Tuesday, December 18, 2007

My XO Laptop

I just received my XO laptop (one laptop per child). These are my first impressions. I am even writing it on my new laptop, In case you are not aware, this is the $100 laptop intended for children in countries that could not afford typical computers. In order to reduce the price, the OLPC foundation made the laptops available to American citizens. I bought because I thought it sounded like an interesting device and provided easy programming access. So I thought it might make I a great leaning tool for my young son. I was right. It is a great piece of hardware. I also think it will be a great learning tool since it is Linux (it even provides terminal access) and it has educational software.

While I love the hardware, I am a little disappointed that the keyboard is almost unusable for an adult male. I am also a little disappointed in the software too. But no worries there. That can always be updated. I think one of the most likely means of disseminating applications might actually be Adobe Flash applications since it does come with a branded Firefox browser and WiFi access. This will enable rich educational applications to improve the otherwise boring desktop and gray theme of the XO laptop. In addition the plethora that all ready exist on kid sites like Sesame Street will be available. Unfortunately thought, the preinstalled open source Flash plug-in has some problems. For example, I could not hear sound and when the Flash application I was using tried to load another Flash application, I just got a gray box. The good news is I think there is a way to install the Adobe version and hopefully it fixes the problems.

Over all I am really impressed and look forward to spending lots of time playing with it.

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