Quick OLPC Video Review

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Awhile back, I recorded a video about the “One Laptop Per Child” program. I purchased one myself. I did it to help another child, and to have a laptop around my house for when kids come over. When you donate the $400.00, you receive the laptop for yourself, one is sent to a child in an underprivelidge country, and you also get 1 year of T-Mobile HotSpot for free! I received the laptop, so let’s check it out!

On first look, it has a lot of apps a kid would use. There is a chat module, Web browser, an RSS aggregator, calculator, and so much more. It’s slim and lightweight, which is great for a kid. It has USB connections, as well as audio in and out. It’s quite durable, and you can carry the screen around. The quality of the screen is excellent.

However, I don’t really like the user interface. I know my way around a computer, and I actually found it confusing to navigate around this laptop. I also couldn’t connect it to my home network because it’s not supported. But again, for a child doing the things they’d need to do, it works perfectly. The keys are small and designed for a child’s fingers.This laptop was designed for portability and education, not high power and workload.

Ponzi wanted to try it, so I had to hand it over to her. She waited really patiently! She wanted one of the Asus EEE laptops for Christmas, until she found out it comes installed with Linux. However, we have found out recently that Asus is looking into making their laptops come with Windows on them. We’re holding off for now.

If you’ve received one of these laptops and have had a child use them, I’d love to hear about your experience. Please leave me a comment or shoot me an email to [email protected]

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49 thoughts on “Quick OLPC Video Review”

  1. Pingback: olpc.tv
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  3. chris i’ve seen the previews of the olpc on the discovery channel, and I think it is a great thing for people to buy so that people in developing country’s have a chance to get up to speed in some way to the rest of us. The expandabily of knowledge to those people will just explode and they will be able to become more than a trird world country now now. Rock on with your bad old self when i have enough spare money to get i am.

  4. Asus Eee PC with Linux is not that bad. I suggest that you have a go – you can always install Windows on it anyway (you’re a geek like me, right? hehe).

  5. Hi Chris – my kids love it and have had a relatively easy time using applications once they’ve been launched. The XO reminds me of playing with logo and basic on the Apple II when I was a kid – but now way more powerful, 21st century style.

  6. well i thin that the most important thing here is that u r helping others to become more succesfully in life. i thing that helping kids to noe more about computer and introduccing then into the thecnology is very important coz they are the future.

  7. Nice hands-on look at the OLPC. Getting technology into the hands of kids is the first step toward enabling them to realize their dreams. The wireless mesh network and the fact that the screen’s backlight can be turned off to conserve battery life and improve reading conditions under direct sun seem like some excellent innovations. I’m curious to know more about the Linux platform and whether or not OLPC is hoping to foster development within the open source community.

    The “Give One Get One” program has been extended from its original deadline and is still going on up until the end of today (December 31st) at http://laptopgiving.org/.

  8. I like the One laptop per child program!

    I remember reading an article which was about, kind of the same program they doing here. I don’t remember which country they did it in, or who were behind the project. The pupils brought their laptop to the school every day, and they were using it as we in the Western-part of the world do. They charged the battery on the school, and used it along with the family when they were home. I don’t remember much of it, but i will E-mail you if i find the magazine πŸ™‚

    I think they used an ASUS laptop.

  9. I just bought one befor x-mas but it just got here and I think its really cool. I am going to give it to my nephew for his birthday. It is perfict because my sister lives right next to starbucks so he can get internet. Also he is only 6 so it is just for him. Thanks Chris and keep up with the videos.


  10. Hi Chris…good review and interesting thoughts on buying the OLPC laptop for kid visitors…very great idea. I know you have tried Linux before, is there a reason why Ponzi doesn’t want to try the laptop with it?

  11. hey chris
    u the man
    watching ur stream is very fun
    i spent so much of my christmas break watching u
    i love watching old videos of u from Call For help

    u the man

  12. I love the OLPC.. but I haven’t seen one in real life yet… I get to see my friend OLPC in a couple weeks… I didn’t know the OLPC had some many features… nice review chris!

