Thursday, May 21, 2009

Mindtriggerz Project at the Student Technology Leadership Program State Championship!

Jesse participated in many, many different STLP events and while his dad and I never attended (mostly because they were held during the school/work day) we knew the State Championship was always the big event of the year.

In May of 2007 I was invited to attend as Jesse was honored during the opening ceremonies and because his presentation partner for the rElements program was going solo with their project. Thinking back now I am not sure how I managed to find my way there on my own, sit in an audience of strangers and listen as the State Director, Elaine Harrison, recognized Jesse's contributions. All I really recall about that day was this small sea of yellow tshirts with my sons beautiful face on them - Dunbar's STLP had designed (thank you, Katie!) shirts to wear that managed to include Jesse in their big day. Certainly, where he belonged.

This years' State Championship was held on May 21st and the Mindtriggerz Project set up a booth in Rupp Arena. The day started perfectly with Jesse's dad and I yelling at each other as we unpacked at the loading dock at 9:30am. We yell at each other a lot but it's okay because it prevents us from taking out our pent up frustration and anger on others. Once we made it into the arena and found our "booth" we were back to good. Jon helped us set up shop and James came by to give me a much needed hug.

We set up one of the Mindtriggerz computers to demonstrate on along with our presentation board, plenty of brochures to hand out and a variety of homemade penguin candies and cookies (thanks to Sarah who made them beautiful with her decorating "skillz"). Our first of many WAVES of participant students rolled in just about the time we decided we needed another table for all our gear. Thanks to the incredible STLP State Staff (thank you, Kay!) we obtained a second table to help us spread out and to set up an additional Mindtriggerz computer.

Sarah managed to find us among the huge crowd using her last two minutes on her cell phone plan calling me (I felt so honored!) and after listening to me talk to a group of students she took over as emcee extraordinaire advising the listeners that they only GOT A COOKIE after listening to her spiel and taking a turn at Tux Type or Tux Math. While Jon took over from James trying to get Jerome's laptop hooked up to the interwabz, we all took turns talking, explaining and demonstrating what we do and why we do it.

Two young men from Liberty Elementary School approached Jesse's dad and asked if they could interview him. They were among the many "cyber reporters" milling around and we were EXTREMELY impressed by their abilities. There were some emotional moments but these boys just blew us away and I hope one day we will get to see their video and report. Throughout the day several reporters came to interview and while they were all awesome - well, the two from Liberty were just incredible.

While the young people came, saw, tested, asked questions and moved on, it was a day filled with much laughter and comraderie, a day Jesse would have surely loved. Our darling Ellidia arrived about 12:30 and proceeded to wile the passerby's with her charm, beauty and "shoulder touch" and scored us several potential donations. She handed out a boat load of brochures and filled the booth with her laughter. We are really going to miss her as she ventures off to Vanderbilt on her scholarship - but we hope she'll come back to see us every once in awhile.

The day drew to a perfect ending with the showing of Beth who decided to stop by and say Hi. Beth's dad has been an awesome contributor to Mindtriggerz and Beth - having just recently joined us at the garden - is going to be an awesome connection, helper, assistant, friend. We are hoping to entice her wonderful beau as well!

As we packed up to leave we bumped into Elaine Harrison and shared a round of hugs and mutual admiration. She said "Jesse's spirit is all around us here" and I hope she's right. I hope he saw us, I hope he approved.

Jesse's Mom

Sunday, May 10, 2009

To the garden we go

Today was "Hannah Day" at the Dunbar Memorial Garden so the Mindtriggerz Teaching Lab was closed for business. We'll reopen as needed on a pre-arranged basis - a sign is posted at the Cardinal Valley Park shelter for anyone who needs/wants to apply for a computer and/or needs to finish up training.

While we will continue to pick up donated technology and continue to operate the Mindtriggerz Project, it's time to move outside, soak up rays, tend to our native plants and be together in a big way. Please join us. Visit to learn more and do good stuff with us.

