User:Xavi/My XO

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Since 2007-07-17T16:05UTC-3 I have a B4 in my hands! Hurray!
        XO S/N: olpc (B4-11) SHF725006C0
   Battery S/N: 10102070623200000476
AC adaptor S/N: 0706000003
  ID in AC bag: LG12012B002
        Colors: red X, purple O... hot and furious? ;)
Key alt.jpg + [=]: (After an initially minimum update) Reports the following
      OLPC Build: 505
  Kernel Version: Linux-2.6.22-20070711.2.olpc.2eec53b5bdac104
    XO Firmaware: PQ2C17
XO Serial Number: SHF725006C0
       CPU usage: varies between 3–8%
      Nand Flash: Total: 1,048,576 KB  //  Used: 248,268 KB  //  Free 800,308 KB

Timid testing 'blog'

Feeling guilty for not being able to allocate time for some 'serious' playing, I had decided to do some 'timid' play: battery life.

Battery life

Round 0

As it came out of the box, I charged it, fired it up and waited:

     19:15   First time fire-up....
     19:35   Battery indicator notched down (backlight is full)
    <19:55   machine is off... all lights are off, no sign of any activity
             keyboard, trackpad, rotate-screen, left & right gamepad buttons, are inactive - power button wakes up
             battery light is red, wireless lights up
             finishes waking up, goes into X, shuts down. Not even the power button awakens the machine.
     19:55   back to the charger
             battery light is yellow
     20:40   battery light is (still) yellow...
     21:00   battery light is (still) yellow...
     21:40   battery light is (still) yellow...
    <22:35   battery light is GREEN... but don't know when... wasn't watching

Round 1

     10:00   Removed power cable
             Second boot effective
             the battery and circle are reversed (battery on top, circle on bottom)
             LEDs: wireless (i) solid, other blinking; mic on, power on, battery off (although have ambience light)
             circle dissapeared while writing this, so battery icon moved to the bottom.
     10:05   [ALT]+[=] reports:
             OLPC build:	None
             XO Firmware:	None
             Kernel version:	Linux-2.5.21-20070614.olpc.e09af6a7bd48f9a
             System CPU Usage:	flat at 4%
             Battery Status: 88%
     10:19   Battery icon down one notch (DevCon: 81%)
     10:50   Wireless activity still constant
             Battery Status: 65%
     10:56   Battery icon, down another notch
             Battery Status: 63%
     11:37   Battery icon, down another notch
             Battery Status: 41% (yellow)
     12:24   Battery icon, down to LAST? notch
             Battery Status: 17% (yellow)
     12:32   Battery light light up RED
             Battery icon, seem still in the same notch
             Battery Status: 12%
     12:42   Laptop turned off (saw it happen by chance)
     12:43   Back to the charger (battery light yellow)	
     14:23   Laptop charging (battery light yellow)
    <14:53   Laptop finished charging (battery light green) (precise moment unknown)

System upgrades

Upgrade 1

2007-07-26   Upgraded from 406.14 to 505.0
             14 bad block reports
             firmware was current

How did I get one

For starters I didn't ask for it. It all started (at least on this side of the story) with the arrival of an email that read:

From:    Felice Gardner <>
To:      Xavier Alvarez <>
Date:    2007-07-11 17:44
Subject: Can you send us your mailing address and phone number so we can ship you a B4? -felice

That's it! Nothing in the body, no attachments, nothing.

It's not the first mail-in-subject I've received, so I checked the headers to find out if it wasn't a prank or anything (which would've been extremely cruel) and everything seemed ok. Since the mail was only asking for address and phone, iow, nothing immediately sensitive, I timidly replied it providing the info while wondering 'did I hit the jackpot'? Couple of short mails later it seemed that this was the real deal, and would be getting a B4! Still, I was still wondering 'why me' and hoping that it wasn't a goof in the HQ paperwork :)

Delivery tracking

After some back and forth mails (mainly initiated by me still trying to grasp the idea of getting a B4 all for myself) that on Friday 2007-07-13 18:08 I got an email from Julia Reynolds with my DHL tracking number. Hurray! Time to hit DHL's site. Three hours later the system was updated and showed:

July 13, 2007	 	17:59	 	Boston, MA - USA	 	Shipment picked up

Until then, the tracking system kept on saying: number is wrong, please verify. I managed to 'enjoy' the thrill of not knowing if there had been a transcription typo, avoiding in the process nagging Julia—who probably had better plans for a Friday evening than giving mail support for a man in crisis. So I saved face.

