When I got to church today, I discovered that my XO laptop had arrived on Friday, which was my day off. I got home from lunch carrying the cardboard box from the One Laptop Per Child foundation. “Look what I got!” I said to Carol.
While I was taking off my coat, she finished getting the box open, and we took out the cute litte green-and-white laptop. “It’s cute” she said.
It is cute. To open it, you unfold two little ears (which serve as antennas for the wifi) and that releases the screen, which then folds up to reveal the child-sized keyboard. The whole design is brilliant, including both the hardware and the software. And it comes with amazing software: a varitey of educational software including measurement programs, a calculator, etc.; photo- and audio- and video-editing software; music-creation software; a text editor; a simple Python compiler; a paint program; and much more.
The XO does have distinct limitations. No printer drivers yet (a low priority, according to the One Laptop Per Child Web site, in part because they are committed to cutting down on paper use for ecological reasons). A tiny, child-sized keyboard (I’m typing this entry on my new XO, and my big hands definitely do not fit the keyboard well). Some holes in the software (the Flash player on the Web browser does not work yet). A small screen (not so good for middle-aged eyes). It’s pretty slow compared to my Mac Powerbook. And it is clearly designed to be an educational tool, not a general purpose computer.
But overall, I’m very impressed with the XO — and I’ve just begun to explore its capabilities and possilities. As I learn more about its capabilities, I’ll let you know more about it — maybe I’ll make a video so you can see it in action.