[Community-news] OLPC News (2008-03-01)
walter at laptop.org
Sat Mar 1 16:55:07 EST 2008
1. Learning learning: Darah Tappitake and David Cavallo are preparing
for March Learning Workshop with confirmed participations from
Thailand, Mali, and the Committee for Democracy in Information
2. Lima: The Peru deployment continues to progress. 40K laptops
arrived in Lima this week and are being sorted by distribution
district and school in anticipation of delivery and activation. Ivan
Krstić and Scott Ananain have been working with Hernán Pachas
Magallanes on a mechanism to map CSV files into activation leases that
will be useful across all of our deployments.
The first tranch of training in Peru begins on Monday. The 143
representatives from the regional distribution centers (UGELs) and 20
ministry of education personnel will attend a 5-day workshop on all
aspects of the XO laptop, school server, and the learning models. John
Watlington and Walter Bender are heading to Lima to help with final
preparations over the weekend. In the following weeks, teachers and
university students will also be attending workshops throughout the
3. Assessment: David Cavallo, Edith Ackermann of the learning team,
and Tony Earls and Maya Carlson of the Harvard School of Public Health
are developing a new framework for assessment that goes beyond typical
school approaches to enable accurate sensing of the overall mission of
OLPC. In particular, the framework will enable a more scientific
evaluation of the whole child and the community. The framework will
also permit a more contextualized view as conditions and goals will
vary from site to site (e.g. from Haiti to Uruguay to rural Peru to
Afghanistan). Haiti will serve as the first instance for applying the
4. Ceibal: Plans are moving forward for an OLPC/Ceibal children's
festival in Uruguay in March. The festival will not only provide an
environment for children to explore construction and collaboration on
the laptop, but also a means for team development in Uruguay. We
expect many guests from other countries to visit for both the festival
and to visit the initial school in Vila Cardal.
5. Sugar: The Sugar team has posted some new designs for the Home
view, Journal, and Frame (See http://wiki.laptop.org/go/Design). The
gist of the proposed changes is to swap the roles of the Frame and
Home view in regard to activities: they'll be launched from the Home
view and active activities will be carried from view to view on the
Frame. The intention is to make it easier to issue invitation and
notifications and manage the growing number of activities in our
builds (Peru will have more than 30 activities loaded on the laptop by
6. Wikireaders: A dozen different development projects related to
wikireaders are now signed up to our new wikireader at lists mailing
list, to work out how to coordinate Google Gears, pyxpcom, and
existing python and php codebases to generate and browse readers. An
old "static content" project on Wikipedia is being revived around the
7. Phil Carrizzi, a professor at the Kendall College of Art in Grand
Rapids has created an XO viewfinder on his FDM machine (See
8. Help wanted: There have been several requests for "typing tutor"
software on the XO coming from the various pilots. If anyone is
interested in breathing some life into the Typing Tutor Activity,
please contact the devel list.
9. Support: Adam Holt reports that discussions are under way regarding
setting up repair centers with Moraine Valley Community College (we
gave them 12 broken XO laptops towards prototyping a repair center)
Darah Tappitake discussed the long-term challenges of volunteerism at
last Sunday's support volunteers meeting.
Adam worked with Sandy Culver and Brightstar on shipping out
outstanding RMA machines and Fedex "undeliverables"; and he worked
with Alan Claver who's resolving dozens of escalated support tickets
10. Meshing: This week we held a tech meeting in Cambridge to work on
issues of scaling our collaboration technology. In attendance were
OLPC staff, Dave Woodhouse and Marco Presenti-Gritti of Red Hat,
Dafydd Harries and Guillaume Desmottes of Collabora, and Javier
Cardona of Cozybit. Several new bugs were identified and
characterized; some short-term fixes were adopted; testing of the
fixes was started. The longer-term strategy for achieving more scaling
was discussed extensively. The actual characterization of the result
awaits testing in a quieter network environment—there are over 100
access points that can be detected from the OLPC office, one ofthe
most severe network environments anyone has ssen.
11. Custom builds: Scott Anaian and Michael Stone worked with Daniel
Grajales Santana of Telmex and Hernán of the Ministry of Education in
Peru on developing a customization key (See
http://wiki.laptop.org/go/Customization_key ) to create builds for
Mexico and Peru.
12. FOSDEM: Simon Schampijer, Tomeu Vizoso, Benjamin Berg, and
Bernardo Innocenti attended FOSDEM, a European meeting for Free and
Open Source Software Developers, in Brussels over the weekend (See
improvised a booth at the GNOME stand to answer questions and offer
their machines for people to try out. Besides questions about hardware
specifications and the current status of the project the visitors were
mostly interested in where to buy the laptop. Thanks to the GNOME
people for sharing their facilities and helping answering questions.
FOSDEM was as well place for OLPC-Europe's (See
http://wiki.laptop.org/go/OLPC_Europe) kickoff meeting where the idea
behind this initiative was outlined. The different grassroots projects
and European OLPC communities (Greece, Netherlands, Bulgaria and
Germany) gave an overview about their work and goals and described the
efforts already made.
