Support meetings/20080224


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Sunday, Feb 24 2008, 4-6PM EST


Community Support Volunteers confirmed:
Darah Tappitake (Massachusetts, our guest speaker from OLPC) John Webster (Arizona) FFM (Virginia) SJ Klein (1CC, Massachusetts) Henry Hardy (1CC, Massachusetts) Caryl Bigenho (Southern California) Kim Quirk (Massachusetts) ixo (Washington State) Mel Chua (New York, later, on irc) Rafael Enrique Ortiz Guerrero (Colombia, South America, dirakx) Adam Holt (Massachusetts) PLEASE ADD YOUR NAME IF YOU ALSO ATTENDED!


Note: Some private/personal details have been removed from this transcript.

SJ - introductions!
Present : (attendance list above)
Darah Tappitake (tappy take!) new to the olpc staff, started about 3
weeks ago; dealing with country comm and programming process, with
many of the olpc groups. position somewhat flexible, including
managing learning workshops that take place in cambridge once a month
w/ different representatives from respective countries, cities,
Holt - with a crappy phone - kick me off if I [start making noise]
Holt - the people who start setting up repair centers are so into
meeting our overseas goals, and are willing to cut g1g1 off at the
knees, not that we would, but they are so passionate... anything you
could share with us - you have many years of experience with this.
DT - any program dealing with individual volunteers offers them an
opportunity to show their strengths and reward them for their
strengths via contributing for stuff. It's also important to help
volunteers have an idea whether or not involvement is something they
would like to do for the long term. volunteering as a concept is a
great opportunity for people to show a lot of their strengths, and
to make sure you're working with a dedicated group of people.
What are some of the opportunities that are available to volunteers at olpc?
sj - the easiest things for people to do now are to be writers, and
translators, and testers -- things people can do within minutes of
getting involved [and tech supporters, and developers with a bit more
introduction to our process]
dt - there are possible opportunities overseas for people who might
want to get involved on the ground
and then there are possible long term commitments. it's harder to
gauge a volunteer's commitment for the long term - hard to feel secure
in at the time . olpc will have different sorts of opportunities to
use volunteers for different time frames. the overseas component
will certainly come into play at some point, once olpc has a better
idea of how they'd like to move forward with that.
< discussion of Holt's adventures in Chicago ensues >
holt : <local college> is going to prototype a repair center; very
enthusiastic, so we gave them 12 machines to see what they could do.
they promised to talk about what business/volunteer plan might make
sense. a <high school> chapter was another highlight of this
kumbayah-this-can-be-real kind of moment. to see all of these people
throwing themselves into this project is always of astonishing. connected with others
all around, eg. milwaukee etc.
even brightstar's managers' generosity, once we brought
volunteers into the company -- the employees set aside more time than
they should have to respond to all the questions we see all the time.
a dozen employees within brightstar very into the project. there
can be real overlap b/t volunteerism and pocketing a paycheck.
dt - in my own experience, being a volunteer for both short and long
term, and managing volunteers for same - one of the constant threads
in setting a program, is having roles that volunteers can fill ... I
do think there are a lot of realistic components of being a volunteer
and managing one; and sometimes especially with an org's like olpc
that has a great vision, it will take some time to fine-tune that sort
of process.
holt - interesting that in chicago there are a lot of existing
communities that are making this happen. they're not using the word
constructionist education, but I was reading <mission statements for local schools>
- inquiry-based learning; community building; maybe this has been done
in some sense. and a huge coincidence in chicago that our main US/Canada
distribution point happens to be... one of our strongest communities worldwide.
dt - this builds on something we have talked about recently - that
volunteering opportunites are what people make of them. much like
any other opportunity. it's important to understand that volunteers
who are in that large age range aren't coming from the same
background. you're not expecting the same thing from all of your
sj - actually, we have volunteers from across the spectrum of ages...

