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January 3rd, 2011 by Admin

Hello, and welcome to the partial list of project pages for the UIUC engagement with Disciple Fellowship Christian Church in Washington Park, IL.

Phone Conversations

December 10th, 2007 by Admin

Phone conversations with Juliana:
1. Geraldine phoned to discuss the need to change rooms (the other room was in the middle of what would be their “Children’s Church” area, and the thought was that it would be disruptive for children and lab users), as well as to request some further advice on printer and table decisions. We discussed the size and features of the new room and decided that it would probably work, pending further investigation.
2. I phoned her back after discussing the room with Martin (who confirmed that the previous church had a lab in that space) and confirmed that the new room would work. Geraldine agreed to take some measurements to supplement those we had from the old lab’s diagram.
3. After a few rounds of phone tag, I reached Geraldine and was able to let her know the tentative schedule for our trip to install the lab. She let me know the printer models they purchased (she also sent this in email), and that they had tables purchased as well– both of these would be ready when we arrived.
4. I phoned Geraldine to find out if they had USB printer cables– she had anticipated the need for these and purchased fairly long ones to provide flexibility. She also confirmed with me that the purchased power strips should be adequate. We made sure that none of us had any other last-minute questions.

Phone conversations with Richard

  1. Geraldine asked Mitchell in a phone conversation with him for a little more help on decisions about buying printers and tables.  I first looked at ads in the local area around East Saint Louis for office supply and computer stores and got an idea of what was available locally and the price ranges in her area for printers and tables.  I called Geraldine and reviewed with her my thoughts on printers and tables.  In the case of printers she indicated that she wanted an ink jet all-in-one and a laser jet printer.  I told her of my own considerable experience with buying and using printers in my previous job as an IT director for a restaurant company.  My thought on ink jets is not to buy the cheapest one but also not to look at the top of the line.  I told her that HP is a brand that is really the standard in terms of compatibility and they are generally very reliable.  Also, I told Geraldine that if she wanted an all-in-one that a document sheet feeder is a nice feature to have.  I told her I had no specific model in mind but gave her examples from the ads I had previewed of HP all-in-one ink jet printers in the $130-$150 range and HP laser printers in the $200-$240 range.  In terms of tables I told her of several options she might consider and she pinned me down to my personal choice, I told her 6′ standard folding tables worked very well.
  2. After the room change I contacted Geraldine concerning the equipment that the church would provide and we then went over the printer and table options again.  We also confirmed the new plans that were due to the changes in rooms for the project.  She also indicated they would like two computers with modem access as they were not able to secure any type of “broadband” internet connections.  Also in this conversation we confirmed the need for 6 power strips.  Because of the design change we had added a second switch box and Martin had recommended that we connect them via a cable hidden in a plastic conduit to which he gave me the Lowe’s product code numbers which I relayed to Geraldine.  At this point Geraldine seemed very on board with the whole project.

Room Layout Question

December 10th, 2007 by Admin

Hello Geraldine,

How are you doing?
Martin found a map from 2002 of the room you’ve decided on, and I’ve attached it to this message.  Is it still accurate?  Would you mind marking on it (or having somebody mark on it):

1. Where the outlets are (including whether they are data, telephone, or power outlets. Note: Data jacks are slightly larger than telephone jacks– this is the easiest way to tell the difference)
2. Where the doors are (if that has changed)
3. Where any heating grates are, or any other areas on the floor we shouldn’t use
4. Any modifications to the room (like a new wall, furniture that needs to stay where it is, or something like that)

If you could do that on a computer, and send it back to us as an attachment, that would be great.  Or you could print it, mark on it, and send it by regular mail.

If you have any issues with the format of the attachment, let me know, and I’ll send it another way, or by regular mail.
And do you have any preferences for the organization of the room? (computers around the edge, computer in the middle, etc.)  If you do, we’ll be sure to incorporate that into our planning.

Hello,   Please find attached the computer room layout.  I hope you can understand it.  I’ll be on vacation this week.  If you have any questions call my cell (XXX-XXX-XXXX).   Thanks! Geraldine

Update to Geraldine

October 20th, 2007 by Admin


I just wanted to update you on some of our progress and to follow up with you on some of the issues we discussed in our original meeting held Friday October 12, 2007 at your nice facilities. Since then we have been putting together information on your site, researching software and hardware needs for your site, and generally organizing to put your project into implementation. So far we have identified a very recent donation of computers that seem to be fairly current and are physically in what appears to be very good shape. These are Pentium III computers built by Simplified Computers here in Champaign. They came with licenses for Windows 2000, so you will be able to use a more recent operating system (Windows 2000 will allow you to use some newer software, and devices like USB storage drives work better with it than with Windows 98). We are in the process of assessing each computer and preparing their hard drives to have new software installed. Please let us know if you would like further information about the computers– we do not want to overwhelm you with technical details, but we want to be sure we are keeping you “in the loop.” Just a reminder: as soon as you can determine how you are going to provide Internet service, please let us know and we will incorporate that into our planning.
As indicated in our conversation, you might have several options for a high speed Internet connection. As you mentioned one option is satellite, but Martin Wolske said that a complication with satellite is that you receive downloads quickly via that connection but that it required dial-up to upload files (this would include making webpages and other documents or sending e-mail, for instance)– you might want to confirm that this is this case if satellite is a likely option. Also as discussed, another option if you cannot get DSL or Cable service is the wireless cellular data service through Verizion or another cellular service. The hardware required for this connection is the pyramid-shaped router device Martin mentioned, and a wireless card from the cellular provider. These devices would likely cost around $300 (perhaps more), plus the monthly connection fee. If no high-speed connection options are possible, we will put a modem in at least one of the PC’s and that could be designated by you as your Internet computer at least until such time as you could get a high speed service. All of the computers will be ready to use a high-speed wired connection in any case.

I have looked over some of the issues we talked about and for which you asked for some feedback. First in this area is the matter of furniture or desks for the computers to sit on. I have looked at many of your local St. Louis area Office Depot, Office Max, and Staples stores web sites and have found several possible solutions, obviously the choice is yours to make and we will need to know that choice as size of the choice will figure into our plans. My personal recommendation is that you go with either training tables, folding tables, or strong wood tables. I think a size of at least 24″ deep by 48″ to 60″ wide would suffice. Tables of this type (not the strong wood tables) seem to run in price from your local office stores anywhere from $140-$200 per table. The best price I saw on any workstations designed specifically for computers was $49. These workstations were approximately 36″ wide, just a reminder here is that a $49 table might not hold up well to heavy community and children use.

Next, concerning printers, I am really loathe to recommend any one printer or company, but I can give you some information on this area and share some of the experiences that I have had concerning printers in nearly 7 years running an IT department and probably having bought and installed over 40 printers in that time. My experience has taught me that for less then heavy duty use, when it comes to ink jet printers, I would go more for price then top of the line, maybe not the lowest priced model but closer to the bottom then towards the top. I have used many brands of printers and most do an adequate job. When it comes to photo quality I have always been very impressed with Epson printers (but they can be painfully slow). The best results in terms of consistency and compatibility with software has been HP printers. They are just the standard and their printers are almost always supported by all software. In terms of laser printers I have also found HPs very reliable and just workhorses. Looking at your local office store ads for this week, I have seen printers that fit this bill available at reasonable rates. The HP Officejet all-in-one printer is selling for $139 and an HP monochrome Laserjet printer for $224.99. Again I do not advocate a specific model but these two are representative examples and demonstrate the price range I would expect to purchase in. Now if you decide that printing would be more heavy duty then you would be better off getting models more at the top of the line and would need to add approximately $100 to the printer prices I have stated previously. A good place to compare individual printer models is Consumer Reports which you should be able to get it at this web site (no longer active).

Also, in our conversation I indicated that my aunt, Debbie Grotfieldt, had worked on a project in the East Saint Louis area. I did contact her and she had indeed worked on an art project down by the riverfront restoration, but it had been longer than I thought, she said it was back around 1997. She does not have any current contacts in the East Saint Louis area, she did however have a few suggestions for you if you are looking for funding. She said that when she worked in East Saint Louis that McCormack Baron was heavily involved in projects and construction in the area and maybe they might be someone to contact in the corporate world to possibly help out projects you might have. There are however two divisions of McCormack Baron in the Saint Louis area and I am not sure which one would be most appropriate to contact so I have given you information for both. I have attached the contact information I have for them in the Saint Louis area:

Saint Louis Office
McCormack Baron Salazar
1415 Olive Street, Suite 310
St. Louis, MO 63103-2334

(314) 621.3400

(314) 421.3289
General Information

Saint Louis Office
McCormack Baron Ragan
1415 Olive Street, Suite 310
St. Louis, MO 63103-2334

(314) 421.1160

(314) 621.0627
General Information

In addition to McCormack Baron, my Aunt said that technology projects can often get financing from a few national foundations such as the Ford Foundation, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. I have attached some of the contact information I have found for them below:

Ford Foundation: (no longer active)

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation:

The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation
140 S. Dearborn Street, Chicago, IL 60603-5285
USAPhone: (312) 726-8000 TDD: (312) 920-6285

Finally, my aunt said you also should look into the Federal Government’s Faith Based Initiative programs. There is money available now and likely whoever is elected to office next year as President will not be as much an advocate for Faith Based Initiatives. Below is the web site for that program:

I hope this has given you some useful information and we look forward to putting your computer lab into service.