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What's With the Name?

A biking persona and trail name...

Name Conflicts

There is a previous biking DancesWithCars out west (Northern America) somewhere rumored to have passed away... (Memorial sites look like she was a neat woman, in to theater, had lots of friends, etc...)

This joker is on the east coast, is not that person, and NotDeadYet (a disability community name where people wondering how long we last...)

And like John, Paul, Mike, etc, people have the same names sometimes...

Attends DC Learning Club meetings

Since owning a first year G1G1 machine, started attending OLPC Learning Club DC meetings, to get support, find out what's in the community, give back, have some fun, etc..

DWC provides some informal activities for the group's kids when the lectures get too adult, i.e. brings a WowWee Tribot/FlyTech BladeStar on occasion and resists any long streams of lecture information, as he also has the attention span of a gnat, and needs notes, websites, camera snapshots, etc as disability accommodations to remember, concentrate, process, i.e. learn and function...

Parental Supervision Required

DancesWithCars does not claim to be Adult besides his ever increasing adult age (46, sigh), so everyone else might want to provide adult and parental mentoring on occasion, (but he will resist...)

He is an Uncle of two children aged 11 and 6 and asked *his* parental unit for holiday gift money to buy an XO on the G1G1 Program in 2007), hoping his relatives would also for the kids but alas did not... He anxiously awaited a surprise green box delivered to his subsidized apartment doorstep (lucky not to have lost it) on St. Patrick's day over a year ago...

Life has not been the same since. Every time opening up the laptop, he gets "Is that one of those...???" "Yes, an OLPC, One Laptop Per Child, intended for children in least developed countries..."

When around children, after checking with parents for OK, usually says something like "The good news is that you can try the machine", "The bad news is that I'm taking it with me when I leave..."

And then show Activities like Speak, Record (not saving, memory full or similar error), TamTam Mini, Paint, etc depending upon the age and interests of the little person and adults, time available, other necessities like checking gmail, etc...

And some children claim that since the keyboard does not fit me, as an adult, they should have it, and while an appealing argument, No... MINE... Good try though...

Solo Machine i.e. low mesh experience

Having one machine didn't try meshing unless at DCLearningClub events, but was usually too distracted (by kids running around, all the interruptions, possible lecture, attention span of a gnat, etc) to concentrate. Later tried a little meshing on some DC Lending Library machines, but not using that feature to it's fullest potential yet...

Touchpad Problems and DC Repair Shop

He later found his touchpad didn't work well (goes into hyperspace after a while) and after some talk with the youth run DC repair shop, quickly bought a Targus mini mouse at a local office supply store to make his machine useable, bought an extra battery from the repair shop ($20?), and still wants to make a DynoHubSolarPowerCombo for Bike Touring. Googling DancesWithCars will probably yield a tour journal describing some of his crazy tours (in state, C&O Canal with photos, commuting options, rants on mental health, pollution, etc)

Batteries Required

Received an XO 12 V car adapter as a gift from a visiting Learning Club DC XO presenter/ visiting expert. THANKS! (forgot his name, please remind me...)

Has been drooling (figuratively) over power options, solar panel (tried Mike's at Nortel one winter through a window, and worried about the funny hissing like sound).

See my DynoHubSolarPowerCombo project idea to apply for contributors program...

Cataloging Accessories and Options


Some Assembly Required

Having gotten back into electronics with the purchase of an Arduino Starter Kit and some sleds/shields (Motor, Wave, Eth, etc) and learning that Sun's Java 32 bit version works on 64 bit Fedora 10 with and RXTX update, and some fussing, and even loads on 32 bit XO but menus and windows are in a weird position and acting and have yet to get functional...

Sun's Java didn't run with the older version, but 802 build seems to at least start, but is not connecting yet..


With a clear glass teacup on his knee up too close to his very nearsighted face (NEED SAFETY GOGGLES! and PARENTAL SUPERVISION) soldered the Arduino 9Volt battery compartment (badly), Proto board, Wave and will work on the others later...

Leaving OLPC Learning Club a month ago, went to Radio$hack and got a helping hands (alligator clips and magnifying glass on a weighted base with soldering iron cage and cleaning pad) when wanting a panavise, plus too much other stuff... Expensive and impulsive purchases... Too rushed and not planned out well enough.

Anyway, will need to go to/ create SolderersAnonymous sometime soon...


DC Lending Library Setup

NOTE: This may be superceded by any official versions...

