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Re: [vox-outreach] Davis Homeless Shelter
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Re: [vox-outreach] Davis Homeless Shelter

on Thu, Apr 15, 2004 at 10:12:35PM -0700, Bill Kendrick (nbs@sonic.net) wrote:
> I overheard someone commenting that the Pentium II kiosk we recently
> set up for Chamonix Coffee is way better than the computers they have
> set up at the Davis Homeless Shelter (which is located on H Street),
> where they volunteer.
> I don't know all of the details, but it sounds like they have about 2
> computers for doing managerial stuff (e.g., case management, etc.) and
> 1 public computer for people to write resumes, play games, and so
> forth.  (Apparently, it's not connected to the Internet, though; they
> wish it were, so people could search for jobs and other useful info!)
> I thought this would be ripe for some volunteer help from us
> LUGOD'ians, so I gave a card to the girl, who will pass it on to her
> boss.
> I'm guessing a Pentium 2 or 3 level PC running OpenOffice.org and
> Konqueror or Mozilla would be sufficient for almost all of their
> needs.  It would take a little more work than just setting up a PC
> with Linux on it, though, since they'll need to move their existing
> data (sounds like it's in Excel) over, and, of course, learn how to
> use the software.
> If I get a positive response from the Shelter, is there anyone out here
> willing to:
>   * Coordinate this project   [I would, but I'm leaving town in a few weeks!]
>   * Donate PC hardware  [sounds like new monitors might be called for, too!]
>   * Help set up the managerial-related systems
>   * Help migrate the managerial-related data to the new systems
>   * Help set up and lock down a kiosk

Sharing a few thoughts, I'm approaching local NPs/NGOs.  Some info:

  - Standard mantra of:  where do I go for support, where's the
    documentation, and what are the training costs.

  - Local training is available free of charge through the county IT
    department.  Which presumably doesn't have much experience with Free
    Software alternatives, though I'll look into this.

  - United Way is sponsoring nonprofit needs assessments through a
    program called CompuMentor, at http://www.compumentor.org/ .  The
    technical meat appears to be at TechSoup, http://www.techsoup.org/ ,
    which *does* have several pages referencing Free Software (both
    WinXX and GNU/Linux) and GNU/Linux specifically.

  - Many community service organizations are strongly tied to government
    grant projects/programs, through city, county, state, and federal
    levels, and have reporting needs tied to same.  This is likely to be
    your biggest sticking point as these will typically be vertical
    apps, many with strong Microsoft dependencies.  On the positive
    side, these apps may be dated, and capable of being run on WINE.

CompuMentor is based out of SF.  Both it and TechSoup have registration
pages which let you sign on as a consultant volunteer.  I'd recommend
doing this.

TechSoup also has additional useful pages, good reading there.


Karsten M. Self <kmself@ix.netcom.com>        http://kmself.home.netcom.com/
 What Part of "Gestalt" don't you understand?
    Save Bob Edwards!       http://www.savebobedwards.com/

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