XO a Few Months Later

I've had the XO for a few months, and learned some interesting things.

I'm used to the tiny keyboard. Frankly I didn't think I was going to get used to it, but I don't think about it much anymore.

Youtube and other flash based Video just doesn't work. While flash works, and it can play downloaded video files full screen without a hitch, the XO doesn't have enough processor speed to play flash videos without a lot of choppiness. Based on some discussions with the XO support team, it sounds like the problem is that the standard flash encoding used on sites like youtube is very processor intensive. The answers I got were a bit vague but it sounds like there are alternative ways that flash can be encoded that would be less processor intensive to render and that they are talking to google about supporting different encodings.

I'm thinking that the special encoding that youtube is doing for the iPhone is one of those less expensive encodings so I'm going to try it out. I'm far from understanding exactly what is going on, but its worth a try.

Causing Wireless Trouble
The XO makes it really easy to connect to wireless access points. I just hit the neighborhood button and it gives me a graphical display of all the available networks in the area. Then you just pick one and the XO is on the web.

When I brought the XO over to my brothers house I pressed the neighborhood key to find a network and his wireless network went dead.

It took us a few reboots to realize that every time I hit the neighborhood key all of his other wireless devices lost their connection. It seems like a major flaw in a wireless router if a computer can knock out all connectivity but I confirmed it on the OLPC IRC channel and there's some mention of this problem on the OLPC wiki.

So the XO is great at connecting most of the time, but there is the slightest chance that any time I use it I might be breaking my neighbors wireless router.

Suspend & Resume
My one complaint is that Suspend and Resume isn't yet working. That means that when I want to stop using the computer I need to shut it down or I'll use up the battery as fast as if I was using it. Booting the XO takes a few minutes, so its not the sort of thing that I like to do. Suspend and Resume is slated for the next OS release which is about a month late at the moment.

Once they get the software working, suspend and resume is supposed to be as easy as opening and closing the top. Because it's solid state it should take less than a second to wake up. Pretty cool!

The thing I really enjoy using the XO for is reading. Its great for eBooks or my equivalent of reading the Sunday paper which is reading the latest feeds in Google reader. The screen is great and e-reader navigation buttons are easy to use.

Other Apps
Alex is a big fan of the Speak app. You type in text and it says whatever you typed in a number of different accents. I fed it the entire text of Who's on First.

Overall I think the XO is very good at what it was designed for. The big challenge is one of the users mind set. For people that are new to computers it's a non issue. Alex started using it without any instruction. But I find myself having to stop trying to do things they way I would on a PC or MAC because many of the conventions don't map to the XO.

Once I got passed that mindset switch and started using the XO the way it wanted to be used it became a lot more fun. I'm looking forward to the next OS update. I think I'll get a lot more use out of it when I can turn it off and on in less than a second...