Helped (arguable) setup the machines with

poweron boot # ESCaping on cue 
disable-security # reboots 
boot # ESCaping on cue 
boot # fully
#open terminal activity 
su root 
/usr/sbin/olpc-update -frvv 802
# ... wait for 15-30 minutes depending upon net speeds, congestion, etc...

Doing grunt work across the 25 machines and making policy recommendations for distributing across the whole DC region (cache at meeting sites), living in the remote suburbs and not owning a car, biking is not always an option (distances, late night, gangs, traffic, weather, energy level, etc) and long distance, difficult carrying NOTE: SEVERAL XOs ARE HEAVY, etc...

Will probably describe a manual process of opening up the boxes, figuring stuff out FOUND PATH ADDITION

/usr/sbin/olpc-update 802
# on 656 version necessary in the wiki...
/usr/sbin/olpc-update -frvv 802

NOTE: 767 build was superseded since Jeff's previous installs... Lending Library spreadsheet could create a checkout form...

Generally, took about 1 hour per machine to process without transit, email coordination, etc...

Normally, I would have made a formal burn in/test/ acceptance process, does everything work, accept as working machine?

But discovering stuff during the upgrade process described above and elsewhere...

Serial numbers also found on XO batteries (Two companies BYD and GP) and on chargers.

Kid Project aka UncleCrazy

As checking out two machines to loan to relatives, and learn from the experience, described here... UncleCrazy

Might learn how young people use the machines, might get ideas on what to develop, mostly share the experience with the little relatives and give something back...

Hardware Learning

User:DancesWithCars/Hardware Learning

One of the library machines had an I Beam touchpad pattern and very/ almost impossible to use without the same MiniMouse described elsewhere...

Jeff suggested using this machine to learn hardware on, as it already had issues...

Learning to open the case, what the parts are and where, plus troubleshooting and repairing to be learned...

Mind Map the

There has developed a huge amount of information on this wiki and I've not really learned the organization of it, as having my HardwareLearning page above moved to a user space, (it does say in the bottom paragraph that 'your writing will be edited mercilessly and redistributed at will' (wonder about share and share alike with attribution an option? and been wondering about how wikis are born and grow up, given that wikipedia has an army of editors, and neutral point of view policy, wondering how the overall schema of this is graphically mapped for kids and others to grasp what all is here and easily access it...

Concordance, tag clouds and mind maps seem rather interesting and wondering, at least informally why not done here???

Other Affiliations

Does Linux and Open Source in the adult community

since finding Fink on an 'old world' Mac Beige MiniTower enabled using X Windows, but 6 Gig HD and booting issues suspended it's use...

got help from Kevin in first starting out with Yorktowne HS Libre Users Group back in the RedHat 8 Road Tour and Stallman visit days...

became webmaster of a LUG website and has been going there since 2002...

created a (book) library for a LUG (public libraries had too old info, not that good selection and difficult to checkout and return on time, so created my/our own, with LUG support),

With LUGs, showed XOs at FOSE (Federal Office Systems Expo in 2008 and 2009) but lost some information in the translation since we don't actually sell the machines, but showing Linux on other (cute and very public green) hardware...

Accidentally wiped the hard drive on my 64 bit Averatec laptop with the XO School Server ISO in a mad rush before demoing at FOSE2008, and whined about it on this wiki, but forgot his login, to continue the thread and account details...

He has yet to hack a kernel, and doesn't actually program much anymore, since losing his favorite lab machines, Symbolic Lisp Machines to post cold war DarkSide mothballing...

F11 for XO-1: Interesting How To...

From a posting on the discussion of building a backport of Fedora 11 XO-1.5 software for the XO-1...

Not sure I'm up to doing it/ taking it on. but nice to know it's available for keeping those with older hardware in the loop...

I've been calling the XO 1.5 a Fat XO in the Mac tradition, same form factor / box, but different... Maybe Prodigy XO? It's same kid size, but smarter ;-/

danceswithcars 16:53, 14 July 2009 (UTC)

git checkout xo-1 FAILS, no joy ;-( ...

danceswithcars 17:42, 14 July 2009 (UTC)

more specifically, fails in the following way:

git checkout xo-1
fatal: Not a git repository (or any of the parent directories): .git

danceswithcars 23:19, 14 July 2009 (UTC)

Still Didn't Work ...

I've not figured out Git. The commands listed on main page didn't work for me... same error. Tried Perl6. Rakudo, proto and november (wiki in P6) with git and no success either. Long learning curve...

danceswithcars 10:30, 24 July 2009 (UTC)

XO-1 Bites the Dust

User:DancesWithCars/XO-1 Bites the Dust

Learning Club DC Music on XO presentation text terminal alternative


Electronica 2009

Someone at the Sunday evening ClassActs meal asked about the Therimin kit from Electronica.