Jesse's Mom

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Scheduling conflicts

Due to a scheduling conflict, the Mindtriggerz teaching lab was not open for business today :(
Apparently another entity had rented the shelter location for the day and somehow that info didn't make it to us - which isn't to say that we weren't told about it at some earlier point that just wasn't remembered in time.
ANYWAYS, Jerome did get our 15th computer delivered - even a little early today and spent the rest of the morning and afternoon moving around palettes in his house and rearranging all the computers that have been donated. This is a good thing. He plans on opening the lab next Saturday and if he has no "continuing" families, will likely shut down for the season after that and join us at the Dunbar Memorial Garden.
A note will be posted so that Mindtriggerz families can "schedule" signing up or continued training by calling him. As usual, we will continue picking up donated computers and components every Friday from 1 to 2pm. Visit our website at to learn of ways you can help us with this and the other projects of the Jesse Higginbotham Technology Trust.
Jesse's Mom

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Facebooking at the Mindtriggerz Lab

After a full day at the Dunbar Memorial Garden I stopped in to see what was shaking at the Mindtriggerz Teaching Lab. There was Joyce, on a computer engaged in some kind of word puzzle and there was Jerome dashing around as he is well-known for doing.

An event by a local church was being held so most every young person in the lab was spill-over, much like the easter egg hunt weekend last time. While we would prefer the lab to be filled with applicants for the Mindtriggerz computers, we also knew that with the approach of warm weather the park would begin to be dominated by a variety of events and this simply affords us the chance to spread the word about what we are doing and why.

Joyce shared a hilarious story about how she was "manning" the lab while Jerome was out doing who knows what and a couple of teenagers ambled in and when she asked them what they were doing on the computers they said "We want to check our Facebook messages" and she responded with: "Oh no, these computers don't do that - there is no internet here" which of course sent them shuffling off.

Funny stuff - I'd previously told Jerome he should charge admission - lo and behold we found 16 cents that someone had left by a computer so I guess he did! The lab will most likely shut down a little earlier than the end of May as we'd planned and that's okay. As school begins to wind down for these youngsters, as the park begins to fill with other activities, I know Jerome and Joyce would prefer to be at the garden. It reminds me of a certain day in May when I said "Jesse, it's so beautiful outside you should get out in the sunshine and fresh air" then spied him a little later with his laptop - sitting on the deck, pounding away at the keyboard.

Monday, April 20, 2009

And the craziness goes to...

MT Blog- Saturday, April 18th, 2009

Saturday the eighteenth brought the weekend of the anniversary of Jesse's death, the sharing of Mindtriggerz love (another family delivered to!) and more mulch to the garden. James Richardson reporting on the day.

Jerome and I arrived at the lab at about 09:15 or so, to find Andy waiting, the building open. We went inside and immediately began setting up. As Jerome finished bringing out the computers, Joyce arrived, marking the second time she has arrived before 10:00 to the lab- a congratulations to her. The lab went up fairly quickly- we're getting better at throwing the place up- and we had our first customers sometime before ten, I believe. I retreated into the back room, using our extra monitor to dual screen my laptop and work on some stuff while Joyce and Jerome began their work at teaching. Sometime after ten, Papa Weck arrived, sent by Mrs. Weck. He and I had an interesting discussion about laptops and traveling the world. I got a phone call at around 10:30 or so from the amazing Sarah Weck, asking if Becky was going to be at the garden anytime soon. I quickly informed her that Becky was having a massage that morning and would be done around eleven. Sarah and Jamie then proceeded to drive from the garden to the lab, where Sarah, Joyce, Jerome, and Mr. Weck had some interesting conversations. Joyce taught another boy while Sarah played the car game and Jamie had to disappear off to work.

Around noon, Sarah and I headed out to the Garden, leaving the lab in the quite capable hands of Joyce and Jerome. Joyce reports that it was pretty darn quiet that day, and the two handled shutdown about one thirty. Things went down slowly, a station at a time. Everybody took it easy that day after the insanity of the week before with the church crowd and just the general insanity, not to mention it being the eighteenth.

After shutting down the lab, Jerome and Joyce delivered yet another Mindtriggerz computer to yet another happy family with the help of a very respectful young man. In Joyce's words: When they came in, the kids were watching TV, and as the computer went up, attention was shifted to said computer. The day went smoothly enough and brought us one step closer to summer and the end of school.


Signing off,


Saturday, April 11, 2009

Joyce's post for the Mindtriggerz Teaching lab - April 11, 2009 edition!

