Wednesday, December 19, 2007

XO Activities

Ok, I found some more software or in XO lingo activities. A catalog of the installed and available activities are at http://wiki.laptop.org/go/Activities. The nice thing is they are very easy to install by clicking on a link to an xo file. In the background the activity will be downloaded. When complete just click on the Ok button to complete the install.

Many of the activities are still under development and I had some bizarre behavior with some of them but I do see lot of promise. I am definitely looking forward to playing SimCity.

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.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Are "Driveway Moments" dying

NPR (National Public Radio) has a catchy phrase, Driveway Moments, for times when you arrive at a destination and the story you are listening to is so compelling you have to stay in the driveway/car until the conclusion of the story. I know, this has happened to me many times. But I realized this week, that is changing. This week when I arrived at the gym, I caught myself sitting in the parking lot listening to the end of an NPR story when I realized I could just pause it and pickup with the story after my workout. That is because I now get my fix of NPR and tech news via my iPod as I think many people are doing more and more. The iPod/TiVo generation desires much more content on demand. Content they can listen to when they desire it not when a program manager decides it will get the most listeners or sponsors. I think for the next generation this is even more true. My young son prefers watching videos from DVDs or on the web. He may grow up knowing nothing but content on demand and expecting to watch what he wants when he wants it.