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ComputeReach

Man it's tough to get in all that you want to do, isn't it? I've been trying to get my blogging activities rebooted, and do some volunteer work as well. I'm starting to combine the two by volunteering on the SQL Saturday Committee for SQL Saturday #171 Pittsburgh (October 6th, come join us!), using the blog as one vehicle to get the word out about the event. More actions are in the works, but any other ideas from this community on how to spread the word about this great event are appreciated, by the way.

The real purpose of this blog entry, though, is to take a moment to talk about another volunteer activity I participated in recently, one that I think most of us in the tech world can appreciate.

In late June I spent a Saturday working with ComputeReach, a Pittsburgh-based humanitarian organization whose mission is to repurpose used computers for those less fortunate. In addition to putting computers into the hands of those who might not normally have access to them, it properly recycles computers that it cannot use, keeping those computers from potentially ending up in landfills, where they can cause environmental issues at the very least.

On this particular Saturday a big group of people -- including individuals from the Pittsburgh office of Google, the Western PA Linux User's Group, and ITT Tech -- came together to repurpose approximately 180 Dell Optiplex computers. They were updated with expanded RAM and fresh installations of Edubuntu Linux, boxed and packaged for shipping. It was a hot, hot day to be working in a warehouse, moving, imaging, and repackaging computers, but everyone was enthusiastic and did a great job. For a video of the volunteers in action, see this link. Roll call is at the end of the video, where everyone introduces themselves. I'm the first one up, caught a bit off guard (what, me first? :-).

While ComputeReach primarily serves impoverished communities in the US, thanks to a generous donation from Google, many of these computers will be going to the The Street Academy in Ghana, which provides education to children living on the streets in Accra, the capital city of Ghana.

If you are interested in learning more about ComputeReach, please contact Dave Sevick (b|t) at dave@computereach.org.

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