What an exciting day at Mindtriggerz! James and Jerome set up the lab bright and early as usual, and then James headed back to Bekki's to work his tech magic. I broke my on time streak and got there around 11, and the place was swarming with kids because a local church was having a neighborhood Easter celebration.. We continued training our returning families, and let some of the kids who wandered in play a few games. We gave out some flyers and Jerome did a little networking, so hopefully we will have more volunteers in the last couple weeks until garden work starts up again.

There were some children's books laying around from the church group, and two little girls asked me to read a few. I taught one of the girls to read the word "mine", and I sincerely apologize to her mother who no doubt heard "m-i-n-e, MINE!" all the way home. My bad.

Around two James and Bekki came to help us break down the lab. Jerome and Bekki delivered computers to 3 families, including the CUTEST kid in the world Adwin. I'm so glad his family received their computer, but soooo sad that I won't be seeing that happy little face every Saturday :( We can't wait to have him back for more training.

Around noon there was a softball field dedication for Hannah that Bekki, James, April, other friends, and many members of Hannah's family attended. I'm told it was a lovely ceremony, and that there is a plaque along side her jersey number displayed near the scoreboard. Thinking of you today, Hannah. Thinking of you always.

Jesse's mom adds her two cents worth:
Today Joyce said something to me about Jerome and how one minute he's just talking along jovially and the next he's shouting "NO NO NO" at some little one banging on the keyboard and it made me laugh. So thanks Joyce for making me lulz!
Jerome is an excellent teacher and Joyce is his excellent "balance" - we are eternally grateful for her much needed "patient" assistance at the lab and her hard work at the garden, and for tolerating the "boys."
(we love you, joyce <3)
While at the Liverpool lab today James sorted and tested speakers and a couple of machines using his new "AIDA" diagnostic tool. Then he single-handedly packed the three cpu's and monitors to Jerome's car for delivery to our latest Mindtriggerz computer recipients. Then he ate a lot of brownies! LOL, sorry James, but I am really glad you like my baking. So while we are giving thanks - a few pats on the back for Mr. Richardson too!
Jerome and I visited three VERY happy families and installed their Mindtriggerz computers without too much "ado" - pics will be posted on our "training lab" slide show so take a minute to go the website and watch.
(and yes, Adwin, pictured above is very, very cute!)

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Erica's first time teaching at the Mindtriggerz Training Lab 4.4.09

Today was my first day on the job and all I knew was that I was going to be teaching a bunch of wee-ones how to point and click.
Becky came and picked me up from my house and took me to the Cardinal Valley indoor shelter. When I get there, all 10 computers were set up. James was fixing something on one of the computers. Jerome was also there already taking care of a father and his son. Becky went to the back room to put the food down and Jerome took me to one of the computers and showed me what I would be teaching the kids.
Most of the kids are between the ages of 4 and 8,
meaning they were learning simple things like typing and moving and clicking the mouse.
Around 10:30 I stopped learning and started teaching. For most of the kids it was their second or third time at the lab so a lot of them knew what to do already.
Around 1 everything basically cleared out. One other family came in. The little boy, Adwin, was very cute and extremely enthusiastic! It was his family's' 4th time coming, so they will now be getting their own Mindtriggerz computer at home.
Next week we will be delivering a total of 3 computers... I think.


Erica <3>
A tiny addendum by Jesse's mom
While Jerome, Erica and papa Weck were rocking the training lab, James and I did some work at Liverpool - rearranging, sorting, and running ghetto Ethernet cable to my back porch! James also plowed through about six donated machines in various states of disassemblage and got at least one working again and the others marked for either the cabbage patch or for needed supplies.
Jon appeared to running on fumes so he took it easy.
Next weekend will mark the 11th, 12th and 13th Mindtriggerz computers that have been installed in kids homes!

Saturday, March 28, 2009

And Then There Was Silence/Darkness

MT Blog, Sat. Mar. 28, 2009

James here, reporting on the events of today's Mindtriggerz session. With the first day of Fayette County Public Schools Spring Break came a record-breaking day for numbers. More on that soon.

The morning started out with Jerome and I heading over to the lab and setting up. Andy let us in and we found him in there, front door open. Setup took most of the hour, and Becky arrived at probably a quarter till ten, quickly getting down to work disinfecting the keyboards and mice.

