Technical Support

VISTA Name: 
Dan MacNeil
Program Start: 
Program End: 
Project Description: 

Dan has been responsible for leading a crew of volunteers, interns and VISTAs working on creating central web-based services for nonprofits.

LTC and the Consortium expect that access to additional technical support and training personnel will result in increased access to computer technology for the community and increased efficiency within organizations through better and easier to-access expertise.

The VISTA member will work with members of the Consortium and the larger Lowell NPO community. The range of activities will vary from organization to organization. In general, VISTas will supervise public access computers, train the community in a wide assortment of computer applications, provide technical support, assist in the setup of new computer labs (including small LANs), and improve and support information systems (i.e., websites, databases, electronic mail, access to the Inernet). We do not expect that every VISTA will have all the necessary skills to accomplish these, but we would like to see the bringing together of a team of individuals that can support and build upon their individual strengths.

Project Outcome: 

We’ve gotten the following new services working in production:

• samba (MS file serving domain controlling on Unix)

These service work in a test environment.
• calendering
• email w/ virus checking
• databases
• automatic creation of test systems
• programmatic manipulation of images

We’ve done this additional work outside our charter:
• Trained 40 people in basic UNIX
• Kept the Mercier public access center open and staffed.
• Some other dinky stuff like cleaning up

The SUEXEC project pretty well sums up our experience. It is essential for the future, yet not very incomprehensible to management and time consuming. Further, the available person to lead the project was smart and hardworking but completely inexperienced

Dan spent most of his Fridays and many Saturday’s this year working with a volunteer to get this project finished. It would have been quicker to do the work himself, but the volunteer benefited greatly from the experience and is eager to contribute more next summer.

Transmission Project