During the recent Greener Gadgets Conference in New York, former OLPC CTO (and XO challenger) Mary Lou Jepsen discussed the real-world difficulties with using the kid-friendly laptops, including the creation of an XO “hospital” used to repair broken computers. Apparently, in the crowded conditions of schools in places like Nigeria, the little green laptops have a tendency to be jostled around and even knocked on the floor from time to time. As there’s typically no repair shops nearby, the kids have learned to fix the systems themselves, setting up a “laptop hospital” where they can repair what’s broken using simple tools and cheap replacement parts. Mary Lou says the company designed the systems to be easily fixable, including extra screws embedded in the computers themselves, and allowing for quick changes of the LCD backlight and other components. The in-house repairs cut down on shipping, promote reuse, and increase kids’ understanding of ownership and responsibility, thus furthering the OLPC mission, and making everyone generally want to hug.
As my readers know, my XO laptop arrived two days ago. However, I received this email a few minutes ago:
Your XO laptop is on its way.
We’re happy to inform you that your XO laptop has shipped. In order to help you get the most out of your experience with the XO and One Laptop per Child (OLPC), here are some important links. Please save this email for reference.
To find out everything you need to know to get started with your XO laptop, please click here or visit www.laptopgiving.org/start.
Your order reference number: XXXXXXXX
You can track your shipment on the FedEx web site http://www.fedex.com/Tracking
Your FedEx tracking number: 999999999999999
If your laptop is a gift for a child, click here to download a gift card that explains that a child in the developing world will receive an XO laptop, too, as part of this program.
For Terms and Conditions of the Give One Get One initiative, click here.
To learn more about T-Mobile USA’s offer to provide one year of complimentary access to T-Mobile HotSpot, click here. Please note that to activate this offer, you will need to enter your Give One Get One order reference number: XXXXXXXX.
From all of us at OLPC, thank you for your participation in Give One Get One. Your gift will help give children around the globe amazing, new opportunities to grow, explore, learn and express themselves.
Late this afternoon, UPS left a surprisingly small & heavy box at my door. It was my OLPC laptop! There are no printed manuals; instead a note directs you to a getting started page.
The laptop is much smaller than I expected. The keyboard is a little too small for adult hands to use it comfortably. The screen is very readable, despite the size. It looks like it would be a nice ebook reader for long flights.
Unfortunately I wasn’t able to connect it to my home network, since it doesn’t support WPA (an update in early 2008 is supposed to ad WPA support, however). I’m now setting up a computer to computer network on my Mac Mini so I can connect it.