December 4, 2022

Pierreloti Chelsea

Latest technological developments

Why this Comcast software program engineer is refurbishing laptops in his spare time

A practical computer is a bare-minimum amount requirement for these working in the tech business — but in 2021, it is also an important for individuals making an attempt at-residence understanding, or remote perform.

Hai Thai would like to make guaranteed any person in need to have of tech help doesn’t go with out.

“Access to tech and digital information are factors we acquire for granted,” he informed Technological.ly. The Comcast program engineering supervisor not long ago donated a laptop computer to a family with two small children. “They only have 1 laptop and the youngsters had to share. 1 kid was not capable to attend faculty. [The mom] was so fired up she took a picture of the MacBook Professional.”

As a member of Honest Trade Philadelphia, a reasonable trade advocacy team, supporting other people has been his passion. Just before the pandemic commenced in early 2020, he experienced an thought to build a GoFundMe to supply schoolchildren in Guatemala with laptops, many thanks to a connection through a Heart Town road seller. The crowdfunding proved profitable, raising practically $2,500. When the pandemic begun, he was encouraged to do even additional.

Thai immediately located a problem that he hoped to resolve.

“We uncovered there was a homework hole concern prior to the pandemic,” he claimed. “Millions of lower-profits households just can’t do homework thanks to deficiency of machine or online accessibility.”

Having computer systems to students and households grew to become the main mission driving TechCycle, a application he founded that tackles tech access challenges, together with system refurbishment and distribution. So considerably, it’s a 1-human being procedure: On his very own time, Thai has up to date a handful of computer systems with the software package and hardware for Philadelphians in will need, for free of charge.

TechCycle’s aims. (Courtesy impression)

With every single refurbished computer, Thai also involves data on Comcast’s Internet Necessities method, which features reduced-price online to small-income people. Thai is an ambassador for the system, which declared this week that it will double the service’s download velocity beginning March 1.

Info about his venture has unfold by word of mouth, but he needed more help. He arrived at out to friend and business enterprise operator Hold Dinh, who authorized Thai to use her company as a fall-off place for gadget donations.

Found within the Park Towne Area apartment creating in the Artwork Museum space, Dinh’s Pretoria Salon & Spa has been in enterprise for in excess of four a long time. Dinh considers herself fortuitous to see inhabitants and shoppers persistently drop off their electronics for the computer system generate.

“Each week, the [building’s] group manager sends out an e mail blast to the residents to remind them about the drive,” she explained. Donors can deliver donations to the salon Monday by means of Friday from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., and Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

However it is compact now, Thai hopes for TechCycle to increase to develop into a long lasting fixture in the tech ecosystem, and to prepare other individuals to refurbish units. In the following 5 yrs, the Vietnam native aspires to aid building nations by providing tech training and devices, and by launching an initiative to control the unlawful exportation of toxic e-squander to other nations.

If you’re looking for a further way to donate unused computer systems to Philly people in need to have, verify out the Metropolis of Philadelphia’s PHLDonateTech application.


Michael Butler is a 2020-2021 corps member for Report for The united states, an initiative of The Groundtruth Job that pairs youthful journalists with area newsrooms. This placement is supported by the Lenfest Institute for Journalism. -30-