out of the box

Did you give 1 and get 1? Then share your first experiences with your new XO laptop!

out of the box

Postby jimofoz » Fri Feb 01, 2008 3:32 pm

I mean that in a couple of ways, not only did I just take it out of the box yesterday, but also as in the use of this takes some "out of the box" thinking. Too many people want to compare this to a >$800 laptop running Windows/Mac/etc. in a usual world environment. Here's my thoughts (right or wrong) on that:

This is designed for kids to use in a less-than-ideal environment. Collaboration is what seems to be driving force for this computer. Most folks are seeing it in a standalone mode with no or very few other XOs to mesh with. Think about this in a room/school full of kids with a screen full of icons representing other kids.

They don't need high-end multimedia (it does have sound, graphics and video now) to learn on. Nor do they need Word/Excel/Photoshop. They can write, draw, compose and send text, images and videos back forth to each other with nothing else added. They're not going to use this to make a motion picture.

I doubt the XO will be tossed into a room full of kids who are told to have at it. There's going to be some direction from others. They don't have to, but probably will, learn what Turtle is about. It's a first step into programming, it's not a be-all, end-all application.

Given that, there's going to be some kids who within a week or so, will end up teaching the other kids, having learned more about the XO than the adults in the room will have ever imagined.


=========
Personally, I think it's a great little computer. I took it to Barnes and Noble today to try out the wireless and it worked just fine. I keep discovering little features on it that are "ooh, that's cool" kind of things that I wish my $1200 Macbook had. Sure it has limitations, it's only $188 for crying out loud. It's also a tiny, surprisingly solid feeling, real, honest computer with a video camera, music capabilities, word processing, calculator, collaboration capabilities, games and more already installed.
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Re: out of the box

Postby tangomike » Sat Feb 02, 2008 10:29 am

I've had one for about three weeks. I bought two: one at the start, and one on Dec 31, which will arrive sometime in the future.

Let me say I'm a geek, a long-time linux user and administrator (at work and at home) and I believe in open source software.

I've had experience as a teacher. I'm impressed with Sugar. I can see that a lot of thought went into the XO as a learning tool. On the other hand, I'm used to windowing UI's like KDE. I've put XFCE into the XO. It has worked well for me. I've also configured a 2 GB SD card with Xubuntu. It gives me a laptop that is pretty close to my 'real' one running Mepis, and I still have Sugar and XFCE installed and useable. And for nostalgia, I have Doom and Simcity.

There's a ton of howto's, tweaks, addons and a stunning array of software that can be installed on the XO... for FREE! All you need is bandwidth and patience.

I've been really impressed with the early field trials and deployments. Go read the Uruguay trial from last June, if you'd like some idea of how well the XO suits its intended audience, and how it will make a difference.

In summary, I'm having a great geek-time with the one I got, and I'm proud that two kids somewhere will each get one. Oh, and that's for a total price less than one new laptop from TigerDirect. Neat.
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Re: out of the box

Postby generalludd » Mon Feb 11, 2008 12:50 am

HI: I am an old retired (tired again) technical writer of manuals for systems. I always figured if i could write it so i could understand it, anyone could.

With that in mind, and still finding this Forum somewhat more complicated than the OLPC i have to say i am very impressed with the two i got (yes two, since one of their main features is to work in a "mesh" network and collaborate. Don't know anyone else who has one.) A trivial point, one has a maroon X on the cover, the other green.

I have concentrated on one of them after checking to see they both work. By following the instructions given, i was able to update it to "build 653" which is supposed to remove a couple of bugs.

My main machine is a core duo mac mini. It is roughly five times faster than the XO and cost five times as much. So what?. Some comments expect an XP or Mac type interface (and performance?).

Long ago i was told when i did program that the easiest programming language is the one you used first. I learned Fortran in 1967 and used that a lot. Never really learned Cobol or DOS since by that time PCs had developed to the point where you just had to understand how an application worked and explain it to the user who had to look at the screen and make entries.

Clear documentation is the greatest need for using these machines. I have made some comments under 1Million Monkeys and Welcome. You should find them there.

As I said, the numerous topics and sub-topics of this forum itself are somewhat challenging. The person who may need the information may miss it by being in the wrong topic.

Things i wish someone would clearly answer are "how do i use a USB thumb drive" Do i have to format it in the XO to use it?. Great ambiguity here.

(Speaking of USB when i started playing around with the XO was to connect an Apple Keyboard and Mouse to it. Work great. A PC through an adapter also works well. Fat fingers and a shaky thumb just aren't compatible with that tiny keyboard and trackpad.)

Another murky area is saving work. I took several photos, a movie, and a text entry and "saved to clipboard". Also "saved to journal". Don't know exactly what that star i can click on does. Bottom line. I turned off the machine and later turned it on. I can't figure out how to recover them.

Most bewildering is the little "click here for flash". I do and nothing happens but a tiny blank screen that says "loading" forever.

That's about it for now. I am impressed but ignorant.

