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Re: [Computerbank] Re: Cairns or any regional node

Good morning Don and all,

Nice of you to think I knew anything, Don.  :-)
Your questions are better answered by Kylie or Grant but..

I don't think you are off topic mate, it's a whole-ball-of-wax
thing this, Computerbank and where to for us all now. Many times, it seems
to me, what people want to do is hampered by something seeming not
possible. In many cases that means no one to do *it* -- whatever that is --
in so many cases.

I don't know the answers to your specific questions, more often than not
won't in many other cases too, but I'm well aware the same suspects (the
ones who up to now have been doing all of what is needed) cannot be
expected to do everything. We need extra help.

I know you know this too, from your vast experience running the NSW
Volunteer Fire Fighting Service. (You can tell us the right name, sorry for

In line with your current focuses below, I don't know if there is someone
appointed to do them or not but I think there is a need for the following
volunteer positions (or teams) within Computerbank, what do you think?

Importantly, much of it can be done by people with minimal knowledge of
computers. That is, I return to my constant theme about this, Computerbank
can *also utilize other helpers who don't know how to refurbish and set up
computers and computer systems. Those Linux etc. experts are our essential
core group but we also need many others, like the following:

See my comments on each, marked ** (Bruce)

At 21:57 2/11/01 +1100, Don Cameron wrote:
>Hello Bruce and all,
>Off-topic but a few questions :-
>1/ Has CB applied for any grant funding? 

** Someone experienced in making *successful* grants applications. Who
writes the applications but not necessarily gathers all of the material to
go in them. As much as possible they have helpers who find out the stuff
they need to know. :) 

Another, who has copies of all the previous grants applications on file
physically and in electronic form, will help them. Much of what is needed
in the current application to be made will have been said before in
previous ones. It can be copied, pasted and edited into this one.

Someone extra, who knows their way through the whole grants application
process and knows the rules of the game -- local councils employ whole
teams doing all of these aspects. It is a specialised field and we would be
well served to get people who know the ropes in it helping us.

I'm saying this so we don't hear anyone saying, "Great idea but we can't do
it." Plainly, with a couple of hundred grand up for grabs and Computerbank
eminiently suitable to get it if we can just get the application in, we
can't afford not to search out the team to do it.

Interestingly, this grants application procedure can be done
collaboratively from anywhere in Australia, the ones doing it don't have to
physically be in the one spot. The final application would be approved at
National Committee or such level, signed and sent off, but whoever prepares
it can be anywhere in Oz or -- for that matter -- the world. 

For a computer organisation like us that should be more and more the way we
do many of the things necessary for us. So, in many cases, it doesn't
matter where our volunteers live and we don't ever have to see them.

> - There is a great deal available,
>especially for activities benefiting regional, rural, remote, and indigenous
>communities. Some of these grants can be up to $200K for eligible projects,
>and the fact that CB is not a finalised 'entity' (am I right?) is not a
>prohibitor to applying for, or receiving a grant - in fact many of the
>available grants include provision for management planning and the legal
>aspects of organisational start-up (there is an excellent online publication
>called 'Commonwealth Assistance for Local Projects' outlining many of the
>available grants at: http://www.dotrs.gov.au/regional/pub/ A few of us here
>have contacts in this area so shout-out if you need further info.
>2/ Have any volunteer coordinating bodies been approached to provide a
>national Linux skill-base? (asked because of Summer's recent posting to
>Aussiewide Bruce) - there are quite a number of groups who keep skilled
>volunteers 'on tap' and are looking for specific opportunities (Teletask
>could be another possibility).

** There will be some crossover references many on this list don't get,
please -- every time it happens -- ask Don or me (or anyone else for that
matter) to explain. Teletask is http://www.teletask.com.au/ and the
volunteer site ActNOW is at http://www.actnow.com.au/ I think. Summer Gill
is in Geraldton WA, nineteen, and doing great things nationally for youth,
but not yet involved with Computerbank -- even though she's aware of us.
Another very busy person..

** Computerbank needs a "volunteer scrounger" or two.

The national Linux skill base Don asks about is needed, do we yet have it?
Please, if it isn't available don't say we can't do anything about getting
one set up, we can. We just need to tap the right people. (Not get someone
already overloaded with other Computerbank or Linux stuff) Who in the Linux
World do we (our CA family) know who would be dead keen to work with others
to create this? 

If necessary, is there someone not currently overloaded among us who knows
about this a bit and would join in with a group formed to get it done?

** Which raises the role of the intermediary or facilitator or
conduit-through-whom we need to get all of this done. Kylie or Tony or
Shaun or David could do this but they shouldn't -- they're too busy. (Oh!
You understand that?) We need others with the time to give who have
experience in this role of finding and positioning (and caring for) the
volunteers we need, preferrably those who have done it before who can pass
on their skill to their tiny helper group(s) getting us all working,
covering everything we feel we should be..

Are you guys getting the *feel* for what I'm trying to get across? Don
knows about it all better than I do, but it all rests on people saying,
"I'll help." Apparently, there are 140 on this list -- and you all have
friends, colleagues and relatives. We can do everything necessary because
there are people "out there" (outside Computerbank or in the bush or
wherever) who are keen to volunteer their skills, but according to their

And helping the disadvantaged bootstrap themselves into a better future
just because they are given a computer is something very sexy to many.

>3/ Has any thought been given to approaching the national Telecentre
>networks for assistance? - (WA Telecentre network, the RTC in Vic or CTC in
>NSW). These organisations are heavily involved in getting computers out into
>communities, and may be able to offer some techo or financial assistance -
>One thought that comes to mind is the State CTC Help-Desk established in NSW
>(Bathurst) by the Office of Information and Technology - This is a
>professional technical help centre for Windows and Linux providing free
>techo services to NSW Telecentres - i.e. a CB recipient has a problem, rings
>the local Telecentre (if they agree to help) and the State Help Desk
>provides the answers - I'm not saying they would do it, but it couldn't hurt
>to ask?

** One thing we must do is follow through on every suggestion, all of your
suggestions are great Don and many will be thinking "if only" -- I say we
can do it all.

BUT we need someone who tracks it all, not letting us forget one good idea
and bringing our attention back to it whenever it's necessary ... another
very helpful volunteer we'll all learn to love and respect.

>Cheers, Don

Yep mate, happy weekend to you!  Bruce

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