Getting Sugar talking!

(No, nothing to do with Sir Alan!)
I’ve got an OLPC , and have an Acer Aspire Netbook with Sugar On A Stick installed – and was trying to get them to recognise each other, in order to demonstrate the mesh & collaborative working.
I was able to get both onto the Uni Network (though I had to get both machines’ mac addresses recognised on the network using different OSes).
However, they wouldn’t see each other (though I’m sure they have in the past, but I had updated both the OLPC and the version of SOAS that morning). A tweet by @Mokurai got me thinking.
On the OLPC, I could see Mesh 1,6 & 11, while the Acer was showing Ad-hoc networks 1,6 & 11. I assumed they were the same, so joined both to the same numbered one (11, for what it’s worth), but that didn’t work.
The OLPC jabber channel wasn’t set, so I set that to the same as the SOAS one.
Strangely, the OLPC then showed lots of other sugar users (though not the acer!)
OLPC connected to the Jabber network - lots of peers available
So, then I thought about the comment he’d made re. mesh. I then connected the OLPC to Mesh 11, and the Acer to Ad-hoc 11. Suddenly, on the OLPC, an ‘ad-hoc 11’ (though not 1 or 6) appeared.
Now they could see each other.

(Neither were online at the time, but hey, that’s the next stage!

Ada Lovelace Day 09

Ages ago, I signed the pledge to write a blog post for Ada Lovelace Day – about a woman in technology that I admire. I then wondered who on earth I’d write about; there are quite a few I could think of off hand, but trying to think of someone who I felt had really made a difference to many – wasn’t so easy. About two days after I’d signed the pledge, the January issue of the BCS magazine arrived – a special on Women in computing. One they featured was Mary Lou Jepsen. And my mind was made up!
As those of you who’ve read this for some time will know, I’m very impressed with the OLPC – it’s not just the hardware (and certainly not the keyboard – thought I’d give up on rubber ones when I gave up on the Speccy!) – nor is it just the software – it’s the combination of both, and more importantly the concept that I find fascinating.

I started to do a bit of research – Jepsen’s the same age as me (also a good reason for writing about her!) – and it’s a lot! Time magazine have listed her as 49 in their list of 101 influential people. (She’s 10th in the sub-list “scientists & thinkers”).
She was an LCD screen designer and had done a range of innovative work (HDTV, large scale holographic displays, minature displays etc., etc., etc.,) – so when Negroponte came up with the idea of the so called “$100 laptop” – with low cost and low energy use being prioritised, she became the chief architect of the project. Her particular innovations were the screen, with its minimal energy requirements & readability in sunlight.
The mesh network (again, something she contributed to) – while minimising the number of computers that need to be online (and sharing the data around the class/ village) has also allowed the software teams to really look at software that enables collaboration – and encourages children to work together. Having worked in Papua New Guinea (which, I understand now has some OLPCs) I’ve seen some of the problems of schooling where there’s no electricity, limited resources etc., and feel that the OLPC offers a wealth of information, potential, opportunity – you name it, it offers it – so thank you Mary Lou!

Useful references:

$10 laptop?

I’ve written several times about the OLPC (aka $100 laptop) – and have one.
(I like curiouslee’s viewfinder for it!)

There is now a plan in India to create a $10 laptop – which they intend to launch at India’s National Mission on Education through Information and Communication Technologies The BBC’s report did note that they might have meant 5,000 rupees ($100), rather than the original 500 rupees ($10), but even that significantly undercuts the OLPC, which has never got near its original target of $100.

India already has the Simputer, though I’ve not heard much about that for quite a long time.

Via: Wired Campus

OLPC – getting to know it.

I’ve been investigating the OLPC quite a bit. I’ve also got back into reading about it. Due to the changes at the top, there’s been a fair bit of news coverage, including an article in the Guardian, which Stephen Downes pointed to. I’ve made comments on Stephen’s post, so won’t repeat those here.

Over the weekend, I read about Sugar Labs; due to the changes at OLPC, quite a few staff who have left have set up Sugar Labs, where they are intending to start to really look at the software, to see if it can be made available to other platforms (e.g. the Asus EEE), and so on. Via the Sugar lab & general playing, I’ve found out quite a bit more about Sugar; and some of the advantages. One thing that I’d sort of seen, but hadn’t quite appreciated is the journal. That, in essence, provides a record of everything that a user’s done. From what I can tell, rather than storing a file of, say, a Write document, it saves the current set up of the program. That means that if you go to Browse, you can see (as far as I can tell) you get back the history of where you have been. So, while the inability (as far as I can tell) to create lasting bookmarks could be a problem, this ensures that you can start to find things again. As the default home page is Google based, perhaps I had better investigate the Google Bookmark service (though it’s not possible, as far as I can tell, to install the toolbar)

I’ve had a few problems with the power cutting out without warning. It seems that others have this problem, however, I’m not quite sure how to fix it; as there seem to be several possible cures, mostly for earlier builds. I’ve set it up to keep a log file of the battery state anyway. At least the journal saves things regularly, so not too much is lost.

'$100 laptop' begins production

They’re starting to make them. I’ve read quite a few reports, such as CNET’s that goes on to comment on other low cost laptops. What really interests me, though, is the interface and the fairly radical approach to learning that the OLPC brings. It’s not really the hardware (interesting though that is), it’s the software and the collaborative approach to education.