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Wood PCs For A Nepalese School 279

An Anonymous Coward writes: "The BBC runs a story about a Nepalese teacher who collects old computer parts to set up the first computer-equipped school in Nepal. They assemble the parts into wooden boxes! If you have old parts left, maybe you can donate something, too."
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Wood PCs For A Nepalese School

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  • by MrFredBloggs ( 529276 ) on Monday October 22, 2001 @10:34AM (#2459671) Homepage
    Wooden keyboard, wooden ram... looked nice. The only problem wooden work!
  • by morie ( 227571 ) on Monday October 22, 2001 @10:35AM (#2459676) Homepage
    They assemble the parts into wooden boxes! If you have old parts left, maybe you can donate something, too."

    I don't. However, I may have some wooden boxes.

    • If you have old parts left, maybe you can donate something, too.
      Come on, thats a terriable idea. If your going to donate something donate a working computer. I know half of you could build one for about 100 bucks from all the spare crap thats been accumlating in your grave yard at work for the last 10 years. If your really serious about this (which your not) You expect me to believe you'll spend 200$ to send a NIC to Nepal.

      I wonder if the wood is rainforest safe? Though nice teak boxen would sure spruce up the office.

    • Re:Wooden boxes (Score:3, Interesting)

      by DeepHootie ( 314068 )
      Historical note the prototype for the Apple had a wood case.
      • Actually, i think the Amiga cd-32 prototypes were a circuit board nailed to a piece of wood.
      • This is one of the best PC mods I've seen since Cdr Taco Arcade Machine 8)
      • Re:Wooden boxes (Score:2, Interesting)

        by Conare ( 442798 )
        Back in the day, we built a 64K North Star Horizon from a kit. We accidentally crossed our 16V power supply wires and blew up a capacitor. The fire shot most of the way to the ceiling. Good thing we didn't put the wooden case top on before we started it!
        • "Good thing we didn't put the wooden case top on before we started it!"

          Absolutely! It's always better to have a capacitor explode in your face than to protect yourself with any kind of shield.

  • Then i wished upon a star... And when i woke up it was a REAL LIVE COMPUTER I called him Tuxicio! Alas though he was eaten by the great white whale M$ But that is a different story.
  • At the moment, we have to walk down for a full day to the nearest city where an internet service is available to communicate with people from around the world

    and people though that sneakernet was dead in the world today...
  • if they were using new stuff, their cases would catch on fire.

    "Wow, those P-IV's are really smokin!"

    • I've often wanted a wooden case for my PC, and even drew up plans once. Then I remembered exactly how much heat my Athlon and 3dfx video card put out.

      (I cooked a nic in my first PCI slot until it wouldn't work any more, not realizing how hot the 3dfx's heatsink really was.)

      Wood is not known for its heat conductance. In fact, one of the reasons people started building homes out of wood was that wood is a better insulator than stone or metal.
      • Yeah, but the nice thing about wood is that it's cheap and literally grows on trees. In a country like we're talking about here, it makes a much better alternative than paying for cases with money they don't have. In addition, I don't imagine they get many donated Athlons and 3dfx video cards.

        While this idea probably doesn't make sense for most of us, it does make perfect sense for their situation.
      • That would rock.
    • by Kasreyn ( 233624 )
      Actually, the P4 has better heat management than the Athlon. ;-) Take the cooler off a P4, it keeps running, albeit it goes slower. Take the cooler off a P3, it locks. Take the cooler off a T-bird, it destroys itself and the mobo in under 2 seconds. FWAMF!! Sizzle.

      Just about the ONLY good thing about the P4 tho. ;-)

      • "Take the cooler off a T-bird, it destroys itself and the mobo in under 2 seconds. FWAMF!! Sizzle. "

        Don't do that. And don't drain your car's oil pan and drive 200 miles, either. May be a problem.

  • wood pc (Score:1, Interesting)

    by donabal ( 116308 )
    sounds like a fad.

    betcha those paper conservationists will be all over this saying that this will become too popular and we will lose the rainforest.

    and god help us all if one of these caught fire.

    think Wooden Athlon. "Warm in the winter"

    • Re:wood pc (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      It is more likely that they use wooden boxes because PC cases are relatively bulky, heavy and generally not worth shipping out to nepal.

