Saturday, January 05, 2008

XO Laptop from OLPC arrives!

This post is coming to you from my XO laptop which arrived last evening! It is an interesting little device. The learning curve, for me, was steep since it does not act like a "regular" computer. I could not figure out how to open it, the terminology used is different, and it seems to have a personality of its own! It takes more time to start applications and attach to access points, but, then again, I am spoiled by other new technologies. It is also rather heavy for its size but seems very rugged.

However, for its intended purpuse to educate students, it includes an amazing array of quality software and the collaborative functionality to allow students to work together from other XO's is available throughout the operating system.

The speakers are loud and clear, and this comes in handy with the applications that rely on audio-- both a beginner and more advanced music composition applications, and an acoustic-circuit (and electrical-circuit) construction application. The really good camera can be used for talking photos and video. There are drawing applications, a data collection tool which graphs sounds via the included microphone and one that measures the distance between XO's via sound, a memory game, computer programming via Python, and a multimedia authoring program. Of course, it includes a browser and simple word processor and several other applications, including an RSS newsreader.

I will probably bring this along to FETC to find someone else with one so I can try the mesh network and also to collaborate with someone else from within the applications to take advantage of the intended strengths of the device.

To read more about the device and its applications, you can visit the Getting Started Guide here: