Since a number of us have had our little XOs for a week or so, it's a great time to post your first impressions. So, add your comments to this message for all to see what the new machines are all about.
My XO arrived last Wednesday a day earlier then scheduled. So, I've had it for a week now.
I've been following the development of the OLPC for quite a long time. I've followed a lot of user interaction development at MIT's Media Lab for many years. So, one of my particular focuses has been the Sugar user interface. The community focused metaphor is much different then the desktop/window metaphor we've all been accustomed to over the last 20+ years. Though Sugar's purpose is much different then what we're used to, I really like it. It's cool to go from community to group to individual. I can't wait to give the mesh networking a real workout at SeaXO's meeting next Sunday.
Applications (Activities) on the XO are pretty simple and understandably limited. Lots of cool activities for kids to explore and learn from. From an adult's point of view the real killer application is connectivity using the web. The very basic browser is not all that great. Installing Opera and using Opera Mail makes this into an entirely different machine from my point of view. I can't encourage people enough to install it. (We'll see if we can get some people to help others having trouble with the installation at SeaXO meeting)
My very limited knowledge of Linux certainly has slowed me down. Because outside activities and plugins need to be installed via the console or the terminal it involves a fair amount of typing in commands and such. So, that's different then the more-or-less drag and drop approach on our other computers.
And, then there's the keyboard. I guess you have to have really tiny hands. I don't so it's back to pick and peck time. I'll be getting a small USB keyboard soon.
Overall, I'm impressed with the XO. It's a very new technology and it's expected that there's some learning curve. It's not terribly fast but once the activities are up and you're online, it's not bad. Again, from an adult's point of view, once you install Opera the little machine becomes quite useful and more fun to use.
I've had my XO for about a week.
My first impression of the laptop was how small it was. Of course I knew it was small. When I ordered it I even took out a ruler and imagined its dimensions. Seeing it in real life though gave me a whole different view.
I also really like its portability. It's light for a laptop, as I'm used to 5+ pound notebooks that you really need two hands to carry safely. The built-in handle is a godsend for being on the go. I can grab it, swing it under my arm without much thought. It rather feels like I'm carrying a hard-cover book.
I have also to love the black/white screen mode. I can be sitting outside or under a light and read for hours. Its present to read from (boosting up the text size helps), and the scroll keys on either side of the screen further complete this experience.
The command line is not to strange to me, so I had little problem installing Opera and getting it up and running. I totally agree that the Opera XO browser kicks butt when it comes to browsing! I have even used it as a file manager with success.
I've found the yum package manager handy for installing other programs that have not been included.
Though I'm no Linux expert, the newbie knowledge I have in command line really is useful in getting things to work in the XO command line.
I've found the wireless performance to be quite exceptional. I took the XO on the road once and while riding on the freeway (as a passenger) I could count many, many wireless connections. Both commercial hotspots and residential wifi routers showed up, and were easily 400-500 feet away. I was travelling too fast to connect to them, but their presence on the network mode was really cool.
This little machine is too sweet. I'm a third grade teacher in Seattle, got XO 10 days ago. Have been unable to connect to the WAP in my classroom yet - home is no sweat. Just connected to the xochat.org set up by Tom Hoffman... saw Chris A there... So much to learn, so little time. Anyway, I'm happy to have found this local community, and will stay in touch - Mark (Lincoln, on my XO)