      The computer *is* the motherboard, ram etc. Why bother to waste energy carting the cases up into the mountains when perfectly good wooden boxes are available locally?
  • If you die while surfing the net in Nepal, you can be buried in your own case. How cool is that?
  • by Navius Eurisko ( 322438 ) on Monday October 22, 2001 @10:41AM (#2459716)
    we had wooden computers back when we were young. We will also say we only had 128 MB of RAM at the time (and we liked it! We loved it!), had to look at pr0n on a 15" monitor (CRT no less, not those fancy smancy plasma LCDs!!!), and had to walk 15 miles to download the latest version of Linux (uphill, both ways!!!).
  • Awesome! (Score:2, Interesting)

    This is great to see...

    Is there a site online where you can see various places like this that could benefit from the donation of old parts and computers?

    I'm sure we all have 486's and RAM and old drives and God knows what else laying around that's more or less "worthless" to us, but would make all the difference to students in need!

    • Man, send some of that stuff to me! I wish I could get some "worthless" 486's
    • really? You think? Old 486s and RAM would be useful to other people and not us? I haven't heard that before on a post like this.

      I keep all my old hardware for no reason just as many others do. It sits in my closet and people marvel at the size of the collection. I think people see it and feel the need to donate to me.

      Just send the people over there money. They don't need us building the damn computers for them. If they have money, they got what they need. Hell, they may even be able to afford some nice computers.

      Just my worthless .02
      • These people obviously HAVE an interest in computers, or the gentleman running that program wouldn't have bothered. I'm not saying we should send computers and parts to people that don't have them who might not want them, as you speculate. But programs such as this obviously came about because someone had an interest...

        Same thing with the schools in Africa that are trying this same approach - gathering up anything and everything they can that us spoiled folks take for granted and consider "junk."

        I know that I'd rather see a student in an under-developed use my old gear than have it sit in my closet to impress my friends with how much old crap I've got laying around.

  • I wonder if they have line of sight between the ISP-equipped village and their village. Hmmm....

    Seems like a good candidate for a wireless link.
    • Re:Line of Sight (Score:1, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      That would -

      The typical income of a working person in Nepal (if they get paid in money) is about 50 US a month.
  • Old Computer Parts (Score:5, Informative)

    by DrDeaf ( 108321 ) on Monday October 22, 2001 @10:43AM (#2459726)
    I'd suggest:
    (1) Gathering your stuff to send
    (2) Packing carefully
    (3) Finding out how much shipping will cost
    (4) Send that amount of money
    • I believe there was a story on ./ many moons ago about someone who wanted to ship an HD to Russian. His conclusion was the same. After all the hassle of shipping, insurance, duty fees and such, an old used HD ended up costing quite a bit more then a new and much larger HD.

    • That only works if the parts exist for them to buy locally!
      • I also collected some used computer parts in the US [...] Most of them were 486 DX2 models and some Pentium I models, with Window 95 and Microsoft Office 97

      Better send a little extra for their legal fund, or an external CD-ROM drive and a Linux distro.

      The sad thing is, this isn't levity. We know M$'s track record on this issue. :(

    • Shipping costs. (Score:2, Informative)

      by twitter ( 104583 )
      (3) Finding out how much shipping will cost

      (4) Send that amount of money

      I suppose that will cover the cost of shipping for the new system? My $50 in shipping (cost per pound from US to Japan, rough memory, bad logic leap) will provide a box full of parts that can build or upgrade several computers. My $50 check won't get them a single motherboard, much less pay for it's shipping. My step 3 is to mail the box.

  • Most of them were 486 DX2 models and some Pentium I models, with Window 95 and Microsoft Office 97.

    Let's see if they get letters from the "BSA"..

  • If you have old parts left, maybe you can donate something, too."
    What, you mean old tables and chairs? ;)
  • Damn you people (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 22, 2001 @10:45AM (#2459744)
    So I just read the article, I come back and saw a few comments had been posted at they were all a bunch of wise-ass remarks about the wooden cases. WTF!?!

    Ok, check it out people, this guy deserves props of the highest magnitude. He's out in the middle of no where. His home is poorer than the poorest part of the US, hell, they didn't even get a phone until a few years ago, now they have one.
    Did he let that stop him? No!
    HE went out, got a bunch of old computers and began building working units.
    He hit a roadblock, namely the fact his village didn't have any power, so you know what. This TEACHER went out and set up his OWN POWER generators in a nearby stream.

