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.


Goodbye to my XO

It is with great sadness that I say good bye to my XO computer from OLPC. It is not enough computer to do the things I want to do with a computer in Africa.

There is not enough hard drive space which is a mystery to me since hard drive space is so inexpensive these days.  It is so slow booting up which is multiplied by the times I have to reboot. When using the touch-pad the mouse goes crazy and I can’t control it any longer so I must reboot. This happens at least once an hour.  For unexplained reasons the computer just slows down to a crawl and I have to reboot. Sometimes it just freezes and I have to reboot.

The supplied browser crashes frequently but it’s the only web-browser that uses the evince PDF reader so I have to use it to read PDFs. But it won’t open PDFs with more than two or three pages, instead the browser crashes or the computer freezes.  Flash has the same problems.

I use Opera most of the time for my browser but flash works sporadically at best and Opera also crashes or freezes. Many of the free online apps I love don’t work in either browser or are funky.  Typing in Zoho writer is a jumping jumble.

The file system is primitive and after only 3 months I find it incredibly frustrating to locate projects, text or photos I have stored. And I have figured out how to name my files and how to show only specific type of file in the journal.

And very important to me I could not get an alternative power supply. The yoyo manufacturer would not sell me one.  Even after I pleaded my case OLPC would not even sell me one let alone give me one. I could not find the elusive $12.00 solar panel charger. And  OLPC support is cautious about recommending one to me.

I do feel OLPC is sending an inferior product to the third world. It displays the attitude that second rate is good enough for the third world. The educational tools on the computer that don’t rely on the Internet are mostly focused on computers and programming. I think the most important general education tool on this computer is the internet so the internet needs to be working up to 2008 standards. Running this computer takes me back to the old frustrations of running a Windows 95 machine. And the support for the computer is also internet based. Its very frustrating to try to solve a problem when your problem solving tool is buggy. Keyboard response time reminds me of a windows 95 machine as well. There is significant lag time between hitting the key and the input showing on the monitor.

The media capabilities are very limited. Its very cool that there are video and audio recorders but only seconds of record time and no way to edit the recordings? Its a given that I have to have an external hard drive to store my digital photos. Then it’s very clunky to view those photos. The browser is the only photo viewing tool. I can’t open photos from the browser so I must switch between browser and journal for each photo. There is not enough disk space or RAM to install a photo editing tool. The online tool Picnik does not run but freezes the computer.

I was a huge fan of this computer. I loved the educational mission. I loved the commitment to open source.  To fulfill either mission OLPC needs to create a better box to put it in.

OLPC lost the chance to have an ardent supporter living and working in just the type of place they want to sell their computers. I will be teaching computer science to Ghanian teens. Too bad I won’t be demonstrating the cool little XO computer to everyone I meet there.  I won’t be singing the praises of the XO to my fellow teachers and the government of Ghana.

I’m buying the latest Eeepc instead.



This post was typed on my OX the spacing and line breaks are part of the funkiness when using online apps.

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.


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




Photo taken with my xo laptop!

good night!

Photo from my XO

After 25 minutes at dinner

After 30 minutes looking on the XO wiki

After 30 minutes searching the OLPC News Forum

I maybe able to post my first photo from my XO image application.

YEOW! That was time consuming and difficult to find the right words to search and to find someone else who was interested in where the files I created are stored in the Linux OS instead in my journal.

So keep watching and I will post a photo here soon, after work tonight? maybe.


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!


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


First post frommy XO computer

Well linux  and i have been battling this morning and i won.  i am now connected to my home wierless netork and i have learned some basic linux commnds.

off to helen and ken’s dress rehursql more  later.


yes the key board will take some getting use too!!!


My XO has arrived

I was heading through the mail room into my office and a FedEx guy came through the door. Before he even got the question out about where to deliver the package (he was a new FedEx man) I scanned the box and saw the XO logo on it. Well let’s just say there was a little bit of noise and some jumping up and down! He said “This has never happened before”.  So I explained a little about the computer to him as I was signing for it. I said thanks so much and started to walk away. He said “you’re not going to show it to me!” Well with an interested audience of course I was going to show it to him!!

I spent the rest of my lunch hour showing everyone my new toy!

It’s very small, my fingers are going to have to get use to a much smaller keyboard but it makes it easy to carry with me.  Boy do I need to learn linux. So many programs already on it and of course we find the video camera and record something right away! I connected to the library wireless network quickly but am having some issues with my home network. I am sure the community will have some answers.  Can’t wait for the weekend so I can explore it more in depth.

With my XO computer is here. I feel like I am half way to Africa.


Nifty First Day Donor Badge from OLPC


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