Harrison Instruments PO Box 9012 Silver Spring, MD 20916

MinimumTheremin Kit

~$40 US

101_description Note: does not include antenna (6 inch x 6 inch aluminum? plate, which can be rounded off to be easier to pack), nor stand insulated, but does include the 9V battery.

Will let you know how SolderersAnonymous goes with it...

ClassActs Book Sprint @ Gallaudet

Attended all but the last day, Friday, and some late night sessions, doing some photo processing remotely. Long (2+ hours) troublesome commute back and forth on top of 10 hour scheduled days. And as a disabled person, only good for about 4 hours/ day. Energy level, attention span, need quiet to think and write, etc...

Remembering some sign language (finger spelling name, and a couple of curse words, thank you, someone asked about sorry, but I've forgotten) when back in deaf community.

SpeakSign Activity


Suggesting a Speak activity sign language (later as an output driver?).

Finger spell instead of audio for later use across all the Activities/ perhaps like a closed captioning?

Maybe develop a Measure like activity as hearing (eye) dog? Flash (invert) screen on microphone sound of doorbell (program it), telephone (cell phone, not vibrate, sirens, fire alarms, etc)?

Use as a temporary accommodations for backup purposes, as deaf students and adults might already be outfitted, but was a quiet campus most of the time. Dorms were probably louder, as classroom areas more discrete?

Use as teaching tool for disability issues, and learning a little basic sign to communicate in a Deaf community like Gallaudet.ed hosting the ClassActs Book Sprint

Back to ClassActs Book Sprint and Experience

Missed the Gallaudet bookstore, one time started to visit Wednesday, but no backpacks inside, and not comfortable/too tired to walk stuff back, also closed at 4.30 pm Thursday when I went back empty handed/backpack free.

Found the late food place after the cafeteria closes.

ATM around the corner, asking with my really slow stuttering letter signing from 25+ years ago, finally showing my ATM card to info desk personnel.

OLPCLearningClub meetings there are on weekend mornings, so not a lot of college students up at that hour ;-/, and most stuff closed then...

Nice campus. Ducks back by the dorms in a pond. Ropes course, closed except when instructor on site, says the sign. Blue Bison mascot on the hill, IN BLUE GRASS. Nice buildings architecture, interesting. Sorenson Language Learning Center was new building and very high tech, glass not photographing well. My digital camera might be having issues, as stuff was way off color, but batteries low by the time I got back...

ClassActs Sprint Contributions and Writings

Besides bringing some emergency rations, Labor Day cafeteria and snack store closed, Trader Joe's Almond Butter (2x), Milton Multigrain Bread (2-3x), Welch's squeezable Strawberry & Grape Jams (2x), TJs Lemon Cookie Thins (1/2?x), etc.

Adding ideas to the XORecipes section, but mostly advanced requiring more software or extra hardware. Added photos to that, found some icons, not really the app, but extra projects and tangentially related.

Took the SprintPhotos, but warning raw images, makes 10 MB over 9 photos (not scaled by in rendering?, giving source data), and requested Green Penguin drawings, getting some two SVG graphics from a little person through the helping parent, converted with Inkscape to .PNG format, as first time with SVG sources.

Given a XO USB-Ethernet adapter at the XO-1.5 talk! Worked like a charm. Thanks SJ and OLPC/LearningClub! Used it the next morning on the hub/ router during the sprint and later...

Lost connection so many times while others were present (mesh, full memory, browser issues or tampering?), but never when there early only with host, so wondering why kicked... Mesh issue with so many other machines?

Ended sprint after Thursday night's transit late arrival (paratransit went from Dupont pickup to Bethesda for another passenger, It's 'Shared Ride'...) getting home after 1 am? Stomach problems, not used to eating that way. Exhaustion after 7 days, Fri bike and family, Sat Electronica2009 trip, Sun sprint start/dinner out Bankok, Mon sprint, Tues sprint/HacDC XO-1.5 talk, Weds sprint & Gallaudet XO-1.5 talk, Thurs sprint & dinner out Taste of India, collapse, frustrations, etc...

The Little Green Penguin That Could


A Genesis Story (for kids, teachers, funders and the community)

(Mel volunteered to do some web comic like graphics,
maybe tying the story/ case examplar
implementation lessons together)

'Here children, have a seat and let us tell you a story...'

