No internet

Oh boy. 1 1/2 days (and counting) without internet at my house and I am feeling out of touch,  and disconnected! How am I going to survive in Africa….. It’s amazing how many times I turn to the net for contact with family and friends or to get directions or to get a phone number  or to write this blog or to buy something! wow no net access or limited net access may very well be one of my biggest adjustments!

-vc

Guest Post on OLPC News

Today I am a guest poster on OLPC News.  I sent Wayan of OLPC News an update on how I like my XO now and he asked if he could put it up as a guest post. No XO Laptop for A Peace Corps Volunteer going to Ghana is my update. Wayan made it very presentable with a couple of photos and some editing. My friends will know I needed the editing! Thanks Wayan for letting me share my views.

-vc

EeePC

Got my EeePC today. I am putting it through it’s paces. I connected to the Internet quickly on my wireless connection. I quickly found how to store my password and open my home wireless connection on startup. It will be interesting to try it on an open network. The speed the same as with my desktop. Plug-ins work as expected. Firefox, the supplied browser, has all the features as the windows version I have on my desktop.After a few hours of surfing and emailing I am pretty happy with the Internet

The user interface is displayed on 6 tabs. Internet, work, play, learn, settings and favorites. It’s been pretty easy to find what I need. The learn and play tabs have some basic apps. as well as some surprises. You can play solitaire, or tetras. A unique game is a penguin run. I think my granddaughter would love it. You can also play video, music and view photos on the play tab. Learn has some basic math, English and art apps. The surprise is the planetarium! i set mine for Ghana. The learn tab also has a link to a site called Skoool.ie. On first glance it seems there are a lot of resources there.

All basic office apps are under the work tab. I have only opened that tab but have not used any of the apps.

I have to say compared to the first day using my XO I have had much more fun. I have spent more time using the tools instead of finding work arounds or downloading software. I found this machine much more intuitive.

The keyboard is small but I can pretty much touch type with only a few glances to the keyboard. The screen is also small.

One concern. The XO ran very cool. This machine is very warm. I never had a laptop before the XO so I don’t know if running cool or hot is the norm.

-vc

My Resume for the PC

The PC asked for a resume for my country desk in Ghana. Of course I threw out all my print copies when I moved from my apartment to the room I am renting. I must of had a shedding fit and decided that the electronic version was enough. Well of course I could not find my electronic version anywhere so I had to create a new resume

-vc

What will I be doing?

I will be teaching information technology to students in the equivalent of 10th, 11th and 12th grade. I will teach in English but will learn the language of my village to ease my assimilation into the village. During training I will learn to teach using the methods in Ghana and will have practice teaching on my PCT colleagues. I will be a full faculty member at my school with all the rights and duties.

The School year is similar to ours. It starts in the fall. We have three weeks off at Christmas and three weeks at Easter then 5 weeks during the summer.  Although I’ll have this nice academic schedule – A Peace Corps Volunteers work week is 24/7. We are always PCVs and everything we do reflects on the PC, my school and the USA. So during school breaks we will be expected to have secondary projects of our own choosing. Yet there will be time for travel and travel funds from the PC, time for reflection, time for fun, and time for my community.

I have been a teacher at heart since I first taught swimming lessons in Jr. High. I am looking forward to a classroom and a little intimidated by a formal classroom. All my teaching has been in very informal settings.

I will also be expected to raise awareness about AIDS.  The Peace  Corps will give me training about that as well.

-vc

XO Upgrade

Today I set aside the whole morning to upgrade my XO to build 653.  What a simple process it was.   I downloaded the files to a thumb drive. Plugged the drive into the XO. Turned on the XO holding down the keys indicated and the XO did the rest. And it was done in less than an hour.

TAKE THAT MICROSOFT!!!

My photo upload problem is solved.  The crazed cursor problem is solved. And my problem attaching files to email is solved. Computer seems to run a bit faster as well.

Love this little computer and I love sittingon my bed and computing.

Here’s a couple of photos of my XO on it’s pillow  on my bed.

XO Open

XO closed

-vc

Stepping Back

This week at MPOW we are learning  a new piece of software to manage our library webpage. Myself and three others were trained by the company. As usual I will train others and work with Lisa, Shirlee-Ann and Pat who went to training. That feels good and right. I get this stuff, I am a good teacher and others look to me for help with technology.

What’s  weird is that usually I would continue to be there  for  staff to come to with a problem. And they would have me to rely on to do the things  that are too technical. I would usually push myself to learn all the features of the software. Well I’m leaving and that makes my learning and  my teaching so different. This time more important than making sure I know all the ins and outs of the software I need to know that at least one and hopefully  more know the software well. Also i want to encourage them to work together to solve problems and answer questions so I’ll have to build that into the training.  And I’ll have to step back from the fun of transforming the webpage with this new software and  instead encourage others as they do the transformation.

I have high hopes that my partner in crime in tech, Sue S, will be one of the go to people and that a couple of others will join her.

I really am teaching myself out of a job this time!!!

-vc

Eureeka!

vicky.jpg

Photo taken with my xo laptop!

good night!

writing from starbucks

This  is  part two of my post about my XO computer .I am  sitting in Starbucks using my T-mobil connection. Sel from Wethersfield is coming so we can compare notes  about our XOs.

I have learned so much during the past few days.  Monday night i connected to the XO jabber  server so graciously provided by Tom Hoffman. Read the article.

This allows me to chat with other XO owners all over the world. I have already been encouraged to let my granddaughter try it. had some advice about my uploading problem. and chatted with some very interesting people.

The e-toys program is interesting and challenging for this non programmer. I learned how to move a car around the screen. pretty  fun.

my biggest disappointment s the speed of the internet. it’s very slow connecting and using most of the features we have come to take for granted. I hope NN will listen to these complaints because the internet could be the biggest library in many place he wants to sell these computers.

opps forgot to post this one!

-vc

Learning by exploration

Negroponte wants users to  learn about the XO by exploring it. So I have been playing with my new toy for three days and it does not seem so strange to me any longer.  The online documentation is extensive, the online user groups are informative and the members are so helpful.

Of course my first goal was to get online. Good thing i  connected to the open network at my job before i tried at home. i at least knew the networking was working. My home network is a secure network and i couldn’t connect. It kept hanging after i entered the password.  So i surfed the user groups and found a fix. i  was thrilled because it was necessary for me to go to the terminal and install a fix from the command prompt. This is exactly why i wanted this computer a chance to be in on the beginning of what i  believe to be an exciting new technology. A chance to learn linux and get the microsoft monster off my back!

But if this sounds horrifying to you, you are not alone, I think it sounds horrifying to the majority of the US consumers  who purchased the XO through the G1G1 program. I am a techie and I have spent the last 30 years learning by exploring because most libraries don’t invest in education for their techies. However the average American consumer wants to turn on their electronics and have them work with one click.

Negroponte has makes the experts’ most common mistake  – he believes because it’s easy for him it’s easy for everyone.

to be continued

-vc

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