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Funding and Status

December 1st, 2007 by admin

Would it be possible to meet at 3:45 for about 20 minutes? It’ll mean we’ll probably not get to pickup the monitors until after it’s getting dark out there. But hopefully we’ll have the monitors we’re taking pretty well organized when we head over in a few minutes, so we should be able to get them loaded even though it will be getting dark there if we get to the storage facility a bit later.

In the meantime, let me toss out a few ideas Paul and I were just talking about. There would still be details to work out for each of the options listed, and none are as ideal as just going down tomorrow and Saturday to install the computers in their final location.

1) We roll the dice and hope Essie is able to get electrical and security in place before the 7th. Then we head over there sometime after lecture on the 7th and return on the 8th after setting up the computers.

2) We decide the best is to leave the computers at Prairienet for the time being, and wait to deliver them until once she’s ready to open. You still travel with us this weekend, but instead work on one of several service projects:

If funding and opportunity allows, work on the basement at Opal’s House, potentially installing a drop ceiling.

Work at Mt. Zion to help refurbish the computer labs installed previously there. Also join the group at Dunham doing archiving I’d also be willing to select option two, but then if Essie is ready next weekend, we’d also go then. These are all very rough and need refining. Obviously, option 1 depends on you being available and interested in traveling next weekend instead. I know the 8th is a reading day, so officially it wouldn’t be a class outing.

Vicki, what about the doing a service project in the basement at Opal’s House. Is there ESLARP funds for buying a drop ceiling, for instance? Are there others already working there this weekend?

As mentioned, any solution we come up with is less than ideal in a number of ways, but I’d like to do all I can to find a way to still make this a favorable service-learning opportunity for the two of you, as well as for Essie.

– Martin


Dear Essie,

Thank you for informing us of the Opal House situation. You have our sympathy for the challenges you’ve encountered. You also have our full support in wishing the fund-raising event this weekend is a great success. As far as we are concerned, the status of the Opal House Computer Lab is: ON HOLD.

We will bring the computers and peripherals to East St. Louis as planned, but we will store them at a Prarienet extension office instead of Opal’s House. Once electricity and security systems are up and running again, just be sure to get in touch with Paul Adams so he can coordinate volunteers.

In addition to the volunteers, there still might be a chance that people from Martin’s church could lend a hand, but we can’t say that with any certainty at this time. Martin had lined up some key people from his church to come down this weekend, but it turned out not to be a good time for some folk due to family illness and other factors.

We thank you deeply for your partnership and collaboration. Your communications have not only been enjoyable, but also critical to our work. Preparing the lab has been a tremendous education. And although we may not be able to witness the final installation, we still hold the experience dear and wish the best for you and Opal’s House.


Thank you so much for understanding, this is so hurtful as well as embarrassing, I truly appreciate all of your efforts. I will not entertain the idea that you will not see this project complete. If I have to come there and personally pick you up, I will. I mean that with all of my heart. It is (not was) a joy working with all of you, each of you are very dear to me, I will always consider you a part of Opal’s House. Again, please forgive me for any inconveniences this may have caused you and the entire class. Please tell Martin hello and how sorry I am for this. I love all of you. See you soon.

Essie Calhoun


Good Morning! I really miss you seeing you on this visit. I have been working all day & night but wanted you to at least know that I was thinking about you. Have a wonderful week-end and I will definately talk with you soon. (I am a little sleepy now, I think I will lay down for a couple of hours). Take care, and please be sure to tell Martin Hello and I miss him as well.

Love you,

Essie Calhoun

Safety Poster

November 28th, 2007 by admin

I’ve been working on an Internet Safety poster for Opal’s House and decided to send it along to you as a preview. I got most of the information so far from Please offer any ideas & suggestions. I’ll continue to beautify, simplify, and refine.

I plan to go to lab tomorrow night from 3-5:30 p.m. This is what I’ve recorded in our implementation plan for this week on the wiki:

  • Design posters for Opal House users regarding safe computer practices
  • Finish printer testing
  • Clean all computers
  • Final preparations for lab delivery
  • Pack computers, mice, monitors, keyboards, switches, cables, and drill bit
  • Record full inventory
  • Deliver lab
  • Sketch final floor plan implemented

Will you be in lab this week before we leave on Friday? Do you know if Martin contacts the site supervisors about our ETA?