Of the little green penguin
that could grow up,
when he wanted to,
in the right environment,
and with some attitude adjustment

In a land far far away
in a time not so long ago,
(really about 2 years ago,)
but it seems like a while...

On his bad days, he eats butterflies for breakfast,
his relatives/ uncle crazy snaps at some guy named Linus,
is that how he got his name?
Ears up and ears are down
like a dog (or RCA's Nippy)

[use my niece's drawing?]
[seen in the face of speak, with the mouse pointer left as a nose]

Conceived somewhere around Cambridge, Mass
Probably on a late night binge of pickled herring,
baked beans, and <strike>beer</strike>lemonade...

Grandpa Nick, St. Nick on good days, a visionary driver on others to the elves)
Aunt Mary Lou made him appear on screen even in the bright of day
and Sweet Bender, a Futurama robot character spawning SugarLabs,
finding a home in the larger community, this too sweet, this is saccharine, and off to port

Hatched somewhere in Asia,
he wandered the globe in search of people who liked him,
and upon discovery,

(insert all sorts of lessons from the world implementations here)

and learning from all his travels,
with all its new little friends,
scattered around the world
he wanted to say thanks to St. Nick,
and the donors/elves that made the trip and discoveries happen for him

And he lived happily ever after,
in all our little hearts, 
sometimes green with envy,
sometimes difficult to handle,
but always loved...


[] are improvisations or improvements, added for future changes, images, etc. See also and specifically, for one applied to the sprint... plus the requested graphics from Owen...


Not much time with one yet, went to two demos/ presentations, had to leave the first quickly while the others were 'briefed' on the OLPC mission and it's use.

Second demo by SJ @ Gallaudet, interacting with students. Some issue with fsck when finally had some time... 4 Gig or 8 Gig sounds good. Via chipset. Possibility of doing 3D. Power demand changes slightly. Would brown out if all the peripherals are on and using old power transformer/supply/brick, which means a new plug?.

Worried about policies of no G1G1 program. Availability. Getting parts, etc...

Looking forward to a Gnome version. Driver support, system changes, Fedora 11 base upgrade, etc??

Third Demo at OLPCLearningClub monthly meeting, it was in Spanish, so finding the menu items was impossible. Visiting Spanish speaking Intel clubhouse guy didn't change it over, and don't get me started on Intel's WinTel monopoly, corporate bullying, XO/ ClassMate competition, etc...

So of course, want one of my own, despite going to local MicroCenter and finding a $200 refurbished adult celeron based Asus EeePC, that the sales guy would not take out of the cage for me, and not sure of all the compatibility, but it was there, and more available than future vaporproducts, didn't require shipping, wait time, online purchasing, etc. So will see.

Asked for an XO 1.5 from the contributors program for DC. That way I might get some (quality) time with one, piss off HacDC, be able to keep track of what needs to be done on the project (i.e. tracking issues, development - some low level project management), try the new stuff to see what's ahead, show others, be the first kid on the block with one, etc...

Some list discussion includes the idea of sharing the machine with SSH X-Windows forwarding, which sounds interesting on several levels... Sugar is probably not set up to share, but X-Windows was originally designed for it (i.e. networked graphics substrate, though client and server don't have the usual meaning, reversed, server displays, and client gives program, unlike server hosting files, and client requesting them, it's an upside down world, lots of times...)

Development Ideas


OLPC IRS 990??

As a donor to the OLPC efforts, I don't recall seeing the standard IRS 990 (Non Profit financial disclosure form) describing how those funds are being used.

If OLPC is to have credibility, and accountability, to donors and to recipients, I would think this should be easily accessible...


The 990's for both the OLPC Association and the OLPC Foundation can be obtained from, just use one of the bugmenot logins. cjl 01:33, 18 September 2009 (UTC)

While found that from a google search, the point included that some organizations put 990s and other financial info on their own website and don't require searching/ digging/ registering, interpreting / analyzing, and make it easier to see how donor and sponsor contributions were used. danceswithcars

Some Lessons Learned

3 year olds may be too young to try the XO even with much parental and geeky supervision. Typing the keys gives some reaction during the long boot. Pounding the keys would not be good...

Having no slot for a CDROM drive on an XO means there is no place to put a peanut butter and jelly sandwich (reminicent of a VCR looks like it's hungry...) ;-/

Late in the afternoon is not a good time for many 3 year olds, they may be very active physically, and the attention span less than UncleCrazy...

Boot it up before showing it to a 3 year old. Firmware Life simulation is a quick boot... Pong was not found. (find the keystroke/ boot special cheat keys).

