OLPC Boston/Monthly Meet-ups/012908


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Starbucks on Ames Street (around the corner from the OLPC offices), 7-9PM, 29January2008

Notes taken by



sjf (Steven), annenou (Anne), AuntiMame (Diane), PixelFish (Liz), caliban (Matilda), jnk27 (John), denro55 (Lynn), cdurst (Charles), Ben (Ben), BenJamesBen (Ben), mem from somverville (Mary), pgf (Paul) and Bill (who doesn't have an online name yet)


Walter Bender, President of OLPC SJ Klein, OLPC Director of Community Content


  • The attendees of the meeting had Xs and Os in 11 of the 20 possible colors. No one had and X and O that were the same color.
  • jnk27 had purchased a bulk order of "army green" canvas bags and offered them to the group at his cost of $8. They were snapped up so fast that I don't think he has any left!
  • sjf brought an older model Microsoft USB mouse that works as soon as you plug it in.
  • Ben brought a cool flexible membrane USB keyboard that he says works as soon as you plug it in. There were no manufacturer's marks, but Ben told us that he got it on eBay for just a few dollars: http://search.ebay.com/search/search.dll?satitle=flexible+keyboard
  • sjf and Bill both brought "USB to wired Cat5" adapters that had been purchased at RadioShack. They work as soon as plugged into the USB port and cost approximately $20. Model TU2-E100. http://www.trendnet.com/products/TU2-ET100.htm
  • BenJamesBen reports that he is using an older model USB wired Mac mouse and its working fine for him. Just plug in and its ready to go.
  • Everybody had fun trying to use the Chat and Acoustic Measure activities. Most, if not all, of us had never seen anyone else in the Neighborhood before. Using the Mesh for the first time was great fun.
  • mem from somerville was sporting a neat OLPC T-shirt. http://www.cafepress.com/buy/olpc/-/pv_design_prod/p_2891088.203087499/pNo_203087499/id_24670234/fpt_/opt_/c_666/pg_1 (shameless plug: AuntiMame "designed" the shirt and all profits are going back to OLPC in the form of donations.)

What Folks Have Been Doing with Their XOs

  • PixelFish has used the Memorize game to create a German vocabulary game so she can brush up on her language skills. Very fun!
  • sjf's kids have discovered the Speak activity and love typing words in and using the XO's speech rendering. sjf demonstrated Speak for us all. He also showed us that Speak has many different languages, so that if you type in a foreign language word or numerals (0-9) Speak will pronounce it for you correctly. Very cool!
  • jnk27 has installed TuxPaint on his XO and it has an icon in the toolbar so that he can launch it from within Sugar. TuxPaint itself had to be installed using the yum command in the terminal.

Stuff Folks Want to Learn

  • Both caliban and jnk27 have started to learn Python with the hopes of working on Activities. If anyone in the group has Python skills, of just general programming skills, there is probably enough interest from members of the group to schedule a meeting for a tutorial.
  • jnk27 is interested in learning more about the Saturday/Sunday meetings with kids at the OLPC offices where they test/debug Activities. Anyone who has more info on this please let us know.
  • annenou is a medical librarian and is interested in the OLPC Health Project. PixelFish also expressed interest in this project. The wiki page is: http://wiki.laptop.org/go/Health This project is being headed by Arjun Sarwal. His email is arjun (at) laptop (dot) org.

Problems that Folks Have Encountered

  • caliban is looking for a basic tutorial about Linux commands.
  • evg reported that Etoys attempts to open OGG video files. But if you select Etoys it can't open the file. Then closing Etoys causes the OGG file to be overwritten as a blank file. The practical upshot: if you use Etoys to open an OGG file, you loose the file. Use Browse to open OGG files.
  • BenJamesBen posted a nice, detailed instruction about getting your T-Mobile activated: http://olpcnews.com/forum/index.php?topic=1857.msg14289#msg14289

Folks spent most of the time talking and playing with their XOs. We were very happy that Walter Bender dropped by to see us. He spoke informally about the shipping problems, and future OS releases. SJ Klein stopped by toward the end of the meeting and spoke with a couple of folks about the best methods for getting support: email help (at) laptop (dot) org.

Walter Bender offered to let us have our next meeting at OLPC. Woot! We will be the envy of every other XO users group.


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