Today was service day at Messiah, and having shed off the silly Freshmen assumption that it is to be taken as vacation, I joined up with a group of computer science majors seeking to serve.

As as result, I left at nine this (well, yesterday now) morning for Mission Central, a Methodist (I think) organization that has acquires and distributes goods to various mission fields. Our particular reason for being there was to help the computer division.

Basically, Mission central gets a lot of old computers donated to them. Rather than waste these artifacts (and I tell you, I saw some computers there that must have been older than me), Mission central gives them to missionaries and organizations that need anything better than paper and dried up pen. I'm probably not doing them much justice, these aren't junk heaps, just not capable of playing most video games, running Windows XP or anything made within a few years.

Our task was to take apart computers, replace their network cards, install a CD-ROM drive, and then clone them. Cloning means to copy the exact contents of one hard drive to another, overwriting whatever was there.

I was randomly chosen to (after having finished one computer myself) help the man in charge deal with the server they were setting up for all of these computers (30 in all, Guatemala bound). After a couple of machines that didn't understand their own innards, we got one in working order and ready to go (save for printer drivers).

I managed to construct another computer before we needed to leave, but much of my time had been spent monkeying around with one server while the man in charge was off finding another one to try.

I'm planning on writing a letter thanking Mission Central for allowing us to volunteer, and maybe even inquiring if they could use some summer help. Who knows? There may even be a branch in Massachusetts. I do know that they have an order for two-hundred and fifty more computers for a destination I'm not aware of.

I have decided that managing the hardware aspects of computers would be something I could easily do and enjoy as a means of living. It's just the same as coding, except instead of screwed up code, you just have screwed up drivers, video cards, CD-ROM drives and weird network glitches. It's really just the same taxing problems in a different form.

Today's service was a great experience, I hope to have more such adventures in the future.

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