Their new Open Library OLPC bookreader is lovely, and has been tweaked to recognize the XO’s gamepad keys for navigation, and to display in both normal and rotated screen modes. Many thanks to Anand and Aaron Swartz for making this work. Web whiz Rebecca Malamud worked up a lovely portal for children, customized to display well on the XO, and Aaron helped make sure the first demo library bundle of OpenLibrary books is available for testing.
With this work, the 1.1 million public domain books of the Open Library are available, OCR’ed text and all, to everyone with an XO and an internet connection. Now we are working on making them work better offline, for children whose primary connection to the Internet’s archives is through a friend with a USB key who visits from time to time.
I hope that we can come up with an awesome collection of reading lists for children, and a scripted way to turn a reading list into a bookshelf available for reading online (via Rebecca’s portal) or offline (zipped up as an XO library bundle) for Gen XO.
Todd Kelsey, long time OLPC volunteer who has helped with documentation and translation projects in the past, has a mesh proposal in to the Knight News Challenge. He writes of his proposal:
Mesh News is an entry on the Knight News Challenge, which has received a request for a full proposal. As of 12:30pm EST on 11-20, the 2000 entries have been narrowed down to around 350, and Mesh news is in 8th place in terms of overall number of views, and dropped from 3rd to 5th place in terms of “ratings”. If it does make it past the full proposal stage to the “final 50”, and then to the “final 20”, I think it could help a few kids out in various parts, provide a bit of employment, and help to get some additional publicity for OLPC. Go G1G1!!!
Take a look at the proposal at http://www.tinyurl.com/meshnews, click on the “sign-in to comment” link underneath the title, register, and leave your feedback and rating. The # of views / ratings don’t determine acceptance, but objective reviews can help make the proposal better.
Another quick post in our series on home-brew XO customizations — Bob Chao of CC Taiwan fame shows you how to localize an XO keyboard into Chinese with stickers! Currently in Chinese; I’ve asked him for an English translation for everyone else who wants to run a little keyboard-customization shop (currently I’ve heard strong requests for German, [extra] Arabic, and Hebrew).
Thanks for the trailblazing, Bob. If you have a cool hardware hack to show off, leave a comment here or drop me a line!
Most of the marketing and message surrounding the OLPC project, and the G1G1 fund-raising effort, is centered on the kids of the world who are our true mission. And that’s as it should be — you only have to look at some of the pictures from the deployments to convince yourself of that.
But let’s face it — if you’re going to donate enough money to both “give one and get one”, you might want to be convinced that the “get one” half — i.e., _your_ cute little green machine — is actually going to be useful. Call it enlightened self-interest. (I’m assuming you’re thinking of this at least partly as a toy for yourself. Go ahead — admit it — it’s okay.) I got my XO during last year’s G1G1 promotion. Maybe I can help convince you.
One of the best parts, for me, is the screen. Shirtsleeve season always feels too short here in New England, so I like getting outside as much as possible when it’s practical. Being able to walk outside to surf the web is a great feeling. Another screen feature: by flipping the laptop into “e-book” form, I take less space on the subway while reading email (offline reading, of course).
Another XO plus for commuting: the extra wireless sensitivity offered by the cute green antennae makes it possible to hit the web, courtesy of a nearby open access point, from my bus stop.
Tom Brady stopped by the OLPC offices last week (you can see him in our group photo below!) and really got into the project. He wrote about the visit on his blog yesterday in his Insider Update at tombrady.com. It was a real pleasure to meet him – we spent over an hour talking with him and showing him the XOs. He spent some of the time shooting video clips about the laptops, with shout outs for bloggers and a few specific sites.
Tom took a couple XOs back home with him when he left (along with one of the lovely bags Scott and I acquired from the artisans of Cuzco)… Giselle is from Porto Alegre, one of our earliest school trials, and an enormous star there. I wonder if we can get a photo to send them!