< holt shares an anecdote about cross-generational volunteers>
dt - that's great... I just feel as if volunteers are all very
individual in their needs and what their responsibilities can be. so
treating them as such is important to programs, &c .
sj - maybe you could tell us a bit more about your background working
with other groups?
dt - most recently working in children's health and educational
programming in uganda; curriculum development there. previously in
central Uganda, in a youth and children's HIV education and awareness
program. then I've worked in actually in Massachusetts, review
services as well. and also at universities, in academic advising and
counseling. so... somehow I always managed to find a job in a field
where volunteers are certainly an important component in the human
resources and skillset that any organization uses.
so my experiences have been in program mangaement and program development : the
olpc experience has been an educational one for myself. olpc goes
into other areas than just program mgmt and development. my
experience has been primarily with children's services, health and
education. this is my first time being part of an org with a strong
tech component.
<talking about deployment, olpc groups in america>
<talking about going through RMAd machines to get 
a first-pass of what types of failures are occuring>
holt : it was reassuring after 60k have shipped that after 2 months only 142 DOA plus 104 failing/fixable right out of the box (that's 246 laptops with verified problems).
<discussion on repair centers>
kq : one of the things we have to answer about how repair centers work
is whether we share these machines for free or at price
ixo : I sent something to holt suggesting helping pay for these
machines to get them into a repair shop here.
kq : I think we have to consider both, and understand either unfunded or
non funded versions. and understand that reporting or other aspects
would be more cricital in one or another.
if you sell parts to a shop, they are much more free to also --
perhaps even encouraged and required -- to sell repairs to people
both parts and labor, worry about shipping on their own
much more business oriented.
if we do this for free, it's for other nonprofits who won't do
anything moneylike.
both ideas should be entertained and hashed through.
holt : a quick note. <talks about how some schools in chicago have
service learning programs>
they're not into the repair business angle, but into working with their
they are hesitant to take in a machine from (pick rich city from
around the us) when wealthier customer can just send it to rms logistics to
have it repaired.
they have huge programs in place today and tons of students who would
do this, to have a couple of diff repair center models.
ixo : i'm focused on a community-based repair center, but supporting
that by at least getting parts to move this along
instead of people saying they have centers but nothing to repair.
ffm : q about how we do repair centers. if there's a nonprofit
involved; that doesn't mean they wouldn't/couldn't charge...
kq: right, I didn't mean to imply that; it just might be much easier
if no money flows.
[nb : mel and nikki have been working on that too
<talking about what's happening in peru, grassroots efforts by sebastian,
Iniciativa FuenteLibre.Org>
holt: before we abandon topic completely, repair centers : I know we want more
coherence here
if people like ixo can continue to send me ideas, I'd appreciate that
that would help me / everyone else straighten those out
sj : can we have propsals on a wiki somewhere?
holt: <working on it>
sj : ixo, if you want to post your ideas somewhere, that would be cool
ixo : there are a bunch of ideas on wiki pages, mostly from mel and
her discussions with nikki
for the summer
I can certainly formalize the drifting thoughts that go through my head...
holt : and you can informalize them with a phone call with me
kq : I agree that the best way to get your thoughts reviewed is
through the wiki. informal emails and such -- I hope we can document
this stuff, too.
holt : i don't feel that we're exactly there yet...
< discussion on public vs private information > 
holt adds a little ad for adric out of atlanta -- improving stats on rt
up late nights
hardy notes ffm's request about the update server, and whether its
errors are sporadic.
_sj_ notes seth is getting back into the zine on monday; he's taking
up the next issue baton...
wrapping up : #9 : what was your toughest challenge this week? what
audiences will we be addressing tomorrow?
caryl : addressing a question in spanish...
looked on the wiki, but what we have in en is great, and in spanish
it's worthless
<ixo ( FYI, translate: :) )
caryl : are we using those same things for folks in peru?
it was a (FAQ) question. 'using a flash drive to save on your XO'
the directions in spanish didn't really say how you could do it.
I wrote down setp by step instructions about how to do this and
realized the wiki might...
but it didn't have anything.
there were other things I clicked on in spanish, and found things that
were really pretty sparse.
ixo : is this a sign that translations are not up to date?
<dirakx : yep the translations are not up to date.. sadly.
sj : the group of peruvian volunteers coming on board now are working
to do this. they could use some support...
<caryl offers to help them translate / focus on FAQs<
dirakx : can you help caryl coordinate with sebastian and the peruvian
group? this is a great way to get them into updating the wiki
<dirakx _sj_: sure.. np.. yep i need help :)
sj : for instance, we should start highlighting the version # of
translations some tasks in this area:
* a sitemap to organize the most important topics? (ixo wanted to do
this, but it got out of hand)
* individual pages per question, for translation
<dirakx also we need update/translate really important pages as how
to upgrade the XO, server related pages, general information about the
and a regular script that has a list of important pages
which the original language is for that page (most likely to be updated)
<ixo (fyi, carol is coming to talk w/Dirakx on Irc. :)
sj : and whether the revision it is a 'translation of' (in the
translation template) has been updated significantly since then
we could even make the above work without any "primary language" --
each language-version would be a translation of a named revision of a
specific other language...
dirakx: the revision # are quite helpful in seeing the actual state of
the translation in relation to the original doc.
<on phone, people are signing off
holt, all : Thanks all; good night!
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