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Lego Mini-Me

Life is a banquet and most poor suckers are starving to death!

@ olpc.aunti.mame
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Who is AuntiMame?

Yes, Mame is a real name. Its an uncommon variant of Mary. It's not actually my name. Auntie Mame is just the woman I'd love be. Follow the link to learn more.

Why AuntiMame, instead of AuntieMame? I'd love to have a great story, but the reality is that it was a typo that just stuck. Like a lot of people, I'm mildly dyslexic and my spelling is atrocious.

Graphics for OLPC wiki

What's on the my XO

The Revolutionary XO (The 8.2.0 version)


I wiped my XO clean and did a USB install with the official 8.2.0 release. If you compare these notes to the 656 version described below, you will notice that much less effort was needed to make this an "Adult XO".

  1. Hacked the Home view to get other display patterns. I like the triangle.
  2. Set the time and set the timezone.
  3. Disabled the hot corners and edges.
  4. Modified the Write activity to enable access to the underlying full version AbiWord.
  5. Install the Sweet SocialCalc spreadsheet.
  6. Change the XO Guy. Yes, my XO Guy is Lenin. This is the "Revolutionary XO", remember?
  7. Add the MP3 drivers for Totem.
  8. Install the PySol solitaire suite using yum. The command is yum install PySolFC
  9. Used the software updater to install activities.

Some things I did not have to do:

  1. Install Thunderbird. The Firefox activity now works, and is capable of getting me to GMail with no issues, so I'm doing that instead of SeaMonkey or Thunderbird.

The Velveteen XO (The 656 version)

I spent several weeks playing with upgrades and such and found myself with an overloaded XO, so in late June 2008 I wiped the Velveteen XO clean and reloaded 656. Here's what I did to revert this XO back to a "First World, Adult User laptop":

  1. Loaded 656 from USB
  2. Set the time
  3. Disable the hot corners.
  4. Install yumex, a GUI for yum. yum install yumex
  5. Install SeaMonkey, an all-in-one Internet suite (including firefox and thunderbird)
    • Installing SeaMonkey requires that you remove its exclusion from the XO's repository list. Follow these instructions for Firefox, but remove SeaMonkey from the list instead of Firefox.
    • After removing it from the exclusion list, you can install SeaMonkey using the yum package installer. yum install seamonkey
  6. Install Midnight Commander using yum. yum install mc
  7. Sugar-coat SeaMonkey using the scripts by the goddess CatMoran.
  8. Mod Write to enable access to the full AbiWord.
  9. Install the Sweet SocialCalc spreadsheet.
  10. Change the XO Guy.
  11. Add the MP3 drivers for Totem and Sugar-coat Totem.
  12. Connect to a Boston MA jabber server at
  13. Install the Map activity that ties into GoogleMaps.
  14. Install the latest version of StarChart. Apart from the fact that its cooler than heck, I know the guy who wrote it and I made the icon. It may not help me with any work related stuff -- but I want it on my machine.
  15. Install the latest version of Speak. I have to have something that kids will want to play with.
  16. Install the latest version of Physics. It can keep my attention for hours, while I'm stuck inside an airplane. Until there's a solitaire game on the XO, this will be my favorite time-kill.
  17. Remove Acoustic Tape Measure, EToys, Measure, Memorize, NewsReader, Pippy, TamTam, and Turtle Art. They are all great activities, but I don't use them.
  18. Edit /usr/share/sugar/data/activities.defaults to re-order the Activites list at the bottom of the home page (paths can be found at /home/olpc/.sugar/default)

Preinstalled stuff I removed

  • Etoys yum remove etoys

Stuff that might be cool to add to the Velveteen XO

gqview yum install gqview - an image viewer

Creating a Personal Activity Pack

I was recently (July 2008) asked by a novice user to reconfigure their XO to make it an "adult PC" that was still kid friendly for her 6-yr-old. I decided to install the latest build (703) so when and if she decided to upgrade again she wouldn't loose all her activities. But then I remembered that 703 has a bug that will corrupt SD cards, so I opted for 708 -- which is the candidate for the next release and has the SD card bug fixed.

Here's how I created a 708 (next release candidate) build with a customized activity pack by follow in these instructions.

