It’s been a crazy couple of days. I can hardly keep up. Sorry in advance that this post is so scatterbrained.
First, we have a new line on Internet service. It’s not public so I can’t talk too much about it, but let’s say that we now have redundant internet at the hackerspace, and I pulled down RACHEL (20gb) for the first time since living in Uganda. It took 24 hours, but it happened. This is absolutely thrilling to me, and I’m hoping it lasts. We are paying a relatively reasonable $200 a month for this redundancy.
We also upgraded the Internet service at the Keep. Internet there has been a constant headache for me/us. In the beginning I charged for access, used a rather complex system to produce coupons that customers could purchase and ran it all through a desktop machine that only I knew how to use. It got to be a real headache, and we were losing customers to other places that had free Internet service, so we made it free. Then we had to deal with the problem of “campers”, folks that wanted to use their seat and table as an all-day office for the price of a bottle of water. This took up seats for paying customers and made their Internet experience slower. Well, now we have decent bandwidth, and we have to start changing the access password daily. I’m not sure I’m ready to go back to paid service. It’s just too much of a hassle. Here are some photos form the bridge install on our custom mast on the roof of the Keep:
I’ve installed some remote PTZ cameras in the hackersapce, and I’m hoping to find a web developer to help us put the snapshots on our web page.
We’ve also installed a second satellite dish for our Outernet receiver, funded by Outernet. We now have two dishes, one pointed at Intelsat 10, the other at Intelsat 20. IS-20 isn’t giving us any bitrate though.. yet. But wow! Cool stuff! And so geeky! Thanks to Henry for the photos!
I had a good meeting (thanks, Henry!) with a man that’s setup a really cool non-profit in Uganda, and he’s starting a farming training institute. I showed him the Rachel Pi, and he sat patiently through the dome and then told me he already had one. (I felt like Arthur in Monty Python and the Holy Grail when the French told him they already had a Holy Grail!). It turned out someone had brought him one and he was just trying to figure out how to use it. We see this time and time again. So we set up some training and also arranged to get him a newer version of RACHEL, a version which actually included FARMING RESOURCES (you know, the thing he needed most!). We’re also setting up training for his staff and seeing if maybe Outernet is a good solution for his institute.
We were selected to be the official representative of LittleBits in Uganda, and started the first LittleBits chapter in Uganda!
We also worked with a good friend, Lisa, who will be fielding Rachel Pi and Loaded Chromebook solutions all over East Africa and representing our solutions at a massive East African conference next month. We’re excited about this, and Lisa is the perfect spokesperson because she’s an educator, not a techie. I spent a lot of time this weekend getting her set up and coaching her about how to use Rachel.
Last but certainly not least, I’m thrilled to announce that thanks to our gracious donors, we are able to purchase a small solar system for the hackerspace! This is a huge help for us because we couldn’t stay open because we didn’t have power. I’m so grateful! The equipment will take a while to purchase and get installed but I’ll keep you posted.