Hawaiʻi's Technology Community

Recent 221 debates have highlighted an issue that has been simmering for many years in our community. There is a perception that the tech crowd is a a group of elitist "haves" who care nothing for those who are not part of our clique. This type of dynamic is very dangerous, and can quickly degrade into an emotional place where intelligent discourse is impossible. Some of this is our fault. I know many of you already do great community work, but we need to do more. I think its time for a tech community tithe. If each of us commits to giving 10% of our time every month to bring the benefits of technology to members of the community who don't have ready access, we can make a real difference. Although we (Ikayzo/Ooi) already do this sort of work, we are making a concerted effort to track our time and ensure at least 10% of it goes toward community betterment. This means doing things like giving talks in schools, serving as a drop off location for
Hawaiian Hope, and providing free consulting to worthy organizations in our community. The fact we have homeless children in our schools who can't complete online homework assignments is absolutely ridiculous. If we want our community to support us, we need to support them. Lets pull together, pool our resources, and get more kids excited about tech careers, bring more nonprofits online, provide ubiquitous web access, and empower everyone to benefit from our collective expertise. If you are willing to join us in the Hawaii tech tithing, please leave a note here telling us how you plan to contribute. If you are already doing community work, tell us about it. Perhaps your ideas will excite and provoke others to take action.

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Comment by Curtis J. Kropar on May 20, 2009 at 11:37pm

Service Overview.pdf
_Organizational_Brief.pdf (a little long winded.. but here goes) HI Guys ! Glad to see this and I am VERY excited. To all of you that have donated to us : Thank You ! Thank You ! Thank You ! Thank You ! Your making a huge difference ! Regarding our keyboards and mice needs : We have actually noticed a rotating need. At first it was keyboards and mice. Then, through the generosity of many on the TechHui, we have received a lot of them and are currently pretty well stocked (but we will always take them) Then for a long time our needs were hard drives. So far we have a fairly decent supply, but I do foresee that being a continuing issue as people choose the "most secure" thing and yank out their hard drive before they donate the computer. Two of our current high demand needs in the rotation are : P4 power supplies (the ones with the 4 prong connector), and ram. I think I have a count of roughly 45 - P4 computers that do not have working power supplies. In fact, we get a lot of donations in and find out the only problem with them is a dead power supply. (got one this morning) Also, just to do a little more plugging... If you guys read the paper today you see the results of a survey conducted. The amount of homeless is going down. Yes, its still hard to really take notice. But I can personally attest to this. We designed software that many of the shelters use to manage all of their day to day operations and statistics. I get to see a lot of the raw data. The numbers are in reality, down. The important task is to make truly LASTING changes. Like education. As many on TechHui know, staying up on the latest technology is the best way you ensure you have good paying jobs. Can you imagine then that there are people living here in Hawaii that have NEVER yet touched a computer? There are literally thousands of people that I know of that don't know how to use a computer. To this, We, Hawaiian Hope, are in the process of building a public access computer lab /training facility / internet Cafe. We are going to provide a certain amount of free time every month, like maybe 10 hours, for every homeless person we can verify (many are in our data system already). We will also make the classroom/conference room available for the TechHui "Co-Working" groups. Our lab is also in a designated Weed and Seed area. This is good in that we can make efforts on getting all of the low income kids that live in the area in here on after school programs. I already talked to someone today that is planning to set up a daily tutoring program at our facility. Thy are visiting us tomorrow to talk more details. For this lab, we are looking for several things. 1) we are not done remodeling yet. We can really use some assistance with materials, mostly electrical supplies. I know that a lot of people are uncomfortable in just handing over cash, so we will gladly accept home depot gift cards. This way its basically the same as cash and we can purchase the exact items we need. The electrical system for our new place represents about 65% of the remodeling costs. 2) some assistance in getting it prepared, painted and such. I have not picked out a full color scheme yet, and therefore we don't have the paint. Some artistic eyes looking at this would be helpful, then some assistance painting the place, etc. 3) after we get open, we are looking for a pile of volunteers : Tutors, instructors, technicians, front desk help, etc, etc, etc. Also, we have 2 other rather aggressive tech oriented projects that we need assistance with (See attached Documents) A Mobile computer lab / disaster communications center. And a mobile laundry service / disaster water purification center. Hard part is out of the way... we already have the buses. If anyone is interested in volunteering, or making donations of parts, cash or gift cards, please let me know !
Comment by Daniel Leuck on May 17, 2009 at 6:43am
Bruce M. Bird: I just clicked on the link to Hawaiian Hope. I was surprised to learn that they have a real need for keyboards and mice to accompany the donated computers that they receive.
So was I. Before I met Curtis I had no idea there are 2,400 homeless kids in Oahu's schools, all in need of web access to keep pace in school. We gave several computers last year and delivered donations from other MIC companies. Sprout gave very generously. Kevin Hughes, Sprout's CTO, also personally donated some very nice equipment.
Comment by Bruce M. Bird on May 16, 2009 at 4:32pm
Hi, Daniel. I just clicked on the link to Hawaiian Hope. I was surprised to learn that they have a real need for keyboards and mice to accompany the donated computers that they receive.

Where I live, every once in a while a computer store goes out of business and I can pick up a decent amount of low-end (and above) optical mice for a song. (Exception to the rule: Circuit City, whose strategy appears to be to increase the prices on some of its items after filing for bankruptcy...).
Comment by Daniel Leuck on May 16, 2009 at 3:43pm
Hi Bruce. I'm glad you like the idea. I hope others agree and sign up for the Hawaii Tech Tithe. Political differences aside, I'm glad Pono is working to get better computers in schools in low income areas.
Comment by Bruce M. Bird on May 16, 2009 at 3:16pm
Hi, Dan:

What an excellent idea! An earlier post on "Are Hawaii's Tech Tax Credit Worth the Cost?" mentioned that Pono Chong is looking for used computers to be donated to school children in Hawaii. I know that he isn't the most popular person in the tech community right now, but matching used computers with kids who can use them seems like a decent thing to do.


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