Literally, at the crack of ten- maybe even a couple minutes before, people started showing up. I retreated into the backroom to work on some stuff while Jerome and Joyce started to teach. Around eleven thirty, things started getting pretty hectic. Jerome headed out to drop off the first of the two computers while Joyce taught and I made sure the computers didn't completely fry. After Jerome's first run, things got even more hectic. The lab was truly at maximum load- imagine nine computers and put two people at each of them, and you had what it looked like for a while. For some reason several computers starting acting. It seemed that the more people there were in the room- not even how many people were using them, but just the volume of people has some kind of weird effect on the systems. Especially our KY Trade computer. Tux kept acting up. Maybe because the kids weren't typing fast enough :)

A little before one, it got drastically silent as everybody disappeared. Joyce and I sat in the lab, her playing the Car game and me watching, until Jerome got back. At that point, we shut down all except our Ghetto-tastic sector and started packing things away. An emergency came in and Jerome had to go fix a computer out at one of the houses. When he got back, having heroically solved the situation, we packed away the final set of computers, broke the rest of the way down and bugged out.

All in all, it was a highly productive day at the Cardinal Valley Lab, one that will go down in the projects books as a record day, with how many people we had there- first, second, third timers, plus two more computers going out.

Hopefully, we will have good luck and continue our highly productive weeks.

As usual, we'll be back next week, same time, same place, at the lab, doing business as always.




Saturday, March 14, 2009

The STEM Fair (yes, we could learn to love you)

We arrived at Bryan Station High School this morning for the STEM Fair among a throng of children and adults and amid a cold drizzle. Armed with a fully-operational Mindtriggerz computer, a few spare parts and several dozen penguin candies and cookies (thank you, Sarah) - we took our place at booth 329 conveniently located next to Dunbar's table.

It took Jon, James and the fashionably late Chris about 5 and 1/2 minutes to get the machines set up and running. It took me considerably longer to rearrange but once the cookie bags were opened a steady stream of young folks and not so young folks streamed in, stopped for awhile, lingered over the treats and learned about what we are doing and why. Par for the course, "Tux Type" (aka "Type Faster") was a BIG hit among the students. We actually placed a chair by the computer and had a variety of people jockeying for their turn at the game. At one point even Thomas from Dunbar had to take his turn - he stunned the onlookers with his mad typing skillz! Several of the kids were sent flying with a Mindtriggerz business card and directions on where to find Tux Type to download from online. YEAH, OPEN SOURCE!!!

I was concerned about being emotionally strong enough to handle talking to so many people about the Jesse Higginbotham Technology Trust but for whatever reason (I'd like to think it was somehow Jesse) I found the resources and with the help of the "guys" we had what I consider a very successful day. Many adults stood and talked and took information and lauded the work - I even had the chance to meet one of Jesse's day-care teachers. She told me how much she loved Jesse and what a great kid he'd been to teach and I am hopeful now that her 17 year old son who LOVES computers might come join us in our work.

We met a lot of great people who want to contribute and frankly, that is more than even I could have hoped would happen today. As the event began to wind down we had a visit from Superintendent Stu Silberman who asked that I send him the link for "Tux Type" - oh and yeah, he had a penguin cookie too! Thomas cornered the Channel 13 camera man and Jon gave a wonderful interview for Fayette County School's news channel. Sarah's dad even showed up and was given full license to eat as many cookies as he wanted (he only had one).

I'm sending lots of LUVZ right now to James, Jon, Chris and everyone who is and has been part of the Mindtriggerz team. TY, ty, ty.

Meanwhile, Jerome was hopping at the Park training lab - he had six families and a total of ten kids who spent the day learning about the computers and software. The lab was busy from the arrival of the first kids at 10am to the last family that left at 1:50pm. Thankfully, Joycie was there to help him the entire time. (Side note to Joyce - thank you for your patience!) One family today showed up with a copy of the flyer that Cardinal Valley Elementary distributed - it was a wonderful informational page printed on bright yellow paper in both English and Spanish. Thank you, CVE!

We are thankful to so many - to everyone who has helped in any way. From distributing flyers, to fixing machines, to donating old systems, to allowing us to have a booth at the STEM fair. To each and every person who in some way remembers Jesse by helping us do "good stuff" in his name.

Jesse's mom

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Curly Joe is on the move

There was a great deal of laughter today at Mindtriggerz- a few inside jokes between April and Jon and while James wasn't feeling so great, Sarah looked fabulous just home on Spring Break from Ball State. She brightened up the teaching lab with her beautiful red sun dress then came by Liverpool to enthusiastic applause.

