Summit notes: XO keyboard and touchpad fixes

At the community summit, Caryl Bigenho talked about the need for a musical keyboard for the XO, and discussed a design for an overlay that could be placed on top of the normal (typing) keyboard with the names of musical notes.

And there was a little repair session, including showing how to fix various XO-1 issues. There are still a few people who need the frozen keyboard fix. Others were playing around with keyboard overlays.

Others need touchpad fixes, and benefited from upgrading to 11.2 or 11.3 — which has an option in the frame to turn on the resistive touchpad mode. For people working in areas that are very humid, or have high iron content of the dust, the resistive touchpad mode can be a reliable alternative to an external mouse.

OS 11.2 released! for XO-1 and XO-1.5

Daniel Drake has good news for XOs of all flavors:

OLPC OS 11.2 is now out for both XO-1 and XO-1.5, along with some activity updates.
Install it and check it out!

This release is build on Fedora 14 and Sugar 0.92, which includes a feature I am especially fond of: a touchpad-mode selector.  For those of you who miss being able to use the stylus-mode of the older dual-mode touchpads, this lets you toggle between stylus and capacitive modes.

This release has vastly improved build properties: olpc-update is now faster and requires much less free disk space, OS Builder is much improved for those spinning their own builds.  And the XO reflashes more than twice as quickly now:

As of this release, installation images are now sparse, meaning that data is only written where data actually resides. The result is that installation time is now more than twice as quick.

Solar charging has also been tweaked on the XO-1.5.

While there was no 11.1 release this year, there are plans in the works for an 11.3 as well.  If you have bundle updates or other fixes that didn’t get into 11.2, that’s the release for you.

huge thanks to everyone who has helped with developing and testing this release!

OLPC Keyboard/Touchpad freeze and fix

OLPC XO-1 users who are running software builds 650-656 (from 2007 and early 2008) are encountering keyboard/touchpad freezing this month.  Some XOs became frozen thanks to a bug in an early version of the firmware. If you encountered this, your XO should start as usual, but with the keyboard and mouse not working.

Here is a quick fix to update your firmware: you’ll need another computer with Internet access, a USB thumb drive (memory stick), a charger and wall outlet, and 10 minutes. (Alternately, you can send your XO to a community repair center – see the comments.)

  • Download http://dev.laptop.org/pub/firmware/q2d14/bootfw.zip
  • Take a USB stick, and create a folder named “boot”. Put the file in this folder. (the path to it should be /boot/bootfw.zip)
  • Make sure your XO is plugged into the wall, AND has a working battery in it.
  • Insert the USB stick into your XO. Reboot the XO. Wait until you see a message saying the firmware has upgraded successfully.
  • Remove all power from the XO for 20 seconds: unplug the power cord AND remove the battery.
  • Remove the USB stick.
  • Restore power to the XO and turn it on.
  • Hold down the “X” key on the keypad next to the screen as you reboot.
  • Your XO should now work normally.

It is also strongly recommended that you

as the recent releases have many new activities and other improvements.