Detailed Report
Date     Time   Location Service Area          Checkpoint Details
July 13, 2007  17:59  Boston, MA - USA                  Shipment picked up
July 13, 2007  21:06  Boston, MA - USA                  Departing origin
July 14, 2007  02:26  DHL Wilmington Airpark, OH - USA  Departing origin
July 14, 2007  22:15  Miami Gateway, FL - USA           Departed from DHL facility in Miami Gateway - USA
July 15, 2007  08:44  Buenos Aires - Argentina          Arrived at DHL facility in Buenos Aires - Argentina
July 15, 2007  08:44  Buenos Aires - Argentina          Processed for clearance at Buenos Aires - Argentina
July 15, 2007  18:24  Buenos Aires - Argentina          Clearance delay
July 16, 2007  12:20  Buenos Aires - Argentina          Clearance delay
July 16, 2007  19:38  Buenos Aires - Argentina          Broker notified to arrange for clearance
July 17, 2007  11:12  Buenos Aires - Argentina          Clearance delay
July 18, 2007  10:48  Buenos Aires - Argentina          Delivered to broker as requested

Once it arrived to Argentina (on a Sunday morning, which is not a paper-work-friendly day) I managed to behave as an adult until Monday mid-day, in the hope that the clearence delay would change at some point actually clear. It didn't, so I started nagging DHL on the phone, and the local reality hits you.

Note: According to them, they delivered to broker on the 18th, when in fact I picked the Air waybill (making me the broker) at around their last update: 11:12 on the 17th...

Problem delivering

Having heard and read about previous glitches in the deliveries of XOs in Argentina, I verified that «all I had to do was sit back and wait for the doorbell to ring» with Julia. The truth is more complex, and bureaucracy even more so. After much finger-pointing between DHL and Customs, the (apparent) bottom-line is:

#  DHL says that because it's something to be plugged to the domestic grid, it may be subject to an
   electrical verification.
 = According to DHL, a Custom Official had decided so by making an «Acta de Retención». Thus it was sent to
   the warehouse and thus DHL's service is finished after they notify the intended receiver. They cite the
   following things to which the shipping may be subject to: recipient must be an importer, or have an
   electrical safety certificate (resolution 92/98), or have an exemption from the Secretaría of Industry and
   Commerce as sample, or have a certificate in agreement 206 by the Sec.Ind.Commerce. All of this because
   they are applying normative resolution 92/98 of the SICM (which I'm assuming is the Secretaría de Industria
   y Comercio. The M could be Mining).
 = According to Customs, such «Acta de Retención» (warrantying the verification) is rarely made and never on
   non-commercial packages. Knowing that it didn't exist, they even suggested I should challenge DHL to give it
   to me (knowing that id didn't exist). That I did, and almost a week later, still haven't got a reply.
# Once a package has entered the warehouse, only the receipient (or a designated person or agent) can pick it up.
# DHL took close to 36 hours to notify me. That includes 16 hours on Sunday, because notifications are neither
  issued nor delivered on weekends, so I got it on Monday evening (around 1700), which if I hadn't been tracking
  online would've meant that all this back and forth could have only started on Tuesday morning...
# DHL in their template letter proposes three solutions: the first two applied to DHL Import Express customers,
  and the third was: do it yourself. When nagged, they admited to a semi-fourth in which I would request OLPC to
  change the intended recipient to be DHL in which case they could do it, chargin a minimum of USD 90 (or 160) 
  plus administrative, storage, handling and other expenses. Nor VAT (21%).
  Never bothered to ask how long it would take.