Jerome said there were two new families - one from Community Action Council and another from Cardinal Valley Elementary. April and Joyce posted flyers in nearby apartments and we are still aiming to place the 40+ systems we have ready before we get back to working at the Dunbar garden.

I've been so focused on the STEM Fair that I am little or no help to anyone. James, Chris and Jon formulated plans for the day while I obsessed on making lists because I don't quite trust my memory. Our "booth" will be set up in the center of the action. Chris suggested we have something to draw some of the younger STLP members so it was decided we'd take a Mindtriggerz computer to break down and let them help us put it back together. Demonstrating what we do hardware wise is just as important as the open-source cookies and candies, right? Right.

We continue to recieve calls and emails regularly from folks wanting to donate their older systems and that is so very heartening to us. We made pickups this Friday all over Lexington and ended up with a variety of CPU's and accessories. We are thankful to all those who spread the word and those who remember the Mindtriggerz Project when they upgrade.

Jon has great plans for our future and we are excited not only for his continued involvement but his non-stop enthusiasm. He revitalizes our energy and renews our efforts. We are of course eternally grateful that Jesse has such an incredible "best friend."

An inside to Jon and April, "yes, we will learn to love you."


Saturday, February 28, 2009

Box 'o RAM

Sparse crew today at Mindtriggerz the Liverpool lab edition - it was a blustery, cold day and we don't blame anyone for not "getting out" in it. James helped Jesse's dad set up at the Valley Park training center and before the clock struck 10:00am a young man was there with his granddad for his second day of instruction! Four families came a few steps closer to getting their own Mindtriggerz computers and we are ever-grateful that Mrs. Weck sent Mr. Weck to "go help Jerome" today. When I stopped in to help break-down this afternoon there was our wonderful "Papa Weck" assisting a mom and daughter with the Pac-Man like spelling software.

But I am getting ahead of myself. At Liverpool, while James was busily designing our new "RAM b0x0rZ" I was reformatting floppies as fast as I could. Enjoying the thrill of the new drill bit, James designed this awesomely functional and absolutely gorgeous holder of spare RAM in our endless effort to keep things neat and tidy around the lab. There were some additional concerted efforts and we did manage to clean up a rather cluttered area of our work stations (and cabbage a very old system). When our newest Mindtriggerz Director showed, we inundated him with queries of "what is this" "what is that" and well, Jon arrived in the proverbial nick of time.

By the time James and I returned to the Park Shelter Joyce was already dissassembling the lab computers, she swore she'd been there the whole time and we just hadn't seen her. There is something about an aversion to keyboards or is it speakers? but as always, her presence is greatly (GREATLY) appreciated.

We have plans to distribute about 50 flyers next week to the apartment complexes in the Park vicinity. Jesse's dad wants very much to have the 40+ ready Mindtriggerz systems distributed before we commence work at the Dunbar Memorial Garden in a few weeks. I am hopeful we can - especially since we are quite literally running out of storage space at our houses.

We'll be showing our stuff at the Fayette County Public School's "Science Technology Engineering and Math" fair on March 14th - hopefully this too will draw attention to what we are doing as well as the how's and why's.

This is our work, we do it for each other and we do it for Jesse. Never forget you, desu.


Sunday, February 8, 2009

Failed monitors and latent power surges

As always, we were particularly glad to have Chris join us this Saturday. Sporting a new car and excellent school grades he helped James create our newest Mindtriggerz Instructional Video that can be viewed here:

After their adventures in film production, Chris and James proceeded to repair two additional computers - replacing non-working components and passing the machines off for Jesse's dad to load Ubuntu and the educational software suites.

While Jerome delivered two more computers to recipient families, it was discovered that the monitor I worked so hard to polish up (see our last post for sordid details!) decided it didn't like being clean and performed an epic fail just for its new family. We played a quick switch-up and are happy to report that Danisse now has a completely operable Mindtriggerz computer! (Later we learned there exists a bent pin that James is certain he can repair with a pair of pliers and some brute force)

Meanwhile at the Cardinal Valley Park Training Lab, the incredibly lovely and perfect Sarah showed up on break for the weekend from Ball State to help instruct kids and families. She was joined by the precocious and multi-talented April as well as our infamous hippie chic Joyce who all took a breather from computers to play some basketball with several of the children. Sarah's dad even stopped in for a bit and I think she may have let him play "Tux Type."