  1. I formatted (FAT32) a USB thumb drive on a Windows machine.
  2. On that same Windows machine I downloaded the customization key and unzipped it to the root of the USB thumb drive.
  3. I downloaded the 708 img and files and placed them in the root of the USB drive.
    • I surfed the Activities page and downloaded the latest version of every activity I wanted to add to the XO. The .xo file for each of these activities was placed in the /bundle directory on the USB drive.
      1. Journal
      2. Browse (even if you don't use it to surf the web its necessary for other stuff to run...)--note: 708 doesn't seem to like browse-94.xo. Use browse-92.xo.
      3. Write
      4. Calculate
      5. Terminal
      6. Watch and Listen (Helix Media Player w/RealPlayer codecs) -- it launches but the mp3 codecs still need to be downloaded. hmmm. maybe its caused by the added security of 708?
      7. At her request I added the following games for her child:
        • Cartoon Builder
        • Childsplay
        • Colors
        • Flipsticks
        • Pacman
        • Speak
  4. I inserted the USB drive into the XO and held down the 4 game keys (circle, check, x, and square) while powering up the XO. The XO chimes, then the screen says to release the game keys. The XO flash (i.e. the hard drive) is erased, the XO reboots itself and my custom build was installed. The XO then powers down. I removed the thumb drive and powered up and voila -- a custom 708 installation!
  5. I also used yum to add SeaMonkey and Midnight Commander. Both must be launched from the terminal.
    • SeaMonkey -- seamonkey
    • Midnight Commander mc
  6. Disabled the hot corners

Great. Can you make a separate activity pack page that includes all of these? --Sj talk 17:48, 8 September 2008 (UTC)

Adult (Business) Activity Pack

  • Basic System Requirements
    • Journal
    • Browse
    • Terminal
  • Stuff adults use....
    • Firefox
    • Write
    • SweetSocialCalc
    • Midnight Commander
    • Read
    • Calculate
    • Record
    • RoadMap
    • VNC Launcher
    • X Activity ?
    • RSS feed (when it works)
  • Toys adults might like
    • Pysol (Davewa mentioned this solitaire game) or Peg Solitaire ?
    • media player (which one actually works?)
    • Read ETexts ?
    • slideshow or flickr or viewslides
  • Content Bundles that adults might use
    • bible
    • koran/quran

How to automatically do this stuff?

  1. run yum during install (to automate midnight commander, etc.)
  2. add clock to frame
  3. keybindings hack for Write/Abiword

Formatting E-books

This is still a WIP. Steps for re-formatting Project Gutenberg ASCII text files into "beautified" PDF E-books on a MS Windows machine using MS Word.

  1. download the the ASCII text file.
  2. open the ASCII file in MS Notepad.
  3. Select all & copy.
  4. Start MS Word.
    • Page size 6.75x9 inches
    • All margins .5 inch, gutter 0
    • Mirror margins
    • Use Bitstream Vera or DejaVu (Bitstream Vera variation) open font faces.
  5. Paste ASCII into new document.
  6. Strip out the PG small print. This is perfectly legal.
  7. Tools menu. Options. View tab. Check to view paragraph marks.
  8. Edit menu. Replace. More button. Special button. Replace ^p^p (insert symbols) with a phrase that does not appear in the text (i.e., EndOfParagraph). Replace all button.
    • replace ^p with single-space. This removes the forced line break at the end of each line.
    • replace EndOfParagraph with ^p. This restores a paragraph break at the end of each paragraph.
    • revert step #7 to hide paragraph marks
    • replace " with " (this will create curly quotes)
    • replace ' with ' (for curly apostrophes)
    • replace -- with emdash
    • replace (double space) with (single space). This will remove the extra space after end of each sentence (double-spaces are used with monospaced fonts, but not with formatted text).
  9. Select the entire document. Using the Formatting toolbar set everything to Normal style and 11pt.
    • Format/Paragraph/Indents and Spacing.
      • Set alignment to Justified.
      • Set spacing (I prefer 6pt after paragraph)
  10. Now comes the the hard part... at each chapter break insert a page break and reformat the chapter heading (if there is one).
  11. If desired, insert a table of contents.
  12. Save document as PDF.

Notes & Reminders

Color info

special pages


  1. handbrake (to convert dvd to avi)
  2. ffmpeg2theora (to convert avi to ogg)