An XO is not a baby sitter, it requires some more (thought, energy, creativity?, learning, yeah, that's the word...)

An XO without any preparation, project overview, etc may not be successful.

Parents and grand parents are busy people, even if they think the XO is an interesting machine and want to try one, they may not have time.

Pull works better than push.

Require some basic training/ showing the machine before setting people lose on it. (depends on previous computer experience? age of user, etc?)

Sugar Live CD may be much slower than the XO. Will want to try on a stick, but don't have any machine besides the XO that boots from USB.

Leaving a Sugar On A Stick LiveCD is one way of taking an XO back to a lending library.

Even if a tween says they don't like it, maybe they do like the XO, (as in if taking it away, may ask if they can buy one, after dissing the machine in front of younger sister...)

People think you are weird if you are old and have an XO. It helps to explain being an Uncle, bike project, SpeakSign Activity development, etc...

But some people are not open minded... (i.e. XO is a toy!) Probably a M$ person? What's the polite term for a Linux Hater? OS Challenged? ;-/

Interview Questions Posed

From the storytelling/ interviewing other OLPC people exercise in futility, the result which was not published, as the interviewee didn't like it, I rushed to create questions, so in the interest of transparency, and not wasting volunteer efforts, here are the questions I asked, which seem to have become controversial.



Been away from XO group for a while... Busy with other parts of life...

XO 1.5

Tried one at FOSE 2010, and a few hours afterwards. Interesting New Coke variety... Quick restart Gnome to Sugar and vice versa, as restarts X-Windows not just cold reset/ restart.

Getting Started Updating Sprint

Stay tuned...


Updating Machines

Just about the time 12.1.0 is scheduled/ read past due to come out I'm updating some machines, as they were not booting, due to dis space (kids tend to run out the video, and it's still not easy to do video to SD/USB card instead of internal memory) nor is it easy to find updates and other OS Cruft (needless extras).. So all game keys down when booting a prepared USB/SD card (from a cheatsheet or something) learn about and image renaming for XO models, XO1, XO1.5, XO1.75 find an extra USB Stick/ SD Card with some empty space and get FC14 about the time FC15 is End Of Life (AFAICT) and current is FC17? (read Looking Forward to 12.1.0 release)

and new hardware available in G1G1 or anyone who want to learn like RaspberryPi without the web server crashing, wait lists, months wait, and other issues, but a built in display and other completeish system is nice too...

Snarky Comments about wikis in general

My usual style, being disabled and other issues, is snarky, wikis, IMO, have a purpose, but don't solve all the world's problems, the social stucture required to write something like WikiPedia, or anything else of substantial size, is usually a hierarchy, which I don't care for, in general, even when I'm up there in the hierarchy, but there are many annoyances to wikis, MediaWiki, and other flavors, conversion to a free format is one of them, writing in editors, all different, or lots of them, the commercial spinoffs, the lock in, the effects on writing when using those tools, and the lack of assistive technology, tag clouds tend to require non-free flash, etc... make it less than useful for me, a lot of the time...

Hence, few edits here, and other places, too many to mention, not having the latest greatest "toys" > XO-1.0, which in current residences, as with previous, means the kids want an iPad instead, and LiveCDs are too slow, USBSticks cumbersome, as many machines don't boot from it, and instructions on how to do it are next to impossible for the noob, etc...


Sugar on Raspberry Pis seems like an option, based on better availability, but there are some issues,

non free/ non Open Hardware, relatively expensive HDMI monitors required to really see, composite video out not really readable, and recompiling for ARM, (albiet newer XOs need that anyway) software version skew (sp?), and many more, mentioned elsewhere, see some possibly public OLPC && related email lists..

Sugar on Android

It would require a full bash or similar shell, as Android doesn't have it unless rooted, but there are many relatively cheap tablets that run Android that theoretically could run Sugar, and solve some of the touchscreen availability issues, but probably waiting on gtk5, Python12, etc for the easier port, and even porting across full Linux distros, there is SpecialSauce that it doesn't work as well as the original, i.e. jhbuild, sweets, etc, but they are a start...


Too Long Didn't Read, if I weren't such a bad writer, using a keyboard that doesn't work very well, weren't whining so much, weren't as busy with other things, or Dog Ate My Homework excuses, this might be easier to read, broken into sections better, updated more, spelling and structure, much less syntax improvements, and lots of other things that take more time and energy than I currently have...

But it's up there, and if you get anything out of it, let me know, Discussion is a good place <smile>