There are a few things that I have noticed over the course of the day using the OLPC, the XO Laptop, or the $100 Laptop. One of the big ones is that if you take it to a coffee shop people will look at you and then the laptop and look at the laptop some more.
I had a lot of people come up to me and ask if it really worked. I said “Yes, it does and you can get one for yourself even” and went into how they can order the OLPC themselves from OLPCs Give 1 Get 1 website.
I had a lot of people ask “Is that one of those green laptops”, or “Is that one of those $100 laptop”. I got the most questions from older people asking “Isn’t that the laptop we saw them talking about one CBS”? I assume they saw the “60 Minutes” piece on the OLPC. Each time I would stop reading about the laptop and offered them a chance to use it.
One lady I guess was going to order one for someone or she already had, so she wanted to see it and touch it. She had a young girl who was eleven if I remember correctly use it. The young girl said it was easy for her to type on. Of course she tried to go to one of the Disney websites, which asked for the latest Flash plug-in to see most of the website, not that accessible of a website. A Disney website is probably not the first place someone from third world country would go or at least it shouldn’t be.
Another gentleman asked what kind of software you could put on it, since someone he knew or he was going to a third world country and wanted get a few to let people there use it if it could do a bunch of activities.
One women I know asked if you could look up porn on the laptop. I told I figured you could, since I had not heard that they had software to stop it. Really wanted to know if kids could look up porn. So when she got hold of the OLPCÂ she went to the Playboy website and started laughing when she got to their home page. I grab the OLPC back from her to get rid of it, since we were sitting the middle of the coffee shop with a lot of little kids and older adults.
I did get some reading done about the OLPC on how to get started, how it works, and what activities the OLPC has on it. They even have a wiki, which contains information about hardware, software, content, testing, educators, developers, and a whole lot more. They have some cool rollovers explaining what certain parts of the machine are for. One of the ones I just found was the page that has information on what the keyboard does.Â They also have a page that shows which features the OLPC has.
With all the question and people playing with it I did not get to do as much as I wanted today on learning about the activities on the OLPC. It was like three different “Tam Tam” activities. They are:
- “Tam Tam mini” – an application that allows for people to perform music and play instruments.
- “Tam Tam Edit” – an application allows you to generate music using a colorful and intuitive graphical interface.
- “TamTam Jam” – the music performance activity. Sounds are played by striking individual keys on the keyboard. This is designed more for younger children.
Other activities that the OLPC has are: (this information was mostly taken from the activities webpage)
- “Chat“ -simple environment for discussion, whether it is between two individuals or an entire classroom.
- “Memorize“ – is the classic memory game of finding and matching pairs with a twist: a pair can consist of any multimedia object, such as images, sounds,and text.
- “Record” – provides a simple way for children to take pictures, view slideshows, and record video and audio all content that can be shared via the mesh network.
- “Journal“ – is an automated diary of everything a child does with his or her laptop.
- “Draw“ – provides a canvas for a child or a group of children to express themselves creatively.
- “Pippy“ – a simple and fun introduction to programming in Python, the dynamic programming language underlying much of the software on the laptop.
- and a whole lot more
The final cool thing on the activities page is the last item, which is the part about downloads for the OLPC. The download page has like 50+ items to download and use like (some is games others is source code):
- “Domino“ – classic space game
- “Image Quiz“ – a simple concept: one question, one image, one click
- “3D Pong“ – three dimensional wireframe arcade game
- “SimCity“ – construct and maintain your own city
- “Block Party“ – Tetris-inspired game
- and a whole bunch of other things
The woman across the table from me at Murky Coffee in Arlington said, “I should bring the OLPC out with me, it might actually be better than having a puppy or a baby with me for getting people to stop and talk to me”.
Hopefully this blog post is usefully for those that do not have their OLPCs yet, are waiting until Christmas to open with their kids, want to read up on what it has, what is being developed, or what you can do with it.