So I’ve had the OLPC for a couple of weeks. I love it but there is something worrying me at the back of my mind. Last night as the latest 180Mb of bug fixes for the MacBook arrived it hit me.
There is no way for the OLPC to be low maintenance.
Let me explain. Apparently, there is a firmware update but I’m unsure which one and how to apply it. I’m sure that the response is on the Wiki but it’s not clear where I should look.
I’ve updated to build 656 of the OS (I think) but that took a couple of hours of hunting and understanding. Once I’d found it and understood it was easy but it took a while. I’ve a friend in the US and he needs to update for his wi-fi connection to work. I can’t say to him launch the OLPC and press button X.
All this reminds me a bit of my Windows PC at home. I spend hours working (after all it’s work) on the PC ensuring that it works, is backed up, and up-to-date.
The OLPC misses an idiot option; not because its users are idiots but because not everyone has the time to invest in keeping up to date.
I know that the response from the project will be that this isn’t intended to be a consumer product. They’re right. However, not ever user in the field is going to have the time either from day one. I think there is a possibility that you’re making the learning curve too steep.
All this said. I love my OLPC (or is it my daughters?)
I hope that there are more of us than this…
First issue that I had was getting online.
Because I’d given the OLPC and the Wi-Fi router the same name! Changed the name of the router (couldn’t work out how to change the OLPC name) and it worked in seconds.
The OLPC finally arrived on Saturday night. I’m in love, it’s a fantastic machine.
If you’ve still not got yours; pass the time reading this…
How laptop delivery breaks – OLPC
I was one of the owners of a missing OLPC. However, now it seems that it’s in the post.
For more information on the “scandal” of a non-profit having teething trouble…
Robert X. Cringely® | InfoWorld | OLPC: Desperately seeking St. Nick | January 28, 2008 06:36 AM | By Robert X. Cringely
Seriously, I’m not in a hurry. The comments are great.
OLPC’s Negroponte seeks truce with Intel and deal with Microsoft | Between the Lines | ZDNet.com
The longer that this drags on the more it hurts Intel and Microsoft. At the moment they look like they played hardball with a charity. In the short-term they’ll win but in the long term they be hurt; it’s Netscape vs. Microsoft all over again.
OLPC campaign nets $35 million; 100,000 units go to emerging markets | Between the Lines | ZDNet.com
I’d say that selling 200,000 laptops that nobody had seen was a great start.
However, I maintain that they need to sell them outside the US and that they need more than a limited time offer.
BBC NEWS | Technology | One laptop project loses partner
So, in summary, first they refused to take part, then they launched a competing product, then they join the project, they then ask for changes and then finally leave.
First, it doesn’t sound like they know what they want.
Second, the only thing they’ve not done to try and hurt OLPC is legal action. I suppose this will happen before Easter!
Ben Metcalfe has found OLPCs on eBay going for over three times the going rate (assuming that the going rate is $200).
Sad to see OLPCâ€™s for sale on eBay at inflated prices :Ben Metcalfe Blog
He seems quite upset by the find; actually I believe a sign that this little thing could be an enormous success. There is a demand in the developed countries for the OLPC. This demand can be used to get the price down, build software and help with the OLPC “brand” in the target countries; the OLPC could be seen as more than a poor childs PC. Now the OLPC people need to get the machines out there and sell them to whoever wants them (wherever they maybe).
Simply put if they don’t flood the developed world with these machines the market will take care of it for them. They’ll be pushing machines into Africa and Latin America for them to appear on eBay at a profit. Now that maybe a great gain for the people who received the machines in the short term but long term they’re going to be big losers.