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Posts tagged as “Reglue”

Enhancing Education With FOSS

There are no profound revelations here…at least not in this post. It just serves to reinforce something we already know.

When we go into a home to give a child a computer, one of the first things we do is explain to them that we have installed Linux on their computer, not Windows. This announcement is usually met with blank stares or shrugs. They don’t care. They are just jacked that they are finally entering into the tech age at home.

The Windows CrowdThe Windows CrowdMost times, any concern expressed is coming from the parent. Of course it would be. Their minds are locked into doing things one way.

We often address this concern quickly. Once we boot the computer, the machine becomes the realm of the child and aside from parental controls, the machine belongs to the child. We explain that explicitly. If the child had any qualms about what Linux is, they evaporate once we start the computer and click the applications menu.

Our custom distro, based on Linux Mint 17 KDE LTS, is a playground completely filled with learning opportunities. Many of the applications were taken from standard Linux educational apps available from the regular repositories. The 3.3 gig ISO file produces a live cd/install disk which not only provides hours of entertainment, it includes educational software that meets most any academic need the child will encounter. Many of our kids, however, are at the age where they like to play simple games. We’ve provided an abundant environment for that.

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

Firefox Turns 10, Making Reglue Stick & Outlaws Ride

FOSS Week in Review

Arguably it was a fairly miserable week in areas that are not exactly FOSS, but let’s not think about that now. Here’s what is on-the-radar worthy of mention as this week ends:

An anniversary worth celebrating: A while back, many in the FOSS world quaffed copious amount of Kool-Aid in celebrating the 10th anniversary of a particular vowel-laden distro. What unfortunately seems to be ready to fly inconspicuously under the radar is a far more important 10th anniversary celebrating a far more useful and ubiquitous software program.

Good thing I’m here to make sure the word gets out.

Firefox logoFirefox logoIn a full-page ad in “The New York Times” on Nov. 9, 2004, the Mozilla project announced the release of Firefox 1.0, the first full version of the browser which has become the third most popular way to navigate the Internet, behind Google Chrome and Internet Exploder, er, Explorer. What makes Firefox unique is that it’s the only one of the three leading browsers that’s completely open source. Ten years later, more than 450 million people use Firefox, of which about 40 percent of the code is written by volunteers. In addition, its reach can be measured by the fact that more than half of the users employ non-English versions. The browser is available in 75 languages.

Larry CafieroLarry Cafiero

Larry Cafiero, a.k.a. Larry the Free Software Guy, is a journalist and a Free/Open Source Software advocate. He is involved in several FOSS projects and serves as the publicity chair for the Southern California Linux Expo. Follow him on Twitter: @lcafiero

Video: Ken Starks’ & Ruth Suehle’s Keynotes at OLF

Here at FOSS Force we’re proud to be associated with Ken Starks. We’re proud because of the great articles he writes advocating Linux. We’re also extremely proud that he was chosen to be a keynote speaker at this year’s Ohio LinuxFest. But most of all, we’re proud because of his big heart, which he expresses through his work through Reglue, the nonprofit he founded in 2005 to give Linux computers, and training on how to use them, to financially disadvantaged school children in and around the Austin, Texas area where he lives.

Indeed, it’s this last aspect that was honored at Ohio LinuxFest, and the work Ken does with his “Reglue kids” was his focus during his time spent behind the podium. He called his presentation “Deleting The Digital Divide One Computer at a Time.”

Lucky for us, his friend Randy Noseworthy put together a video of the presentation, which we’re happy to be able to offer here. We’re certain you’ll find it as inspiring as we do.

Reglue Annual Fundraiser Up & Running

It should come as little surprise to most that Reglue is just about our favorite nonprofit Linux project. This would be true even if the organization’s founder and executive director wasn’t also our own fun-to-read columnist, Ken Starks. After all, what’s not to like about an organization that collects old, worn Windows boxes, fixes them up until they’re practically new again, and finds them homes with school kids who otherwise wouldn’t have a computer? Along the way, those Windows machines become Linux machines, which helps break the vendor lock-in which Redmond tries to create in the minds of American school children.

Reglue fundraiserReglue fundraiser
Bruno Knaapen Technology Learning Center
Of course, sometimes Reglue finds itself battling vendor lock-in which has infected the minds of adult educators who should know better — but that’s another story entirely.

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

Bullies in the Machine or Pick On Someone Your Own Size

Decency…it’s what’s for dinner forums.

It wasn’t but a few days ago that I approached the KDE community in Google Plus to ask a question. In asking that question, I included a screenshot to present a graphical representation of my problem. Three community members responded right away. The first two responses were legitimate queries: questions seeking to gather information needed to calculate an effective attack vector. The third response was…well, not so much.