    This guy's improving his home. He's single-handly turning in into something from our 1700's into something from the early 1990's. That a big freakin' technological jump and something he should be commended for. All you assholes need to show a little admirination (and respect) for what this gentleman and his village have done.

    If I had the cash (read: not a poor student) I'd buy this guy a GSM hook-up myself.

    • The oeganization, Students For Change [] have been working on this problem.

      Not only are they working on their computer skill,s but small-business skills as well. Although I'm not sure what they'd use SB skills for, being a tiny, isolated rural communtiy, but it might be a good idea.
    • Yes, you're right. one of them was mine (actually to of them were mine, go and mod them down if it makes you feel happy)

      Off course this guy deserves a statue (or an ice sculpture), but hey, I could use a laugh once in a while as well, and so do others. The fact that the first few post were intended funny only shows that a funny comment is something that hits you, not a reaction that needs contemplation. To make fun at a situation does not always mean disrespect. In this case it sure doesn't.

    • Friends,
      Just one 256k SIMM can give a family of 12 poor Nepalese children the gift of warez; brilliant games like Platoon, Congo Bongo and Tapper. How can we ever expect such pagan misguided souls to become as technologically advanced as us if they can't work out how to defeat Donkey Kong and save the chick? Never mind about food, once we get them hooked on these games they won't be so hungry any more. Send your x86 PC bits today!
    • Re:Damn you people (Score:2, Insightful)

      by ronmon ( 95471 )
      Mod me down, flame me, call me redundant or whatever. I don' give a shit. This guy has to rate as one of the great hackers.

      All those morons who think that multi-million dollar athletes are heroes need to read this article and reassess their priorities. He founded the high school, created hydro-electric power from a nearby stream, built (and taught others to build) computers from barely adequate parts that he scrounged and whatever else he could find in a village that is a full day's WALK from the nearest internet connected city.

      I'll be looking forward to this evening's meta-mod session.

  • Nepal could use our help. It is a very poor country. The ruling family was so abusive that their own son, the crown prince, killed them.

    CNN: NEPAL. Report paints picture of prince's drunken rampage, June 4, 2001 []

    Nepal's 48-hour king dies after royal massacre, June 3, 2001 []

    "The former Crown Prince Dipendra was admitted to hospital late on Friday with what appeared to be a self-inflicted gunshot wound after reportedly slaughtering most of his family with an assault rifle as they sat around a dinner table."

    Nepal's King orders massacre probe amid riots. []

    "Analysts say Gyanendra now faces a struggle to restore the role of the monarchy as a pillar of stability in the country of 22 million people where Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala has faced violent street protests against his rule.

    What should be the Response to Violence? []
  • They use M$. We have to go in and rescue them!

    Hey, wait a sec! If they do not run Linux, how did this end up on /. in the first place?

    No, I am not serious. In fact, I am probably joking...

  • by fobbman ( 131816 ) on Monday October 22, 2001 @10:47AM (#2459758) Homepage
    Luckily no links were put up in the BBC article to the schools web server. Otherwise the /. effect could have literally burnt the server up.

    • Their web page is on a machine not at their village. Not one of the oh-so-hilarious (apparently) wooden boxen. Their village is still without internet service.

      Now spit out your foot and read the article next time. =P

      • Both you and I know that the link was really there. I just hated the thought of some poor third-world server bearing the brunt of the /. effect.

        Now say it with me: "There is NOTHING to see there. Do NOT click on the link."

        Think about the children, for crying out loud.

  • Its nice to know the little gnomes inside the computer will be able to keep nice and warm. Wouldn't want any large metal surface area to cool off their home. I guess if it gets TOO hot they could always use the moisture that gathers around the case on a damp day.
  • I would venture to say that these people are very fortunate in a number of ways, aside from actually getting their hands on technology. They are delving into the computer experience for the first time, and many are possibly enjoying the experience felt by some of our older members. There was a time in this country where computers were an ethereal thing. Very little access, not to many around, time sharing, etc. But it's very interesting to explore their workings for the first time!
  • Really cold?

    Those wooden boxes are going to be some serious heat insulators. (This is why PC Cases are metal - they can disperse the heat away from the components rather well.)

    I don't know how well a wooden box is going to work...and if it does work, how long will it be before some components fail because of overheating? Then will they blame the hardware?

    I carried the parts in two suitcases. Most of them were 486 DX2 models and some Pentium I models, with Window [sic] 95 and Microsoft Office 97.

