My XO Laptop Arrives

The XO laptop I purchased through the G1G1 program arrived Thursday! The "Give One" half should be delivered to a kid in January.

Until it arrived I had not realized that I have freakishly large hands. The XO is designed for kids so I had some trouble getting used to the tiny keyboard. It's getting easier each day. One of my favorite feature is the lack of a CAPS LOCK key.

As soon as I turned it on Alex and I figured out
how to make a short video using the built in camera and the "Recorder" software. I haven't figured out how to get video from the XO onto youtube yet.

Wireless Networking was amazingly easy to set up! There's this button on the keyboard that brings up a graphical representation of the networks within range (my neighborhood). I moused over looking at the names (SSID) of each network until I found mine. When I clicked on the icon for my network it prompted me for my WEP key. I typed it in and that was it. It connected. That's how easy it should always be, but as many of my relatives can attest, connecting to my home network is often too complicated to be worth the effort.

I have seen a lot of threads on the community support mailer about broken WEP on the XO. I have a hunch that WEP only works if you use 128bit HEX keys. For some reason the shorter keys don't seem to work.

Web surfing with the default browser is a little strange because (as far as I can tell) the browser can only open one page at a time.I've gotten so used to browsing with tabs that it feels very limiting to only have the one.

Even so, Gmail and the integrated Google talk work well and I haven't found any websites that don't work. I downloaded a podcast and was able to listen to it. After I installed flash Pandora started working as well, though it seems to get confused and plays multiple tracks if I try to skip tracks.

On day 2 I installed Opera which has tabbed browsing, bookmarks and lots of useful keyboard shortcuts. Despite a few bugs it works pretty well.

I got to use the terminal when installing Opera and that's when I realized that this little laptop is a full blown open linux machine that I can change any way I want. While the XO is a far cry from the speed and flashiness of a MAC or iphone, the fact that its completely open makes is a much more accessable and powerful platform for creativity. I expect to see some very cool stuff done with the XO by average people over the next few months.

E-Book with Google Reader is possibly the coolest feature.There's a built in ebook application that I haven't tried, but I did surf to google reader, flip the screen over and close the cover so that the XO becomes an ebook for my rss feeds!

Measure is Alex's favorite program. It has an Oscilloscope and he really gets a kick out of watching it as he makes different noises. There are a lot of apps installed by default, and I need to read up on what they do.

As for energy conservation, I don't have any firm numbers, but it seems like it takes a lot less juice than my MAC. It runs off a 12V DC power supply that charges its battery. I'm going to try to build a solar charger for it out of some old solar panels.

There appears to be a bug with the suspend mode. It's supposed to go to sleep when I close the cover, but the battery drains as if it was in use. There was some mention of a feature where WIFI signals wake the XO up. I'm thinking its more of a bug from my perspective, but we'll see.

Overall I'm really happy with the XO. It's fun to use, and there are lots of mysteries to explore and fun projects to try out.

This post was written and posted from my XO.