[Community-news] OLPC News (2007-04-21)

Walter Bender walter.bender at gmail.com
Sat Apr 21 10:28:39 EDT 2007

1. Taiwan: John Watlington, Mitch Bradley, and Richard Smith traveled
to Quanta in Taiwan to work with Victor Chao, Arnold Kao and their
team on the "bring up" of the pre-B3 boards. Jordan Crouse, Chris
Ball, and Andres Salomon helped the team in Taiwan from afar (Colorado
and Cambridge). Bottom line: it works.

2. São Paulo: Work began at a school on the periphery of the city with
the XO this week. Naturally, every kid is totally excited. The only
question anyone in the school, whether kid, teacher, administrator or
parent, has is "When can I get one?" Teachers are staying up late to
play with their machines and show the kids what they learned. Kids are
teaching other kids reducing the burdens of class size and different
levels. The school is transforming into a place of joy and excitement.
They are beginning work on their wiki-based local-history project
which they plan to collaborate with other schools.

3. New "rabbit ears" arrived in Cambridge this week for our
evaluation. Notably, these ears, when attached to a laptop, survive a
five-foot drop test with direct impact on the ears in their extended
(out) position. We will be testing them to higher drop heights in the
coming weeks.

4. Sugar: This week saw numerous small fixes in the UI to improve the
zoom experience. Marco Gritti, Tomeu Vizoso, and Eben Eliason have
reached a consensus about how to handle controls in the UI, which is
an important part of our developer story. Some of the comprises we
have made won't give us the exact experience we are looking for, but
they minimize risk to the project.

5. Chat: A simple chat activity for the XO is coming together thanks
to the joint efforts of  Dan Williams and the Collabora team.
Collabora is also putting together a video-call activity.

6. Mesh portals: Dan Williams wrote up instructions on using B2s as
mesh portals. Chris Ball tested and released the instructions in the
wiki (See http://wiki.laptop.org/go/Establishing_a_Mesh_Portal).

7. Firmware: Chris and Mitch also tested OFW's wifi driver; it works.
Having a wifi driver in the firmware allows us to build a script that
can update our laptops with a button-press rather than carrying USB
keys around.

8. Kernel: Andres worked with the Sparc and Power PC folks (upstream)
on getting a device tree API that makes everyone happy. He also had
his typical weekly adventure: he synched master up w/ Linus Tovalds;
we now have 2.6.21-rc7 working.

9. Libraries: Christine Madsen has been working on visualizations of
how different archives and libraries can work together to form an open
library exchange. Justin Thorp from the Library of Congress's World
Digital Library (WDL) project came to OLPC for two days of library
discussions, and met with SJ Klein, Eben, Adam Brandi, Todd Kelsey,
and Mel Chua. WDL is developing the next release of their interface
and collection with target of the end of the summer.

10. Wikis: The Commonwealth of Learning (COL) hosted an annual
conference about collaborative production of learning materials in
Vancouver, Wednesday through Friday. Attendees included Merrick
Schaefer of UNICEF, Murugan Pal of CK12, Erik Moeller of Wikimedia and
Open Progress, and Joel Thierstein of Connexions; who are all working
towards a global collection of CC-BY and locally-developed works. We
set immediate goals for sharing materials across these projects; and
identifying collections. COL offered broad support across their
network of teachers and volunteers, especially in Nigeria. Erik and
Brion Vibber from Wikimedia discussed how MediaWiki is planning to
support asynchronous and offline editing; and 'live' off-line
snapshots that people can edit. The Wikipedia 0.5 static snapshot was
released last week; it can be downloaded via torrent. A child-friendly
selection of topics is being developed; but still written at a high
language level. A proper kid's-encyclopedia is still in the future.

11. Remote display: Zvi Devir documented a second method for remote
display of an XO laptop in the wiki (See
http://wiki.laptop.org/go/Remote_display). The trick is to install
RealVNC and run x0vncserver on the XO. The remote computer, which can
be connected to a video projector, runs a vncviewer that clones the XO
display. (Note that this method will not yet workwhen the laptops are
in mesh mode—we need to enable packet-forwarding on the School Server
for the vnc connection. Until then, the XO must be used in
infrastructure mode.)

Walter Bender
One Laptop per Child

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