Fred Stluka on 29 Feb 2008 19:46:58 -0800

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Re: [PLUG] OLPC Comments

>To be honest, there were a lot of unusual design decisions that went into making the XO,
>none of which were aimed at people at us. Things like making sure the
>display is visable in bright equatorial sun, and having 6 hours -> many
>days of battery life[1] were very important. They can also form a mesh
>network with classmates laptops. The "target consumer" is lucky to have
>any internet access at all, much less a wireless network with WPA. If you want a
>subportable - perhaps an EEE PC, IBM X Series, or Macbook Air would be
>more what you need.
Also, the fact that it can be dropped into water, and survive.

And this one is really cool -- we're all used to the idea of plugging
in a USB device and having it get power from the laptop, so why not
go the other way:  You can get a USB device for these laptops that is
a hand crank, and can turn it to recharge the battery.  There's also
a small portable solar panel USB recharger.  Both are critical in an
area with no infrastructure like reliable electricity and such.

The mesh network is really cool too.  You and your classmates can
all sit around in an isolated area with unreliable electricity and
keep your laptops going with hand cranks and solar panels, and can
still have an ad hoc peer-to-peer wireless network that automatically
find other nodes within reach, connects to them, and shows them to
you in a graphical display.  Cameras and microphones are built in,
so you can do a video chat.  Very cool for young people who might
otherwise never get any exposure to computers!

When I first saw it I had 2 reactions:
1. Way too little CPU speed, disk, RAM, etc for my needs, and
   besides it looks like a child's toy.
2. Wow!  It's that rugged and that automatic, and that practical,
   and includes all those features and devices for that tiny little
   price?  Incredible!

Fred Stluka -- --
Bristle Software, Inc -- -- Glad to be of service!

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