October 06, 2007

Give 1 Get 1

Did you read David Pogue's article on the XO in the New York Times? (Now free online, but you may have to register) For jargon afficianados: The XO is AKA the OLPC computer - from the One laptop per child volunteer project.

Our library now has over three years experience with children using Linux computers, and we think the combination marvelous. But the XO's have a lot more than Linux to recommend them.
1. Designed for children, they are both cute and incredibly sturdy.
2. Battery life is something like 6 to 8 hours, but you can also power them mechanically or with a $12, 12" solar panel. And battery life is much longer if the child is using the unit to read a book.
3. Wifi is built in. So is a video camera.
4. Push one key and you can both see and modify the code behind a page or program. Think of the talent this will unleash. Brilliant.

These were created for children in developing countries. If you want one for your USA tot, you will have a short time window via the Give 1 Get 1 program. Pay $400 and you get one for the kid in your life, and one for a child somewhere else in the world who desperately needs it. Begins Nov 12.

Note: This is not the same as the Asus Eee PC which is also Linux based, also about 7 inches, and also rolling out this fall. (Review in French.) Unlike the XO, the Eee PC is commercial, will be publicly available and wasn't specifically designed for children in the developing world. And it isn't lime green, except in some photos from China.

With these small units you are going to need to tote a little extra portable storage or learn how to keep your files online. Get acquainted with something like Yahoo briefcase. (If you already have a Yahoo account for mail or groups, you also have a briefcase there.)

Thanks to RCN we have free wi-fi available in the library and next door in the computer area. We will be adding some small tables and wall trays there for the wi-fi users.

Update October 30: BBC story on the XO

Update November 12: The Give One Get One program for the XO began on November 12th and will last through the 27th. The recipient, for the one you give, will be a child in Rwanda, Haiti, Afganistan or Cambodia.

Posted by library at October 6, 2007 02:01 PM
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