I will be in lab tomorrow from 3-5. I will also probably stop buy and drop of my printer tonight, just so I don’t have to run back to campus before 3 tomorrow. I did pack up most of the stuff, except for the cables and the drill bit.

Thank you for getting started on the posters. The material you found for them is perfect. The only thing is we might want to change the name of the Teen section to something like “Internet Safety Tips” or “Safe Internet Practices,” so the women using the lab will follow the guidelines too. I’m not sure either whether or not Martin has told them about the ETA.

Opal’s House Computer Lab Update

November 19th, 2007 by admin

Hi Essie,

I write to give you the latest news from the lab and to let you know the status of the video surveillance system installation. I also need to cover a logistical question.


  • Finish Open Office installation (1 computer left, Marcia)
  • Finish printer acquisition & testing
  • Make final decisions about which computers will go where
  • Run, test all computers
  • Determine how to test network topology and test it-use 8 port switch
  • Firm up monitor & keyboard selections
  • Clean all computers

With regards to the video surveillance system installation, we received more information from Pass Security. They faxed us the minimum requirement details needed to get the system going. I’ve attached a copy of what they sent in a pdf file.

You will see from the fax that the surveillance system needs to be tied to a network. You will also see that one computer will need Microsoft Windows 200 Server software and the other will need Microsoft Windows XP SP2. We can do our best by providing a computer with the necessary hardware, but regrettably, we cannot provide the required software.

Once you’ve secured the software needed, Pass Security will install their video surveillance specific software. From what I understand, this should come at no additional cost to Opal’s House since you already purchased the system. Tony Rusteberg was the representative I spoke with @ xxx/xxx-xxxx ext. xxx.

We also wanted to touch base about our dropping a cable from the intake room to the basement to get the computers networked successfully. Is there an existing hole in the wall at this point? If not, we will need to create a small one (unless the ISP has already done so) for the cables. If there is an inconspicuous area that works well for you, just let us know. We will pack our drill.

Please let us know your thoughts when you can.

Thanks Essie.


First, let me apologize for not getting a reply to you sooner. In reference to dropping a cable down to the basement, whatever you need to do will be okay. I don’t think there is a hole but I want you to feel free to do whatever you need to do. I have not been able to open up the pdf file from Pass and Tony is the person that I have been working with, he is a really nice person.
Also, if you could ask Professor Martin if he was able to “solicit” his church members to come down to Opal’s House, (I thought I would just throw that in). Take care, if you need anything else just let me know.



Hi Martin,

Hope you are scheduling in some break time this week. Anyways, you will see from the forwarded message that Essie had a question about whether or not you were soliciting any of your church members to help out at Opal’s House.

I am sending her a reply today with a rescan of the pass security fax and other information. Did you want me to mention something to Essie on your behalf re: her question about church member assistance?

Just let me know when you have a moment.



Hi there Essie,

Thanks for your reply. I’ve rescanned the Pass Security doc. The file might have been too large last time. It is attached here. Just let me know if something goes awry with transmission.

It turns out that we were able to add Microsoft Windows XP SP2 to your laptop; however, this alone might not be sufficient enough to run the video surveillance on it. The document lists 512 MB of RAM as a minimum requirement, but the laptop has 256 MB. I’ll bet Tony can advise further on that.

We will be providing an additional computer that might operate as the Video Surveillance System Server. Note that it will need Microsoft Windows 2000 Server or later installed on it to function in a Server capacity. I’m sorry that we don’t have this software.

I’m not yet certain about where things stand with Martin’s church members. Thanks for mentioning that. I’ll let you know as soon as I know anything more about this.

We wish you a Happy Holiday!

Windows XP SP2

November 16th, 2007 by admin

If you are successful tomorrow at installing Windows XP SP2 on Essie’s computer, would you let me know? Then I can update Essie in case she’s trying to purchase it. I might be worrying unnecessarily here.


I’m downloading Service Pack 2 onto the laptop right now, but I have some bad news about Essie’s laptop being the client computer. It only has 256 MB of RAM (it needs 512). I doubt this can be added, but it is also the only computer with Windows XP installed on it. I’m not sure what to do about it.



