus.

For those of you who are new to the FOSS community, Ken Starks founded the nonprofit Reglue, then known as the HeliOS Project, in 2005 to put refurbished computers in the hands of school aged children whose families couldn’t otherwise afford them. In the ten years since its inception, Reglue has placed over 1,100 computers with children living in the Austin, Texas area, and has been both a model and inspiration for other organizations with similar goals across the country.

Christine HallChristine Hall

Christine Hall has been a journalist since 1971. In 2001, she began writing a weekly consumer computer column and started covering Linux and FOSS in 2002 after making the switch to GNU/Linux. Follow her on Twitter: @BrideOfLinux

Visit With a Little Boy

A while back, my globe trotting niece Niki Starks made the drive out to our place in Taylor. We spent most of the afternoon categorizing some of the old family pictures I had haphazardly thrown into a box. There were a lot of pictures. Lots and lots of pictures. Pictures of my great grandmother, a woman I barely remember from my childhood.

I remember, at that moment, thinking just how old she looked, and she was old…94 years old. I remember attending her funeral as a young boy. My family has the custom of open casket funerals. Me? I think that practice is grotesque, but that’s just me. I’d rather my last mental image of a person be one of laughing and joy. I remember looking down on my great grandmother’s corpse and thinking she looked better laying there dead than she did the last time I saw her alive.

Front yardFront yardAnd that’s the thing…

The things we remember and the way we remember them. The four hours that Niki and I spent at our dining room table was probably the most important four hours I’ll spend for the rest of my life.

Often, I think of myself as a 61 year old orphan. Silly really…thinking of yourself like that when you are in your 60s. What solidifies that in my mind is that fact that I am the only one left alive in my direct family.

Both my parents died from various cancers and heart/liver disease. That didn’t take a psychic to see coming, given they both smoked and drank like they were in training for an Olympic event. My kid brother died in a nasty head-on truck wreck at 3:44 in the morning less than a mile from his home. I’m fairly sure that’s the time he died, because that’s the time the cracked and bent face of his watch bore when it was given to me. My sister dropped from sight shortly after receiving her share of our brother’s estate. Addicted to heroin and crack cocaine, there’s little doubt why she cannot be found. Odds favored her dying in an alley somewhere or in a cheap motel room that one of her “friends” paid for. I am still scouring the Internet for her death certificate. My older half brother Bill, Niki’s dad…he died in the hospital from heart failure. He was my boyhood hero.

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

Whether Online or Off: Be Nice to Each Other

“The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why.”
–Mark Twain

We’ve talked about this before.

A while back I was an observer during an extremely short span of time. An instant when a choice was going to be made and that decision was going to be life-changing. I want to share that specific moment with you, as well as how that one short space in time changed one person’s life forever.

Getting along onlineGetting along onlineWe learned a social rule early on in school. Those of us who were part of a Kindergarten curriculum were taught it when we were what…five or six years old?

“Be nice to each other.”

It’s a simple thing really. Not as much of a rule as it is a tool for successful social interaction. Being a jerk or an aggressive asshat is only effective in the short-term. Continuous expression of said asshattery will eventually brand you as outside of the herd…the social herd as it were.

You can see it daily if you look for it. The jerk who isn’t invited for drinks and fun after work. The mouthy bully who ends up being the last one to go home because no one wants to help him finish up. I’ve also seen it in horrible circumstances. Nightmare circumstances where castigation from the group can be hot-metal-projectiles-ripping-into-your-body-and-rending-you-assunder deadly. I don’t want to specifically talk about it. Just look up the term “military frag” and you’ll understand.

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

A New Thanksgiving Tradition

In 2010, Reglue began working with the various foster care organizations in and around Austin. We were overwhelmed with the number of requests received, just in the first week. The person ageing out of the foster system here in Texas faces a number of challenges. Having a computer to begin adulthood/college shouldn’t be one of them.

The kids we focused on were those within a few months of ageing out of the foster care system…that magic age where the young adult is eighteen. If the foster kid is going to college, the age for ageing out of the system is 24, or at least it was the last time I checked. As well, foster kids who face challenges of one type or another can apply to stay with the foster family if they are not financially or scholastically prepared to leave.

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

On Reglue & Ken’s Kids…

I knew about Ken Starks long before he began writing for us about a year ago. In fact, I knew about him long before FOSS Force even existed. I knew about him from reading his Blog of Helios. I also knew about the important work he does, through his nonprofit Reglue project, getting Linux computers into the hands of school aged children in the Austin area, children who’s parents can’t afford computers because they’re having enough trouble keeping beans on the table and warm coats on their kid’s backs.

During the last year, since Ken’s been part of our team here, I’ve come to know Ken personally, and he’s everything he seems to be. He’s gruff, a little rough around the edges (with plenty of edges) and has a gigantic heart. I wouldn’t change a thing about him. Those edges and his big heart define who he is and without them Ken wouldn’t be Ken — and the world would be poorer for it.

Christine HallChristine Hall

Christine Hall has been a journalist since 1971. In 2001, she began writing a weekly consumer computer column and started covering Linux and FOSS in 2002 after making the switch to GNU/Linux. Follow her on Twitter: @BrideOfLinux

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