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Time For A Permanent 'Geek Corps'

It's great to see that a long list of leading high-tech and telecom companies have stepped up to the plate with not just money but expertise and equipment to help with Katrina relief. The thought I couldn't get rid of this weekend was: Why not build a permanent "Geek Corps" to help in a proactive, instead of after-the-fact fashion?
The big, heartwarming response to a blog post here last week (which I am still sorting through) showed me that people all across the country -- or world -- want to do more than just write a check when tragegy strikes. Specifically, a lot of us in the high-tech and telecom industries have skills and in some cases, spare equipment that could help jump-start a Katrina-like recovery process.

Clearly, the big companies -- Intel, Microsoft, Cisco, Dell, Lenovo, SBC, MCI, sorry if I didn't name 'em all -- have the resources and personnel to help in a significant way and are now doing so. But my thought was, we could all save a lot of money -- and more importantly, maybe some lives, businesses and homes -- if we had flexible, mobile high-tech communication deployments (and the people to operate them) on the scene, ready to go whenever a Katrina-type situation occurs.

I have some ideas on how this might work, but maybe it's already started somewhere else. If you are interested in pursuing this idea further, or know of such plans, drop me a line and if there is enough organic groundswell maybe we could all brainstorm at some upcoming trade show (perhaps the Fall VON event) on what the next steps could be. Let's not wait until the next storm hits to do something.

And, let's see if we (corporations, individuals, academdia) can't just build this and run this ourselves. One thing that is clear is that the current administration, the current FCC and all the surrounding entrenched bureaucracy won't start thinking soon about how to use things like Wi-Fi, WiMAX and VoIP to set up real-world response networks needed for today's catastrophic events. Or if they have, they've been real quiet about it so far.

Maybe this will cost too much money and require too much time, but if people still have money and time to burn in purely hedonistic pursuits, then maybe some of the rest of us can figure out how to build a real-live version of the Blue Blaze Irregulars, ready to step into action when needed. Take that, John Whorfin.