Allied Media Conference Supercomputing Project

Call for involvement from Free Geek and similar projects


My name is Geoff Hing and I am coordinating a project at this summer’s
Allied Media Conference in Detroit, MI, July 16-19. For more
information about the conference in general, please see I’ve been aware of your project for
some time and am excited to finally get a chance to talk to all of you
and hopefully collaborate this summer. I’m hoping that you can help
provide expertise in-person (really important), consulting advice
(important), or hardware donations (less important, but helpful) with a
special project at this year’s conference.

I am seeking your help with a project in this year’s Media Lab space at
the conference. The conference organizers describe the Media Lab space
as “an open, collaborative space where people can go to make media
together, after being inspired by the things they learn in conference
workshops. Youth are the main teachers and learners in this space,
leading workshops in animation, beat-making and recording.” An example
of a media lab project from last year was the building of an FM
transmitter by conference participants, with the guidance of folks from
the Prometheus Radio Project, to be used by a grassroots organization in
Detroit after the conference.

This year, one of the projects will be to refurbish computer hardware
and install Free/Libre/Opensource (FLOSS) software to make
“supercomputers” that will form a permanent media lab in Detroit. This
computer lab will be a training space to offer participants insight on
how to make full use of common and new technologies. Participants from
throughout the city will use the lab to learn skills for web 2.0
organizing strategies, media production, community radio, interactive
communication techniques, technology design, and media policy.

Since a big part of the project will be working with conference
participants to refurbish PC hardware and install FLOSS software, your
project immediately came to mind. I would love it if folks from your
project could do some of the following:

* Come to the conference and act as mentors for the supercomputing project

You will share your expertise with conference participants as they piece
together usable machines from donated hardware and then install a
GNU/Linux operating system and multimedia software. As the machines get
built, you will show folks how to use them for things like
videoconferencing, beat making, image editing, graphic design, or
audio/video editing.

* Be available to for consultation

Maybe you can’t make it to the conference, but you have tons of
experience in sharing tech skills with people. I want to know what
you’ve found are the best ways to show people how to do this stuff. How
do you break down the process into steps/tasks? What language or
analogies do you use to make things clearer? How do you document the
process so other folks can replicate your work? If you have ideas to
share about these kinds of things, please let me know your contact
information so we can chat.

* Donate hardware

We’re looking for machines with these minimum hardware requirements:

256 MB RAM
10 GB Hard Drive
Sound and Video Cards
Network Card

The media lab is looking to build 5 machines, so the emphasis is
definitely on quality rather than quantity. However, if you would be
willing to donate one barebones machine, or one large-capacity hard
drive, or one really great video or sound card, that would be so helpful.

* Suggest a session for the conference’s How To track

If you have other skills you want to share outside of this project
through a session, or there’s just something that you feel has been
missing at other media conferences, suggest a session at

Thanks for taking the time to read this. I think the work that you do
is completely awesome and I would love to work with you on this project.
Please share this with folks working within your group and with other
people who might have similar expertise. I’m always happy to chat if
you have any questions or ideas. You can reach me at

Skype: geoffhing

I look forward to hearing from you!

Take care,