[globaloutlookDH-l] A proposal for a new working group

Øyvind Eide oyvind.eide at iln.uio.no
Thu Dec 5 10:51:36 MST 2013

Dear Dan,

I think it is a good idea, and it should be followed up. Based on my own experiment (mainly Russia in the nineties and Zimbabwe more recently) there are some issues you should consider (which you may already have, of course) -- but bear in mind, this is all anecdotical, so take it as that:

* Dumping. How would this relate to local retailers of used stuff? Of course, this is for free, but if you pay for transport, are we giving money to DHL which could have been given to a local street corner shop? The ratio value vs. transport cost is vital here. If transport cost is nil the ratio is pretty high, but if money will change hands, checking if they can end up with local businesses is a good thing. 

* Legal issues, especially for equipment from the US. We did not buy stuff from Dell to be used in Zimbabwe because they were on in the Axis of Evil. I am not claiming that embargoes should never be broken and I have done my bit of "idealistic smuggling". But I would not like to see some mid level manager with no role in this suddenly finding her or himself in problems because a contract signed with Dell (as an example) is broken.

* I trust you would not fail on this one, but with a number of years of experience in the flea market "business": remember the difference between used stuff and garbage...

* For web mirroring the problem I have seen a few times is very low capacity of oversea connections, but decent capacity within the parts of the country networked. So serving the home country of the university can often be done from there, whereas for international users a foreign mirror could be very valuable. 

I wish to repeat that this is all anecdotical based on my own experience, and not based on any real overview of this area.

Kind regards,


On 4. des. 2013, at 22:59, Daniel O'Donnell wrote:

> Hi all,
> Laurie Taylor and I have just been talking about the idea of setting up a new working group at DH: a group focused on ways of facilitating donations of equipment or sharing services. The impetus for this comes from two projects we are thinking of at the U of L. One is to collect and donate computers that are being decommissioned this coming spring university wide (we got a grant to replace a large number of computer lab and faculty workstations); the other is some web mirroring that we are looking into doing for a university that doesn't have a very robust infrastructure. Laurie also knew of examples of donations of computing equipment in the past to Haiti, for example.
> This may be is a little bit more straight aid than is the norm for GO::DH (which is primarily not about aid but about sharing knowledge, research, and experience every which way). But it also may be something we may be able to help each other in: there are some logistics involved that people who've done this before elsewhere might be able to help advice on for example; there also may be a need to fundraise for certain opportunities.
> What do others think? Any interest and/or experience?
> -dan
> -- 
> --- 
> Daniel Paul O'Donnell
> Professor of English
> University of Lethbridge
> Lethbridge AB T1K 3M4
> Canada
> +1 403 393-2539
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