archive - September 2009

All about Sugar Labs DC and the new OLPC XO-1.5 laptop

September’s meeting might be our most information-packed ever with Jeff Elkner’s report on Sugar Labs DC and a reprise of the preview at HacDC of the new XO-1.5 brought to you by SJ Klein of OLPC Headquarters.

What: Special Event: Sugar Labs DC and the XO-1.5!
When: Saturday, September 19th, 2009, 10 am to 1 pm

816 South Walter Reed Drive,
Arlington, VA 22204
Contact Page, Map, Aerial Photo, Bus Info)


Since the formation of Sugar Labs DC back in June, Jeff Elkner at the Arlington Career Center has hit the ground running mobilizing a team of high schoolers to develop software for the Sugar Learning Platform. Jeff’s students started with enhancements to TimeLapse, an Activity for the OLPC XO designed to easily record, store, and display data to be used in applications that need a scheduled recording mechanism. TimeLapse came out of a student collaboration with club member and beekeeper Dr. Frank Linton to capture periodic audio of bee sounds to access the health of the hive. That project was presented at our November 2008 meeting. Jeff will talk about current and future plans for our local lab.

Photo-composite of Gnome and Sugar running on a prototype OLPC XO-1.5 laptop

A photo composite of two photos I took of the new laptop at HacDC illustrating both the Gnome desktop manager and Sugar running.

SJ Klein will be bringing one or both of the XO-1.5 prototype laptops that were shown at HacDC Tuesday night. SJ will talk further about OLPC’s plans for the XO-1.5. In addition to the hardware improvements such as increased processor speed and memory, we were impressed with the new ability to rapidly switch between the Sugar desktop for children and the now pre-installed Gnome window manager for adults. OLPC News has blog posts about SJ’s talk as well as a video comparing the startup speed of the XO-1.5 to an XO-1.0.

The first hard copy of the 93 page draft of the teacher's book arrives!

George Hunt, Kevin Cole, Yama Ploskonka and Adam Holt hold the first paper printout of the 93-page draft of the teacher guide. 

Also this past week, Kevin Cole hosted the OLPC Community Book Sprint at Gallaudet University, where onsite and virtual volunteers marshalled by Adam Holt, OLPC’s community support manager,  collaborated on creating a new teacher guide for deploying laptops. Filled with inspiring stories and a wealth of practical advice, the manual will go a long way to supporting the OLPC Contributor’s Program and small deployments all over the world. More editing and post-production remains, but you can take a look at the draft on the Floss Manuals site–or even jump in to help with writing and editing! Photos of the book sprint are on my Flickr set and another from Nancie Severs.

And to cap off the weekend, XO laptops were part of the Ubuntu DC Local Community (LoCo) booth at the Takoma Park Folk Festival. Halfway through the festival, the number of visitors to the booth exceeded last year’s count of 180. Photos also on Flickr.

We hope to see you at a meeting. Do sign up for our monthly email newsletter if you’re not already on.

written by Mike Lee on 13 September 2009 Comments Off

OLPC comes to DC with a look at the new XO-1.5 laptop

Samuel “SJ” Klein, One Laptop per Child’s community content director, will speak on the progress of the worldwide effort towards delivering low-cost exploratory computation to millions of children in developing countries. The project was just showcased in the new book, Design Revolution: 100 Products That Empower People.

To date, nearly one million laptops have been deployed around the world, typically in the remotest of locations with little or no electricity, or internet access. Empowering learning through information accessibility will be the focus of SJ’s talk along with the market-changing innovations in the platform’s hardware and software. SJ will also show a working prototype of One Laptop per Child’s brand new XO-1.5 laptop, which uses a newer, faster processor and has more onboard memory. The XO-1.5 now dual boots into Gnome desktop as well as the child-friendly Sugar Learning Platform. Both are based on Fedora 11.

The OLPC Learning Club DC and HacDC will announce their joint effort to launch an XO Lending Library and describe local activities that support OLPC and Sugar Labs. Please join us if you want to talk about redesigning education access throughout the world for the 21st Century.

Where: HacDC (1525 Newton Street NW, Washington, DC–map on their web site) in the church sanctuary
When: Tuesday, September 8th, 7:30pm

And for those itching to know what the new laptop looks like, we haven’t seen them yet! But we do know what cosmetic changes were made so we altered an existing photo:

Turning over the new laptop, one will see that the battery latches are now in green plastic. Opening the lid will reveal that the screen rotation and power button are in green plastic as well (left on photo illustration). The new laptop carries forward the recent simplification of the trackpad and has a slightly thicker keyboard housing.

It is not known if these laptops will be made available in an offer like the Give One Get One program, but when steady quantities are available late this year, they can be acquired through the grant process of OLPC’s Contributor’s Program if you have a unique project idea.

If you miss this opportunity to see SJ and the laptop, they are scheduled to appear at the Learning Club’s Saturday, September 19th meeting at 10am at the Arlington Career Center. There will be another more detailed announcement here on the blog about that meeting.

Photo of SJ Klein by Doc Searls from Flickr.

written by Mike Lee on 2 September 2009 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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jeff at

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