Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Project Valour-IT

I know when I was last hospitalized in the VA in Palo Alto, CA, it was difficult to stay connected for work and email; but that was nearly five years ago. Then, there were no networks available for patients, even if like me, we had our own laptop in tow. I spoke to a few people in the IT department there, but after making no progress, left them with the wish that next time I needed to stay I'd be able to connect.

When I was in Palo Alto last week for an appointment, I whipped out my laptop while waiting and to my surprise there was a wireless network I could join. I've wanted for years to help lead an effort to put computers in the hands of veterans in order to facilitate; patient learning; greater collaboration with an individual's health care team; communication with friends, family, and the outside world; and for building awareness about the power of computers and the Interned and the possibilities for vocations involving information technology.

Today, I read about Project Valour-IT. "In just over four years, [this project] has given 4,100 voice-controlled laptops to severely wounded Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Marines, and has supplied additional items that may be a surprising fit in a recovery regimen -- Wii game systems and handheld GPS devices."
Established in 2003, Soldiers' Angels is a volunteer-based 501(c)(3) non-profit providing aid and comfort to members of the United States Army, Marines, Navy, Air Force and Coast Guard, as well as veterans and military families. For more information, see www.soldiersangels.org or call 623-570-3903.

Read more in the full article.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Google Voice—An Audio Care Package

When service members deploy, they primarily put life on hold. Stationed in a different part of the world, their family, friends, and colleagues keep moving. It's typically just not practical for those stateside to receive a phone call at say, 2 a.m., and calling Iraq or Afghanistan is seldom an option. Here’s a solution that Google is offering active duty service members. From the Official Google Blog:
For servicemen and women who are constantly on the move, having a single number and an easy way to retrieve messages from loved ones can be invaluable. To help our service members communicate with their loved ones and show our support to those serving our country, Google is launching a new program. Starting today [8/4/09], any active U.S. service member with a .mil email address can sign up for a Google Voice account at www.google.com/militaryinvite and start using the free service within a day.

Google Voice is coming soon for all of us—to learn more about it, visit: http://www.google.com/googlevoice/about.html. And, if you know a family member of a friend on active duty—share the good news.