notes from the field - Mongolia

elana langer elana.langer at
Mon Oct 6 11:20:04 EDT 2008

Hey Tech Community-

I just wanted to give y'all some feedback from my experience in
Mongolia. Feel free to contact me with any questions. Please excuse my
lay language - it's how i roll.

1) Computers are slow - So I was in a Ger in the west part of Mongolia
and I thought I would show the computer to the family that was hosting
me. The husband, wife and 8 year old child huddled around the computer
and pressed the on button. Instead of being delighted by the computer
they waited, and waited for the computer to load. I asked them in
broken monoglian to be patient but once the computer loaded they
wanted to open an application and again more waiting. The 8 year old
lost interest as did the mom and only the man of the house stuck
around to try things.
This is not a unique experience. This is a culture that lives close to
the land. Action- reaction. No one is used to "waiting" for an
computer to load or a bagel to toast for that matter. (of course
cooking takes time but they can watch as it changes form not just an
unmoving screen)

In the city the experience is worse. Kids used to PCs quickly grow
impatient and leave the XO to find other faster computers.

2) Can't save files - this should probably be the first item on my
list. It drives teachers and students crazy. They make something in an
application, take some pictures or write something and then have to go
through a really tough process to find it and save it on an external

3) Basically - The journal is really hard for people/ kids to use over
a longer period of time. Kids and teachers can't find things that they
did unless it was done within the last 30 minutes.

4) Mesh problems - my sense is that you are all pretty aware of those issues.

There are a bunch of bugs that I reported through reuben which include
the problems with applications once they have been translated into
cyrillic. These are some of the main foundational issues that folks
are having. Let me know if you have questions.


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