Sunday, December 07, 2008

We had seven people in attendance with 6 XOs at Cosi in 30th Street Station this afternoon. Of those XOs, three were already running the latest version of Sugar and three had Version 656. One of those got updated to 8.2 while we were at Cosi; the other two machines had some software installed which they weren't in a position to wipe out with an upgrade.

We were able to demo the XOs for one attendee who was interested in our meeting after seeing it discussed on the forum. He hasn't got an XO yet, but is interested in them and in OLPC. He got to try his hand at using both versions of Sugar and watch the upgrade.

The user who upgraded his XO actually owns two of them: one from the first G1G1, and one from this year. His older XO was running the earlier version of Sugar, but his newer machine had the current Sugar on it. Now both machines have the new Sugar.

The machine we upgraded from a USB stick gave us a pleasant surprise and an unpleasant surprise. The pleasant surprise was that when we upgraded it from a USB stick, at the end of the upgrade, it had all the activities on it. That was unexpected! I downloaded the 8.2 upgrade from the OLPC wiki onto a clean USB stick, and I thought we would have to install the G1G1 Activity Pack separately from installing the upgrade. Apparently not, so that was nice.

The unpleasant surprise was the hardware issue that cropped up with the XO that was upgraded. Fortunately, the saga did have a happy ending. Right before the upgrade, we noticed that the XO's radio and wifi indicators were not lit. Somehow, the XO's radio decided to go on hiatus. We figured that the upgrade would rectify that, but surprise -- it didn't. Er, how what? Enter our attendee who uses his XO at work and in the field on a regular basis. He was able to go into Linux and enter various arcania to try and determine the source of the issue. Long story less long: multiple reboots didn't work, but taking the battery out and letting the machine sit for a while seemed to do the trick. Eventually. As mysteriously as the Radio Gremlins appeared, they went away and the wifi just started working again. Apparently, the old adage is true: any sufficiently advanced technology really IS indistinguishable from magic. Grin

We did have one young'un on hand, which is good, since the XOs' creators did stipulate, "One Laptop Per CHILD", not "One Laptop Per ADULT". Wink He and his mom had his XO in tow. His was one of the machines that has a lot of software installed that they justifiably were concerned about losing in the event of an upgrade. But he had a good time creating activities like Write and Record, and inviting us to them. Everybody was typing at once in the Write activity, demonstrating (and experiencing) the XO's collaboration features.

I also brought an Ubuntu SD from XO Explosion. This was the first time I actually used it so we could all get a look at how it works for the first time, at the same time. The grownups pretty much all give Ubuntu a big "thumb's up" for turning the Little Green Machine into a tool for grownup productivity, as it has Firefox and Open Office installed. Everyone also likes the fact that once my developer key was copied onto the Ubuntu card, all I have to do is boot with the Ubuntu card in the SD slot and bingo -- instant Ubuntu. Then I can reboot without the card in the slot, and voila -- I have Sugar. The ability to switch between both systems completely at will is a huge boon.

One of our attendees who has been to some DC meetings had some XO info cards to hand out, because sure enough, people saw all the Little Green Machines and wanted to know more about them. We touted the XO to at least three people during the course of the meeting.

So there you have it. Kids. Upgrades. Ubuntu. Info cards. Telling people about OLPC and XOs. That was our day in a nutshell.

Let's do it again next month!

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