Alternative Power Sources category

Next Club Meeting at DIY Fair, DC Library

With the recent OLPC Community Summit in San Francisco and news that my project developing digital literacy lessons in Etoys for street children in Zambia won a grant from USAID, I’ve arranged to have a club meeting as part of a display I’m setting up at the DC Library’s DIY Fair:

On Saturday, Nov. 17 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. and Sunday, Nov. 18 from 1:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m., the Adaptive Services Division of the DC Public Library will host a DIY (Do It Yourself) Fair in the Great Hall of Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library at 901 G St. NW. The DIY Fair will be a celebration of creativity for people with and without disabilities.

You can register for the DIY Fair through EventbriteĀ

The Learning Club meeting will take place Saturday Nov. 17 at 10am on the second floor of the east lobby of the DC Library during the Fair. I will give an update using the presentations I gave at the OLPC Summit on OLPC open hardware and Lubuto Library in Zambia, show off the new OLPC 15 watt solar panel with an XO-1.75 laptop, talk about the USAID grant and relay some significant news on the future of OLPC (much positive, some uncertain). I will have USB drives with the latest stable build of the XO-1 operating system for anyone who needs to upgrade their laptop. The upgrade will overwrite the contents of your laptop, so be sure to copy off important files. If you have any other special needs, please contact me in advance.

At around 12 noon, I will set up some displays I recently assembled for the local First Lego League Senior Solutions Science Expo and will be there until 3pm and during Sunday’s scheduled Fair hours. On display will be a Raspberry Pi computer running MIT Scratch and Lego WeDo, my exact replica of the Mars Curiosity Rover built entirely in Lego bricks designed by former NASA engineer Stephen Pakbaz and an XO-1.75 laptop with the digital literacy lessons developed for street children in Zambia.

This will be the last Learning Club meeting for 2012, so please use the meeting opportunity and display hours next weekend at the DC Library to bring your questions about OLPC, open source learning, open source hardware and informal digital learning.
written by Mike Lee on 12 November 2012 Comments Off

Takoma Park Heat Festival and Next Meeting

The Learning Club had a community information table set up at the Takoma Park Folk Festival today in the last blast of summer heat. We stayed hydrated all day and the steady stream of people curious about the little green laptops kept us on our feet. FFM, Kevin and Jeff helped out while also doing duty at the Ubuntu / Linux table. Between 11 am and 6pm, we gave out 40 business cards, 94 flyers and eight Sugar LiveCDs. And a big thank you to Ms. Swanee, who came out of nowhere to volunteer at the booth in the morning. Repeated here are answers to some of the commonly asked questions from booth visitors:

When is your next meeting? When are meetings?

Our next meeting is this coming Saturday, September 20th, 2008 at the Arlington Career Center in Virginia. Adam Holt, Community Support Manager at OLPC Headquarters, will call in to the meeting to give us the latest information on the upcoming Give One Get One program and also talk about how to volunteer with OLPC. Also Thomas Doggette and FFM will give an update on their repair service.

What: Family XO Mesh Meetup
When: Saturday, September 20th, 2008, 10 am to 1 pm
Where: Arlington Career Center
816 South Walter Reed Drive,
Arlington, VA 22204
(Contact Page, Map, Bus Info)

Meetings have been standardized to the THIRD Saturday of every month at either the Arlington Career Center or the Student Union at Gallaudet University. We also meet at Nortel Networks on Capitol Hill.

To find out about upcoming meetings, visit this blog or subscribe to our low traffic email newsletter.

I am having trouble connecting to wifi, so I haven’t used my laptop much since it arrived.

The best thing to do would be to update the system software from what was originally shipped. There have been several major updates over the course of the year that address an array of bugs including the wifi connectivity issues. Unless you’re pretty tech savvy and can follow the instructions on the OLPC wiki, it would be best to seek the advice and hands-on help of an expert at one of our meetings. If you do not live in our area and are not near another user group, contact one of the grassroots repair centers that have emerged. Some of them, including the DC shop, will take shipment of a laptop to perform the software upgrade or other repair.

Other options for support are the OLPC News discussion forums, the OLPC support email and the support web site at

Will there be another Give One Get One?

Yes, Nicholas Negroponte has announced that the program will start up again around November 17th to be run by Amazon through the end of the year. The specifics are still in planning, but OLPC News has summarized what is known so far.

I want [5 - 20] laptops to take on a trip to a school in country X. How can I get some from OLPC?

Because the OLPC Foundation has limited staff resources, and given its focus on large deployments in developing countries, it is generally unable to handle these types of requests. That said, if you have a thoughtful and detailed proposal, try submitting it to

Other ways to acquire laptops are to buy them off eBay or participate in the upcoming Give One Get One program.

One group to study that is doing interesting pilots is the Waveplace Foundation.

Where can I buy the solar panel and foot treadle power pack displayed at the booth?

The solar panel shown at our booth is the 10 watt model sold by The foot treadle power pack is a general purpose product called the Weza made by Freeplay Energy. Amazon and other dealers carry it for a few dollars less than the suggested retail price listed at Freeplay.

Feel free to post in the comments here below this post if you have additional questions or email us at the email addresses listed in the top of the right column of this site’s home page.

written by Mike Lee on 15 September 2008 Comments Off

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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curiouslee at

jeff elkner -
jeff at

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