(sharing) OLPC XO

December 26, 2008 1:05 pm | 4 Comments

For Christmas, I bought a XO laptop through the One Laptop Per Child program for two of my girls to share. (The irony of getting a One Laptop Per Child XO for the two of them to share just hit me ;-) My oldest daughter has her own MacBook, so I wanted a low priced alternative that my two younger girls could call their own. And the charitable aspect of OLPC was a motivator, especially at this time of year. The way it works is you pay for two laptops; one comes to you and the other goes to a child in a developing country. Since my employer, Google, does charitable matching, my purchase resulted in two laptops being donated.

It was incredibly easy. I purchased the XO on Amazon for $399. Our XO arrived in plenty of time for Christmas. I received a receipt from OLPC for my $200 tax deduction. And I submitted the matching gift form at work. Google is a big supporter of OLPC, so that organization was already in the matching system making it even easier to complete the process.

We’ve been using it for a day, and so far the girls and I love it. They really like having their own laptop. They’re familiar with web browsers, so were able to get immediate benefit. Today we’ll start exploring the other applications. I like that the XO is built for the tough treatment kids can deliver. It was easy to get setup. And my girls immediately commented that it was much easier to use than our other computers.

The first thing I did was run it through the UA Profiler test suite to see how performant the browser is. OLPC’s browser scored 7/11, the same as IE8 and Firefox 2. Not bad. The OLPC browser is based on XULRunner, and therefore uses the the Gecko rendering engine as does Firefox. I was surprised that mine was the first OLPC test in the UA Profiler results. OLPC’s browser is missing parallel script loading, and only opens 2 connections per server.

I’m looking forward to learning more about the XO. I’m pleased with their Support Wiki. It had the exact info I needed to install the latest Flash player. I’m downloading various manuals now, and can’t wait to explore the other applications. I have to keep reminding myself: this was a gift for them. Maybe I can use it after they’re asleep.

4 Responses to (sharing) OLPC XO

  1. I also bought one for my young kid but was very disappointed with the software, I wanted to install the kidoz browser which my kid loves from kidoz.net but couldn’t figure out how,so for now my kid stays with the old pc and I got a new toy I guess :)

  2. What made you go for that instead of a Asus EE PC for about the same price (but with Windows/Linux).

    Just the charity aspect?

  3. @Dion: There were several things that drew me to the XO. A primary reason was the charity aspect. This laptop was for my kids, so I liked that the whole thing was designed for kids. I knew if I got a laptop running Windows they would expect to do everything on it that they can on my laptop (iTunes, Word, Excel), and there would be disappointments and many IT hassles. Bringing in the XO has completely changed those dynamics. The XO is rugged, looks more kidlike, and has pushed all of us to think a little outside our normal approach to computers.

  4. I also bought a G1G1 and it’s due here tomorrow (Dec. 30th!). I wanted to contribute to this great charity AND get one to play around with.

    KUDOS to OLPC!