All posts by Charlie Coile

Shout Out on Stuff You Should Know podcast


Years ago, Joel (all around FRITA superhero) wrote to the hosts of the Stuff You Should Know podcast. His letter was about ewaste and the work volunteers do at Free I.T. Athens, and it resulted in a really neat shout-out on the popular podcast based in Atlanta.

Late last month Stuff You Know did an update to a previous recycling episode. Guess which nonprofit is mentioned in the discussion on ewaste? Free I.T. Athens!

Check out “Recycling Update: How’s It Going?” to learn about the world of recycling and give yourself a little cheer for supporting your community when Josh and Chuck mention Free I.T. Athens.

“Recycling Update: How’s It Going?” episode page | direct mp3 download

Happy listening,

P.S. Thanks to everyone who shared, sent messages about, or came by the workspace to give some encouragement about the last post. We all very much appreciate it!

Stolen Trailer

Bad news: a few weeks ago the Free I.T. Athens trailer was stolen from behind The Office in the Homewood Hills Shopping Center. Volunteers have filed a police report. The trailer’s VIN is on record as stolen, but we haven’t had any updates since then.

KingAmerican 6x12 001
This is a picture taken of the same brand and size of trailer taken back in 2011 when volunteers were doing comparison shopping. Unfortunately, there is no signage designating the stolen trailer as Free I.T. Athens owned.

The trailer was purchased in 2011 and we used it to pick up large donations from local businesses and as a little bit of extra storage space. When the trailer disappeared, there were several hundred dollars of computer equipment we had set aside for our community grant program.

Please reach out to us if you hear of anything or see a White 6 x 12 King American with an Athens-Clarke County Tag TS14X44.

Free I.T. Athens is a group of passionate volunteers running this nonprofit on a shoestring budget. We all just want the trailer back so we can keep using it to serve the community.

Hoping for better news next time,

Free I.T. Athens at The Circle of Hope

I’m so pleased to share that Free I.T. Athens and fellow community tech nonprofits will be speaking at this year’s Hackers on Planet Earth (HOPE) conference! Hope is an incredible event held every two years in NYC with an engaging list of speakers, fascinating hackerspaces, and lots and lots of mate.

Even though the event is out of state, you can still participate because all the talks are streamed live! Check out Hope’s website to digitally pop in and catch a speaker.

Representatives from Free Geek Mothership, Free Geek Toronto, Free Geek Arkansas, and Free I.T. Athens will come together on Sunday, July 22nd at 11a in the Booth room to chat about technology and community.



Desktop Specs Update

For as long as I’ve volunteered at Free I.T. Athens, all computers in the store came with GNU/Linux, 4GB of memory, and at least 160GB of storage space. I’m sorry to say that as of last week Free I.T. Athens’ new minimum for desktop storage is 80GB.

Why did we make this change? It’s all thanks to the great hard drive shortage of 2018.

For the past few months we’ve struggled to keep up with the store and grant requests because so many desktops are being donated without hard drives!

We hobbled along for awhile by using larger drives in the desktops (2TB of storage, anyone?), but to break even we had to up the price of those machines. $55 for a dual core desktop, however, just felt wrong.

As my fellow staff members and I struggled to figure out what to do, a wave of 80GB hard drives came in thanks to the kind donations of community members and local businesses. It seems every hard drive donated these days is 80GB.

The smaller drives piled up and so did the desktops on the to-be-refurbished shelf because we eventually ran out of even the super large disks. Last week, it became clear that we needed to drop the minimum storage size.

Computers without drives
So many great computers with no hard drives!

That’s not to say that all the computers in the store or that go out through our community grant program will have only 80GB. Many will have more.

We don’t think this will matter to most people now that so much of our files have moved to online services. That being said, if you come the into shop for a desktop, we’ll do our best to point out computers with smaller storage and make sure that the one you choose meets all your needs.

As always, we appreciate your continued support! If you have any questions, drop us an email at


P.S. Next time you donate a computer, please consider donating the hard drive as well. All of us take personal data very seriously and we securely wipe all donated drives (if we can’t for whatever reason, volunteers smash them with a hammer!). To learn more about that processes, check out the “Your Personal Data is Safe” section on the Donations page.