Both, DHL & Customs, managed to agree on one point: the recipient has to do the footwork, paperwork, and pay.
  - pick the air waybill from DHL's offices (and convince them you have nothing to pay)
  - go to the warehouse (located in the airport), pay taxes and 'pick up' the package.
Must be noted that DHL was highly uncooperative in finding alternative solutions, or even caring to pay
attention that this was a DDP Service which was clearly visible in the Air waybill, and in general quick in
answering the phone (I wonder if the fact it was an 810 billing number had anything to do) but their answers
were basically corporate droid speak, as they even refused to hint what might be the daily charges that would
apply in the warehouse (a previous parcel of mine had run on a USD 25/day rate).
Customs, which were really hard to reach on the phone (it just rings and nobody answers; or worst, once: they 
picked the phone but didn't answer! And they didn't even mute... so I was left 'listening' to their chatter
until the hang up on me...) Besides that 'non-customer' orientation f Customs, when you are able to get to a
living person, they actually provided much more helpful and friendly information than DHL, unfortunately for me,
the bottom-line was still the same: I had been left out in the cold by DHL, and had to do it myself.
There were two unexpected pieces of information that proved helpful:
  - bring cash (credit cards and debit cards are not accepted—and the ATM has a limited stock)
  - there's a shuttle (that they use) that takes you from downtown to the cargo terminal for just ARS9, sweet.
  - lacking info on the package, the person was unable to hint me on the amount of cash to take...

So on Tuesday morning, armed myself with (what I expected) to be a safe amount of cash and headed towards DHL's office, picked up the airway bill (corporate droid had to be reminded that I didn't need to pay anything, twice) and went to the shuttle pick up point [1], ready to get my B4.

Bureaucracy at its best

Previous experience with the pick-up place had taught me that the best approach is to take it easy, don't expect a service, but a favor; don't claim, but ask kindly; and if you are cynic enough, try to understand and enjoy the bureaucrat's misery of being trapped (much like you) in the grinding teeth of an impersonal and wreckless machinery that has totally been subverted into its own bidings instead of providing a service... for the record, you start in «Office #2» instead of #1, not that it matters much, just proves that the logical sequence has nothing to do with the physical sequence, and both are totally irrelevant and at odds with the practical sequence!

  1. «Office #2–Registro» — Present the air waybill to the «Registro» Custom's office (there's not a queue but rather a series of "I'm after that other person" linked list into which you have to insert yourself).
    • When you reach the desk, you present the air waybill and let the officer fill out a form (that still uses carbon copy paper stapled manually) copying bits from your waybill and some data she recovers from a computer. Talk about inefficiency!
      as a note, by sheer luck, she happened to be the very same kind person I had spoken to on the phone: Mariliz; so actually chatted a while in very friendly terms about the project. This definitely helped!
  2. «Office #1–TCA» — Inform the warehouse managers to retrieve your package
    • With that CC-form, you had to go to the warehouse box, and present it to get your package sent to the verification/retrieval area of the warehouse; and to make a photocopy of your ID.
  3. «Office #2–Registro» — waiting in the linked-list, present the CC-form back,.
    • basically nothing is done (probably just verify the OK from the warehouse).
  4. «Office #3–Resguardo» — waiting in another linked-list, to present the CC-form.
    • Present the CC-form, together with some other documentation in the air waybill
    • You follow the custom person to the «Warehouse pick-up zone», and together get hold of a handler that will actually find your parcel, open it (ouch! care with that cutter!) we all look at it (I'm the one drooling)
    • You follow the custom person back to their desk (leaving behind the open parcel and laptop... scary moment)
    • Custom person feels in some product codes into the CC-form plus the nominal USD 175 value (have no idea what they would of valued it at, if it wasn't for the invoice).
  5. «Office #2–Registro» — waiting in the linked-list, present the now 'coded' CC-form
    • They calculate taxes based on the 'code', the USD 175 product value AND the shipping through DHL cost (USD 60)—making the 'base value for taxes' USD 235
    • Total taxes to pay: USD 130 (ARS 393.85)
      note that the more expensive the shipping is, the more taxes you pay—ridiculous!
      the OLPC invoice clearly said DDP—an Incoterm that stands for 'Delivery Duty Paid' by sender... to no avail, and futile as they didn't understand Incoterms in the first place... in Customs!? Oh gosh...
  6. «Banco Nación»
    • Walk 200mts, pay in cash (another guy had troubles with the ATM)
  7. «Office#2–Registro» — waiting in the linked-list
    • Present the payment receipt and wait in the hall to be called for...
  8. «hall» waiting to be called for... where a person picks me up and guides me back to:
  9. «Office #1–TCA» — to pay handling and storage billing me for:
    • THREE storage days (ARS 22.52)—never mind that two days were not my fault, and that it's not a multiple of 3...
    • handling of 2kg parcel (ARS 37.52)—strange enough the bill says they handled it on the 14th... when according to DHL, the B4 was in Miami... man these guys are fast handling things!
    • Total warehouse costs USD 20 (ARS 60.04) (btw, they didn't have change, oh boy!)
  10. «Office #3–Resguardo» — waiting in another linked-list, to present CC-form and payment receipts
    • Sign the two copies left of the CC-form, plus three more signatures in a brand new 'custom release' form.
  11. «Office #2–Registro» — waiting in another linked-list, to present 'custom release' papers
    • More paper shuffling, receiving the 'warehouse release' paper
  12. «Warehouse pick-up zone» to finally get the package
    • Get hold of a handler, present the final paper...
    • goes off to look back for it...
    • gives it to you (box scotched back together)

