archive - February 2008

Can you mesh me now?

Can you mesh me now?

Updated 2/20 – Note the location change from Arlington, VA to Nortel Networks in D.C. New information is below in BOLD starting with the Nortel street address.

I hear echoes of the Verizon Wireless commercials when I see all the people at our meetups trying to mesh. It’s the new primal urge of XO owners. Now it’s time to channel those urges into fun and productive activity!

Hot on the heels of our last meeting, Kevin Cole and Jeff Elkner are interested in hosting monthly XO meetups / development sprints. They are thinking of meeting the 4th Saturday of each month, and alternating the location between the Arlington Career Center and Gallaudet University (see map).

While still in the planning stage, the first one has already been scheduled for this month. The idea is to bring together three groups of people to work on the following things:

  • Kids and parents who want to meet other kids and parents and do cool things together with their XOs.
  • Software developers wanted to work on software for the XO.
  • Educational materials developers wanting to collaborate on the development of educational materials for the XO.

Having these three groups co-locate will create all kinds of synergistic possibilities. Let the games begin!

What: Family XO Mesh Meetup

When: Saturday, February 23rd, 2008, 10 am to 1 pm

Where: Nortel Networks, 101 Constitution Avenue, Washington, DC 20001

A team is setting up an OLPC school server (which will make meshing much easier) and coordinating with the OLPC Support team to help install system updates, activate developer’s keys on anyone’s XO and generally troubleshoot technical issues.

The meeting will start with a few minutes of introductions by the leaders of the table activities. Then we will break into groups for about 30 minutes for discussion. We’ll pause for quick reportouts from each group on tips, discoveries, aspirations, frustrations, etc. Then we’ll all mesh some more until 1 pm.

Nortel Networks is a secure office complex so we will have to assign someone to let people in between 9:45am-10am. The building is walking distance from the Union Station and Judiciary Square Metro Stations.

Click here for a map. Also, our wiki page is seeing some activity now.

The green squiggles in my illustration are from a camera toss photo by Dan Simpson licensed under CC 2.0.

written by Mike Lee on 7 February 2008 15 commenti

DC Cares about the XO

Curtis Cannon welcomes XO enthusiasts

Our first meeting of the OLPC Learning Club at the downtown offices of DC Cares attracted a diverse group of 48 XO enthusiasts, including some parents and children. The Vine blog, Grig, Richard, Herbert have writeups on the meeting. Walter Bender made a mention in this week’s OLPC Community News, and there are photos on Flickr by Jesse, Grig and myself. I want to especially thank our host Curtis Cannon, Andrew Halls, Jonathan Blocksom and Jonathan Hsu for helping with the meeting logistics. Also, Phil Shapiro has been a great cheerleader for the club and scored our first press clip with an article in the East Montgomery County Gazette. The evening was also, regrettably, a little less colorful as Wayan was away on his honeymoon.

I got there an hour early and double-parked out front so I could unload my bags of gear for show ‘n tell. To my surprise, there were already a couple people in the meeting room trying to wirelessly mesh their XOs. Parking was an easy roll down the adjacent underground garage. It turns out I was the only person who drove. While I got my gear laid out, Curtis and others let batches of people in through the secure front doors. By 6:25, we had a good crowd with the arrival of a group of high schoolers (from Arlington, I believe).

After distributing raffle tickets to everyone, I did a brief welcome and review of the facilities and agenda. Curtis (pictured above speaking to the group) joined me to talk about the mission and services of DC Cares and how they came to acquire seven U.S.-side Give One Get One laptops through the fundraising efforts of his friend Peter Corbett at the recent Technoliday party. DC Cares is a unique foundation in that it doesn’t grant money to support social change locally, but matches community assets such as volunteers, pro-bono consultants, non-profit board members, goods and services to help other non-profits build their capacity. We talked about how keeping the OLPC Learning Club diverse and engaged could produce excess energy that could be channeled into local social change in addition to feeding content and innovations back into the global OLPC braintrust to serve children and education.

Justin Thorp spoke next about his work on the World Digital Library project as a contractor at the Library of Congress. Justin had just concluded his last day on the project to become the [Web 2.0 Widgets] Developer Community Manager at Clearspring Technologies. Justin mentioned that few people realize that the LoC acquires assets in all languages from around the world, and is uniquely positioned (with funding from Google) to create a digital library of rare books, manuscripts, maps, posters, stamps and other treasures from the library’s vast holdings. Justin also demoed the International Children’s Digital Library, a collection of digitized children’s books in many languages readable on the web via a kid-friendly user interface.

Then I started to juggle all the XO-related accessories I’ve accumulated since August. I began with the vignette of how I bumped into Nicholas Negroponte at SFO airport back in February 2006 to a meeting back in August 2007 when we (myself and another director representing my day job) were given two prototypes. I described how I experimented since then with accessories such as power adapters, solar panels, carrying bags, network adapters, and viewfinders for the XO camera. The most audience reaction was for the viewfinder made of LEGO bricks and my out-of-shape geek’s attempt at foot treadling the Freeplay Weza while doing the talk about it. A point I made was that OLPC perhaps somewhat overhyped the solar panels and human power options to uninformed G1G1 consumers who then romanticised the notion of getting easy power from hand-cranking or waving around an index card-sized solar panel. The solar and human power options for the XO require hours of patience or substantial physical exertion to generate usable amounts of power. I observed that there are some vivid lessons for our children in these accessories about the value of energy, and why adopting clean alternatives is important.

I closed the presentation with the raffle of two iLite Micro USB LED lights and a Targus Auto/Air Adapter. Jonathan Hsu also stood up front to offer for sale his fresh-off-the-manufacturing-line ZoWii USB ethernet adapters in XO green. About half the room converged on him to plunk down some green for green. We stayed around another hour to mesh and chat. OK. End. More in another post.

written by Mike Lee on 4 February 2008 1 commento

The OLPC Learning Club DC and Sugar Labs DC are independent grassroots organizations supporting the missions of One Laptop per Child and Sugar Labs.

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