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*