Total ==> Time: 2 hours USD 150

So yes... I now have an OLPC XO B4! :)

Summary of in-city trips and times:

  • 1100 headed for DHL's office (got off the wrong stop, so walked last 6 blocks)
  • 1145 arrived to DHL office
  • 1200 picked DHL's Air Waybill
  • 1210 (wrongly) headed to Teatro Colón
  • 1300 (correctly) headed to Av. Colón
  • 1340 took shuttle to Ezeiza
  • 1400 entered Ezeiza's cargo area
  • 1600 exited Ezeiza's cargo area (with B4)
  • 1620 took shuttle downtown
  • 1640 headed home
  • 1715 was home with my B4

Some notes

is very unhelpful, even to the point of being harmful, as their speeds are turtle-slow and mostly ineffective (I had tried to arrange for them to do it on monday mid-day, and they got back to me on tuesday 1800 requesting information, which obviously would take at least a day for them to be happy with I assume) so if I was lucky, they would start moving their feet by Thursday... if...
Apparently the concept of DDP—Delivery Duty Paid escapes this world class logistics company... amazing! (i'm not so surprised for Argentine's Customs, as the area I was dealing with was specific for personal shipments, where Incoterms aren't used)
BTW, the DHL Express documentation clearly states this shipment was DDP.
«To whom it may concern» letter 
should be in both languages (english and destination—in this case spanish).
Local costs 
even if we can't avoid them, there would be some things to consider. As far as I heard, all shipments land in Ezeiza (Buenos Aires) so sending something to someone not in the capital city would force them to make arrangements for that person either to delegate the pickup or come into the city... and not forget about daily storage costs. The other point is that if they consider shiping costs as part of the value, they said FedEx was cheaper.

"You know," said Arthur, "it's at times like this, when I'm trapped in a Vogon airlock with a man from Betelgeuse, and about to die of asphyxication in deep space that I really wish I'd listened to what my mother told me when I was young."
"Why, what did she tell you?"
"I don't know, I didn't listen."
«The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy» by Douglas Adams

When talking to Mariliz at Customs, she kindly refered to a shuttle service that started in "xxx and Colon, where there's the theater". Now Buenos Aires has been plagued by shuttle services in the downtown area, and a very visible one is around the "Colón Theater"—a magnificent opera house that happens to be under restoration work to celebrate its 100 years... which means that all of the shuttles that used it as their pickup-points had to scatter to the nearby streets...

Now, you are probably starting to wonder about reason for the quote and explanation above...

The reason is that what she actually said was "Belgrano y Colón" instead of "Teatro Colón", which happened to be just four blocks away from DHL's office! And just to make it more bizarre, there's also a Theater in "Belgrano and Colón" ("Teatro Colonial") so my confirmation mentioning the 'theatre' made no difference. So, instead of just walking four blocks, I headed to the "Teatro Colón" walked around for at least 45 minutes between makeshift-pickup points trying to find the actual service, which of course didn't exist there. I was lucky again trying to reach Customs by phone (answered on the second round) and got the right address.