    Are they legit? I seriously doubt the people who donated this hardware also donated the licenses to Office and Windows. What happens if a few of these things need a reinstall? Are they just plunking these computers on to a network "As-Is"? Is that a smart idea?

    I mean, don't get me wrong. It's fantastic what this dude is doing. Problem is, he needs to make sure he does it the right way so he doesn't get screwed over later on. (Be it a license issue, a hardware issue, or some rogue virus/worm on one of the boxen that is found "the hard way".)
    • Probably quite cold - it's mountainous.

      From UConn's website:

      The village of Nangi lies at about 2,300 meters above sea level, in the Himalayas of central Nepal.

      Since it's also at roughly 28 degrees latitude (same latitude as Orlando, Florida), the climate is probably seansally rather stable
    • Right... talk about a PR nightmare!

      Microsoft Lawyers Shut Down Rural Nepalese Computer Lab Due to Alleged Licence Violations

      I'd love to see MS go after this guy... they'd get massacred in the press, and end up having to give the guy a truckload of brand new PC's and software just to save face.
    • As long as they aren't using hardware thats too new, they should be fine. I've been running a computer in a styrofoam box for a few years now, and it hasn't toasted yet. It's only a 200mhz Pentium, but this guy is running 486's. They are going to be fine. Temperature in Nangi? sub freezing at night, but better during the day. I think I'd be more worried about the Monsoon winds that bring "78 inches of rain every year."

      As for the legitimacy of the software, even if M$ cared about software piracy in the sub 'thousands and thousands of dollars' range (which, finacially speaking, they don't) I doubt they would be eager to be the corporate baddies who sued a small nepalese village. More likely you would see M$ step in and donate at least a couple office suites - maybe even a few computers. Of course, the publicity on this guy would have to be astronomical to blip bright enough on the M$ radar to warrant any attention.
  • Talking about building your own computers..

    I remember reading an article in a computer magazine back in about 1981.. Around this time the Acorn Atom was the computer to have - and fortunately for the ubergeek of the 80's, you were able to purchase this wonderful machine in a Kit form (basically a pile of components, case and a pcb)..

    Whilst sifting through the readers letters section I had found, quite amusingly, that someone had complained to the BBC (who I believe where manufacturing these computers at the time) that his newly built Acorn Atom kit did not work -

    Turns out he'd glued the components onto the PCB using epoxy.

    Maybe they forgot the instructions in the box? I have no idea, but I truly cannot imagine anyone even contemplating to build a computer from a kit if they had no clue whatsoever what the general electronics involvement would have been..

    Next Month: "Build your own raid cabinet using balsa wood!"
  • The Nepalese (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Knunov ( 158076 ) <eat@my.ass> on Monday October 22, 2001 @10:50AM (#2459790) Homepage
    This may be off-topic, but I thought it was worth mentioning.

    While I was working throughout the Mediterranean, I met several Nepalese security officers. Those familiar with British military history may recall that Nepalese soldiers, b.k.a. Gurkhas, have been used by the Brits for several wartime, policing and security activities.

    Unfortunately, the Gurkhas got a huge black eye courtesy of the Brits when they were used to kill peaceful, unarmed Indian protestors, including children, during Gandhi's early days. Aside from that unfortunate incident, the Nepalese have been great friends of the Brits and have worked and fought side-by-side with them for nearly 200 years.

    The Nepalese I met were, as a whole, some of the most courteous, respectful, hard-working and fun-loving people I've ever met. In short, I've never met a Nepalese that I didn't like.

    I want to add that I don't hold any grudge against the Nepalese nor the Britons for past indiscretions. There is not a race, religion or nationality on the planet that hasn't committed an atrocity at some point in history. But by today's standards, the Nepalese are really good people.

    If anyone on that side of the world deserves our help, even if it's just old computer parts, it's them.

  • Those will never make the Cool Case [] gallery....
  • by Atilla ( 64444 )
    How about a Rosewood iMac? or maybe OakPC? This could potentially be a new trend in computer aesthetics...
    Of course, the drawback is that hardware 'bugs' will take on a completely new (or, should i say, completely old) definition as termites and other pests befriend their new warm, wooden homes.

    But seriously, how neat would it be to have a PC that looks like a 30's UHF radio?

    • no text


      I don't like lameness filters.

      "having a lameness filter on /. is like having a shit filter on your ass" - anon.