Sure I’ll let you know if I add Service Pack 2 successfully. I’m pretty sure it’s free, but then Essie doesn’t have to worry about downloading it unnecessarily.

LIS 451: Pass Security Fax?

November 12th, 2007 by admin

Hi Martin,

I stopped by both GSLIS & Prairienet offices yesterday afternoon and staff at both sites said no fax from Pass Security came to them to their knowledge.

Tony from Pass Security said he would be faxing the minimum computer requirements for the video installation system right away (yesterday morning).

Any chance you may have picked it up? GSLIS said their practice is to put faxes made to the attn of faculty in faculty mailboxes. I asked Tony to put my name and your name on the fax.



No fax 



It wasn’t in my box as of an hour or so ago, but I passed the secretary who distributes the mail on my way up to my office about 20
minutes ago. I’ll run down in a bit to see if it’s there now and will email back if I do find it.


Dear Tony @ Pass Security,

We spoke on the phone Monday morning about the video surveillance system mounted by your company at Opal’s House in East St. Louis.

I gave you two fax numbers so I could obtain details regarding the minimum computer requirements to get the security system going on a network. I’ve checked both fax stations and office staff have no record of receiving the fax. Would it be more convenient to send those details in an email instead?

Our collaborative project with Opal’s House is important to us. We really appreciate your help.


Hi Martin,

Unless the fax comes today, I think I need to look into other ways of obtaining the minimum computer requirements information from Pass Security for installing the video surveillance system at Opal’s House.

I’m not really certain why I get delayed communication or no communication from them. I wonder if it has something to do with the age of the contract with Opal’s House which dates 11-28-05. I also wonder if they are uncomfortable giving me the information because I am not their customer, but they haven’t said so. I called and emailed them again yesterday.

Anyways, what are your thoughts if I were to ask Essie to contact to them to get the information we need? We are lucky that our site coordinator is very responsive, loves to be involved and likes updates. She’s been great.

We will be at lab tonight 3~5:30/6 and likely tomorrow too


Dear Tony @ Pass Security,

Thank you much for sending the faxes (I got them both). It turns out staff were looking in the wrong mailboxes. I apologize for any inconvenience.

Opal’s House will likely be in touch in the near future to arrange for software installation.

Opal’s House Computer Lab Delivery, Nov30-Dec1

November 9th, 2007 by admin

Hi Essie!

We are almost fully packed for our trip to East St. Louis. We will finish packing tomorrow. Here is a brief run-down of our itinerary:

Friday, November 30th
7:15 AM Begin loading vehicles at Prairienet
8:00 AM Depart from Prairienet for East St. Louis
11:00 AM Arrive at McDonald’s in Troy for lunch
12:20 PM Arrive at Opal’s House
12:20 PM – ~5:00 PM Begin installing Computer Lab

Saturday, December 1st
8:30-8:50 AM Arrive at Opal’s House
8:50-12:00 PM Finish Computer Lab set-up
12:00 PM Break for lunch
12:45-5:00 PM Demonstrate Computer Lab features and usage

How does the plan look to you? Just let us know if you are curious about anything, or have any questions or concerns. Please feel free to contact me by email or by phone.

We look forward to seeing you on Friday!


The schedule sounds wonderful, but, we are going to have to change our plans for the delivery and set-up. I am so, so very sorry, I purposely waited (almost) until the last minute for a miracle before telling you, I even tried to borrow the money to have everything working before the work weekend. I am going to have to ask you to hold off on delivering and installing the computers for now. I have been praying for a miracle to get the electric on before the 30th but was unable to secure enough money. I am so afraid to bring anything else into the house until the electric is on because their is no security right now. Our fundraising event is this Saturday evening, afterwards we should have raised enough money to get the electric and security system back on. I know this will be a disappointment to all of you, believe me, not as much as a disappointment to me and letting you all down. Hopefully, under the circumstances you will understand my situation. I sincerely thank each of you for your dedication and hard work on this project, please give me a little more time and have faith that I will get things straightened out soon.

My Sincere Love & Appreciation

Essie Calhoun




We will need some administrative intervention here. You’ll see
that Essie is asking us to postpone delivery.



