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30 hours of work in just a few days

During the past 8 days, Partimus volunteers have put in 30 hours of work spread over 4 days.  On Saturday 2012.7.28 and Sunday 2012.7.29, we moved about 1,000 lbs of equipment a total of 2.5 vertical miles going up and down stairs, due to the fact that 1) we lost equipment storage space at one of our schools, due to an expanded gym program; and 2) we were upgrading the and expanding a computer network for the 5th grade math teacher at the KIPP San Francisco Bay Academy, a public charter school in San Francisco’s Western Addition neighborhood.   Today, we finished the work of upgrading that 5th grade teacher’s network, and here is a picture of the new monitors that she will be getting:

Lacee network

These old computers run just fine with the most modern Ubuntu GNU-Linux software installed on them!

The 5th grade math teacher, Lacee Phillips, will be using those computers to allow students to perform drills on the Khan math academy, among other things.

Today, we also moved the notebook computers from their temporary home at the Law Office of Albert G. Stoll to their permanent home at the Creative Arts Charter School, another public charter school in San Francisco’s Western Addition neighborhood.  There were 19 notebook computers and 2 desktop computers that had been donated to Partimus by Intuit, but we had to have the shipment delivered to Al Stoll’s law office due to the fact that we were unsure when we were notified of the donation in the spring whether school would be in session or not when the machines arrived.

Partimus Board of Directors member Christian Einfeldt was in the middle of a deposition (he’s a lawyer), when Al’s office manager came into the deposition with a note that the computers had arrived.  It was a contention deposition that Al’s office had been trying to set up for more than one year, but when Christian heard that the computers had arrived, he was elated, and interrupted the deposition to briefly go to the FedEx truck to review the computers and sign off of the FedEx delivery slip to get the computers delivered.  Exciting!  Fortunately, opposing counsel and the deponent were gracious about the interruption, but the deposition was later suspended so that it could be completed on another day (not because of the interruption).

The computer delivery sparked some interest among the hard-core trial lawyers and their staff who occupy the suite where the computers were delivered, because there were two big boxes with machines, and two monitors in bubble wrap sitting right in the middle of the floor of the office.  Pictures of the boxes can be seen here.

Today, Sunday 2012.8.5, Partimus Board Member Elizabeth Krumbach picked up Christian Einfeldt at the KIPP school, where they grabbed a cart to move the boxes, and drove to the Pier 39 area of San Francisco, where Al’s office is located.  They loaded the boxes into Elizabeth’s small coup.  The boxes barely fit.  Elizabeth and Christian then drove the boxes over to the Creative Arts Charter school, and picked up another computer for a non-profit dedicated to stopping human trafficking in California.  They dropped off that computer, and then went over to the KIPP school again to drop off the cart and to set up the Ubuntu GNU-Linux computer network shown in the picture above.  They got the network set up just 5 minutes before they had to be out of the building and the school alarm was set.  The work went right down to the wire.

And, of course, Elizabeth and Christian enjoyed the Partimus Pizza special, broccoli and pineapple pizza from Extreme Pizza on Fillmore and Sutter Street.

Now, Elizabeth Krumbach is already in the process of investigating the notebook computers, shown here on her Flickr page.  The next step is for Partimus core volunteer emeritus James Howard to pour over these machines to prep them for a mass install with Ubuntu and eventual addition to the CACS network.

Intuit notebooks

These are the notebook computers that were recently donated by Intuit. Thanks Intuit!

It was a great day with a sense of real accomplishment.  We have been waiting for these notebook computers for a long time, due to the fact that the Creative Arts Charter School (CACS) had suffered a fire on 2011.12.22, and so CACS has no room for an independent computer lab, at least for the remainder of 2012.  CACS had to cram students from 2 buildings into one building, so they had to close the computer lab and use it for a classroom.  That is why the notebook computers were so crucial; they can be used in a classroom, due to the fact that they are small, and it is not necessary to run wires all over the place to get them working.  So thanks again to Intuit for this wonderful donation of notebook computers; it will make a huge difference in the lives of the teachers and kids using them!


Advance peek at the Intuit notebook donation!

Partimus has received a donation of 19 notebook computers and two desktop computers with flat screen monitors for placement in underprivileged public schools!  Yay!  Thanks to Intel for donating these computers; thanks to Steve Camuti of Intuit for carrying the ball inside Intuit to make this happen; and thanks to Tom Stevenson of Arrow-Intechra for executing the donation!  Thanks very much to Jim Stockford of Systemateka for introducing me to Steve Camuti.

notebook in crate

Here is a shot of a notebook still in the crate, fresh from the donation by Intuit.

