Pixel Qi hack kit on display at MakerSHED

Make and Pixel Qi are (finally) offering a 10.1′ Pixel Qi hacking kit for $275.

It is guaranteed to work smoothly with the Samsung N130 and Lenovo S10-2 netbooks. You can coax it into working well on many other machines with a 10.1′ display, but it may not always be a perfect fit. If you try it on another model, let us and the Make folks know how well it fits.

Congrats to the Make team for making this available! I can’t wait to try this out on a few spare machines. Of course Bernie’s TwoHundredDollarLaptop has a much larger sunlight-readable display…

Updated XO software: “180py”

Bernie Innocenti and the team in Paraguay have released build 180py of their Fedora 11 + Sugar desktop. It is fast, offers both Sugar and Gnome desktops, and includes many recent features from the past year into a build that isn’t too large.

Some call it ‘the best XO OS ever’ – and it is indeed fantastic. Everyone who has an XO-1 should download this build and try it out. (but don’t forget to back up your files and any customized activities first!)

At the same time, Sugar 0.88 is being designed to work on both the XO-1 and the XO-1.5, and is currently available for testing and development. Bernie needs help with finding “a more pronounceable name than F11-0.88″ – describing the combination of Sugar 0.88 and stock Fedora 11 – so once more, please share any good naming conventions. If your name is chosen, I will personally ship you one of the near-mythical Red XOs.

Fireside chat: holiday cheer

Happy Holidays to all!  As I was working on a community newsletter this past weekend and reflecting on the work of the past year, I was warmed as always by the constant and refreshing work of our community groups and national partners.   They rarely get caught in the global OLPC spotlight, but as often as not they are the ones inspiring and improving the projects that flourish.  And while some contributors such as Caryl Bigenho and Anne Gentle have worked on fairly visibile projects like the Contributors Program and the XO Guides, many others work on projects that haven’t had their own press releases or events.

So I’d like to take this post to thank some of the extraordinary and prolific OLPC supporters I have worked with over the past years:  Bernie Innocenti, who was so taken with the early work on OLPC he left his home in Italy to come to Boston and support the project for over a year, inspiring us all with his passion, energy, software experience and continent-sized chiptune collection, and has since remained a pillar of support for SugarLabs; Bert Freudenberg, who led the Etoys for the XO team, helped build the OLPC community in Germany, and worked since the first software development to keep us focused on empowering children and giving them a great learning environment; and Christoph Derndorfer, who when not studying interface design has done as much as anyone to encourage local chapter formation, effective global reporting on OLPC’s works, international volunteer exchange with deployments, and outreach to new potential activity developers.  Wade Brainerd, who since winning a prize in the first OLPC Game Jam has developed, facilitated, or mentored a half-dozen remarkable activities (from Bounce to Colors! to WikiBrowse to Typing Turtle), making up some 10% of all activities that ship with the XO; Lionel Laske, who founded OLPC France, and has tirelessly organized press, superstar support, and local projects there; and Pia Waugh, who helped launch both OLPC Australia and OLPC Friends and realized half the holy grail of a videochat-powered pilot.  Chris Leonard, who has shared ideas, supported donors and health-related projects, and remained one of our most active wiki maintainers; and Tabitha Roder, who has maintained our leading group of testers for years.  And the volunteers who never tired and later joined the staff — Daniel Drake, who in-between working and contracting at OLPC has been a world-traveller supporting independent deployments with his priceless insight and energy, leaving joy in his wake; and Mel Chua, who worked on just about everything, from chapters and events to art to content and code to docs and testing.

To all of you: thank you, thank you.  It is your devotion that keeps the spirit of olpc alive around the world… and that, where we have flourished, has made good projects great.