The Tech Share bundle ships out

In the cargo hold of a plane bound for east Africa sometime this weekend is a computer lab in a box. Well, five boxes, actually. It’s sort of like a bed-in-a-bag, except that it actually matters. The teachers and staff of the Ebenezer Educational Center are getting excited about the bundle of technology goodness en route to their school.

Computer lab in a box: just add water power!

We’ve said repeatedly that we could not have done this project without you, the readers who have given of your own hard-earned dough for the cause. But I want to acknowledge again some of the companies who have provided goodies and discounts to make such a complex endeavor successful. First of all, Asus provided a stack of Eee PCs at a price that was even more affordable than usual.

Know how long it takes to do all the updates on 13 Eee PCs, even when you have eight of them at a time

downloading via high-speed cable access? Far longer than we expected.

Also, NCIX, the super-reliable e-tailer from the land of Geoff (that also serves us Yanks), stepped up to help in a big way. I wanted to make this more than just a stack of netbooks, but rather a virtually instant computer lab. So NCIX donated, entirely free of charge or complaint, a router, an external DVD R/W and enough mice and cables to give my cats fits.

An impressive wireless router that Scott pre-configured to connect as soon as it and the Eees are powered up

Eee PCs the size of small novels don’t have room for optical drives, so this might be nice to have occasionally.

A horde, mischief, or cluster

Even the basics are pricey in Uganda, so these might come in handy.
Given that the 4G model of Eee PC has only 4GB of solid state storage on-board, I asked Corsair, a long-time sponsor of The Tech Report and supporter of the enthusiast community, whether they could help provide additional storage options that will likely be needed once the students start making use of the OpenOffice apps, the built-in web cams, and eventual downloads from the net. Corsair came through with 72GB of flash storage in the form of SD cards and Voyager mini USB drives.

Need more storage? Corsair steps up in a flash.

The teachers and administration at the school currently have no computer to keep records, prepare documents or lesson plans, or carry out any standard administrative tasks. We originally planned to send funds to help cover the cost of a desktop system for this purpose. But after extensive research into what’s available and consideration of the total cost and risks involved, we decided to send a used Compaq Presario X1000. Although it’s several years old, it’s still far more competent that what we could have bought in Kampala for $500 or so. For office- and education-related tasks, it’ll be perfect. It was Scott’s primary laptop for a couple years, then mine for a couple more. Now it should serve the staff of the Ebenezer Educational Center for a few more years.

Man I’m gonna miss watching movies on this beautiful wide screen.

Along with the equipment, we’ll be providing the school with the funds needed to pay for Internet access, as well. After months of work and countless setbacks, I’m a little pumped that the goal is finally in sight. Stay tuned; soon we hope to be announcing that the lab is up and running at the school in Kampala. Then we’d like to get the school involved with The Tech Report in some way. Hmmm… I can hear it now… “From our East Africa bureau on the shores of Lake Victoria, this is Jordan Drake bringing you The Tech Report Podcast… ”

Comments closed
    • shaq_mobile
    • 12 years ago

    holy cow, im bummed i missed out on the chance to donate. i hope there are more chances, i want kids in africa to play css 🙂

      • Inkling
      • 11 years ago

      There will be.

    • YvonneJean
    • 12 years ago

    I don’t often read the blog posts, but glad I looked at this one. You guys rock.

    • Usacomp2k3
    • 12 years ago

    Woohoo!

    • mongoosesRawesome
    • 12 years ago

    Did you contact anyone about donating hardware and have them turn you down?

      • Inkling
      • 12 years ago

      Nope. Although some of the donors were more generous than others.

    • bwoodring
    • 12 years ago

    Read TR every day and never heard of this. I am either incredibly unobservant, or this wasn’t publicized very well.

    Great work though. Looks like this is going to help out a lot.

    • Imperor
    • 12 years ago

    How have I missed this whole project!?
    I mostly read the News section only (my link is to news.*) but still! Not that I’m a rich guy… Living on wellfare at the moment but I still donate to Doctors without Borders every month (if only a little) and a project like this is right up my alley! I’ve been following the OLPC project with great interrest for some time now and I’m thrilled they’ve started deliveries in earnest because I think the best way to help a people out of poverty is education and communication.

    Big ups to TR and everyone who helped with this great project! Hopefully you’ll help educate a generation of computer-savvy people who in turn can help get their country and peoples out of poverty and into the international marketplace!

      • Inkling
      • 12 years ago

      Please see my comment #19.

      And we appreciate your enthusiasm. It is likely that we’ll be asking for a little more help soon, depending on how well this works out.

    • titan
    • 12 years ago

    Did you also install F@H clients on each machine and configure them to contribute to team 2630?

      • Meadows
      • 12 years ago

      That’s just what you need on a computer whose processor can barely handle the default software bundle, let alone have free power to spare.

        • SecretMaster
        • 12 years ago

        I thought the statement was deliberately tongue in cheek. Must’ve missed that memo…

    • Ricardo Dawkins
    • 12 years ago

    Excellent job, guys.

    To you and all people that donated many thanks for helping the people in Africa because I did nothing. 🙁

      • mattthemuppet
      • 12 years ago

      don’t worry mate, I’m sure there’ll be plenty more opportunities to help 🙂

    • Dposcorp
    • 12 years ago

    I love it! Pics of the lab and kids, when all is said and done, would be great.

    • Rakhmaninov3
    • 12 years ago

    Great project! I didn’t even know this was in the works…I was on hiatus from TR for awhile until I got my new computer (med school got in the way too) so I guess I wasn’t around to hear of the project, but it looks like a fantastic cause. Kudos to the donors and the TR staff!

    • leor
    • 12 years ago

    great stuff guys, keep em coming and i’ll keep donating.

    • ssidbroadcast
    • 12 years ago

    Not to be a wet blanket, but are you sending them an IT guy, too?

      • Imperor
      • 12 years ago

      Maybe they could get some online support from TR?! 🙂
      People around these parts are pretty good at solving most problems as you might know. 😉

      Would be kind of cool servicing a comp. in Uganda via a “remote desktop!”

        • ssidbroadcast
        • 12 years ago

        I guess it’s not entirely implausible that someone over there in Uganda is qualified to be the steward of all that hardware, but really… as a diehard cynic I’m worried that stuff may little-by-little go “missing.” Especially the SD cards.

        Further, who will troubleshoot these computers, or the network? I’m all for philanthropy, but I’m also *against* wasting goodwill.

          • eitje
          • 12 years ago

          VNC or SharedView means onsite support isn’t completely necessary.

      • Inkling
      • 12 years ago

      We have lined up a guy to set up the lab and get everything running at no charge. Then over the long term both he and the local Internet provider will be available for tech support, though likely for a fee. Therefore, we may very well encourage some type of venue here on TR for support, like a sticky forum thread or a blog; we’ll see how things go once it’s set up.

    • blitzy
    • 12 years ago

    that’s a really great effort

    • SomeOtherGeek
    • 12 years ago

    Wow!! This is totally awesome!! Gives me a warm, fuzzy feeling for this community. Kudos to you all for helping out and making this possible! It is most definitely a great cause.

    Keep a look out for some donations from me in your future endeavors! I will gladly contribute what I can.

    You just made my day, TR and community! This is just more that a Techie site, but more of a community of good people! Let’s keep this up!

    • Tamale
    • 12 years ago

    Way to go, everyone! What a great donation.

    • eitje
    • 12 years ago

    that’s really great to hear. I’m glad that, even though it took a while, my donations from last December are finally being transfered (as tangible products) to Africa.

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This