Regards
Mac Mini,Snow Leopard OS 10.6.2; iMAC OS 10.4.11, Cableone.net Wireless via Linksys Router. 10Mb down/1MB up connection.
Two XOs, build 860
Firefox & Epiphany browsers
Flash Player 10.2..
People perish for lack of knowledge
(revised 02/28/11).
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Re: out of the box

Postby Infamy » Wed Feb 13, 2008 2:13 pm

generalludd,

There is probably stuff on the wiki for the questions you are asking, but the wiki is a work in progress, and those things might not be clear right now.

As far as the USB drive goes, the XO is expecting FAT(I use 32, haven't tried 16 or 12). You can format a usb thumb drive for FAT on almost any platform, and once that is done and you plug it into the XO, you should see it at the bottom when you have your journal open

I also find that I can use my thumbs on the XO keyboard when I am on the move, kinda like a Blackberry. If I do need to do a substantial amount of typing, I do use a USB keyboard, but at this point, I have been taking it to the point of submersion, knowing that time spent typing on it will be of benefit.

I will have to toy with the XO as far as saving, but I am sure it is possible. I think maybe you should be looking for a "keep" button, but I will check.

The click here for flash is sweet. With the current state of advertising moving towards automated flash videos, I like that they don't automagically play, especially on the XO. However, I have had trouble with large flash videos playing, and this could be the result of the buffer Browse is using. More looking is needed on this as well, hopefully I can find more out about it. I have heard Opera works a ton better with a whisker more temp space.

-Infamy
1st day donor :)
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Re: out of the box

Postby generalludd » Wed Feb 13, 2008 10:26 pm

Infamy

Thanks for the reply.

"...and once that is done and you plug it into the XO, you should see it at the bottom when you have the journal open.

I have a 2GB USB drive that i formatted for MS-DOS on my Mac. (the information for it indicated "MS-DOS (Fat 32)". I plugged it into a USB port on my XO. Then i went to HOME and started the Journal.

Nothing happened. The row of activity icons at the bottom were unchanged.

I did a reboot with the USB drive in place. There was still no sign of it.
Any idea what is wrong?. Perhaps i need to format it in a PC. Maybe the drive is too large. I'll try a smaller drive.

I guess i will have to get my Linux PC running again and try formatting on that.

Regards:
Mac Mini,Snow Leopard OS 10.6.2; iMAC OS 10.4.11, Cableone.net Wireless via Linksys Router. 10Mb down/1MB up connection.
Two XOs, build 860
Firefox & Epiphany browsers
Flash Player 10.2..
People perish for lack of knowledge
(revised 02/28/11).
generalludd
 
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Re: out of the box

Postby Infamy » Thu Feb 14, 2008 12:37 am

generalludd,

You won't see it in the activity icons in the frame, you will see it in the bar that the activity icons cover up when the frame is open.

For instance, when the frame is hidden, in the bottom left hand corner I see my journal, and an SD card that I have in the slot.

Does this help?

-Infamy
1st day donor :)
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Re: out of the box

Postby generalludd » Thu Feb 14, 2008 3:44 pm

Infamy

Thanks for the help. I tried that, and still don't see any sign of the USB drive. By "bar" do you mean the last entry of a series of bars showing journal activities that may extend over several pages (screens).Or is something missing on my XO display?

I think the problem may be in the way the Macintosh formats drives even when i specify MS-DOS.

When i get my PC back up (on Linux), i will try to format a drive on it.

An aside--undocumented feature (I was wondering why as i moused around an activity, sometimes the frame would appear and disappear, etc.)

Hot Corners: When an activity and frame is displayed, mousing to and clicking in the middle of the activity will cause the entire activity screen to cover the frame. Mousing over and clicking any extreme corner will bring the frame back.

Regards: David
Mac Mini,Snow Leopard OS 10.6.2; iMAC OS 10.4.11, Cableone.net Wireless via Linksys Router. 10Mb down/1MB up connection.
Two XOs, build 860
Firefox & Epiphany browsers
Flash Player 10.2..
People perish for lack of knowledge
(revised 02/28/11).
generalludd
 
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Location: Prescott, AZ

Re: out of the box

Postby generalludd » Thu Feb 14, 2008 3:46 pm

Me again:

Not quite true. Just having the mouse there causes the action. No need to click.
Mac Mini,Snow Leopard OS 10.6.2; iMAC OS 10.4.11, Cableone.net Wireless via Linksys Router. 10Mb down/1MB up connection.
Two XOs, build 860
Firefox & Epiphany browsers
Flash Player 10.2..
People perish for lack of knowledge
(revised 02/28/11).
generalludd
 
Posts: 32
Joined: Mon Feb 04, 2008 10:14 pm
Location: Prescott, AZ

Re: out of the box

Postby Infamy » Thu Feb 14, 2008 4:17 pm

Sorry if I wasn't clear. If you are triggering the hotcorner, you've gone too far into the corner :)

See here: http://laptop.org/en/img/journal.gif

Do you see the USB key in the lower left? That is what you are after.

