Tuesday, December 25, 2007

A safe, blessed, and (of course) Merry Christmas to you all!

I have spent the past week getting my Geek on with the OLPC XO laptop. A server has been set up so that OLPC computers (or non-OLPC computers running an emulation program that makes it act like an XO laptop) who log in can all "see" each other on what's called the Neighborhood screen:


The above is an actual screenshot from my Neighborhood screen, taken a day or two ago. All the little people icons (the ones that look like an XO turned sideways, hence the name of the computer is XO) represent XO users who are logged on to the server. The purple-outline, orange-fill-color icon in the center is mine. No one who knows me should be surprised that I picked Phantoms colors for my icon, right? Of course. Actually, I did ponder whether to choose Flyers colors (orange and black) or Phantoms colors. I'm glad I went with Phantoms colors, because already I've run into one other user with a black outline and orange fill color, and one with an orange outline/black fill color. I haven't run into anybody else using my particular color scheme yet, and that is a Good Thing.

Notice also that on the Neighborhood screen there are a couple of icons that look like a "talk" balloon in the comics. Those are chat sessions. The color scheme of the icon matches the color scheme of the user who started the session. You can click on those chat icons and chat with anyone else who's in the session at the time.

This morning, I spent a good chunk of time debugging some software with about eight other users. I don't have the actual code handy, but a few of the people in the chat room ARE software developers for the XO, so I was among the users reporting how things were working on my end and what quirks I had run across.

Given that I used to both test software, and do customer phone support for software, for a living, I was able to give a lot of specifics about what I was reporting. Someone in the chat explained the procedure for how to open a problem ticket, so I'm going to do that after Christmas is over. Hey, I'm a Geek, but I'm a Geek who has family and friends and wants to spend quality time with them during the Christmas holiday. There'll be plenty of time, after Christmas is over, to go into Full Geek Mode with the XO.

Speaking of which, I'm trying to help a new local XO Users Group get off the ground. I started a discussion thread on an OLPCNews online forum, several people responded, and now we're working on the best time/place for everyone to meet. Stay tuned.

OK, have a great Christmas! Later, all!

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