“Stop, I can’t. My eyes are bleeding. x_x “

The remark about “eyes bleeding” was obviously a reaction to a perceived lack of aesthetics in the screenshot. And yeah, it pissed me off. I didn’t seek a critique on my icon set or color scheme. I was asking how to fix my friggin’ frappin’ problem.

Linux forums 01Linux forums 01With my verbal weapons cache set to full snark, I proceeded to dress the commenter down for the misplaced and unhelpful comment. I trimmed and honed every word so that my obvious displeasure at the opinion would not be mistaken for anything else.

There are specific and discrete techniques that can help you call someone a jerk. I used a method designed so that the target momentarily believes that you are a nice guy, while everyone else in proximity is checking their clothing for blood spatter. I have become a master of this technique. Whether that’s good or bad, I dunno. It is what it is.

That wasn’t the end of it, however.

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

Ken Starks to Keynote At Ohio LinuxFest

Holy moley! Our Ken Starks is going to keynote at Ohio LinuxFest (OLF) and I almost forgot.

Ken had mentioned this in a email a few months back, I believe, but I’d put it on a back burner, where it fell off and landed hidden behind the stove. If Larry Cafiero, better known as the free software and CrunchBang guy, hadn’t made mention of the fact on Google+ the other day, I probably wouldn’t’ve remembered until it was way too late.

ken_starksken_starksAs most FOSS Force readers probably already know, Ken’s articles here and on his own Blog of Helios are only a small part of what he does. He’s one of those too rare people who works to make a difference in this world and he does so by leveraging the power of Linux and free and open source software for the greater good.

As the founder of the Reglue project (originally called Helios), he’s responsible for putting refurbished computers in the hands of financially challenged students in and around the Austin, Texas area where he resides. Over the years there have been thousands of these students and many of them, given Reglue computers while in middle or high school, have gone on to not only earn undergraduate degrees, but to attend graduate school as well — often studying computer science.

It’s his work at Reglue, of course, that’s responsible for Ken being invited to OLF. Wanting to know more, I fired off a list of questions in an email in the form of an interview. As usual, Ken was very giving of his time and put much thought into his answers.

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

An Educational Crap Shoot With Linux As A Player

300px-Craps300px-CrapsA few months ago, Brian Conner approached me and asked if I would be interested in talking to him about what we do at Reglue. He wanted to write an interview/story for Linux Journal.

I was not only surprised, I was honored to think that what we do might be of interest to the greater Linux/FOSS community. The article was published in the June issue of Linux Journal. Friends from all over the world are still emailing me, asking if I have seen the article.

Indeed I have, thank you.

What amazed me more was the conversation the story generated on Reddit and Slashdot. I don’t think it made the front page on either site, but there was a good number of comments and feedback, which we are going to talk about now.

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

Where Loyalty and Trust Still Matter

It was in 2010 when Skip Guenter began winding his way through friends and contacts, finally succeeding in finding our organization a place to call home.

That place is Taylor, Texas.

Since 2005, HeliOS/Reglue has operated from any place we could find. We’ve worked from garages, work sheds, tack rooms, barns, the back of pickup trucks and even in monthly storage places.

But we are home now.

Taylor a small town of 15.5K or so. Big enough to have a Walmart but small enough for the checkout clerk to know you by your first name, as well as the names of your spouse and kids. That’s also true of the people at the post office, the bank, the grocery store, the vehicle registration place…. And that’s kind of nice.

Reglue loyalityReglue loyality

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

Blackberry Trolls, Coke in Patent Suit & More…

FOSS Week in Review

India drops deal with Google over spying fears

Since the Snowden leaks revealed that Microsoft has allegedly built back doors into Windows for the NSA, we’ve been saying that the spy agency’s actions are going to hurt the U.S. tech industry’s business abroad. Well, it’s started to happen. On Thursday, Reuters reported that India has decided to drop out of a planned partnership with Google designed to help voters access information.

“…the plan was opposed by the Indian Infosec Consortium, a government and private sector-backed alliance of cyber security experts, who feared Google would collaborate with “American agencies” for espionage purposes.”

cokeadcokeadThere’s even been more digital security news from the EU, where there’s been a scramble to address privacy and security issues since the NSA scandal began. On January 3, phoneArena.com reported that European phone makers have been coming out with pricey phones designed for the security conscious.

Mark our words. This is only the beginning.

A Very Linux Christmas

Since 2005, with the exception of last year, I have “worked” every Christmas day. I accentuate “worked” because I am lucky enough to have a job that feels more like a hobby than it does labor. I give computers to kids who cannot afford them. What’s not to like? I plan to work some of Christmas morning this year too.

This year is a special though.

Why?

Because I wasn’t supposed to be here. In fact, I wasn’t to be anywhere. Not in one piece anyway.

I was supposed to be dead.

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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