Sunday, January 20, 2008

XO Laptop - Part II

Some more news from the XO front:

A friend from the US who has had an XO for some time now recently wrote me to see if I knew of any interesting 'tips'. I'm not much (read: not at all) of a linux hacker, so I had only managed a few pretty basic modifications, but they happened to be exactly what he was looking for (which made me feel good). I guess these two 'issues' are things people are pretty routinely frustrated by, at least in the North American market.

So in case you have an XO and haven't already figured these out, here are a couple of tips:
  • The XO has a feature whereby the 'desktop' will automatically be partially displayed whenever the cursor is at any extreme of the active window. I guess the rational behind this is to allow users to quickly tab between windows, but the effect is that it greatly minimizes the 'safe' screen real-estate on an already wonky touchpad (see point below). The solution for this is simply to comment out the two lines in the source that control this feature. Detailed instructions can be here: How To Disable The Auto Frame.
  • As mentioned above I also had problems with the touchpad being really finicky. Every time I lifted my finger from it the cursor position would reset. I fixed that with the 'Four Finger Salute'.
Als0, the XO has been in the news a lot lately and I found this story about how much of a difference 50 laptops are making in a remote Peruvian village particularly warming. If I see more such reports I'll definitely give serious thought to a second donation.

Finally one of the 'activities' (the XO equivalent to an application) that I was most excited about is called 'Turtle Art', a simplified version of my first computer love - Logo. While Turtle Art is very limited (only the most basic support for parameters, no incrementation, etc) one really interesting element of it is the graphical interface for the 'programming'. It is all done with a very intuitive 'puzzle piece' interface that limits the sequence of operations to those that (more or less) make sense together. See below for a screenshot.

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Tuesday, January 15, 2008

XO Laptop

I came home today and found my XO laptop waiting for me on my front doorstep. Very exciting. I'm writing this blog post from my XO right now. I plan to post more about this amazing initiative once I've poked around with it a little more, but for now I recommend anyone who isn't already familiar to climb out from under your rock and read up on it! Negroponte and Co. have created a great piece of technology with a truly noble ambition and, in my humble opinion, they deserve all the recognition and support they can get.

In case anyone out there already has an XO, I came across this interesting blog of someone who is exploring their XO's featured and blogging about it. Pretty decent starting resource.

More soon.

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