Thanks also to attorney Albert Stoll for providing the space to receive this donation, because school is now out of session, and so we had the computers delivered to his law office.

Pics of the unboxing are here.

Now we just need to find a volunteer with a car who can drive the equipment about 4 miles from their current location to the school where they will be used!

A Toast to out-going Partimus Community Manager Mark Terranova

Beginning June 1, 2012, the role of Community Manager for Partimus is going to be taken on by Christian Einfeldt, who will be wearing two hats, that of Executive Director and Community Manager.  Our departing Community Manager, Mark Terranova, is active in numerous other free software community activities, such as his work with the Fedora Community, and his famous San Francisco Bay Area Geeknics, which you can find at  Mark has more energy than the Energizer Bunny, but even Mark has limits to his time, and so is scaling down his activities so as to increase the quality of each of the numerous projects that he is working on.

Mark will continue to help Partimus in its quest to find for large lots of high quality functional notebook computers for placement in Partimus recipient schools, but, at his request, will be doing so as a member of the community at large, without a formal Partimus title.  The Partimus Board is grateful to Mark for the love, energy, and laughter that he brought to our efforts, and we are glad that we will still be seeing him at community events,  such as the recent Ubuntu Developers Summit in Oakland.  Thanks again for all you have done for us, Mark!

Power supply for an HP Pavilion dv800


Partimus has recently been given a donation of an HP Pavilion dv800 laptop computer for our public schools, but without a power supply.   Some child could edit videos on this HP Pavilion dv800 if we could get a power supply for it.

HP Pavilion dv800

This HP Pavilion dv800 just needs a power supply.

Laptop computers are very valuable for these schools, because space is at a premium especially at Creative Arts Charter School, which is still in compressed in one building from two buildings, due to a fire.  More on that fire here

That HP Pavilion was donated to Partimus because it had Microsoft Windows viruses which rendered it unusable.  But the machine is fine, and once we install Ubuntu GNU-Linux on the machine, it will work just fine, and a child will be off and running with her school assignments, which include video editing!

The part number for this machine is EZ579UA#ABA.

Thanks either way for considering our request!

The year in Linux at the KIPP San Francisco Bay Academy

The 2011-2012 school year is drawing to a close all over the US, including the KIPP San Francisco Bay Academy (KSFBA), one of the schools that Partimus is supporting with Linux computers.  This year, there have been two classrooms primarily using Linux computers at the KSFBA:  Lacee Phillips has been using her Ubuntu Linux computers to get her 5th grade math students onto the Kahn Academy, a very popular on-line math program.    Lacee is interested in getting more computers for her math students for next year.  Here is a shot of some of her students using the computers:

Students using Khan Academy

Students using Khan Academy in 5th Grade Math

Students at the KIPP San Francisco Bay Academy are also using Google’s Linux Chromebook notebook computers in their classes to access 7th grade social studies and history lessons taught by Jame Sanders.  The students use the Linux Chromebooks at their desks to access Mr. Sanders on-line history lessons.  You can see his on-line history lessons here.  The student have also created their own blogs.  An example is here, the blog of Rebecca L.  The chromebooks were generously provided by a donation Google obtained by Mr. Sanders directly.

Linux computers at the KSFBA have ebbed and flowed.  For years, there was a Linux computer lab, which was eventually replaced by a Microsoft Windows lab, due to preferences by an administrator with a fondness for Microsoft Windows and a lack of familiarity with Linux.  There has always been a presence of Linux computers at KSFBA, though, and the Partimus volunteers have a special fondness for the KSFBA, because it the first school that we supported with Linux computers.  The upcoming 2012-2013 school year should see an increase in Linux computers, both because Mr. Sanders is hoping for more Linux Chromebooks, and because Partimus is hoping to secure more notebook computers to install with Ubuntu Linux.


20 new pre-owned notebook computers coming!

Partimus is pleased to announce that it will receive a generous grant of hardware from Intuit in June, including the following items:

20 Laptops
2 Desktopss
2 LCD Monitors

These machines will be used by one of the public schools that Partimus supports, called the Creative Arts Charter School. That school will use these machines to show kids how to create video shorts, as well as the usual tasks of Internet research and essay composition. These machines will also probably be used to create their yearbook.

