I have been following the “One Laptop per Child” project for a while now, formerly known as the “Hundred Dollar Laptop” project, though right now the price comes in closer to $200 . . . in November I am looking forward to getting my hands on one with the “Give One Get One” program. I enjoy following developments on the “OLPC News” blog. Today I learned that Microsoft is scrambling resources to shoehorn its normally-bloated Windows Operating System onto this lightweight gem. That makes me smile because it is usually the case that computers like the laptop I am typing on right now are “Designed for Windows(R) XP” or the like, and it is the Open Source community that must scramble to reverse-engineer and build drivers for the new hardware.
Anyway, I was just looking at a post that suggests that since the OLPC is rather ambitious, technologically and culturally, they have no qualms about redesigning the keyboard: no more CAPS LOCK but instead a mode to shift between Latin alphabet and the local alphabet. Also, perhaps, a “View Source” key: which could perhaps allow kids to poke under the Python hood and check out the code that is running underneath. My goodness!
There are some good comments there! I just added my own:
I’d like to chime in with a “me too” . . . sure most people don’t find much use for the hood latch on a car, but we’re glad it is there: it allows us to get in if we need to. For the smaller number of people who DO want to play under the hood, the hood release is invaluable. We all learn differently and and those who are going to get into computers ought to be given the access and encouragement to learn.
I played with computers for a decade before I learned to program. Maybe a “view source” key might have gotten me going faster.
As for code complexity: you can still view the source on this very page and understand much of it. I understand that Python is constrained to 80 columns and is highly highly readable.
As for breaking things: EXACTLY!! The kids ought to have access to break the code on their computers. Rather than turning them in to worthless bricks: worst case you reinstall the OS! Talk about a LEARNING experience!! Anyway, programmers use revision control: hopefully an XO could provide some rollback mechanism. :)
It should also be good for long-term security … people will learn that computers execute code, and code can have flaws an exploits. If the kids can monkey with their own code, you KNOW they’re going to have some early transformative learning experience NOT to paste in “cool” code mods from the Class Hacker. ;)
Sweet! This is the first new laptop I have ever ordered for myself! I’ve been following the HDL-cum-OLPC project for a while now, and the eBook functionality has always sounded sweet to me. I’m eager to check this gear out:
Give One Get One
Between November 12 and November 26, OLPC is offering a Give One Get One program in North America. This is the first time the revolutionary XO laptop has been made available to the general public. For a donation of $399, one XO laptop will be sent to empower a child in a developing nation and one will be sent to the child in your life in recognition of your contribution. $200 of your donation is tax-deductible (your $399 donation minus the fair market value of the XO laptop you will be receiving).
For all U.S. donors who participate in the Give One Get One program, T-Mobile is offering one year of complimentary HotSpot access.
I’ll probably post something once I receive and get to play with it a bit, but I figure that’s a month away . . .
The Girlfriend is set to receive her Eee PC today.
So, a quick briefer: the girlfriend recently bought a new car, and wanted to give her old car to her brother, who lives in New York. Instead of merely shipping it, I suggested that driving it across the continent is indeed a fine undertaking, and this is what we did for Thanksgiving week, taking a southern route through Barstow, CA to Chinle, AZ to Durango, CO, and stopping to see my relatives in Pueblo, CO, her relatives in West Des Moines, IA, Thanksgiving with my folks in Chicago, and on East to spend some time with her family in New Jersey, where we also got to explore New York City together. We flew home on Virgin America Tuesday evening.
The trip itself was not easy, but you could say that we covered considerable distance in space and in heart. The gory details are a story for another time and medium. Here I share an anecdote.
The girlfriend demonstrated her cool little Eee PC to my father, who was of course impressed with the little bugger running Linux. I told him that I myself had ordered from the OLPC “Give One Get One” program and he said he had wanted to do that himself. Unfortunately, times are a little tough for his family just now and they can’t really afford it.
When we got to New Jersey, the girlfriend’s brother wanted to reimburse us for some of our travel expenses–the girlfriend and I viewed the trip as our own vacation, but the brother had budgeted something to ship the car. I thought a moment and accepted some payment, which I then turned around and sent to OLPC to ship a computer to Dad. “A gift begets a gift begets a gift . . .”
(Today happens to be Dad’s birthday, too!)
I had worried that the Give One Get One program had concluded, but according to their web site the program has been extended through December 31st, so no difficulties ordering another for Dad. Then I got another e-mail today:
Your XO laptop is on the way.
Your donated XO laptop will soon be delivered into the hands of a child in Afghanistan, Cambodia, Haiti, Mongolia or Rwanda. In one of our recipient children’s own words, “I want to thank you people because you had given us the laptop and I love it so much.” Your generosity will make a world of difference in these children’s lives, and in the future of their respective countries.
Thanks to your early action, your XO laptop is scheduled to be delivered between December 14 and December 24. Our “first day” donors are our highest priority and we are making every effort to deliver your XO laptop(s) as soon as possible. We will send you an update upon shipment.
My obviously-gay cubicle-neighbor spent the day listening to show tunes at low volume. I hate show tunes but I’m just back from vacation and I forgot to bring my own over-the-ear headphones so I figured I’d keep it to myself. At one point we overheard some other coworkers debating whether the one guy’s Audi TT convertible was “girly”. My cubicle neighbor confided in me that “in the gay community” this car is known as the “power bottom” car. I felt that this would be pretty much the final word in such a debate, but he wasn’t sure that he wanted to make that contribution to the discussion, which is why he confided in me.
I think that such information is too precious to keep to myself, and that this information is exactly what blogs are for.
I’m a pretty liberal, open-minded, adventurous guy, but I’m not entirely sure I know what a “power bottom” would be. I’m actually slightly pleased about that. And although I am fond of the idea of all-wheel drive, I have always thought the TT was is kinda ugly, like a New Beetle that had been chopped off a bit.