Some more OLPC XO notes

Here are a few random notes about the XO, after a day of playing with it: It’s heavier than I thought it was going to be. If I had to guess, I would say that combining the need to be robust enough for kids, with the need to be inexpensive, probably means that it was … Continue reading “Some more OLPC XO notes”

Here are a few random notes about the XO, after a day of playing with it:

  • It’s heavier than I thought it was going to be. If I had to guess, I would say that combining the need to be robust enough for kids, with the need to be inexpensive, probably means that it was bound to be heavy. It would really be too heavy to be an eBook reader, if I wasn’t pudgy enough to have a “belly shelf” to put it on. 😉
     
  • The keyboard is too small to type on. It is, of course, too small for my adult hands, but it even seemed small when my 11 year-old nephew was playing with it. I understand that the size (and the lime-green color) were intended to make it less appealing to adult thieves. I guess will see. To me it’s no worse than learning the Treo or the iPod Touch keyboards. In this case, 2 fingers from each hand + the right thumb on the space bar is working for me.
     
  • There’s something odd about the trackpad. It seems to get in a mode where it causes the cursor to jump to one corner of the screen every time you lift your finger off the surface. Whatever it is, Jeff noticed the problem on his as well, so it’s not a hardware problem with mine.
     
  • FBReader works better than I thought it would. I installed it by finding an RPM that started with “fbreader” at http://mirrors.kernel.org/fedora/updates/7/i386/ and then getting it with a command like:
        rpm -ivh http://mirrors.kernel.org/fedora/updates/7/i386/fbreader...
    

    (Note: You probably have to be su’ed to do that.)
    To start it, you type “FBReader” at the shell prompt. To exit, you hit “cntrl-Q”. The default font, font sizes, margin spacing, and keybindings all need to be adjusted on first use, but the values are remembered so it’s not a big deal. It may just be personal taste, but I find the resulting experience to be more pleasing than using the built in PDF reader. In any case, it’s certainly faster.
     

  • The SD slot seems to work fine. The way I tested FBReader was by sticking in an old 256Meg SD card I had used with one of my previous Palms, which was full of eBooks. It mounted as “/media/SD256” (because the volume label was “SD256”), and when I told FBReader that “/media/SD256/palm/Books” was on the library path it found the 4 unencrypted DOC format books that were there.
     
  • Wireless is definitely an issue. After several hours of attempting to get it to connect via WEP to my Airport Extreme, including following the instructions of people who have gotten it to work, I have given up. The claim is that the XO can’t speak WPA yet, but there also seems to be a counter-example. I may switch over to WPA and try that, but for now I just stuck a Linksys “USB200M ver.2” USB-to-wired-ethernet adapter into one of the USB ports. This worked without problem, and at least seems to be faster than using wireless anyway.
     

4 thoughts on “Some more OLPC XO notes”

  1. The trackpad is a known issue that’s been fixed.
    http://tinyurl.com/3y5tzr

    I had the opposite problem with wireless. I gave up on WPA2 and switched my network to WEP instead. I’m on the shipped build 650.

    WPA does work in latter builds and the plan is to have it working for update.1

  2. I’ve managed to get my XO to work with my Airport Extreme & WPA2 by upgrading the XO image to 653 (http://wiki.laptop.org/go/Activated_Upgrade) and using the Wpa.sh script (http://wiki.laptop.org/images/4/44/Wpa.sh) described at http://wiki.laptop.org/go/WPA_Manual_Setting

    I also had to open the wireless network (broadcast SSID), which was a little annoying. Generally, it’s working well, but I’m prompted for a password on initial association. Cancelling that, switching to the network view and clicking on the icon for my AP seems to do the trick.

  3. I tried upgrading to 653, but still had no joy with WEP. I guess I’ll wait for the next official build before I try again. The USB-to-wired-ethernet adaptor is working well enough for now.

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