Sameer Verma of OLPC-SF, as he mentiond at last week’s amazing community summit, is putting together a book server for use in rural India, with 20,000 books and audio files on it for students and teachers to use locally. He is going to deploy it at a school pilot near his familial hometown.
This is a Pathagar server implementing the OPDS bookserver standard, running on a tiny Sheeva Plug device, accessible over a local network to XOs in the neighborhood. The Sheeva Plug is low power and has USB and SD ports that make it easy to expand such an offline library. Here it is plugged in and in use, drawing a total of 4 Watts:
Sayamindu Dasgupta, who contributed to the design of the OPDS specification, developed the Pathagar server to implement the spec; Manuel Quiñones created the version of the server used here. Book and audio suggestions are welcome for this particular build, and a web-based form for linking to OPDS archives suitable for inclusion in the image will be up shortly. If you have your own Sheeva Plug, you can torrent the original disk image of this installation.
The setup was load-tested last night, using a simple build: a stock Sheeva Plug and 16GB USB key (total cost: $100). Quick statistics:
Game developer David Braben and colleagues are working on a tiny circuit board suitable for game development, with a few hacker-friendly ports, which will fit into a gumstix-sized package. They are calling the device Raspberry Pi.
Their stated goal is a device with a 700MHz ARM processor, 128MB of SDRAM, a USB (out) port, an HDMI connection, and an SD card slot… relying on the USB input for power.
Unlike Gumstix, which found a corporate and DIY niche for its boards, Braben is focused on minimizing the device’s cost, making sticks ‘cheap enough to give to a child to do whatever they want with it’ and to make learning computing fun. An admirable goal. The project already has its naysayers, however, as it is hard to hack without many peripherals as well. What would you do with one or a few of these?
OLPC Australia has released an update to their USB ‘toolkit’ for XOs, a collection of software on a USB thumb drive designed to assist in recovery, repair, and support scenarios. The new version is ready for testing, and Sridhar expects only documentation changes between now and its final release.
The XO-AU USB is OLPC Australia’s official means of delivering updates and troubleshooting tools to schools.