[OLPC-Chicago] Hello to the Chicago OLPC group - and a question

Mel Chua mel at melchua.com
Sat May 17 01:45:29 EDT 2008

Howdy, Michael - and welcome!

Semi-obligatory disclaimer: there are a lot of independent grassroots 
groups and awesome volunteers on this list, so you'll be getting the 
benefit of many different perspectives and offers for help here, but be 
aware that "people talking on this list" != "official statements by OLPC 
organization" ;) Welcome to the community!

In terms of introductions: tight now I'm an intern at the OLPC office in 
Boston, and my assignment is actually to work on and improve (really, 
create) better support structures for independent pilots (like the one 
you want to start) and grassroots groups. I just started on this last 
week and haven't publicly released anything yet (soon!) and even before 
that happens early next week I'd love to get thoughts and feedback from 
you - and everyone on this list - what kind of help/support would be 
most useful so we can see how to make it happen.

Also potentially semi-relevant: this summer I'm going to be a volunteer 
again, volunteering full-time at the independent ILXO grassroots office 
with a group of awesome engineers. We're going to have a physical office 
in the Chicago area this summer and our charter is to help other 
grassroots groups in Illinois, pilots based in Illinois, and people who 
want to start either kind (like your group) get started. Working 
directly with one of the other local grassroots groups (such as IMSA, as 
Kevin mentioned) would probably be even better since they may be able to 
provide longer-term support than the folks at the ILXO office can commit 
to, but we'd be glad to do what we can to help you get going between now 
and the start of September, at the very least.

My suggestion would be to write up a proposal of the kind of pilot you 
want to run, how it would work, why it's important, how it will happen, 
etc - the Duke University chapter has a nice draft of their proposal up 
at http://www.duke.edu/~ak86/XO%20Laptops%20for%20Durham.pdf for an 
example (it's long, though - your draft doesn't have to be that long).

Post that draft to the wiki (wiki.laptop.org), this mailing list and the 
grassroots mailing list ( http://lists.laptop.org/listinfo/grassroots ), 
and solicit feedback and ask whether anyone has ideas or willingness to 
help you make it happen.

Another potentially helpful resource: live chat! If you're familiar with 
IRC, many community members are often on #olpc (general discussion) and 
#olpc-groups (grassroots communities), and I'm trying to hang out in 
#olpc-illinois as much as possible. This is all on irc.freenode.net. If 
you're new to IRC, go to http://forum.laptop.org/chat, log in (no 
account creation required) and then type "/join #olpc" (no quotes). This 
will get you into the main chatroom and you can ask around for 
help/advice there.


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