The idiosyncratic nature of the OLPC laptop

Points of views and questions about the OLPC project. What should it be? How could it be better? Where is it needed most? Ask your questions here and let your opinion be known.

Re: The idiosyncratic nature of the OLPC laptop

Postby Freemor » Wed Dec 31, 2008 10:33 am

By watching your posts, and references to "Cults". I come away with the eeling that you are nit understanding the open nature of the XO. It is very easy to make XO's boot something other then Sugar. Sugar and Linux are both open source so if peopel weren't happy with it they are more then welcome to submit changes. I think using your very polarized examples of "cult" vs "benovolent", Microsoft would fall closer to the "cult" side as they do not allow input, their source is a arcane secret help by a select few, etc.

Sugar is now it's own project over at sugarlabs.org. I'm sure they would be pleased to explain the thinking behind the interface. I certainly see several featues in the Sugar interface that I wouldn't mind seeing coming into the "main stream" desktops. The zooming paradigm, the journal and the integrated collaboration are great ideas. The "view source" funtion (especially once it is more universally implimented) is one of the best ideas I've seen and another one that would be nice to see come to "mainstream" desktops.

I've also become a little unclear as this thread has evolved as to what your concern is. Is sugar better from an educational standpoint? My feeling aster using it for a several weeks now is "Yes". I am finding the the Jorunal does create reflective mood (more then once I've looked at it and had a much clearer idea of how I have been spending my time on the computer. (often "eeesshh! thats a lot of Browse" :D ). I however am not an education professional. Sugar is also not a static construct and I sure it will evolve as most open source projects do.
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Re: The idiosyncratic nature of the OLPC laptop

Postby tashirosgt » Wed Dec 31, 2008 12:57 pm

Yes, "cult" is a provocative term. I hope it will provoke an answer to my question. The usual Open Source answer ( You can change it yourself, if you don't like it.) seems to be a favorite one in matters of the OLPC project, but it is not a adequate answer for a respectable charity to give. The fact that knowledgeable people can separate the OLPC laptop, as delivered, from its software and put other software on it is something that is true of almost any laptop. I don't see anything in the advertising material from the OLPC that suggests that donor's to the project should expect kids in the undeveloped world to do this.

I recognize that you and other posters on this forum are not necessarily speaking as official representatives of the OLPC project and I'm glad someone is willing to defend the design of the thing. Your post gave the best defense of the OLPC software. What I didn't see in that defense was any reason why Sugar makes all those programming activities easier for kids than a traditional window manager. Don't most of those activities also run under other window managers such as Gnome?

Let me make another provocative analogy. Suppose a charity that was doing eye operations on kids in underdeveloped countries and it sent me a letter asking for a contribution. In the letter, I notice that the procedure they use (call it the "S-incision"") is not the same as the standard procedure in the developed world. So I try to find out why they use it. Should I expect to to get a straightforward answer? - some kind of reference to scientific studies, some explanation of why conditions in underdeveloped world make the S-incision te best thing to do. Or should I expect to get a "run-around" type of answer.? "See the Wiki." "Look on the S-incision website." "If you don't like it, suggest a better procedure.".
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Re: The idiosyncratic nature of the OLPC laptop

Postby genesee » Sat Jan 03, 2009 12:26 am

The Cult are okay, not to be confused with My Life With The Thrill Kill Cult.
Where's Alan? "Paging Alan Kay. Alan Kay, nerds are flaming about PARC, again".
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Re: The idiosyncratic nature of the OLPC laptop

Postby tashirosgt » Sat Jan 03, 2009 12:57 am

I looked up "My Life With The Thrill Kill Kult" on the Wikipedia and I notice that it says they are an "electronic industrial" band. What would that sound like? Machiney?

And another question: I buy t-shirts to wear around the house from the discount clothing stores. The best bargains always have writing on them. I have an orange one that says "GOOD TOTHE BONE". Is that also a band? Or just a culinary expression? The letters have green bubbly patterns on them that don't look appetizing. ( I found out the shirts with a skull that say "Sahara Club" might have something to with a jazz club, but I don't understand the skull. The "Beverly Hills Polo Club" shirts, I assume are a joke - at least when worn by me. )

And suppose an organization was going to donate a keyboard to developing nations but it only played rap music...
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Re: The idiosyncratic nature of the OLPC laptop

Postby sphynxbiker » Sat Jan 03, 2009 7:11 am

I think in some ways the differance is a good thing. I got mine last year and it took a few weeks before I was used to it. I had to change my mindset from Windows and make my old brain learn new tricks. I am old enough to have an Atari in the attic and remember when the first PC's came out although at that time there was no way I could even think about having one as we hadn't the money. I think that one big thing kids will get from this machine is a willingness to experiment and have a inquiring mind. I think it also inspired many of the affordable netbooks now avalible. I am only a nurse not a IT person however we are going computerized at work sometime this year and one of the things that I think is hampering many of my co workers in learning and accepting the change is many of them are reluctant and unhappy working with computers. The new system could also be more user friendly. I think that the kids gifted with XO's will be able to better handle whatever is required no matter the OS they use in later life. Even Vista:)) Also I have taken mine to coffee shops and work meetings and mostly people smile when they see it. My Vista laptop doesn't get that response. In todays world I value a bit of whimsy and stress relief in my life. As long as it also is practial and durable.
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Re: The idiosyncratic nature of the OLPC laptop

Postby tashirosgt » Sat Jan 03, 2009 1:36 pm

I'm curious how you use the machine. I can see that any machine that can make a wireless connection to the internet would be useful for an adult. But are you trying to use the activities on it to write music or animate drawings?
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Re: The idiosyncratic nature of the OLPC laptop

Postby sphynxbiker » Sun Jan 04, 2009 5:21 am

I had the misfortune to buy a laptop from Dell with Vista when it was new. I am not blessing microsoft for this, trust me. i liked the OLPC mission and I wanted a lighter option for taking places.The reasonablly priced netbooks were not around a year ago. I have played with the tamtam and the turtle art. Mostly it surfs the net, takes notes, reads books, and plays maze during the boring part of meetings. I am learning a bit about linux. My Neice uses the speach function to listen to pronuncation in different languages. One of her goals is to be multilingual and she is learning some from books. One of the most interesting things about this machine is people's response to it. At first folks think it is a toy, then they find out what it can do. It is not a thief magnet. When i got it installed the battery plugged it in turned it on and it connected. No muss, fuss or phone calls to India. The same cannot be said for my vista laptop. If you buy vista from a second party like Dell and they cannot fix your issues microsoft will not talk to you or help you until you pay them. And I spent hours on the phone and on hold with Dell and Microsoft to get my issues sort of resolved. I am very happy with Dell, much less so with vista. I much prefer the OLPC way.
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The idiosyncratic nature of the OLPC laptop

Postby EklerMenen » Sat Jun 20, 2009 8:59 am

Hey, you guys are back online. Poor guys having to do everything because of a server problem. Now when you say site and forum, does that mean this, because I dont actually see a "site" if you know what I mean. Anyway its great that this is back, and as far as Im concern the forum here looks great, though remember it was green... anyway im glad your back.

Oh whats with the RSS feed? Its showing xHTML i suspose, is it because you dont have a css file for it?
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