[Server-devel] mini adventure on the XS

Sameer Verma sverma at sfsu.edu
Sun Jul 1 01:53:56 EDT 2012

On Sat, Jun 30, 2012 at 11:32 AM, Sameer Verma <sverma at sfsu.edu> wrote:
> I'd like to share a mini adventure we had with a XS in Bhagmalpur,
> India. Not many places in India are really remote, given the
> population density, but Bhagmalpur is surely rural. A part of my
> family lives there.
> Location: http://tinyurl.com/bhagmalpur
> Blog: http://bhagmalpur.wordpress.com/
> Wiki: http://wiki.laptop.org/go/OLPC_India/Bhagmalpur
> Anish Mangal and Arjun Sarwal decided to take trip to Bhagmalpur. I
> have 18 XO-1 and a XS 0.6 there. This will grow up to be a 0.7 in the
> near future, but I digress. I had to put together the XS in a super
> hurry last year, when I had to fly to India on a day's notice
> (https://bhagmalpur.wordpress.com/2011/07/27/internet-in-a-box/). So I
> grabbed a FitPC and ended up using a mesh antenna (prototype black box
> with detachable antenna) instead of a AP. I needed something that
> would be plug and play via USB, and the mesh antenna was the only
> thing I had handy with no drivers to mess with. This may be one of the
> very few projects in the wild running on a mesh antenna...
> Internet access is incredibly slow, and hard to get. So, when these
> guys got there, I got on the phone and we tried out a bunch of things.
> The FitPC has an Ethernet port, that acts as the WAN port. This XS
> also has a OpenVPN client, that phones home to SF State University.
> Anish plugged a crossover cable between the FitPC and a Windows XP
> laptop, only to find that the XP laptop was so bug ridden, it became a
> challenge to use it. Switching over to Arjun's Windows 7 laptop, we
> ran into a ton of lockdown problems. We switched to Anish's Fedora
> laptop and used the Network Manager to share the connection. He
> plugged in his phone into his Fedora laptop as well. A couple of
> minutes later, I had access to the box from my home in San Francisco.
> Home - SFSU - Anish's phone - Anish's laptop - FitPC XS. Note: Anish
> had to disable his firewall and SELinux. I'm not sure if SELinux had
> to be disabled.
> All this crawled at 2.4kBps (B as in bytes). Over this connection, we
> had to backup, troubleshoot, rsync, and even edit the apache config to
> accommodate some virtual links for non-Moodle media, following David
> Leeming's incredibly detailed document
> (http://olpcoceania.blogspot.com/2012/05/report-teacher-training-in-png.html).
> I pushed a few activities to the XS overnight. I was impressed by the
> stability of our jigsaw puzzle.
> We finally managed to get the kids some new pointers, some new
> content, and a few other adjustments. I am sure, both Arjun and Anish
> have their own impressions of the project on the whole, and we'll hear
> more from them soon.
> cheers,
> Sameer
> --
> Sameer Verma, Ph.D.
> Professor, Information Systems
> San Francisco State University
> http://verma.sfsu.edu/
> http://commons.sfsu.edu/
> http://olpcsf.org/
> http://olpcjamaica.org.jm/

Oh, I forgot to mention this: Children in Bhagmalpur are fluent in
Hindi (reading, writing and speaking), but their English is quite
poor. Yet, they've stumbled along on the English localization of
Sugar. Some time ago, two kids accidentally switched Sugar to Spanish,
and...for whatever reason, they just kept going. Now we have two kids
who use Sugar in Spanish, with no prior knowledge of Spanish, and are
still able to navigate the UI and get things done.

Go figure :-)


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