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Wednesday, January 16, 2008

The OLPC... Imperfect, but enough.

It seems that NickNeg has done a decent job of creating a tool for education. The durability, portability, and design of the OLPC is suitable and conducive to learning how to use a PC and, with some force for those of us using WPA on our routers, even enjoy wireless connectivity in both a peer and access-point modes. I'm a little mystified as to where all of the Mesh connections are that the system finds, but it seems promising.

As mentioned, I had some difficulty getting the micro-laptop to utilize my netgear router, it's lack of understanding of WPA was trivially annoying, though not a long term concern for me as this is a loaner.

Upgrading the OS to build 653 was simple for a technical person, the OLPC support website/wiki was clear and the unit's USB capabilities were essential. The keyboard is a little odd, but reliable as a membraine keyboard normally is. The sound reasonable and the installation of Flash 9.0.115 also a fairly technical though well documented process.

To open the thing, you need to flip up the "ears" then lift the lid. The use of the unit as a tablet is odd, with no obvious pointer control.

All around a poor laptop for general use, it will make the grade with a child and is a valid and affordable tool for those who do not have alternatives. My daughters and myself are following the news on the rumours of the new sub-notebook from Acer, and have a keen interest in the Asus EEE PC, which is a far more capable and useful PC for an older child in the NorthAmerican market.
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