Some kids from the neighborhood often stop by and ask if I will serve as their supervising adult so they can volunteer. If I am not too busy I will put them to work.
Rup told me he wanted to learn how to create a website – for free. Within an hour he had created this Nepalicomedy site with embedded videos from YouTube, a custom header background image, custom navigation menu, 4 static pages, and a blog landing page.
Saturday we held our first class, “Introduction to Ubuntu” and it was delightful success. Volunteer Robert, who has a background in teaching, was the instructor. Six people had signed up–we kept the list short since this was our first time–and four people actually made it despite the snowfall (again). The skillset of the students ran the gamut, even in such a small group. We’re very excited about this, as educating people about how computers work and how to use computers is one of our core missions. We plan to make classes like this a regular service of FGTC. We’ll keep you posted as to when the next one will be.
In other big news–that’s big as in cubic feet: Look Ma, no boxes! Waste Management came and picked up our six huge gaylord boxes of monitors and plastic. We have space again!
It’s been cramped living with these monster boxes taking up about 25% of our floor space. But it was worth it as we finally disposed of the remains of the Monitor Mountain that had built up last summer. We wasted no time in putting the space to new use: We moved a bench into place and promptly set volunteers to work on recycling keyboards.
And the new year brought a whole bunch of new interest in Free Geek. Saturday’s tour group was one of the largest ever. It was like a parade weaving through all the activities going on at Free Geek.
Articulate Andy leads a tour group through Free Geek
We have a tour every Saturday at 2pm. Come take the tour and find out more about Free Geek. New volunteers and old computers are always welcome.
We are still working on the exact dates for the garage sale, but this week, in preparation for the event, we worked on giving a final test to our pool of completed build machines, known as Geek Boxes. It turns out to be a pretty good sized pool. We have been marvelously busy with moving into the new space and sorting all the computer equipment we have accumulated over the past several months, all while welcoming new volunteers who come to learn how to dismantle and rebuild computers. As a result, we kind of lost track of our inventory of completed machines. So, we fired them all up, and verfied that everything worked, that they had Ubuntu 10.4 installed, and that they were ready for new owners.
We also found we have many more flat screen LCD monitors than we thought. We will hang onto the small or slightly damaged ones for our own internal use, but plan to sell the larger, fancier models. Our Geek Boxes come standard with a 19″ or 21″ CRT monitor, but we’ll offer a flat screen LCD monitor as an optional upgrade for a modest price. We also will have several Macintoshes to sell.
All of this is good news for the garage sale, as it means we have more computer goodies to offer the public. We won’t be selling all of our computers; we will keep some that will be given to other non-profits as part of the hardware grant program, and to volunteers who complete their 24 hours of service, or who complete their six build boxes.
Meanwhile, in the garage, we continue to refine our teardown process. In the past we used to just lump all scrap metal together. But now we are separating ferrous (magnetic) from non-ferrous metal. The non-ferrous is primarily aluminum, and we think we can get at least a modest amount of money selling it to scrap yards. We have quite a few old, small hard drives, which are mostly aluminum. While we could sell the drives for scrap as is, we will get a better rate if we break them down to their individual components and sort them accordingly. The circuit board in each hard drive is valuable as scrap, too. Even the ferrous metal, if sorted, is worth a few cents per pound, and we have many pounds of it.
Stay tuned for more details on the garage sale. We will be posting more info shortly.