When studying at the university, I acquired experience in building chips (building blocks of npn gates) to extension cards (with Transputers and TMX chips). I build pieces of software to optimize pipeline in CPUs (on Cray XMPs, for example) up to OS process scheduler. Now, I am just an end-user application developer but that is a different story ;)
The first time I heard about the OLPC initiative, I was impressed by one specification: a computer made to last in tough conditions! And the result does match this requirement:
- There is not fan and, when it is closed (with the “ears” covering the USB ports), dust and humidity cannot reach the core.
- The CPU is under the flat screen, so kids having the laptop on their knees cannot be harmed.
- There is no moving part (no CD-ROM drive, no regular hard drive, just a solid state drive-SSD).
- Minimal poser consumption and many power sources : the grid power, a hand crank charger, solar panel, and a pull string generator!
Today, I have been able to see the interview of Chuck Kane, OLPC CEO, by Robert Scoble.
Interview by Robert Scoble
After the hardware, the feature I like the most is the mesh network. Scoble also interviewed Michail Blestas, VP of Advanced Technology and Connectivity, who gives few details about it. Among the features I like: independent of any wifi infrastructure, laptops relay packets even if they are “turned off” (if there is sufficient battery charge or mains input), peer-to-peer communication protocol, etc. .
Interview by Robert Scoble
Now, what should I do? Ideally, I would like to help sending these laptops to African kids, especially in Democratic Republic of the Congo, in relation with my involvement in the Diku Dilenga organization . But it will not be tomorrow :( So this year, I am going to participate to the “Get One, Give One” program that will start November 17, and will be served by Amazon . I will acquire one XO (name of the laptop) that will find its way up to Kananga, Occidental Kasaï, DR Congo. The second one will be donated by OLPC to a South American kid...
I am going to continue following OLPC progression, especially the XO-2 which promises to innovate even further . Who knows, maybe big corporations (like Intel, Microsoft, and al.) will stop pursuing their individual goals (place more chips or licenses, so augment the revenues, and maximize shareholder's profit).
- One Laptop per Child website.
- OLPC power supply.
- Review by Andrew “bunnie” Huang of the OLPC hardware.
- Details on the OLPC mesh network.
- Diku Dilenga: delivers micro loans to entrepreneurs, support education and healthcare initiatives.
- Amazon will distribute OLPC XO for the 2008 program “Get One Give One”.
- Preview of OLPC XO-2.