I would like to give to Jim Stockford of Systemateka for introducing me to Steve Camuti of Intuit.   Jim is a great connector, and Steve took time out of his regular work day to go through the effort of originating this donation inside Intuit.  I would also like to thank Tom Stevenson of Arrow Techra, a professional donation fulfillment organization, for executing on the donation.  Here are the websites for these generous people and companies:

Jim Stockford of Systemateka:

Steve Camuti of Intuit:

Tom Stevenson of Arrow-Intechra:

Thanks again so very much to each of these people and organizations for their thoughtfulness and generosity in making this donation possible!

The Long-Burning Fire

On December 22, 2011, a huge fire hit some apartment buildings near the Creative Arts Charter School, one of the schools that Partimus supports with Linux computers. As a result, on April 13, 2012, Partimus had to remove from that school a lot of the computers that were near end of their lives from the computer lab that our Partimus volunteers had built. It was a huge amount of work to remove those computers, so we would really like to thank everyone who showed up at the Creative Arts Charter School (CACS) for the today, including CACS parent Robbie Socks, Alan Tong, Partimus board member James Howard, Partimus board member Grant Bowman, and the Gateway High School teachers and students, discussed below, who showed up to help. We had a very long day of some really heavy lifting and carrying up and down many flights of stairs. I am sure that we moved 2 tons of stuff that day. Here is a picture of some of the stuff that got moved:

Tons of computer stuff got moved

Tons of computer stuff got moved on April 13, 2012

This was some really important work that we did that day. The 12.22.2011 fire really had a terrible impact on the teachers and students of CACS. One of the things that it cost them was their computer lab. Space is at a premium now at CACS, because CACS has lost one entire building, and has had to cram all of the kids from two buildings into one. We are working on bringing back the lab in the form of notebook computers, but that day has not yet arrived. We are expecting them to arrive in June, 2012. In the meantime, that day’s work cleared out some very much needed space for the kids and teachers of CACS.

Special thanks, too, of course, to the really awesome work of Gateway High School teacher Laura D’Amato, CACS teacher Maria Jenerik, Maria’s daughter, Cicada, and Gateway High School teacher Kelly Schiller for doing an awesome job of inspiring the kids of Gateway to come over to lend their strong young bodies to a very very difficult task of doing much of the work of carrying very heavy and bulky computer equipment down and up stairs. Without their youthful vitality, I am quite sure that we would not have come close to reaching our goal off moving all of that stuff out of there. I am so very grateful to those Gateway kids, and I wish I could personally thank each one of them. Here is a picture of just some of the kids who helped that day:

Some of the Gateway High School students who helped

Some of the Gateway High School students who helped move computers

More special thanks are due to Devin Millert and Dave Alevaro of the Alameda County Computer Resource Center / Marin County Resource Center for bringing a huge truck large enough to move all of the equipment out of there. Devin and Dave, along with Robbie and Alan and Grant, did a huge amount of work lifting two massive piles of equipment that took at least 12 people to move from the school to the staging area.

Robbie Socks and Alan Tong were there from the start, and they had the patience to put up with a pizza delivery service that was an hour late in getting the pizza there, and that after doing some heavy lifting of equipment to triage and get ready for the students to move out to the staging area.

After all of that work was done, Grant Bowman and James Howard stayed after to get all of the machines up and running in the mini computer lab shared by CACS teachers Maria Jenerik and Dina Moskowitz.  James Howard subsequently came back to the school and spent several days by himself cleaning up the remaining hardware, and setting up the Ubuntu Linux server to provide services to the some of the computers and the printer in the library.

Once again, this was an amazing bit of heavy work by lots of very kind and compassionate people. Thanks so very much to each of you for making it happen.

Grant Bowman’s Partimus talk at the Ubuntu Developer Summit

Last week, from May 7-11th, Ubuntu community members from around the world came together in Oakland for the Ubuntu Developer Summit.

Partimus several representatives were able to attend, including Board Member Grant Bowman took the opportunity during the lightning talks session on Friday to present on Partimus.

Full text of his presentation from his blog:

Good afternoon! My name is Grant Bowman.

First, I want to thank Ubuntu for choosing this UDS location. It’s very exciting to have you all here. I’m a local. I would like to plug all the hard working San Francisco Bay Area groups I am privileged to be involved with but I need to highlight just one right now.

