Cambrian: Opinion

In the barn behind the Pewter Plough Playhouse is a place to learn about technology

Cambrian resident Jeremy Main runs the Technology Collective out of the barn behind the Pewter Plough Playhouse.
Cambrian resident Jeremy Main runs the Technology Collective out of the barn behind the Pewter Plough Playhouse.

I was met with the same enthusiasm my older son gets when he goes into a discussion about technology and life (meaning a lot of words at a high clip) when I had the pleasure of speaking with Jeremy Main.

I saw a post from my friend, former Cambrian columnist Consuelo Macedo, about people at her house taking care of mechanical and technical things and there was a photo of Jeremy. I just happened to run into him at the market shortly after that and asked if I could share his passion with others.

I showed up at the barn behind the Pewter Plough Playhouse, which he has now transformed from a big building stuffed to the rafters with furniture, costumes and props to the “Technology Collective.” The first thing I noticed to one side was a high table and chairs arranged around a series of computers.

“This is a place for people to come and learn about technology whether it’s a PC or a Mac, Lenux or any other system, for free. I’ve been trained and certified in most of them after 15 years in the business,” he told me. “I just ask that they let me know what they’re working on, so nothing nefarious is happening! I want to help the disadvantaged develop skills that will enhance their lives and even write them letters of recommendation for jobs and such.

“I work some with the Cambria Computer Club who does the e-collection at Farmers Market. I started out by helping with that. I believe in doing what we can to keep all this stuff out of the landfills. I’d like to work toward state licensing as a collection site. I harvest as much useable stuff as I can to be reused.”

Indeed, on the other side of the room was a pile of cords and plugs. But he also had another valuable find: batteries.

“Many times, laptops or whatever, have only a couple of the batteries go bad out of the batch,” he said. “We can safely remove and combine several of these into a battery pack that can in turn power a bike! Mobility is another area I’m concerned with and working on for people.”

His own bike, in fact, was decked out with one of his packs.

“We just add the power with some other slight modifications and there you go,” he added. “We’re working on a tricycle for one gentleman now. I want to teach people how to analyze and safely build their own packs for use. These in turn can be solar charged.

“... It’s all part of our mission statement which is ‘Responsibility in life, community and habitat through the responsible use of technology.’”

I asked Main a little more about himself. Originally from Fremont, he went to college at Hayward University and then continued studies in Philadelphia. His major was in education and psychology and in fact did a lot of social and clinical work (“We all go into that business to find out about and heal ourselves!” we both chuckled) back there. But his interest in technology blossomed.

His father was an electrical engineer for the government, so he always had an interest which then became a quest to integrate social work with technology. At 44, he’s had an interesting life.

“I came to Cambria between two and three years ago to lay low and get through some things,” he said. “What I found were a bunch of really nice and supportive people here. Everything has sorted itself out, and now I feel like I want to give back. This is my way of doing that. I’m trying to get a board of directors together so we can develop a 501(c)(3) to gain more access for people. I do have some members who are local business owners.

“So far, I’ve almost got together free wifi for the West Village here in Cambria.”

Main started as the IT guy for the Pewter Plough and developed a working relationship with then owner Rebecca Buckley.

“I am hoping to continue this endeavor to benefit anyone here that shares this philosophy and needs help,” he said. “I volunteer my time for now (although he can be hired for private work, profits from which he usually puts back into the Technology Collective), although if we get a Board and 501(c)(3), I’m hoping that will mean some kind of income.”

For more information, ideas or help, call Jeremy Main at 805-316-0404.

Good luck, Jeremy!

Dianne Brooke’s column is special to The Cambrian. Contact her at ladytiedi@gmail.com.
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