How's this for good news? The OLPCs begin shipping today! That means that they might begin to arrive a few days earlier than originally scheduled. For example, people who ordered them on the first day were originally slated to start receiving the devices on December 14-24. People who ordered them on the fourth day (raises hand) could have expected to receive the devices from December 17-31. If the first-day orders might arrive earlier than planned, maybe the other orders will be following fast on their heels. In any event, sometime this month, I hope to have an unboxing ceremony in this house. The sooner, the better.
I've joined the mailing list for the first OLPC user's group that I've seen, even though it's based in Washington, DC. I figured that it's not all THAT far to DC, and anyway with the internet I don't HAVE to be in the same room with people in order to share information with them. I even posted on their site, mentioning that one of my primary interests in the OLPC is seeing what can be done to make it an assistive-tech device for deaf-blind users. I got a response almost right off the bat from someone else who sees its potential as assistive-tech for learning-disabled users. I figure that if we get enough heads working on the OLPC/assistive-technology possibilities, we'll get usable results that much sooner.
It's like we're thinking outside the box regarding a device whose very existence was brought about by a LOT of people thinking outside the box. It's all good.
P.S. It occurs to me that Gallaudet University is based in the DC area, and because of this, there's a large Deaf and Deaf-blind population in the region. I'm thinking that hooking up with MWADB (Metro Washington Association of the Deaf-Blind) would be a big help. It would enable us to have direct input from consumers, as well as maybe connecting us with people who would be willing to help people test the software by bringing along their various braille devices for the OLPCs to (attempt to) interface with. Did I mention "It's all good"?