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Second Day of Computer Build Party for Bolivia and Venezuela Racks up 55 Machines

Two days into the 6-day sprint, volunteers have already gone past the halfway point in their goal to assemble 100 computers to send to Bolivia and Venezuela.
a helpful volunteer work on a computer bound for south america
a helpful volunteer work on a computer bound for south america
team leader Vagrant checks off another pile of completed computers
team leader Vagrant checks off another pile of completed computers
the stack of finished machines grows...
the stack of finished machines grows...
As reported here on Saturday, technology solidarity activists are spending 6 days over this weekend and next assembling computers that will be sent to community centers and schools in Bolivia and Venezuela. The work party is happening at Freegeek, the local computer reuse and recycling center on SE 10th and Market Street.

Despite the coating of ice Portland recieved Saturday, practically shutting down the city till midday Sunday, a good number of volunteers have been showing up at Free Geek to take part in the effort. An organized process and a step-by-step set of relatively simple instructions is allowing even those unfamiliar with computer hardware to take part productively. By the end of Saturday, 55 machines had been assembled and tested. The goal is a total of 100 of these diskless terminals, with 50 going to Bolivia, and 50 to Venezuela. Several terminal servers will also be built, which will require a little more effort, but next weekend will afford time for that.

The project still needs as many volunteers as possible, of any skill level, to join in the effort, and people to bring food for the hungry workers. The hours that the project will be happening are:

  • Today (Monday) 1/17: 11 am on through the day/night (probably till about 7pm)
  • Saturday 1/22: 7pm till midnight or so
  • Sunday 1/23: 11 am on through the day/night
  • Monday 1/24: 11 am on through the day/night
  • Sunday 1/30: the palletizing/packing party! 1pm - 6pm
At the end of the assembly process, the computers for Bolivia, once done, will be packaged up on Sunday, January 30th, and, if all goes according to the plan, shipped out the next day, on their way to a ship that will bring them to Peru, and then overland to La Paz, Bolivia. The Venezuela machines are part of a larger project that also involves activists in Boston and the Bay Area and which will be ready to ship, probably, later in February.

homepage: homepage: http://villaingenio.org/computers

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Good work! 17.Jan.2005 10:24

curious in Canada

These machines, though virtually worthless here, may be of inestimable value to those in South America. I applaud the work of all involved. And thanks for the updates.


What do you mean by "diskless terminals"?

Is there a problem sending hard drives to some countries?

Are there any US government regulations governing the export of used computer equipment to certain countries?

What speeds, RAM, etc. are most of these computers?

What power supplies are included, and are these compatible with the voltage of the power systems in most South American countries?

What operating systems, if any, are included?

Who will be the recipient of these machines?

Are they being shipped in a consolidated ocean going shipping container, or what other freight arrangements have been made?

answers 17.Jan.2005 11:48


To answer your questions, Curious:

-diskless terminals are machines without hard drives that boot over a network from a server. this makes good sense resource-wise, because you can several low-power machines that are useful again running applications on one higher-powered server.

-the export restrictions vary by country. there's no problem with sending drives to bolivia or venezuela. but hard drives are harder to come by, and often are the thing that fails that most often.

-the terminals we're building are 300MHz with 128 M of RAM, which is overkill for terminals, but we figure if someday they wanted them to work as standalone machines by putting a harddrive in, it would be useable as such. (note that we're running linux here, which makes better use of old hardware than windoze)

-the computers are going to various schools and community centers in bolivia, most to El Alto and Huarisata. In Venezuela they will go to community media centers, facilitate, I believe, by the "independant" media network in Venezuela, Aporrea.

see the links in the original article for more information, and thanx for the interest.

what about the 18.Jan.2005 20:20


I just heard that the federation of workers councils and unions (FWCUI) in Iraq was looking for computers, as well as a lot of other supplies. These people are doing a lot of great work in organizing the Iraqi workforce and if they could get 30-50 computers I'm sure that it would be of tremendous use to them.

apply to freegeek 19.Jan.2005 12:03


in response to the comment above about Iraq: Free Geek does grants to many organizations around the world. here's the application form:  http://freegeek.org/grants.php

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