We'll be sending the Mindtriggerz Project information to a wider span these next few weeks releasing it to the Kindergarten students at Cardinal Valley Elementary. The aim is to place these 40 plus computers before the first of May so that ALL of us can resume work at the Dunbar Memorial Garden for the Spring and Summer.

Til next time, as James would say: "peace."


Sunday, February 1, 2009

And the cheese was without form

Due to the incredibly horrible weather this week we were unable to host any work on the Mindtriggerz Project. While many in the Lexington area went without electricity for several days (and some still are as of this post fumbling in the dark) I totally jinxed Liverpool by over-preparing the basement.

Jesse's dad stopped in before the ice fell too heavy and reminding him of our last bout with a big storm we took the time to move monitors and cpu's and anything else residing on the basement floor to higher planes. As sure as Tux has no bugs, the next day about 10am the power went out at the house. I called in reinforcements while lugging the generator from its hidden corner maneuvering around pallettes of technology. Jerome rolled in about an hour later with cans of gas and a good arm and managed to get the generator going before any water collected.

Unfortunately, he didn't get to his house fast enough but thanks to Jon most everything in the basement on Brittany was moved up as well.
For about six hours we were without electicity (a far cry from the last storm when we were seven days in the dark and cold) - again, I wonder at the brevity of the power loss and my being too ready for it. I had just fanagled an extension cord from the generator up the stairs and down the hallway so we'd have "internetz" and a lamp in my room for late night reading when VOILA, Kentucky Utilities kicked in.

I was thankful not to have a flooded basement.

Liverpool even now is a layer of slush - temps topped out in some balmy 50 degree-ish range today which surely helped - especially the sidewalks that were impassable yesterday. Most of our "families" walk to the Park for the training sessions so we knew there was little chance anyone could make the trek on Saturday.

An email came in this evening for another donated machine so hopefully the weather will cooperate and we can resume our regular activities next week. *Fingers crossed*


Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Four down, thirty-six to go

Jesse's dad delivered three Mindtriggerz computers this Saturday to the families who completed their training, the fourth was delayed as our little Harvard prodigy was ill. I felt a certain melancholy in letting them "go" - or perhaps it is more the reality of what we are doing and why. I know it is good work but some days it is just very hard.

Incredibly, in a couple of the homes Jerome visited there were old non-working computers tucked away in closets. One dad asked if we could fix his old machine and Jerome responded: "We only fix computers for little people, not big ones" and then was given the old computer to be donated to Mindtriggerz. Jesse would love the irony in this - we give a computer and take another one in its place.

Joyce was our "runner" hustling back and forth between Liverpool and the Park loading systems into her car for Jerome to deliver. Laughing all the way. James was here along with Jon and while the guys replaced parts and diagnosed my dysfunction (one of the machines I couldn't get to boot was due to the fact that I'd plugged the monitor into the wrong port - ha ha, yeah), I cleaned speakers and mice and demonstrated not only how I make the machines sparkle to "like new" but also the ultimate results of my comet/windex mix. Sandpaper hands, an abrasive unto themselves.

When Jesse's dad delivered the infamous STICKER MANIA monitor last week to be cleaned I was like "no way, no, can't do" but then after checking the quality of the resolution I realized I had to fix it up. I joked about stickers being the bane of a mom's existence then buckled down to work. I suspect this monitor had been stacked away somewhere for quite some time, there was a great deal of dust and embedded grime but after fifteen or so minutes of buffing it with my steel wool knuckles, well, I finally got it clean.

Actually, it took a lot longer than fifteen minutes and much more than my sad cracked hands. I scraped each sticker with my fingernails (now all shredded to the quick) and had to bring out the big guns for the large plastic hook attached to the side with the dreaded double sided rubber adhesive. I won't go into too many details as to the plethora of cleaning products I unsuccessfully tried but finally I discovered the magic potion: Guardsman's Citrus Spot Remover. It was an "omg" moment and as is evident by this post, I am very proud of myself for the monitors pre-placement renewed condition. There are a wide variety of "things" I am not so good at anymore but it seems cleaning is not one that I've lost just yet.

For me these systems are a demonstration of my continued love for Jesse, and Jesse loved "shiny." So they will be.


