the itjerk

my adventures with technology

Category Archives: OLPC

olpc xo – the final chapter

As I await my Dell Mini 9 (with Ubuntu of course), I pulled the green OLPC XO out of the closet to get it ready for eBay.

I bought the computer during the initial G1G1 promotion almost a year ago, and have to admit I've been underwhelmed by it. Why? I bought it for the wrong reason: The XO is _not_ a netbook, and is simply underpowered for decent web browsing. Admittedly, I never got the Sugar interface, but even with the more familiar XFCE, it still didn't cut the mustard.

A clean install seemed like a good place to start. Easy enough, download two files, put them on a flash drive and plug it in to the XO, hold down the game keys and press the power button. Reboots automatically, and viola, just like new (but with an updated os of course). Next is to reinstall the G1G1 activities: Same procedure; download a zip file, unzip the two directories onto a flash drive, plug it in, and power up. The activities are automatically installed.

Now I have to admit, that's pretty slick. Maybe I should give this another try? Maybe I should approach this computer as it was intended, as a child's computer…

On the web:

olpc – the ugly

been using this thing for a while. a few _major_ problems:

1. the mouse randomly jumps all over the place. this stinks. here's what olpc says:

2. the sugar "frame" keeps popping up all the time. annoying.

UPDATE: I installed xfce on it, got flash working, tried to use it as a "laptop", but am not happy at all with it. Way underpowered, small keyboard, quirky, just not for me. Sorry, look for it to be auctioned on eBay sooner or later.

olpc – got one

My OLPC XO arrived today via FedEx. Here's a first look at the unboxing:

Once you get your XO, started check out these links to get started:

OLPC Start Page and OLPC Support FAQ

A few initial observations:

1. The computer is much smaller than I imagined – not that I'm complaining. See pictures.

2. You'll more than likely need to run /sbin/ifconfig -a from terminal in order to get the MAC address of the wireless card. Look for the terminal Activity.

3. Sugar takes a little getting used to. It's a bit jumpy, and switching between applications isn't as intuitive as I would have thought (maybe I'm doing something wrong?)

4. The machine will power down all the way, but it takes a little longer than you'd expect.

olpc xo – bought one

Okay, I'm an early riser. Today at just after 6:00pm EST, I placed my order for OLPC's XO laptop under the "give one get one" program. Total was $423.95, which includes $199 for the laptop's "fair market value", $200 donation (which is tax-deductible) and $24.95 for shipping. Be sure to read the fine print: 30 day warranty, no "official" support and no resale. Payment is through Paypal, but there's also an option to use a credit card.

Initial units are supposed to ship by the holidays, and the sale runs for twelve more days. Next post when we receive it.

xo give one get one

I have to admit, I seriously doubt the whole OLPC is really what children in the third world need. A friend of mine's parents run a school in east Africa, and last year we had the chance to visit the children and answer questions. Certainly the kids would enjoy/be inspired/learn from having a computer, but there's so much more to make their lives better – running water? 24 hour electricity? a Library?

So the biggest problem with it is this: kids in the third world don't have a lot and the concept of sharing is widely-practiced – ONE LAPTOP PER CLASS is plenty! Why OLPC is intent on giving EVERY child a laptop is indeed, very misguided and just reflects our consumerist values.

Okay, editorial over and I'm still hot to buy one of these (for my kids, right!?). Pay $400 and one becomes a "gift", the other to you (supposedly by xmas).

Here's the link, ordering starts Nov 12th: