Sunday, April 20, 2008

A Few Weeks with the XO

My "couple" weeks (that turned into more like a month) with the One Laptop per Child XO computer have finally come to an end. I would have liked to do more with it, but I do feel like in the little free time I actually had to use it, I was able to get a pretty good sense of where it is at and where it is going.

In short it is an idea with truly revolutionary potential. I emphasize potential not because I think it has short comings, but because just like anything in the world, realizing a dream takes more than a good idea and technology. It will take the right support, enthusiasm, and pragmatic process to get things going in a sustainable way. Anyway, here it is:
Time to take a short break and take another picture to complete my somewhat lame attempt at Escher like image.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Another call for Optimisim

I think one of the main issues with trying to find solutions to problems is that very often, when you point out a problem, people think you're being overly negative and that the problem will work itself out before a crisis actually happens. I think that these people feel that by calling it a crisis before it clearly becomes one is risky and foolish. Yet in the problems we face today, given the scale of the system, we can't always afford to wait and see.

Al Gore has been on a campaign to bring more awareness about the threat of global warming for many years now. While, as a scientist I know that there is most definitely a growing possibility of a crisis tens of years into the future, I also have concerns about making the crisis real before its time. Part of the reason is because of the above perception, which helps skeptics dismiss the problem of global warming simply because the indicators being used are still too uncertain, even in spite of the mounting evidence.

Yet waiting until we can be certain is not only even more foolish, it misses out on a very real opportunity. Dealing with global warming is an opportunity to be forward thinking, an opportunity to be a leader, and perhaps more attractive to critics; an opportunity to make a ton of money.

Al Gore has retooled his message to try and bring this kind of optimism to the fore, and while it will likely still be lost on many, I thought it was very well done. I also thought it was interesting since it taps into the same vein of hope that Obama has sought out. See for yourself below.

Friday, April 04, 2008

A Post From the OLPC XO

This post is being made from the One Laptop Per Child XO laptop that my parents sponsored during the "Give One Get One" program. It's going to be a bit short since it's not exactly easy being that it really is meant for children. That said it is truly an amazing feat considering the challenges. Sure it isn't perfect, but what totally new technology is?

So far I've been able to do everything that I wanted to. I'm online in the Dulles airport, using the free year of T-mobile Hotspot connection that was donated with each of the give one get one XO's. Thanks T-Mobile! The general functionality is fairly straightforward, but I still feel like there is a lot that I don't know about. The amount of instructions to help with this also leaves a lot to be desired.

Yet given the innate ability of kids to figure out new things I'm excited to let my parent's surrogate grandchild, Avery, figure it all out. I'm going to spend a few more days with it before sending it out, and I hope to try out a few more things. Okay, that's about all I can type on this. More to come from a regular computer.