SJ Klein is giving us a quick overview of the One Laptop Per Child project.
They have deals with five countries: Argentina, Brazil, Libya, Nigeria and Thailand. Each will be getting 1,000 laptops.
The monitor can run in ultra-low-power mode, reflecting ambient light. “The display technology is the most remarkable technology in the laptop.” The display “IP” is co-owned with the screen producers.The OLPC is working to make it reusable in 3 years wrt patents.
It weighs 3lbs. A pound of that is plastic. The plastic is 2mil instead of the 0.7mil of a typical laptop, e.g., a Thinkpad.
Q: What is it missing? What will the critics say, “It’s fine, but it’s missing a ____”?
A: It’s not a normal desktop computer. It has a 512MB flash disk and 128Mb of RAM. It can run lots of apps simultaneously, but not typical office apps.
It has an integrated browser.
Q: Does it run Flash?
A: Yes. There’s a lot out there in Flash. But it’s not an open format.
Ethan points out that the bulk of the machine is behind the screen, so there isn’t a lot passing through the hinge; the hinge is the most common point of failure in laptops.
SJ says that the battery runs about 2 hours if you’re running flat out. But for reading, he hopes and thinks kids will get about 8 hours. The best recharging technique is a pull thingy that’s sort of like a lawn mower starter. The battery is nickel metal hydride.
It’s designed to last six years.
Q: (Me) The social software?
A: WikiMedia. Drawing/chat program that lets you see everyone that’s there is part of the operating environment (= Sugar). Etc. [Sounds like an opportunity. What social software might work in these environments and cultures?]
Ethan worries about students wanting to use them to the max while the teachers want to confine the usage to class-focused activities. Ethan doesn’t want the laptops to assume that education has to be entirely webby and non-traditional.
The OS is a modified version of Fedora. The file system is different because it’s compact flash. E.g., you can’t use swap and they’ve had to write low-level stuff to keep Linux from writing to the first sectors of memory until it burns out.