  13. Chris I’ve seen the reviews on the olpc in the past on discovery channel and I have always thought it’s a good idea that a company has the ambition to do a thing like that. And that kids in developing country’s have the chance to come up to speed with the rest of the world in some way as in the ability to learn over a broad spectrum. When I have enough money to spend on a little notebook like that I am going to. Have a good one later Desertwarrior

  14. Realizing many people are likely wanting to see what this thing has to offer, I did a review of the OS (distro, rather) some time back, complete with screen shots and a look at the apps.


    You too, can try out the OS from this link – for your very own LiveCD.

    Remember, the release was created for people who have never even seen a computer before, so remember this as it will seem very foreign to you.

  15. As for the WPA issue, easiest method is as follows:

    Instructions: http://wiki.laptop.org/go/WPA_Manual_Setting

    1. Copy http://wiki.laptop.org/images/4/44/Wpa.sh to a USB stick. (from a computer other than your XO)
    2. On your XO, open the terminal activity from the taskbar on the home page.
    3. Determine the name of your USB stick (if you do not know it), by typing:

    $ df

    1. Look for the line that starts with /dev/sda1 and read across to get the name of your USB stick. In this example the name is USBNAME.

    mtd0 1048576 375772 672804 36% /
    tmpfs 35676 0 35676 0% /dev/shm
    /dev/sda1 990432 331024 659408 34% /media/USBNAME

    1. Copy the Wpa.sh file from the USB stick by substituting your USBNAME when typing this command. Note the period at the end of the command:

    $ cp /media/USBNAME/Wpa.sh .

    1. Execute the script as root by typing:

    $ su –
    # cd /home/olpc/
    # ./Wpa.sh

    1. If you get a “Permission denied” error, then use chmod, and try again

    $ chmod 777 Wpa.sh
    # ./Wpa.sh

    1. Follow the instructions on screen, providing the SSID, passphrase and WPA version of your Access Point. If you don’t know the WPA version, try ‘1’ first.
    2. Reboot the XO by typing:

    # reboot

    1. When it boots back up, go to the mesh neighborhood view and click on the circle of your AP, that should be showing as open now (no lock attached to the circle)

    I relieve to Windows users, this looks really scary and it sure is *not* for the casual user, but I think you would surprised how many Linux admins are working on these developing countries – even more developed countries like Brazil have an amazing Linux adoption rate.

    As for any serious Windows Power user, this is pretty simple, just follow the steps 1,2,3 – no guess work. πŸ˜‰

  16. I wonder if a USB keyboard would work for it… in fact, I just just doing some research and it wasn’t clear if it has a big driver set…

  17. Well i think that the most important thing here that u r helping others. However with this kind of action millions of kids will be benefit and they will able of use a computer for firts time in their lifes . and about the computer i thing that is a good computer however i believe that the developers need to add more fun program that will help the kisd in their path. and you chris are the best person ever coz u care abot others and help in different ways thanx man.

  18. Tried the Live CD and User interface was hard to use.

    As soon as I got my from the mail. I ‘ll boot Puppy Linux on it.

    By the way, does it come with the battery Charger? I’ll be so pissed if doesn’t

  19. why does it cost $400 if it’s supposed to be $103+$103 ?
    the olpc is a non profit project isn’t it ?
    are they charging the rest of the $194 for delivering ?
    i’m confused, someone please help me here !

  20. The OLPC laptop is best thing of the 21st Century so far, not only does it help educate children at a better level, it also is rewarding to purchase one. These laptops are excellent value for a present for your child/teen or even for yourself.

  21. It was re-design. The hardware and the cosmetic etc…, all that change since the first announcement. This is a fully functional “NetPC” for $200. The OS interface they got on it stink but you can change the easily for free.

  22. It has been said that WPA hotspots can be used after updating the XO to Build 653 or later.

    Simply google for “olpc wpa” to find the corresponding documentation.
    … I’m waiting for my XO right now as I’m not a resident of the USA so I had to ask a US friend of mine to get one, give one for me.

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