While highly unusual, I’m afraid this isn’t the first time a site
hasn’t been quite ready for delivery. How we’ve proceeded has varied
depending on the situation. Would the two of you be available
sometime before 1 PM today to hold a brainstorming session on our
best options?  I’ve got a few ideas but it would be
great to have a group to vet strengths and weaknesses of each.

– Martin

Opal’s House Computer Lab: 2 Measurements Requested

November 6th, 2007 by admin

Dear Essie,

I write to let you know that progress is underway for the delivery and set-up of the Opal’s House computer lab. Windows 2000 installation is complete for all of the computers and all computers are network-ready. Today we will be making cables and ordering switches.

As we were determining cable-length needs, we realized that we were without a measurement that will be useful in our planning, specifically for installing the networked computer for the intake room. Would you or a designee be willing to take two important measurements for us? We need to know the total length of the house from front to back. We also need to know floor-to-ceiling height in the basement.

I trust all is well with you, and I look forward to your response.


Gee, I was beginning to feel left out, I had not heard from you this week! I know, you guys and gals are busy, but I still missed receiving at least one email. I will be happy to get the measurements for you, I probably won’t be able to get them until later this afternoon but will email the information to you as soon as I return. Thanks again, and have a wonderful afternoon. Please say hello to everyone for me.



Thanks for your note Essie! I’ll be sure to give you more updates. We have been working very hard, always keeping you & Opal’s House on the mind. ;0) I’ll relay your “hello” to the others.

I’ve attached recent communications w/Essie to keep you posted.

The meeting with Martin went well, yet we might be looking at some slight changes to our plans. In brief, networking the two non-internet computers might be desirable. We could provide those 2 computers with a network printer. We’ll need to secure printers this week. I’m thinking we’ll need 3 altogether. There are about 10 or so up for grabs, but I know other groups might need some and I don’t know which ones work. We’ll be making 9 cables total and I’ll be delighted to show you how it’s done. I calculated the measurements. You can review my figures once I redo the diagrams.

What are your lab plans this week? If you go on Wednesday, could you test some printers? I’ll be there Thursday at 3. Meanwhile, I’ll be redrafting the diagrams, getting in touch with Pass Security (not having much luck with this), and continuing dialogue w/Essie.


Thank you for filling me in on the meeting with Martin and the new measurement. I plan on going to lab on Wednesday, and I can definitely test printers then. I was also thinking of going either Thursday morning or afternoon (whichever one is better for you, so I can the art of cable making), and Friday during class. I will probably also be able to go on Saturday, if necessary.


Sorry I am just getting the information to you, this weekend was real busy and crazy. I did go over and get the measurements today. They are:

First Floor, Front to Back =690 Inches (57 Feet, 6 Inches)
Basement, Top to Botton = 93 Inches ( 7 Feet, 9 Inches)

Please contact me with any concerns or questions.




You are wonderful Essie!

Thanks ever so much.


No, all of you are the wonderful ones!

Opal’s House/Fax Sent from Pass Security

November 5th, 2007 by admin

Hi Martin,

FYI, Tony from Pass Security is sending a fax over detailing the minimum requirements to get the video surveillance system going on a computer network. In brief:

For good measure, I asked Tony to fax the document to Prairienet & the GSLIS front office to my attention & Martin’s. I’ll do my best to get there this afternoon to retrieve it – probably after I get off work around 3:15 p.m.

One More Thing Right Quick

November 4th, 2007 by admin

Martin will be ordering for us 1 eight port switch.
I think that’s it.

Video Surveillance Systems Question

November 2nd, 2007 by admin

Dear Pass Security staff member,

I phoned your office last week asking about your video surveillance system and have not yet heard back from staff regarding my questions.

I am helping an organization with their computer and information needs in the East St. Louis area. This organization, Opal’s House, has your video surveillance system installed on their premises.

Can someone tell me:
1) if is doable to have this surveillance system installed on both a computer server and a laptop computer client (with roving capacity)?
2) if doable, what the estimated cost might be?
3) what hardware would each computer need to have to make this successful?

This is becoming a time-sensitive project for me, so I would greatly appreciate a response at your earliest convenience. Email or telephone response both work well.