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My (daughter's) OLPC laptop has arrived

My--actually my daughter's--XO laptop from the One Laptop Per Child Project has arrived and a few things were striking: Its size (built for kids), the software interface, which is very intuitive, and the realization that this tool is designed for children--not adults. In other words, dad needs to step aside and see how the XO does with the kids.

My--actually my daughter's--XO laptop from the One Laptop Per Child Project has arrived and a few things were striking: Its size (built for kids), the software interface, which is very intuitive, and the realization that this tool is designed for children--not adults. In other words, dad needs to step aside and see how the XO does with the kids.

That last point shouldn't be a shocker, but my hunch is techies could be disillusioned. Why? The keyboard is tough on the hands (at least mine) and I did run into a WEP-key issue--that on further review was user error. However, I did find myself pining for a little more instruction at first.

But any gripes from adults are misplaced. Robin Harris the other day nails this point (blog focus, all resources). The big takeaway: The XO is designed for children. Get over it.

The way to view the XO--and review it--is through the eyes of a child. Put your gadget lust aside. My almost five year old daughter was instantly interested, grasped the draw program in no time and got annoyed when dad was trying to hog the XO. She referred to it as a "super hero computer." We've only scratched the surface, but she figured out the buttons quickly--something I'm still working on.

In the days to come my plan is to watch my daughter and see how she interacts with the XO. Is the software intuitive? Does she learn anything? Will she get bored?

Ultimately those questions will lead us to whether the XO is a success or not.

After just a few hours I was wondering about the following:

  • Do I really need Internet access to use the machine? I spent a good chunk of time looking at networks in my neighborhood. But is that really the killer app here? Probably not. Perhaps it's the music program. Or the drawing program.
  • How many folks did the Give One, Get One program to find a laptop replacement? If so, you bought it for the wrong reason.
  • The design is cool. Will adults truly appreciate it?

Stay tuned.