Rachel and Outernet

I just joined the WorldPossible Rachel Forum (http://community.rachelfriends.org/top/all), and posted the following in the hopes of forging some sort of alliance at the Forum Level for a viable joint venture. I hope something develops.

Hello Rachel Friends - - I just joined the Forum, and want to talk about Outernet’s L-band system. To clarify, I’m just an interested IT person who thinks both systems are incredible education contributions to the undeserved on this planet.

To be perfectly blunt, currently Outernet lacks stability, and hasn’t delivered a well packaged device. Many of us Outernet followers have packaged our L-band terminals in containers the size of a cigar box; and power them from AC USB power cubes, LIPO battery packs or solar power arrays.

Some of us plug Rachel (32GB-EN) on a USB Flash Drive into the Outernet terminal board (called the Dreamcatcher), and accessed all the Rachel modules that way. This is a perfect match of both systems that can be done now. Updating Rachel through Outernet makes sense to us, but how to orchestrate it and technically do it escapes us.

Ken in Annapolis, MD

I hope some of you followers can see merits in this idea. Ken


I saw RACHEL forums were talking about technical issues but not sure what they were. I’m pumping them for more details to see if we can mitigate those issues…

Great idea Ken! Always trying to help. I had not heard of RACHEL till now, I’m still reading. I see your direction. We could help them. And they could help us. Maybe a real Win - Win join up. Good luck



Given the content licensing issues surrounding RACHEL, I expect it’s not going to be an easy task at all for outernet to include, distribute, etc the content.

Probably the easiest thing is for Outernet to include a script that detects if a RACHEL USB drive is attached, and then provide a portal into that repository. There will be duplication between the two, such as the wikipedia stuff, but Rachel provides a lot that Outernet cannot yet without entering licensing agreements with others.

In fact, if it doesn’t already exist, outternet might just want to include a script that looks for “index.html” on the root of any attached drive and make a link to it. If this script is contained in the outternet download, it can be updated occasionally to recognize new repositories as they come to light.

Then outternet can distribute RACHEL with its hardware by buying and reselling the $25 USB drives RACHEL has available, so the licensing issues are all handled in the purchase.

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This would be a good idea for those of us doing our own Skylark modifications too. Ken

That’s an interesting distinction. As I understand the Rachel licensing, I can buy my own USB Flash Drive and load my downloaded copy of Rachel for USB, then give it away. I do this now - - am I violating any content licensing rules? Ken

Excellent Ken. I think this kind of synergistic thinking is clearly the future of Outernet.

Just got a response from Jeremy Schwartz (The Executive Director for World Possible) at RACHEL Friends Forum regarding my delivery of a 32 GB USB Flash Drive with Rachel for the George Mhaule Primary School in Mpumalanga, South Africa.

He pointed out that flash drives were notorious for picking up and spreading viruses in rural area deployments, and suggested I deliver a RachelPi (basically a Raspberry Pi with a Rachel image) which is similar to what we were doing with the RXos. (I have a box full of Pis :grin:)

It got me thinking after some discussions with @nbkhwjm Chris, and others - - why not deliver a Dreamcatcher package with the 32 GB Rachel USB Flash Drive. Then, the deployment would be WiFi capable for HotSpot or network operation, and it would have a virus protected Rachel data base. Additionally, it would give the school Outernet access on 25E.

Now the question, can I do this as a hobbyist taking Outernet and Rachel components which I acquire and donate to the school, and packaging them together in an as yet undeveloped Outernet case?


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Is there a way to put Rachel on a sd that would reside on the unused sd slot on the dreamcatcher? Then either protect that “data card” or if possible use future outernet satellite downloads to update the Rachel data.

I have never had luck accessing – or taking advantage – of either the second sd slot or a usb flashdrive using skylark 4.4. If I mount the drive… it doesn’t seem to recognize that drive,

My idea for using the spare sd slot is that it would be physically less vulnerable… or even completely covered by a case.

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Your idea was the first thing I tried, but was never able to load anything on an SD card and operate it out of the Dreamcatcher data slot. I am using a 32 GB USB Flash drive FAT32 formatted. I have had problems getting a larger Flash drive to work, so settled on the 32 GB size. Ken