7 May 2002 mattr   » (Journeyer)

Found an interesting site yesterday dealing with Community Technology Centers. Particularly nifty was the startup manual, providing a step-by-step guide to getting such a thing going. It covers everything from formation of a steering committee, to non-profit incorporation (if that's what you want to do), to the tech side of things. It was a great find, as I'm really interested in doing this kind of thing. But the tech side does get a little puzzling...

The chapter dealing with software selection makes no mention of open source or free software! Shareware/public domain is mentioned, but the guide seems to assume that any CTC would consist of Windows boxen.

Not that a CTC should necessarily exclude Windows boxen, but clearly if you're trying to start a technology center with public funding, you do well to use a lot of free software, right? I'd probably seek individual sponsors for Windows boxen licenses... ;)

At any rate, I like the guide - more good help on the 'How to Start a Non-Profit' front. Zen and the Art of Making a Living has also been helpful, but I've been stuck over a year now just trying to figure out what my mission, etc. really is. I could ramble on about such a thing without any trouble, but when it comes to framing a concise mission statement, I have trouble. There's too much I want to do...

Still, I feel I'm slowly getting a better idea of what I'll do with the non-profit paperlove.org will eventually become... [I want to be a non-profit when I grow up. And considering the red tape/paperwork involved in such a thing, that might just be another subconscious reason behind the domain name...]

Working with the community to create a community technology center would be a great start, I think. I've got a mental list of potential collaborators, advisers, sponsors, etc. started. The real challenge will be determining the focus based on community needs. There's a sizeable Hispanic population here, but I don't even know Spanish (the CTC startup guide suggests that many who speak a foreign language would still prefer to learn computer skills in English language software, but some Spanish-speaking volunteers/staff would be good nonetheless). Then again, perhaps that part of the community wouldn't even be interested. That's why finding the focus will be the hard part...Might help if I was in the community more...An introverted computer geek catch-22, I guess?

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