    • A nice quilted maple []. or maybe AAAAA grade Italian birdseye maple would look nice too. Both woods look amazing when finished. I can see it now: gold power/reset buttons and external drive plates, crystal LED covers.

      Damn. I should start building these. I'd probably make a fortune advertising in the Robb Report and the like. Now available in the following models: Monarch, Presidente, and Ambassadore.

      Note to self: buy saws, wood, clamps, glue, sandpaper, lacquer, router
  • by BenjyD ( 316700 )
    Wooden boxes run fine - I built myself a black cube box(celeron-600) from chipboard for $15. It runs cooler and quieter than my old metal tower, plus it looks better.
  • I thought a major reason for not using wooden cases was heat dissipation (sp?) issues... Am I wrong?
  • by British ( 51765 )
    I'd get a wooden PC if they can make it look like a video game cabinet from the early 1980s. A little wood here, some black rubber striping there, and maybe make a fake marquee up, and boom, the perfect retro computer for MAME!
  • My roommate from college put together a really nice oak computer case []. Sure, it doesn't have the best thermal transfer, but who cares. It's not an overclocker box. Oh yeah, and it'll give you wood, heh-heh. It r0x0rz your world.
  • Quick, someone call Bill Gates. These people need to be threatened with legal action as soon as possible. They are obviously not using properly licensed software from Microsoft, and as such are obviously thieving b*stards.

    My God, when will people ever learn? I hope Microsoft doesn't let these scum get away easily, like they did [] with the PCs for Kids project in East Timor.
  • People are stupid (Score:4, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 22, 2001 @11:13AM (#2459919)
    I was really surprised: a lot of stupid jokes in comments. Probably you -- people who enjoy self-made wooden jokes about wooden cases -- do not unserstand what is really poor country. I'm Russian (thanks God I live in Finland now working for Nokia) and -- believe me -- 95% of people in Russia think that $100/month (one hundred dollars per month) is very good salary. Most of these people cannot hope to get even half of this. And I guess: Nepal isn't as rich as Russia :-) :-(
  • Wood PC's (Score:2, Interesting)

    by ldopa1 ( 465624 )
    This guy [] did it as a project. And This guy [] apparently felt his effort was worth a web-photo album about his computer "Woody".

    I also remember reading an article in Wired [] a couple of years ago about a company that was doing high end PC's what were encased in mahogany and teak and other stuff like that, but I can't find the company now. I gues it's for the executive who has everything and doesn't actually need anything.

    Honestly, I think making a computer case out of clay, adobe or ceramics might be better and cheaper. Additionally, there would be a reduced fire hazard and the materials are available onsite. I also think Paper Mache might be good for laptops (weight, you know). Of course, you'd have to have a KILLER fan to keep it from bursting into flames and you'd most certainly have to keep it out of the rain, but there you go.
  • "...Since then I have been trying to find ways and means to get a telephone line good enough to get the internet in the village..."

    If you take the time to read the item you'll note that he has the computers set up (though no doub t more for other schools etc would be greatly apprecaited) what hes after (and the bbc has a comment box to submit suggestions) are suggestions on how to get net access for the school. /. has covered similar topics a couple of times, but if you've actual experience of setting up such a network and the pros and cons of various methods please comment on the orriginal story where it may get back to Mahabir Pun rather than preaching to the choir here on /.

  • It is the manifold way of Dharma. You crash you come back of something less worthy.
  • aside from the fact the poor fellow needs to work with his local (ha-ha!) phone company on that line, you could make cheap little RS-485 echo boxes out of one chip and power them with solar-cell & battery. RS-485 allows (i think i remember rightly) about a kilometer between transmitter & receiver. that could be a nice repeater system, boxes stationed every kilometer along the line. the last station would have to be a computer with a modem to echo the data onto the phone system.

    hopefully the telco ran at least two twisted pairs, otherwise a half duplex tx/rx protocol would be needed. that would require a state machine. which could still only be a PIC chip, so still quite feasible.

    or, perhaps a little less practical, how about using some computers with two modems for repeaters? the modems could be put in leased-line mode to avoid the need for dial tones, and then perhaps you would only need a battery to power up the line between two stations. how far could the stations be apart? the signal would be decoded and regenerated each hop. seems like any basic routing software could be used to support PPP packet forwarding, or else some simple C program could be written to echo whatever comes in on a character-by-character basis.

