All posts by Charlie Coile

Wi-Fi is now OPEN at Free I.T.

badgeAt Free I.T. Athens we’re dedicated to bridging the digital divide. The costs involved with reliable broadband Internet means there are people out there with no access to the important modern services the web enables. To do our part in building a more tech-accessible environment, we have recently decided to open Free I.T. Athens’ Wi-Fi network. This will allow those around the workspace to get online even when Free I.T. is closed.

We want to encourage a culture of sharing with those in our community, especially with those who do not have Internet—to get online in the area immediately surrounding Free I.T. Athens, just connect your device to the “” network.

The Open Wireless Movement

There are many benefits to the Open Wireless Movement. It has shown itself to be extremely valuable in disaster scenarios for example. When the I-35 bridge collapsed in Minneapolis, open Wi-Fi networks became an invaluable tool for rescue workers.

In a world with open wireless, we would have less congested networks which creates a more efficient use of the radio spectrum. Open wireless has privacy advantages by fighting against the notion that IP addresses can be used as a sole identifier for people. And most networks have far more capacity then will ever be used, which means that even if you open your Wi-Fi at home, most people will have no noticeable difference in performance.

The biggest reason to open a network is simple though: internet access is becoming a necessity in our society, yet the cost of access makes it a luxury. Free I.T. Athens wants to do its part in changing that. Join the movement and learn more about the Open Wireless Movement at


Free I.T. Athens Videos up on YouTube

This week one of our behind-the-scenes-projects is tidying up the Free I.T. Athens YouTube page so volunteers can more effectively provide information to the community. While we’re working on new videos and tutorials, I thought I’d give you a digital tour of what you can find there already.

Free Software Tutorials

Well, one tutorial anyway. Today we uploaded our very first free software tutorial, covering the basics of LibreOffice Writer. This handy word processor comes with all the computers at Free I.T. This video covers the very basics of how to use it.

We want to put together tutorials that YOU find useful! Let us know what kind of videos you’d like to see Free I.T. Athens make by leaving a comment on the Free I.T. Facebook page, tweeting us @FreeITAthens, or emailing us at

N00b Hour

Once a month, Lachele puts on a presentation/discussion session we call “Noob Hour.” These workshops are typically held on the first Wednesday of the month which happens to be the same day CHUGALUG meets. The idea is that you can attend a Noob Hour and learn about a topic and then stick around for a deep dive with other GNU/Linux geeks at the CHUGALUG meeting. So far we have three Noob Hour recordings with a fourth one on the way.

Check out for more information about this great group.

Free I.T.’s History

This 2010 recording provides a wonderful look at how Free I.T. Athens got its start back in 2005.

SouthEast Linux Fest Presentations

Every now and then, Free I.T. Athens volunteers travel to the SouthEast Linux Fest to discuss current projects and future plans. Check them out!

Joel on Digital Justice

Semmy and Brian on Building Community-based Technology Centers

Empowering Digital Citizens

I know I said this up top, but I can’t stress it enough: Free I.T. Athens wants to provide you with the digital and tech information you need most right now. Let us know what workshops and videos you’d like to see by emailing us at, posting a comment on YouTube or Facebook page, or Tweeting us at @FreeITAthens.

Happy learning,

Open on Saturday

For the month of February, Free I.T. Athens will be open from 9a-1p on Saturday.

Free I.T. Athens
William opened up the work space on Saturday for the very first time in Homewood Hills.

For a long time, Free I.T. Athens has only been open 10 hours a week. This month the FRITA volunteers are experimenting with bumping that number up to 14 hours!

The goal of this experiment is to gauge community interest. If we can better serve Athens by opening up during this time slot, then we’ll add it permanently to our list of official hours.

Let us know what you think! Would Saturday morning hours be a good time for tech support/shopping/donating? Is there a better time? Email your thoughts to, post to the Free I.T. Athens Facebook page, or tweet us @freeitathens.

Can’t wait to hear from you,


Saturday Hours and More!

There is so much going on over at Free I.T. Athens that I don’t know where to begin. Here’s a bunch of events and tidbits I thought might catch your interest. :)

Free I.T. Athens Updates
Nina, Mika, and Kris at the 2017 Green Life Expo.