-Infamy
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Re: out of the box

Postby generalludd » Thu Feb 14, 2008 5:36 pm

Hi: Still nothing. I don't see the dark band with the battery symbol and journal symbol at the right side. I guess if a USB drive is plugged in, i should see the USB key to the left of the journal symbol.

Per the link presented in your prevous message, I see the top part, but nothing at the bottom but the last line of journal activity. By the way, if i select Today in the RH top box then i get a journal page, not filled, but with big white space at the bottom.

I turned on my other XO, and at first saw a light band at the bottom of the Journal. Shortly though the bottom of the screen was taken up by the last activity performed. It almost looks like i may not have all of the possible screen displayed. Like on a standard computer monitor with height/centering that isn't adjusted properly.

By the way, the other XO is using the supplied Build 650. The one i have been doing most of my work on is the one with build 656 (not 653 as i previously reported--memory is dangerous).

Regards:
Mac Mini,Snow Leopard OS 10.6.2; iMAC OS 10.4.11, Cableone.net Wireless via Linksys Router. 10Mb down/1MB up connection.
Two XOs, build 860
Firefox & Epiphany browsers
Flash Player 10.2..
People perish for lack of knowledge
(revised 02/28/11).
generalludd
 
Posts: 32
Joined: Mon Feb 04, 2008 10:14 pm
Location: Prescott, AZ

Re: out of the box

Postby Infamy » Thu Feb 14, 2008 6:25 pm

generalludd wrote:Hi: Still nothing. I don't see the dark band with the battery symbol and journal symbol at the right side. I guess if a USB drive is plugged in, i should see the USB key to the left of the journal symbol.


You should see the journal symbol in the lower left. The USB symbol should be just to the right of the journal symbol.

generalludd wrote:Per the link presented in your prevous message, I see the top part, but nothing at the bottom but the last line of journal activity. By the way, if i select Today in the RH top box then i get a journal page, not filled, but with big white space at the bottom.


This in not an entry in your journal. It is persistant at the bottom of the screen when the journal is open.

generalludd wrote:I turned on my other XO, and at first saw a light band at the bottom of the Journal. Shortly though the bottom of the screen was taken up by the last activity performed. It almost looks like i may not have all of the possible screen displayed. Like on a standard computer monitor with height/centering that isn't adjusted properly.

By the way, the other XO is using the supplied Build 650. The one i have been doing most of my work on is the one with build 656 (not 653 as i previously reported--memory is dangerous).

Regards:


When you start your journal, and your mouse isn't near the corners, does it look like the picture I linked you to? You should see a dark bar along the bottom, the same color as the frame.

-Infamy
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Re: out of the box

Postby generalludd » Thu Feb 14, 2008 6:38 pm

No it doesn't look like the picture. There is no dark bar at the bottom.

Regards
Mac Mini,Snow Leopard OS 10.6.2; iMAC OS 10.4.11, Cableone.net Wireless via Linksys Router. 10Mb down/1MB up connection.
Two XOs, build 860
Firefox & Epiphany browsers
Flash Player 10.2..
People perish for lack of knowledge
(revised 02/28/11).
generalludd
 
Posts: 32
Joined: Mon Feb 04, 2008 10:14 pm
Location: Prescott, AZ

Re: out of the box

Postby Infamy » Thu Feb 14, 2008 10:57 pm

Ok, if there is no bar at the bottom, then there is no media plugged in that is FAT.

Try reformatting your usb thumbdrive, a FULL format, and then plug it in again. If it sees something, it will pop up down there.

-Infamy
1st day donor :)
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Re: out of the box

Postby generalludd » Fri Feb 15, 2008 12:33 am

OK: I will try a format of a drive when i get the PC up and running. There seems to be a non-sequiter in that the picture. That rectangular thing shown to the right of the journal symbol looked like a battery to me. I guess i was mistaken, and the presence of a proper FAT USB will cause it (the black bar, journal symbol, and that thing to the right that must be the USB "key") will appear.

Next question, if i ever get it right. will be what is the technique to read or write to that USB. I'm spoiled to drag-and-drop which may not be true of XO. I'll come back after i succeed or fail.

Thanks for the help, Regards:
Mac Mini,Snow Leopard OS 10.6.2; iMAC OS 10.4.11, Cableone.net Wireless via Linksys Router. 10Mb down/1MB up connection.
Two XOs, build 860
Firefox & Epiphany browsers
Flash Player 10.2..
People perish for lack of knowledge
(revised 02/28/11).
generalludd
 
Posts: 32
Joined: Mon Feb 04, 2008 10:14 pm
Location: Prescott, AZ

Re: out of the box

Postby Infamy » Fri Feb 15, 2008 12:04 pm

I think you mean the bottom left(verify this for me, because you have said bottom right a couple times)

It does look a bit like a battery, but that is only because the picture is a bit small.

From there, you can open the drive in the journal, and move files to the XO clipboard and such. I would recommend installing a filemanager though, such as emelfm2 or Thunar(has a number of deps, as it is XFCE based). Those two will work more like what you are used to.

-Infamy
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