  • Net access? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by merlin_jim ( 302773 ) <James.McCracken@ ... .com minus punct> on Monday October 22, 2001 @11:29AM (#2459986)
    Okay, this guy's got the problem of how to get the internet into his village. He laments that the nearest access point is in the city, a day's walk away, and that he can't afford a satellite phone...

    How far is a day's walk? Is it farther than an 802.11b? With tuned antennas? I mean, an 802.11b access point could be the answer... big upfront cost, but no ongoing cost. And he's already bought 15 monitors and 2 power generators, so the cost of an access point at the big city ISP may be trivial next to that...

    Anyone have any ideas on that? How far is a daywalk, anyways?
    • The average human walks at 1 to 2 MPH. If it's a day down and a day back, figure 10 to 12 hours walking distance, between 10 and 24 miles. If it's a single day down and back, that's about 4-6 hours each way, thus about 4-9 miles.

      Either way, directional 802.11b should work given proper line-of-sight.

      Personally, I wouldn't bother with 802.11b. Pick up a couple fixed frequency 900MHz radio modems (from MDS - the 9710 should do nicely). You can stick those bad-boys in a box on a hill running off solar and a couple of 1F caps for backup juice. They require very little power to receive, and a meduim amount of power to transmit. Since they're 12V, they run well off solar. You'll get /reliable/ 9600 service, which will do eMail just fine.

      Don't try to jump into T1 speeds at first. Stick with what works. At 9600 baud, the ISP charges will be dirt cheap, and seeing as how cost is a factor, its well worth it...
    • How far is a days walk? Depends on the person and the terrain. Average human walking speed is about 3 to 5 MPH. A good runner (or powerwalker) can do 7 minute miles (8.6 MPH). Trained troops can cover 20+ miles in a day while carrying a full field load (~100 lbs). For a lightly-encumbered person used to distance walking, figure anywhere from 15 to 30 miles, depending on how hard they push themselves and the terrain.

      The problem here probably isn't distance, but terrain -- Nepal is pretty mountainous, so there's probably not a direct line of sight from the village to the city. This would necessitate several relay points.

  • The Geek Corps could help this guy out. Right now they work in Ghana helping companies implement modern IT solutions, etc. Why not send some geek teachers to Nepal to spend time with the kids, showing them how to install Linux and programs their computers in C++?

    • You know, I found it damn disappointing that I read all these comments and NOBODY had one single practical thing to say (unless I missed it) about helping this guy out. How many floppy drives do YOU have? How many old 486 parts? How many of you, like me, are sysadmins, and throw away or recycle buttloads of this stuff all the time? Shame on you! Talking about 'wow, that's a really good idea' when YOU'RE the people these kids need help from!!

      Because I'm not slime, I've written to the BBC asking for more information about where and what WE (the rich US techies) could send to the Nepalese students. When I get more info I'll post it...but at least they'll be getting a shipment from *me*.


  • My first REAL computer (not counting the Atari 400 running Basic) was a cast off Xerox 820 CP/M system, built in a cardboard box. It had real 5.25 floppy disks, 64K of RAM, and I had an Aztec "C" compiler. Worked great!

    It wasn't until a year or two later that I upgraded to a wooden box for the motherboard and drives. The monitor however, remained in a cardboard cover until several years when I upgraded to a UNIX based AT&T 3B1.

    Like they say, "It's the engine that counts!"

  • What about RFI? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Webmoth ( 75878 ) on Monday October 22, 2001 @11:50AM (#2460124) Homepage
    Wood cases seems like a pretty cheap way to do it. Only trouble is, wood does not block radio frequency interference very well. (If it did, radios wouldn't work in our houses :-P )

    What are the chances of nearby RF causing problems in these computers? Could include anything from data corruption to mysterious system crashes. Another possibility is RF from the computers interfering with other nearby RF devices. ("Why does my garage door go up and down every time I click on 'OK'?")

