"Donated" Software

I have enrolled us in the TechSoup program based on our 501©(3) status, and we have been approved. This paves the way for us getting a lot of software for Makerspace computers for nominal administrative fees. The catalog is extensive.

First up, Windows / Microsoft products. I think we need to think a bit strategically here. Our computer systems are pretty sub-par, and I think that has some implications for our ability to proceed with confidence on the software acquisition front. Please go to http://www.techsoup.org/microsoft-catalog?cg=002-test-d and then choose “Microsoft Get Genuine Windows Full PC Operating Systems” from the dropdown, and read the text that gets presented, especially that under the heading of “Special Rules for Get Genuine Product Requests.”

Then click on the “View Details” button which takes you here, and read the (somewhat repetitive but not all) information under the three tabs: “Description”, “System Requirements”, and “Rules, Eligibility, and Restrictions”.

I’m not sure how we should proceed, and would like to hear from others who want to help with this process administratively. I’m thinking at least @Blaise, @marty, and @Bez should be involved based on past experience and such. We need to answer the following questions and take action:

  1. Should we make our “one request ever for Get Genuine products” at this time?
  2. If so, how many and what mix of Genuine products should we request?
  3. Do we need to invest in better computer systems first? Other considerations?

I think raising 1500-2k for 5 or so $300 laptops is within our capacity.

Looking at it, I think we should probably not use the Microsoft Get Genuine Windows Full PC Operating Systems program at this time, if ever. As near as I can tell, it would benefit us only for one machine right now, unless we choose to drop Linux and get Windows for all the machines, which I’d rather not do. The fact that it is a one-time-only deal is troublesome as well.

While our current machines technically meet the minimum System Requirements, I think the minimum requirements are really not acceptable. We are already cannibalizing our existing machines as much as possible to keep a few of them in barely usable condition. I think upgrading should come first.

It looks like if we use TechSoup to get newer machines those machines will come with Windows operating systems, so we could use the reusable upgrades product instead of the one-time-only “legalize yourself” option.

Yea, that would be super cool. See http://www.techsoup.org/computers-and-electronics. How do we make it happen?

@Blaise I basically agree with everything you are saying… I think we should get new computers.

I think we should schedule a meeting with you, me, Bez, and perhaps a couple of others (marty?) to figure out what our computer needs are. I have a perhaps outdated list of what our current machines are, and we can see what it takes to get them up and running.

We have the stack of old laptops. Some may be truly dead, but I think most of them just need new power bricks and an OS install, either Linux or Chromium OS would work fine. That might meet our need for loaner laptops for classes.

I don’t want to say “Let’s get 5 of http://www.techsoup.org/products/dell-core-2-duo-windows-7-desktop--2.2-ghz---2.8-ghz--HW-49193--cat_refurbished-desktops-and-laptops” or similar until we have a better idea of what our actual needs are.

@Blaise, @Bez, @marty - (1) are you available for a meetup, (2) share your preferred meeting times?

IG folks, I may have found a partial solution to your computer hardware problem.

I just pulled 4 Dell E6410 laptops from my company, these machines are out of warranty and I got them for free. Despite this, the specs are solid: i5 dual core 2.8 GHz, 4GB DDR3 RAM, CD ROM, 4 USB + eSATA ports, wifi, bluetooth, backlit keyboards, etc. These guys are from 2010 or so, and will have no problem running CAD, Adobe, office, and whatever compilers you need them to run. And they have the added benefit of being portable and power efficient.
See link for price range (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=9SIA5WM28Z0215&cm_re=e6410--9SIA5WM28Z0215--Product)

The laptops are missing batteries and HDDs, but these can be purchased for a much lower price than new computers altogether. In any case if IG has a use for these computers, I’ll look into acquiring the missing parts.


P.S. I’m new here, so hi everyone!

Hi @Yev! Those might be a good option. Want to come to the computer needs meeting?

@vicatcu @Blaise @marty: I’m free for a meeting most days - should I send round a doodle poll or the like?

@Bez, I’m usually around on Tue, Thurs (Wed opt), so if your meeting is during that time then I would love to join.

I dropped off the computers in one of the wooden storage boxes at IG, feel free to pull them out and take a look at them. We just finished putting Win 7 on one machine, and it runs quickly and smoothly.
In the meantime I’ll be looking at Ithaca ReUse for chargers, docks, batteries, and HDDs.

Again, the donation of these computers is tentative upon a consensus that these machines will meet the requirements for being new/fast/usable enough. There’s no pressure to decide one way or another.

I can generally do Monday evenings, Tue-Wed-Fri evenings starting at 6:30, and Thursday evenings after 7.

I think we should save our “one request ever” for when/if we actually get a significant number of machines (at least a half dozen?) that will perform reasonably well under Windos, and over-order then.

Hello all,

Update on donated computers: the Computer Room got back to me regarding the prices of replacement equipment:

  • 4x SATA HDD, 500 Gb: $60 ($240 total) ($340 for SSDs)
  • 4x Drive mounting tray: $7.50 ($30 total)
  • 6-Cell Battery: $40 ($160 total)
  • 4x docking stations (adapter included): $50 ($200 total)
  • OS installation (w/ dual-boot): $75 ($300 total)

Now, me being me, I tried to dig up these parts on my own via ebay and newegg to see how much cheaper I could get them. I found significant savings on two items: SSDs (120 GB for $40) and Batteries ($25). The rest of the parts were as Computer Room quoted them. If I had to make a recommendation, I would say that we can get disk trays, chargers and docking stations from Computer Room, and hard drives and batteries online. The total would come out to $490, or $123 per computer.

@vicatcu @marty

Hi everyone! I received the news that the Generator approved the expenses of upgrading the donated computers. Unless someone wanted to delegate this task, I’d like to volunteer to carry it out.

Could someone please let me know how the purchasing will work?
I can buy the parts and forward the receipts to one of the board members, or I can send the links to the website and have the board purchase the necessary parts. Let me know!


@vicatcu @Yev

did this get worked out?

As of the Board Meeting, the last task on the list was to clear it through Tools Committee. I messaged Bez but didn’t get a response, and haven’t followed up. I’ll do that now.

For reference, we are approved up to $600 for parts for the donated computers.
Vic would prefer if we could load an online shopping cart at a site or sites so that he can use the IG card to pay.
I will talk again with Yev about this, and ping Bez again.


@jenn Yea, the parts are on order!

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fyi - at the rec-2-tech meeting last week, @Eddie_Moran said that he has access to all kinds of discarded equipment from cornell.

At present he is charged to process 75 computers to give away through southside. He may be reaching out for help with that.