Sunday, March 27, 2011

Blogcation, all I ever wanted. Blogcation, had to get away. Blogcation, meant to be spent alone...

Apologies from the headquarters of Rock and Roll Stop the Traffic regarding my unannounced two and a half week blogcation.   Fortunately for both you and I, the time was well spent sleeping in and concentrating on a few other side projects that I find myself compelled to be part of.  There is so much more that I have to say and share visually with you, my lovely audience.  In time I will crawl out of this block and be posting more regularly once again.

Until then, check out this brilliant piece of work that the Charlotte Observer's Karen Sullivan posted in today's online version as well as the printed Sunday paper edition.  In the past few hours I have been privy of the response via my ubiquitous contact at Hackerspace Charlotte.  Charlotte North Carolina is helping, the emails are coming in with plenty of folks willing to donate laptop machines.  Details, and numbers will be out soon.  My former background in and passion for logistics will be quite useful in the near future.

Thank you to all of those who have made a contribution thus far.  As well thanks to the Charlotteans who have emailed today with new donations. And of course, none of this would be happening without the braintrust that is Hackerpsace.

Click here to read the online edition or simply scroll down:


Hackers reach out to help Haitian school

Hackerspace Charlotte is restoring laptops to send to a grade school.

By Karen Sullivan

  • The refurbished laptops are sent to a public grade school in Barbancourt, Haiti. COURTESY BILL FEHR
  • Charlotte Hackerspace member Ryan Stachurski, center, works with other members of the group at its lab in a former textile mill. COURTESY RYAN STACHURSKI

More Information

  • Hackerspace Charlotte is looking for outdated or broken laptops that can be repaired and sent to school children who have little or no access to technology. Leave a message at to make a donation.

Hackers often get a bad rap.
They're often known for breaching computer systems or leaking sensitive information.
Members of Hackerspace Charlotte, an open lab space, want to show the positive side of being creative, independent and tech-savvy. They built five laptops from scrap heaps, cleaned them up and donated them earlier this month to a public grade school in Barbancourt, Haiti.

Now the group is taking donations of working and fixable laptops for a second gift to the school, where most children have never used a computer."It has the potential to do a world of good," Hackerspace Charlotte Treasurer Ryan Stachurski said. "If you have children growing up without technology, that is an essential part of life in this day and age, they're going to have a very significant disadvantage."

The project, called Laptop Round Up for the Real, started when Charlotte blogger Bill Fehr visited the rural community of Barbancourt and toured its grade school. More than 200 children attend the rural school, located about two hours north of Port-au-Prince.

Fehr asked the school's principal what he could bring on his next visit that might help the children. The answer: 15 laptops.Fehr would like to send even more laptops. He wrote about his goal on his blog,

Members of Hackerspace Charlotte responded.The group celebrated its grand opening in December last year in a former mill property in the North Davidson Street arts district.Its 30 members pay a fee to share the lab. The space allows them to move their personal projects off their dining room tables and into a community of like-minded people.They also can work together on charitable projects such as this one.

Members have backgrounds in engineering, information security, corporate management, woodworking, experimental art and other areas. About eight members helped with the laptop project. They found laptops and hard drives at Southern Resources, a scrap metal processing and recycling operation that's also in the arts district.

The volunteers rebuilt hardware, fixed power supplies by hand, erased the hard drives and installed the Ubuntu operating system.A member of the Haitian American Association of the Carolinas delivered the equipment to the school.

"We've repurposed this trash and put it into use," Stachurski said.
"It wasn't very difficult, it was being persistent. The technical part of putting things together is what we excel at."

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