13. Sugar: Tomeu, Benjamin and Simon stayed in Brussels for a few days
where they worked together on the XO laptop. Tomeu started work on the
infrastructure needed for adding keyboard bindings (accelerators) to
activities; he discussed with Simon about the best way to implement
the UI for the control panel.
14. Power management: Chris Ball released a version of OHM that asks
NetworkManager to rescan and reconnect when coming out of
sleep—amongst other things, this should make sure that we don't
continue to use the link-local mesh after the laptops arrive at school
in the morning.
Andres Salomon worked more work on framebuffer code, testing, and
debugging a lid close bug with Jordan Crouse of AMD and Richard Smith.
15. Localization: Sayamindu Dasgupta reports that we have a new Pootle
project for Khmer—volunteers are welcome. Sayamindu is also testing
out an experimental system to generate language packs for the
languages that are in Pootle. (Current packs are in
http://dev.laptop.org/~sayamindu/langpacks/). Users simply need to run
them in an XO (emulated or real) laptop and the latest translations
will automagically get installed. The primary focus now is to enable
translators to test out their translations more easily.
There has been much discussion about how to localize Turtle Art, which
is currently in English and Spanish only. The issue is that Turtle Art
is rendered using GIF files. Alexander Todorov is exploring using
ImageMagic to generate the GIFs from Pootle. Something similar could
be done using the Scheme extensions for The Gimp. Tomeu has suggested
that we design icons for the program blocks and use rollovers for the
text. (See http://dev.laptop.org/ticket/3585 for details.)
We've finalized the keyboard design for Kreyòl thanks to the efforts
of Guy Serge Pompi, Michel DeGraff, Arjun Sarwal, Dale Joachim, and
David Cavallo. Bernie helped to finalize Italian as well. Both
keyboard layouts have been sent to Quanta for mass production.
Thanks to the efforts of e have Mike Dawson, Dr. Habib Khan, Waqas
Toor, Salman Minhas, Ebtihaj Obaidi, and Usman Mansour Ansari, we have
almost finalized a new layout for Afghanistan that is compatible with
both Pashto and Dari. (See
http://wiki.laptop.org/images/b/b5/Pashto-v2.png for details.)
We have been making similar advances in Khmer. Chea Sok Hour and Noy
Shoung have provided invaluable guidance (Please see
16. Jams: Fred Benenson of NY free culture held a jam at the Google
Complex, with ~30 attendees. They are planning for a larger jam at the
end of the month hosted at UNICEF, and introducing a wider group to
the XO laptops (http://wiki.freeculture.org/NYU_OLPC_Jam_Session).
Mel Chua and Christopher Fabian are helping organize a story-telling
jam March 28-30. Building on the Journalism Jam from last fall and
our experience to date with Our Stories, but also telling the stories
of people of all ages interested in storytelling and in OLPC. They
expect ~150 people (See http://wiki.laptop.org/go/Story_Jam_New_York).
17. Collections: Erik Zachte has tools for making compact Tomeraider
collections that deal intelligently with images.
18. Health: Chris Leonard, a local microbiologist, is organizing
material related to animals and agriculture. He and his wife are both
editors and writers, and he has been working with a few people on an
index for an animal health collection (See
19. Music: Our music collections are growing : this week the full 9GB
of sound samples from the "Boulanger" collection can be found on
dev.laptop.org. Andriani Ferti is working with Charlotte Landrum,
director of the Gardner Museum podcast series, which will be
contributing their concerts in some form for use by our schools.
20. Pakistan: Habib reports that the first formal contact with the
Government of Pakistan was successfully established this week through
the delivering of a presentation to a group of 80 mid-level managers,
who gathered for the purpose at the Academy of Educational Planning
and Management in Islamabad from across Pakistan. Habib made a
three-hour detailed presentation on all facets of OLPC with a key
focus on the educational aspects, implications for policy makers and
budget.He also dedicated ninety minutes for special hands-on
training/familiarization on 20 XO laptops that he carries with him for
that purpose. The event left a magical impact on all present.
21. XOctoPlug: Resulting from extensive school implementation
experience Carla Gomez Monroy presented the idea for an 8 in 1 power
supply to maximize safety, convenience and battery life. Carla named
it the XOctoPlug (See
http://wiki.laptop.org/go/Peripherals/XOctoPlug). The first prototypes
arrived at OLPC this week. The design comes from close collaboration
between Carla and Joshua Seal of Belkin. It is anticipated the final
design will incorporate magnetic quick release connectors to prevent
tripping and be fully sealed to maximize robustness.
22. Waveplace: Timothy Falconer and William Stelzer report on St John
and Haiti Pilots (http://waveplace.com/news/newsletter/web.jsp?id=4).
23. The OLPC Learning Club-DC met in the Capitol Hill offices of
Nortel Networks last Saturday. Attendees of every generation got
technical help with developer's keys, meshed with a school server and
shared ideas on software projects. Host Michael Connet staged a
teleconference with Nortel staffers in Ottawa. Student videographers
captured footage for a future installment of LearnIT. (See
http://www.olpclearningclub.org and http://www.nortellearnit.org for
24. Yesterday, 29 February, was Seymour Papert's 20th birthday!!
One Laptop per Child
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