OLPC Continued

Yesterday I let different people play around with the OLPC:

  • The local 16-year-old was finally allowed to touch it. He managed to open it without hints, and figured out the navigation without having to ask. He spent a good 20 minutes trying out all the buttons. He liked being able to surf, but was disappointed by the games - no ego-shooters. "This would not be for me," he said, "but I am sure that Third World kids would find it really cool, especially as they don't have other computers." Then he wanted me to switch the OLPC to "their language" to see what it looked like. As WiseWoman groaned and began to explain that there are lots of different people who speak many different languages who live in developing countries, he detected teaching mode and fled the home office to go turn his stereo up to full blast. He would, however borrow the EeePC in a flash, he noted at lunch.

  • Two of my graduates in computing had a look as well. One wanted to test the water-repellent properties as a joke, I didn't want to do this test just yet. The other looked for the crank - I think he is the fifth or sixth person to ask for that. That seems to be the property that people remembered.

    They had some trouble getting it opened, but did finally manage, even figuring out that the screen could swivel. I had to show them the twist-to-playstation-mode. As a playstation gamer the one was comfortable with that mode of operation right away, but the games installed were, well, trivial. They didn't really like Sugar, getting irritated when it would not do what they wanted it to.

    The one working as a consultant for a big-shot company found it to be too much of a toy, the knowledge of using this thing won't transfer to the Real World (tm). I forget the official rejoinder that they can, of course, use Google Docs and Spreadsheets if they have an Internet connection. But that IF is a big IF - even here in lovely Friedrichshain, the handfull of access points we found were all locked. There needs to be free WLAN everwhere for this to work. (Same problem with the EeePC - with no Internet connection it is just a fancy notepad.)

    They also agree that high scores are a must. I wonder if this is a Western culture thing, that we want/need high scores?
Must continue the games test soon, but there is some real work screaming to get done here.....

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