Monday, January 19, 2009

Hungry, Hungry Hippos (aka your pets are on the internet while you're not home)

We've fallen a little behind on posts but are claiming "busy" as an excuse oh and yes, blaming the internet too.

We learned this week that Second Life awarded its first annual Jesse Malthus Award for Best Community Influence in September during their "Hippo Awards Ceremony" - giving us great pride as well as many tears but mostly thankfulness that Jesse continues to be remembered for his many contributions to SL.
Information on the award is available here:

Four of our applicant families have finished their training and will each be receiving a Mindtriggerz computer this weekend! We are so excited for them and for us. It has been incredible watching these young ones (ages 3 and 4) as well as their parents working hard at the Cardinal Valley Park "lab" - learning the software and the technology together. We feel certain that the dedication they have shown us will continue - and that the Educational Software (GCompris and Childsplay) will benefit the entire family.

Several other families are almost there - another Saturday or two and we'll have additional computers to place. We've been slowly moving around components from Jesse's dads house to mine so I can do the "detailing" to the machines. This equates basically to me vacuuming out dust from cpu's, scraping off "MS Windows" stickers, and using most of the cleaning products in the house coupled with some serious elbow grease to make the components look as like new as humanly possible.

Which brings me to the second half of this weeks title: your pets and the internet. Windex is a pretty awesome product and I've used a lot of it cleaning up keyboards lately. When we discovered that the computer vacuum (graciously donated to us) had a capacity to "blow" we started using it regularly on keyboards. The adage "old computer components never lie" or "every keyboard tells a story" has never been better exemplified then by what we've found lurking beneath the control key! Ha!

Seriously, today I picked up a rather amazingly clean Dell keyboard and just for the sake of doing so decided I'd run the vac just for lulz. It was after this that I decided little Muffy and Spot, Boots and Alley are not just lamely sleeping the day away while their humans are off to work. No, I suspect they spend many hours surfing websites like Purina, Petsmart and icanhascheezburger. Undoubtedly.

This thought made me smile today as I polished surfaces to sparkle and shine. Thank you to the wonderful pets whose wonderful owners donated items to Mindtriggerz. Woof. Meow. W00t.


Saturday, January 3, 2009

Screen shot or fake (fun with the Mindtriggerz crew)

After James helped Jerome set up the lab at Valley Park this morning he traipsed to Liverpool. While in the kitchen heating a breakfast burrito he shouted down the stairs: "There are people at the front door."
I think I said something like "Well, let them in."

It was Vincent and Zack, two new volunteers who joined us thanks to the lauding of our project by Joyce and April. :) and <3.
Vincent is a student at the University of Kentucky. Zack is finishing up high school here in Lexington. Both came aptly suited technologically speaking and eased into the work and camaraderie of our group as though they'd been helping for ever. We are happy to welcome them on board and hope to see them at many more Saturday work sessions.

While Sarah and Joyce helped Jerome teach the returning kids and parents at the Park, I eavesdropped (to the best of my abilities and as most around here know my hearing is quite deficient) on the conversations being bantered around while blowing the dust out of and then cleaning the hand prints off the CPU's we have loaded and that are ready to "place."

Jon has been diligently working on a "thin client server" and is making great progress. Josh changed out a cd rom drive in another system and apparently Vincent made magic and got a system running that had been relegated to the cabbage-patch.

I am continually amazed by the abilities of them all and suspect I will ceaselessly be so, as I always was with Jesse.

Jerome reported that four out of the six families he and his crew worked with last Saturday returned again and when I dropped in at about 1:00pm there was Danisse (Joyce's "future Harvard student") dressed to the nines and casually dragging dropping moving and manipulating and having a great time mastering a "GCompris" math game I have not had the patience to yet learn. She is four years old and prior to her Mom applying for a Mindtriggerz computer, had never touched a keyboard.

This is what it's all about.

None of what has transpired and none of what is the future of this project would have come this far, this fast without many sleepy Saturday mornings, without many brilliant, talented and caring individuals. Like the Dunbar Memorial Garden this too is our "labor of love" and we will never be able to give the proper thanks where and to whom it is due. Many, many hands have participated - from the folks who donate their old machines to the young men and women who sacrifice sleep to work with us - to the countless others who simply "spread the word."


and LUVZ.

Until next week!
Jesse's Mom