I would like to pause for a moment with you to zoom out quite a bit just for a second. Schools around the world are literally the place where the minds of our next generation are shaped. As social networking and new research confirms, the human condition is predicated on what Edward O Wilson calls eusociality or, more simply, “fitting in.” My colleagues and I have seen the need to “fit in” manifest itself time and again here in California and through travels to places like August Town, Jamaica and Nairobi, Kenya. Highly social school administrators are not immune. Luckily this eusociality is a double edged sword. It can work in both directions. Let me “take you to school.”

Even in these times of financial challenges, school district administrators, principals, teachers, parents and students still clamour to allocate a very significant amount of their overall resources to the purchase of poorly made computing products. This is directly due to public misconceptions. With a foundation of education these misconceptions can be changed.

As far as design & usability, Ubuntu is now leading the state of the art rather than following. We are experiencing a innovative, disruptive computing transition as described by Clayton Christianson in his book The Innovator’s Dilemma.

Poorly made computing products guarantee vendors upgrade sales. This contrasts with how we do things. As Eric Raymond describes, we are able to scratch our own itches and share our improvements for mutual benefit. We operate in the open in a bazaar style.

Closed source vendor lock-in creates a cycle of dependency in hearts and minds of all ages just at a time when students are looking to authority figures to show them how best to move forward. *We* know that free and open source specifically and Creative Commons more generally are game changers. Tim O’Reilly calls us alpha geeks. The public is slowly becoming more aware.

The significant resources closed source vendors direct at our common future are shaping the computing platform choices we and our neighbors use both publicly and privately. The longer we wait the worse this problem becomes. As we know, now is always the best time for engaging.

We would like to contribute back our hard won lessons, build our capacity and replicate our best practices in similar environments. In the 1970s Dr. Douglas C Engelbart called this structure a set of improvement communities. His papers are well worth reading to this day.

Partimus means “we share” in Latin. For those that haven’t heard yet, we are a locally operating 501(c)(3). We bring repurposed hardware, our favorite GNU/Linux distribution, free and open source applications and free culture content to San Francisco and Oakland schools. We are deeply involved in community building efforts. We need your support to continue to provide and grow our program as we have done for the past eight years. If you are able to help us, please contact me, Elizabeth Krumbach or the email address Lyz and I are happy to speak with you. Lyz also has Ubuntu earrings for sale, a fundraiser we are conducting on our website,

Oh, wear sunscreen. Thank you very, very much.

Thanks to Grant for taking this opportunity to spread the word about Partimus!

Photo credits: James Howard and Elizabeth Krumbach

Big Linux computer move next Friday

Fundamental changes are under way at the Creative Arts Charter School, due to a fire that struck on 12.22.11. The Linux desktop lab is being dispersed to make room for a Linux notebook lab. If you would like to help us move machines, please show up at the Creative Arts Charter School this Friday, April 13, 2012, at 9:00 a.m., at 1601 Turk Street at the corner of Pierce. Please bring tools that you will need to triage machines, such as copies of Ubuntu 10.04, screw drivers, needle nose pliers, cable testers, and so forth. Also wear old clothes, because you might get just a little bit dirty moving machines! We will probably be done by about 2:30 pm or so, depending on how it goes. And we will feed you lunch! If you have a camera, please feel free to bring it! Also, people who can drive a truck or a car are especially welcome.

Please feel free to call my google voice number at 415-935-1701, which rings through to my cell phone, so that I can help orient you, as the school is fairly large.

You can read more about the fire here:

Come join us and be a part of this watershed event in the history of Linux in San Francisco public schools!

Triagefest this Saturday, March 17, 2012

This Saturday from 10:30 to 3:00, there will be a triagefest at the Creative Arts Charter School at 1601 Turk Street at the corner of Pierce Street in San Francisco. This is the school that had that huge fire on 12/22/11.  More about that fire here:

The purpose of this triage fest is to separate good equipment from bad equipment.  Volunteers with a pick-up truck for moving equipment 3 blocks would be particularly appreciated.  Pizza will be served at 12:30 p.m.

Please bring with you everything that you would need to test a computer and its peripheral equipment, and to take a computer apart and put it back together.  It would also be good to bring Ubuntu 10.04 on a flash drive, since we will be installing that distro on some machines.

This public charter school relies on our Linux computers heavily for the work that their students do, so they will definitely appreciate the work!  Thanks in advance to all volunteers!