Saturday, December 29, 2007

Leaving town to find the neighborhood

It's Christmas, and I'm having a great time playing. Today I had a couple of hours, during which I left my little house and connected to people in my town - because I first connected with a worldwide network.

My vehicle for this trip was my XO laptop, named Lincoln.

An OLPC NeighborhoodI had been following Tom Hoffman's posts about the OLPC, and found one of particular interest: xochat.org Up Seemed cool to try out, so I managed to get connected today - and was amazed as little XO user icons began to populate my "Neighborhood". Great fun, and a little intimidating, as I wasn't sure exactly what to do... I asked a couple of folks to chat (I think), joined a couple of chats, and looked in on a couple of shared activities: drawing and photo/video (this made me nervous, so I didn't stay long)...

With mouse over the XO users, I saw a couple of names I recognized. Then I found one who ID'd himself from Seattle. A short Google search brought me to an XO user group - in Seattle! They even have a blog - and a F2F meeting tomorrow. I don't think I can make the meeting, but I'm definitely following the blog. I know a few of the people involved. Such a small world, but sometimes you have to travel far to find what's in your back yard.

Bouyed with confidence, I decided to try installing Opera on my XO, since the the default browser is definitely wimpy. Now, that was a challenge. I felt like I was back in the early nineties, groping around in DOS... Point and click, what's that? Only a couple of typos interrupted my progress, until I eventually had Opera running - and added as an "Activity" to my interface. Many thanks to those maintaining the OLPC wiki on the Opera install for making the procedure pretty clear and relatively painless. Web browsing is already ten times better - and once I get the hang of Opera, it'll be great. The machine really is pretty quick on the web.

Funny that it took flying so far to find something right around the corner. Such is the world in which we live.

I can't wait to get this little laptop running in my classroom. There are classroom networks and neighborhoods forming around the XO right now. I want to be ready for this. Maybe we'll find another class in Seattle :)

2 comments:

janice said...

Mark, That is so cool! I know that in the article that I read the 9 year old was talking about connecting with Uganda!

I have not been able to connect with my wireless at home so far. I have an airport and I guess there is something with the encription. I spent several hours trying to figure it out this week...

I have connected with unprotected wireless at a few places, so I know it does work. Maybe someday soon we will be chatting with our X0s!

Janice

Mark Ahlness said...

Janice,

Thanks first for the link to that BBC article and video - both wonderful.

I did read that you can hook up wired ethernet to the XO with a USB adapter. Don't know if yoour Airport has a switch...