Saturday Morning Hours

Saturday, February 4 from 9a – 1p
store/donations/tech support

The FRITA crew has been working hard to recruit enough staff members to expand hours and better serve the Athens Clarke-County community. We think we’re ready!

This Saturday (February 4) Free I.T. Athens will open from 9a to 1p as a sort of test run to gauge community interest. We’ll have the store open, accept donations, and help folks out with donation-based tech support.

Volunteers, we’re not prepared to host “open” volunteer hours on Saturday yet, but if you feel you have enough experience to work on your own and want to join in our Saturday fun, send me an email and I’ll pass along more details.

FRITA Noob Hour: Graphics

Wednesday, February 1 @ 7p
Free workshop open to the public

Lachele is back at it with another wonderful presentation. This time it’s all about GRAPHICS. Here’s her event description:

“This Noob-Hour is dedicated to showing off some of the powerful graphics capabilities available to you if you use GNU/Linux.  First, we’ll talk tech a little, explaining the difference between vector and raster graphics.  But, for most of the time, we’ll do demos in Inkscape and Gimp, two popular and powerful applications for creating and manipulating graphics.  Finally, we’ll briefly survey some other advanced resources such as apps for ray tracing, video editing and graph making (both the math kind and the computer science kind), and programming languages for graphics.”

After the presentation, CHUGALUG will hold their monthly meeting at 8:30p. So stick around for a deep dive with a bunch of lovable GNU/Linux fans.

Don’t forget to check out the Free I.T. Athens YouTube page for recordings of Lachele’s n00b hours.

The Free I.T. Newsletter is Back!

If you’ve been to an orientation in the past year, you probably remember Jon mentioning that our email newsletter is dormant. Well, we’re bringing it back.

You can sign up to receive email updates on sales, events, and general shenanigans of the Free I.T. crew. There is a sign up box in the information bar of the website, or you can click here.

Monitor Sale is Still Going Strong

Come by the store to get a FREE 19″ (or smaller) monitor with the purchase of a desktop computer. Or, get $10 off a monitor 19″ or smaller.

Inspiring Saturdays

Last Saturday volunteers represented Free I.T. at the Green Life Expo, and the Saturday before we attended the first ever Athens Social Justice Symposium.

Sometimes it feels like for every person Free I.T. Athens helps there are 100 more in need. For every computer we refurbish, 100 more end up polluting our environment in landfills. And for every person who starts using free software, 100 more proprietary software products ingrain deeper into society. It’s easy to get discouraged.

These two events were a much needed reminder that we’re not alone. Thousands of people across Athens Clarke-County are passionately working to build a happier, healthier, more inclusive community. I find comfort in that.

Staff members and I left the Green Life Expo and Social Justice Symposium encouraged, recharged, and full of new ideas on how to better bridge the digital divide, reduce the impact of e-waste, and promote the use of free software alternatives.

If you missed these events, please do follow them on Facebook or sign up to receive updates so you don’t miss next year’s. You won’t regret it!

That’s all I have for now! If you have any questions, comments, suggestions, or digital high-fives that you’d like to share with us, email We’d love to hear from you.


Free I.T. at the Green Life Expo

2017greenlifeexpo-01The Free I.T. Athens crew is pumped to be a part of the 2017 Green Life Expo. The Athens Clarke-County Recycling Division and the Athens-Clarke County Library have teamed up to educate our community on how to shrink our carbon footprints while saving natural resources.

There’s going to be all sorts of family friendly activities: a petting zoo, workshops on everything from felt soap making to prescribed grazing, a delicious food truck, and of course, the Free I.T. Athens information table! We’re also going to have the truck out in the parking lot to take donations too, so if you’ve been meaning to get rid of all those old computers in your garage, now is the time to do it.

The Green Life Expo is going to be held Saturday, January 28th from 10a-4p at the ACC Library on Baxter St. There’s no cost for admission, so come say hello and learn a little bit about how you can help reduce e-waste!

Learn more about the event over at The Green Life Expo Facebook page.

See you at the Green Life Expo,