Come Meet the New XO-1.5

The OLPC hardware sneak peak event of the year is heading toward DC!
It's not the machine. It's the movement.

Samuel Klein from OLPC will be presenting the newer, faster, stronger X0-1.5 laptop.  There are some great new additions to our education-enhancing machine, and plenty to get excited about.*

As most of you know, One Laptop per Child has been working tirelessly to spread education/information access across the globe – mostly in the remotest locations – while simultaneously ramping up quality, pushing down costs, and searching for ever-improving environments for the XO’s hardware and software. Come by, sit back, and enjoy a well-guided tour through fascinating complexities and dramatic possibilities that are developing both on the home-front and in the fields.**

OLPC Learning Club DC and HacDC are also expected to announce their joint launch of an XO Lending Library and share details on the local activities that keep OLPC and Sugar Labs going strong.

We hope you will join us and engage in the conversation, helping to push the frontier of education, information accessibility, and collaboration into the revolutionary years ahead.

WhereHacDC, on 1525 Newton Street NW, Washington, in the church sanctuary

When: Tuesday, September 8th, 7:30pm

* See for instance the XO-1.5 hardware specs .

** Looking to get ahold of a brand-new XO-1.5? Developers, teachers and contributors are encouraged to complement the new XO with new learning content, as always

Update: This will be taking place during our Community Book Sprint (September 6-11) capturing stories of real-world classroom issues. Get in touch to help out over the coming week!

An XO reflection, 2 years out

Chuck Lawton at Wired writes about 2 years of the XO, after getting his hands on one for the first time.   Some of the review is the normal shock of changing window managers and interface styles, but he has a sense of how many details we have changed with education in mind.

What amazes me most through my experimentation with the XO is that attention to detail that the hardware and software designers have made when developing the product. To unthink how we do things and present the software and interfaces in a way that becomes intuitive to someone with out exposure to Windows is quite an accomplishment.

Two years ago, people were excited about the XO because of the prospect of a $100 laptop. But I think in that excitement, they missed the point. At the time, before the netbook explosion, all they were buzzing about was a cheap laptop. But the XO laptop is not a hardware experiment. What One Laptop Per Child has done is create an ecosystem whereby kids can learn through doing and sharing. They have organized a group of talented hardware and software developers and challenged them to invent something new. They have created a philanthropic organization to achieve their goal of production and distribution. The cost is only one part of the equation – a barrier that must be broken in order to make that ecosystem accessible. And it’s that ecosystem – their vision – that deserves more credit than many of the tech blogs are willing to discuss.

This promises to be a three part series with a focus on hardware next.   I hope by the time it finishes he covers Sugar in more detail and uses in the classroom (which is where the intro seems to be heading).

Dailymotion rolls out full support for open video; encodes 300,000 theora clips

Yesterday Sébastien Adgnot sent me a lovely message about Dailymotion’s drive to make Theora encodings available for all of their videos. Blizzard sums up the implications nicely:

Today Dailymotion, one of the world’s largest video sites, announced support for open video. They’ve put out a press release, a blog post on the new openvideo site as well as a demo site where you can see some of the things that you can do with open video and Firefox 3.5.  They are automatically transcoding all of the content that their Motion Makers and Official Users create and expect to have around 300,000 videos transcoded into the open Ogg Theora and Vorbis formats.  You can view the site they have up at

This is fantastic news; it is a continuation of work DM started with a theora portal for a certain mean green machine, and means another 300,000 videos that will play natively on XOs out of the box.

PSNR comparisons of x264 v theora

PSNR comparisons of x264 v theora

More importantly, this is only the start of a wave of free codec adoption.  Theora has been making great technical strides at lower bitrates, with steady support from RedHat, Mozilla, and Wikimedia.  Expect similar updates to come over the summer, perhaps as early as June’s Open Video Conference in New York.

Congratulations to everyone at Dailymotion who helped make this milestone happen!

Kicking off a gen-1.5 development process: Updating the XO hardware

XO + Tinkertoys(Box and Tinker) = Directional Cantenna

OLPC is excited to announce that a refresh of the XO-1 laptop is in progress. In our continued effort to maintain a low price point, OLPC is refreshing the hardware to take advantage of the latest component technologies. This refresh (Gen 1.5) is separate from the Gen 2.0 project, and will continue using the same industrial design and batteries as Gen 1. The design goal is to provide an overall update of the system within the same ID and external appearance.

In order to maximize compatibility with existing software, this refresh will continue with an x86 processor, using a chipset from VIA. The memory will be increased to 1 GB of DDR2 SDRAM, and the built-in storage will be 4 GB of NAND Flash with an option for 8 GB (installed at manufacture). The processor will be a VIA C7-M [1], with plans on using one whose clock ranges from 400 MHz (1.5 W) to 1GHz (5 W). The clock may be throttled back automatically if necessary to meet thermal constraints.
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Start a Laptop Project to Change Kids’ Lives Worldwide!

Nonprofit One Laptop per Child is offering free XO Laptop loans and a strong network of dedicated Volunteer Mentors for visionaries of all ages, enabling grassroots projects worldwide.

Over half a million XO Laptops are in the hands of kids worldwide today, in South America, Africa, Asia, the Middle East and Oceania. These kids are not only changing their own lives, but are also changemakers in their villages, cities and countries. The laptops they receive contain software and content not only to learn academic subjects, but also empowering them to understand the world around them (learning online and off) materially engaging their families, environment and beyond.

  • Do you believe in a worldwide “Science Fair” of organic learning?
  • Do you know a teacher you can work with to create exceptional software?
  • Can you find exceptionally creative persons in your area?

Anyone can contribute: would you mentor a small group of tinkerers, or might you alone write a 21st century textbook to be put on all our laptops?  Simply demonstrate your project furthers innovative education in poor countries, architecting something new — we will then provide the hardware you need to lead the way.

  • Create software, hardware, guides, graphics, testing or support.
  • Advance the state-of-the-art in learning Activities around the environment, languages, health, science, math or humanities.
  • Seed a Community Repair Center or Local Laptop Library inspiring others to contribute.
  • Are you shovel-ready?

You will be hard-pressed to find a more deeply committed community, passionate to work with you shaping and delivering Quality Work you define. No matter how small or large. We strongly urge you to read our FAQ and apply today if you too can join us, facilitating a worldwide ecosystem of cutting-edge projects around XO Laptops, the Sugar learning environment, community leadership, and beyond.

Children the world over will thank you for engaging your curiosity, exploring their true needs, and actively sharing the fruits of your labor!