The Independence Day Computer – Please Donate (Update: All $1,075 raised)!

For years I’ve made extensive use of public libraries. In high school I would read at least 1-2 books a week, all from the library at my school. During summers in college when I was at home and doing homework or correspondence classes I would go to the public library near my house for hours at a time to study.

Till this day I still visit the public library about 2-3 times a week. At least once a week I sit there and read every newspaper I can and every magazine that interests me. I also still checkout at least 1-2 books per week.

This equates to a lot of trips to the library…and all that information, all that wealth of knowledge in there, is free.

Here is the Ruiz branch of the Austin Public Library System which I frequent:

This library caters mainly to a low income crowd. Something I love seeing every time is the publicly available computers are always packed. But mainly I love seeing that it’s mostly kids using the computers. Generally they are using the computers for things that are seemingly “useless” like MySpace, Facebook, playing games or watching videos on YouTube….but those things are very important. When a kid grows up on a computer like this it gives them familiarity with using computers which is the goal.

(In case you were wondering….Yes, I did look like a creepy guy taking photos of the computer area)

…so anyways, the reason I liked this was because till this day I make my living from a computer. I remember having a computer since I was very, very young, but by high school that 33 Mhz computer was getting outdated. I remember my school getting brand new Pentium II computers that ran at 400 Mhz, I was amazed at how fast they were. I was impressed that a public setting had such advanced computers.

I would stay every day after school for these new computers with high speed internet lines, playing around on them with friends. All this ‘playing around’ resulted in deeper curiosity about computers and how to make web pages, program in different languages, how to use different graphics programs and opened up worlds of information.

Thanks to these computers I launched my first websites and even first internet business ( from classrooms in high school.

SO after visiting my local library quite frequently and seeing the computers almost always fully occupied by kids, I wanted to do something small for them and donate a computer.

Now I don’t want to donate an old clunker, but rather something modern that will last a while and allow for fast usage. I felt almost a little…not sure how to word this…”special”…getting to use such new computers when they installed them at my school, and hopefully this can give the same feeling to someone younger.

I spoke with the technology coordinator and the library specifically needs Dell OptiPlex 755’s with several upgrades. They gave me a long list of must-have requirements, and the desktop with a 19″ flat screen comes to $1,075.00. …not bad computers for a public library. In fact the computer they need is far superior than my own desktop!

Installed the computer looks something like this:

I’m asking the NevBlog readership to help me in getting this computer donated. We need to raise $1,075 for the full system. It comes with slim desktop, monitor and plenty of power for a library computer…and it won’t be outdated for quite some time.

I will donate $300 out of my own pocket. I am making sure the donated computer will be placed in the Ruiz Branch Library of the Austin Public Library System, because I persoanlly go to this library all the time and know for a fact they need more computers, and also know for a fact that 80% of the users are always kids (the Central Library in Austin has 40+ computers, and I’ve hardly ever seen a kid use’s almost all adults).

So here’s the deal:
Anyone is free to anonymously donate, but I’ll throw in some incentive for some larger amounts. I’ll link your website if you donate these minimum amounts:

$25 – Relatively established blog (PageRank 3+)
$75 – Website advertising a service (anything legit).
$75 – Unestablished blog (PageRank 0-2).
$100 – Website advertising a service such as mortgages, home loans, credit cards etc..

You get a permanent link on this post with your choice of link and text.

If you’re an advertiser looking to get text links to your site, the $100 option gives you a permanent link from this post from a financially related website (#1 Google result for ‘Financial Blog’). Considering there are currently 11 advertisers paying $80/month for text links on this site, I’d say you’re getting an absolute steal.


Total Needed: $1,075
Total Raised So Far: $1075

Still Need: $0.00


Use the button below to donate. Any amount is greatly appreciated.


I retain full right not to link your site if it’s shady or spammy (you know who you are).

I’ll also be getting a small plaque made for the computer, so anyone who donates more than $50 will get their name or website name on the plaque:

I’ll make sure the plaque goes on the side of the computer as to not be so invasive to the user, and I will pay for this plaque using my own additional funds. I will also pay all PayPal transfer fees incurred in the donation process, so if you donate $100, every cent will go towards the purchase of the computer.

I call this “The Independence Day Computer” because I want to donate this computer to the library by July 4th. I’ll also make sure to post pictures of the computer when the money is raised and it arrives!

Thanks again for helping!
All donations are greatly appreciated, and go directly to a good cause without all the red tape or administrative fees.
-Neville Medhora

Roughly 3 days after I posted this, all the money was raised for the new computer. As I type this I’m placing the order for the new OptiPlex from Dell and should have it in about a week.

I definitely want to re-thank everyone who donated for their generosity, and to let them all know that 100% of their money is going to a wonderful cause.

Neville Medhora

The OptiPlex from Dell arrived via FedEx today:

Now I’m waiting for the engraver to get the plaque with the names finished. There were some problems with fitting all the names on such a small nameplate, so they had to contact me back and forth which is wasting time. If it doesn’t arrive before the 4th of July I’ll send it to the library sans the plaque.

I find it funny that it takes the engraver longer to make a nameplate than it does for Dell to completely build and deliver a new computer!

Anyhow, I’m glad to say the computer will most likely be delivered sometime during next week. For those of you curious about the price, the total paid at checkout was $1,241 for the full system. In my initial estimate of $1,075 I forgot to add on a few options and account for tax. Since that was my fault, I’ll be picking up the additional expenses.

The plaque I was getting made finally arrived (over a week later than a fully customized computer):

…so now I can finally deliver the computer to the library.

UPDATE (7-10-2008): Computer Sent
So with the computer and plaque in hand I packed up the computer in my trunk and drove it to the library:

(No, my car is usually not that dirty…just got back from a trip)

What made it extra sweet was when I showed up, the staff was JUST talking about where they really needed a new computer to go….lo and behold I show up with two big boxes in my hands like Santa Clause! It was very serendipitous:

Now the Central Library tech guys have to come by to setup and format the computer, but soon it will be put to good use.

Hopefully this single donation makes at least some tiny difference in the world. I know when I was a kid I always wanted to use the “new” computers, and it definetly had an effect on my outcome.

Once again, a big THANK YOU to all those that donated. This is a gift to the library that will continue to give for years to come!

UPDATE (7-23-2008): Thank You Card
I just got a thank you card from the library thanking all the sponsors for the computer:

This was addressed to me and the co-contributors:

“Thank you again, Neville, for your generous gift of a computer to the Ruiz Branch Library. Please convey my thanks to your co-contributors as well.”

The library main office got their people to format the new computer for the library network and has the computer up and running! The computer we donated is officially the coolest and by FAR the fastest in there. Checkout the computer next to it…..HA…still using a CRT monitor!

The picture above is the actual computer which was bought and donated with the NevBlog donations. Makes ya feel good, no?

And there you have it, from donations to actual results, thanks everyone!