    I guess you could alleviate this with some aluminum foil pasted to the inside of the case, grounded (for you UK'ers, that's "earthed") of course. That would block the electric fields but wouldn't help any magnetic.
    • That said, they probably don't have an FCC in Nepal to get all stinky about insubstantial stuff like RFI. Besides, these Nepalese would probably find aluminum foil to be much more valuable for uses other than preventing RFI in a few computers. I doubt they have automatic garage door openers, either. Heck, they probably don't even have garages. If they did, you know they wouldn't have their cars parked there. Mother-in-law's gotta sleep somewhere. Maybe I'm being optimistic in thinking they have cars.... things in third world countries don't always make sense to we Americans. Like a village I saw in Guatemala with no running water... but a TV in every house.
      • I think the computers were the ONLY electrical thing they had in the village period. The article gave me the impression that the generators were set up for that sole purpose. So, you said it pretty good...there is nothing to interfere with!
  • WOW! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by dinotrac ( 18304 ) on Monday October 22, 2001 @12:01PM (#2460196) Journal
    When I read this, I couldn't help but think of all the inevitable comments that come up about bloat/speed in KDE/GNOME/Mozilla/StarOffice/Whichever piece of software hits your hot button.

    Someone always belittles the complainers and points out how cheap memory/processors/HD is these days.

    Something like this reminds us of how fortunate we are and how spoiled we have become.

    It's also a pointed example of why monopolies whose software must run on the biggest and newest hardware cannot be left to own the entire computing field.

    Way to go guys. If I wore a hat, it would be off to you.
  •'s the troll:

    Microsoft to Nepalese School: Are those OS's licensed? You are due for an audit.

    OK, I would like to say that 15 computers isn't too bad. I bet there are some inner city US schools that would like to have that many PC's. The high school that I went to in small town Columbia, PA, was lucky to have that many PC's. Certain members of our wise school board did not think it was necessary to spend money on technology because, "they didn't have computers when they went to school and they still turned out OK." Rather, the basketball team got new uniforms...EVERY YEAR.

    Anyway, I think what this guy did is great. I mean, he started his own high school and now he is taking the initiative to make something of it. I hope they can get a good net connection. There has got to be a satellite broadband company out there that is not too stingy to donate one connection. Hey, its a tax write off too!
  • I have come across a new PC Mod [] that would fit nicely with the turn of the (20th) century theme.

    Joking aside. This guy is the Man. Is there a hacker-of-the-year award? If so, he should get it. Doesn't what he did with spare crap he found/srounged embody the true definition of Hacker?

  • What the person has done is commendable - that's without doubt, but there are REAL problems that the BBC story fails to give out. My self being from Nepal and working in similiar area, I think one of the major concern is not being able to use the available computer in Nepali or other local languages.

    I have seen computers being placed in many villages and school - which are ultimately monopolised by people who can understand English. The majority of students are required to understand english - before they can use computers, which is a problem. With the Unicode implementations of Devnagari (the Nepali Script), this may be possible - but can someone point out to any serious work that is being done.

    Also, line-of-sight wireless would probably not be so useful as it's a hilly area. If it was remotely possible for the Telco to provide better telephone system (out of the many systems they use), they would do it - as it turns out to be chepaer for them.

    I wouldn't worry about wooden casing, as it looks like it's open on one side, so that he can connect keyboard, mouse and monitors.

    It is factually incorrect that it is the only school with comptuers for high school students. I know of at least two examples, one from the capital and one from a district in far western nepal.

    If i get chance to visit these guys - i will report back to the /.ers. For Nepal related information, is the best resource.

  • The University of Nebraska at Kearney [] is bustin' its buttons over the publicity being given to Mahabir Pun's project. He has an undergraduate degree from UNK and is now back for his graduate degree.

    Mahabir is spreading the word about UNK in Nepal and we now boast a good-sized community of Nepalese students. Most of them are here in our Computer Science/Information Systems program. UNK boasts a large number of international students considering that we are a small university (approx. 6500 students) in the middle of the heartland. We support our international students in a variety of ways and boast one of the best educational values (read: low tuition, low cost of living) in the country!

    If you are looking for a safe, low-crime environment in which to get your undergraduate degree:Check us out!.

    Lower bandwidth site: here [].

    Curious George

  • 1.) Aren't they concerned with EMI up in Nepal?

    2.) These schools aren't going to be calculating the Nine Billion Names of God are they?

  • This project looks interesting, and it reminded me of something I found looking through the LinuxFund project proprosals. The ganesha's project [] people are working on developing a school LAN using relatively old PCs and various free software. You can vote for the project to receive funding from the cool LinuxFund [] people at this link [].

    I can't help but wonder if some technical books might be even harder to get (and correspondingly useful as donations) than x486 class hardware components.

  • Nangi Village []

    It links to the Himanchal High School page there. Its timing out for me right now, so here is a google cache []

Our business in life is not to succeed but to continue to fail in high spirits. -- Robert Louis Stevenson