Thursday, February 24, 2011

Computer Donation to the Boys Home

Over a year ago I went on a company trip to a boys home (orphanage) outside of the city limits. We went there to just have a fun day with the boys.

Initially we were treated to a tour of the home which is on a very large tract of land and has many buildings. One of the first things that we say was the computer classroom. I noticed that they were all shut off. I asked if they were any problems with them and they said there was many. Myself and a few others tried to get a few to work. It was futile, they were all junk.

We continued our tour and was given a karate demonstration by the boys and then we ended up playing some impromptu volleyball and cricket.

It occurred to me that the company often donated used computers and even the worst computers that we get rid of would be better than what they had now. I told the director that I would try.
(open mouth, insert foot).

This isn't the first time that I had some grandiose idea for charity. The last big idea I had didn't turn out well. That's a story for another time.

As it turns out one of the units with the company had just received new computers and they said I could have the old ones and the monitors! Only problem was that they had removed the hard drives. They also had the old restore CD's (software, drivers etc.) that came with them.

My first problem was getting the computers home. Between procrastination and logistics, this took awhile.

Next came the hard dives. I was hoping that some grant money would come through but it never did and I ended up having to buy the hard drives off of eBay. I was trying to get the best bang for my bucks and I lost a few auctions before I finally won an auction for the hard drives that I needed at a good price. Now I had to wait for the hard drives to arrive.

The hard drives arrived and now I had to prepare one that I could clone to the other computers. This took awhile as I wanted to find the best open source educational software I could find.

When I finally got one of the computers the way I wanted it I was ready to clone the hard drive. If all went well I would be able to use a hard drive duplicator at work and the job should only take a half hour tops to clone all of the hard drives. The duplicator wouldn't work with the drives. I needed a plan "B".

I then had to figure out a software way to clone the computers. This took forever but I finally was able to bot the computers from a USB flash drives and clone all of the computers over a weekend. But then two of the computers used different hard drives. Fortunately I had the drives but then the clone image wouldn't work and I had to come up with something new for them. I ended up installing Ubuntu Linux on them.

Then I tested the monitors and realized some of them didn't work. Now I needed more monitors, Back to the company and asked if I could get some used computer monitors to be donated. This took awhile but I got the monitors and got them home.

I'll just fast forward here. I finally was able to get someone to make liaison with the boys home and with some help delivered and set up the computers.

The boys were very excited and dived right into the educational software that I had installed. It was so good to see how happy they were. I'm ashamed at myself for dragging this on for so long.

We are making another trip to the home next month and I'll get a chance to follow up on the computers and I am going to see about getting the company to donate a printer.

Boys home web site:


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