There is a new electronic member in our household, I call him Froggy. It is an OLPC (One Laptop Per Child) that I got through the G1G1 program (Give one, get one).

These machines are only available in the States, but my brother was kind enough to take delivery on it and then send it on in the mail. Extra points for the good old US Postal service, for 36$ they got it to Europe in 10 days. FedEx wanted 120$ for shipping it.

Customs picked it out, of course, must have a look at what this is. The customs guy was very nice and apologetic, says he believes me what is inside, but he is curious, could he have a look, please? So I open up, he gets to touch it, and then he is lenient and only assesses me for value-added tax for the one notebook, not the full price paid for two.

First order of business was getting a plug organized. Luckily the power cord thingy can take 220 V, just needs an adapter. The battery gets extra points - it had been fully charged in the States, was 10 days in transit, and still had 3/4 of its charge here! EeePC take note!

It takes forever to start up, and some fussing around with a Unix command (!) to get it named. I took it to the Wikipedia Stammtisch, people liked playing with it. Everyone asks if it is for underwater use - the keyboard is in continuous plastic so those drink spills don't cause so much trouble. I had some teenagers play with it, they were quite absorbed with the Python programming stuff. Had it with me at Code Camp yesterday and they enjoyed playing the synthesizer.

But we couldn't get it to talk to the WLAN at school, it uses WPA encryption. According to the wiki you have to update to version 656. Okay, will do. Except I still have the old updater that can't update from a stick. So I have to do it at home where I control the WLAN router.

Spent 5 hours last night downloading the image (DSL has a download rate which is just slightly higher than carrier-pigeon message transferring lately). Put it on a USB disk, started the flashing: Bad hash, and it stopped dead. Tried it again: Bad hash in a different address. Hmm. Got out a stick that I could delete enough on to use, same thing.

Wrote a bugtrac item on this, will buy a new stick (so there is nothing on there but the OS) today. Hope this works, because currently I just have a nice green paperweight - before uploading the new OS it erases the old one.....

Stay tuned!


WiseWoman said...

Okay, bought a new stick, no software on it, downloaded the OS via a high-speed line, worked like a charm.

My students doing their thesis on the XO may now continue breathing.

Rebekah said...

Just thought this might help... apparently there was a problem like this with computers that were delivered in some parts of Africa... you can get a new stick from the manufacturer