Life in a Day film publishes XO clip from Peru

Life in a Day is a film capturing a single day through the lives of people across the planet — filmed by thousands of people and edited into a feature-length documentary. They have been showing the film across the country for the past month, after a preview at Sundance at the start of the year. It’s pretty wonderful – something I wish we would do as a society every year, perhaps with different editorial groups.

The film team recently posted the clip of the young Peruvian student Abel going about his day with his XO, on YouTube, talking about life working on the street with his father, and pleased as punch with everything he can read about on Wikipedia. Abel was one of a handful of young people in Peru who were asked to submit film from their day to the crew.

This is one time when I am glad to see creative groups making full use of Facebook. The film’s facebook page is the best source of new information about he film, and while we have been a casual fan of the film for some time, it was one of their updates there that pointed us to the new clip. Kudos as well for making so many of the individual stories from the film available on YouTube — please continue to do the same for the parts that didn’t make it into the movie!

OLPC and FabFi mesh networks bring Internet to Afghanistan

OLPC is working in 9 schools and 5 cities in Afghanistan. Many of the schools have some limited Internet connectivity at home, but most families still don’t have Internet (though they may get GPRS coverage if they have access to a cell phone) in their neighborhoods or home compounds.

In Jalalabad, this is changing in part thanks to a mesh network run by FabLab Jalalabad. Through their FabFi network, many children with XOs and their families have access to the Internet (and Wikipedia) for the first time. Fast Company wrote up a good story on this, following the New York Times’s lead last Sunday (commentary).

Similar FabLabs with mesh networks have sprung up elsewhere, most notably in Kenya. I hope to see them spread more widely in Africa and Asia – it seems like a robust and scalable model for engaging communities in maintaining their own networks.

OLPC Mongolia is pretty in pastel

OLPC Mongolia header

OLPC Mongolia banner, from

OLPC Mongolia’s national website has been steadily adding new information about their program, and their site looks beautiful. I need to get a proper translation of their blog, which often goes into extreme detail.

They have charming walkthroughs for every core activity (here’s WikipediaEN and Speak. And they love to share data… sometimes in 3D.

Australia, Oceania, Nepal and Canada are leading the way in terms of detailed maps of the schools involved in pilots; it would be great to see what artistic style Mongolia adds to that meme.

$20-$40 laptops, in bits and pieces

Humane Reader‘s $20 offline reader : needs only an external display, cables, and keyboard for a 38x25 monochrome display of Wikipedia or whatever text you please. Offered in XO green, it has been designed more as a tool for hackers than a scalable solution for offline reading.  From its own website:

The palm-sized device comes with an SD Card reader for storage and a micro-usb connector for both power and USB device action! The expansion headers break out maximum hackability, and are compatible with most Arduino expansion shields. Use most existing Arduino software, or write from fresh to take full advantage of the audio, video, IR, and keyboard capabilities of the platform.

And there’s talk of a $35 touchscreen tablet : Minister of Human Resource Development Kapil Sibal is personally promoting a reportedly $35 tablet computer, which he says will be available sometime in 2011. Charbax makes the case that he is referring to (and demoing) an AllGo reference design, which was on display in June’s Freescale Tech Forum.  They are still looking for a manufacturer.

Fast Company is extremely skeptical, since India’s last $10 computer was overhyped and misleadingly promoted. It wasn’t a laptop or even an entire computer, it was… hey, wait a minute… it was a cheaper Humane Reader, only done in white and with no industrial design! 

These look like fun, but not something I would necessarily want to use for too long at a stretch. In contrast, I’ve been toting my XO-1.5 HS around all week, and it is very satisfying… more after the jump.
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