Just about 30 people attended February's user group jam this past Sunday at Saturday House. As usual, the majority of the time was spent getting to know each other and discovering what tricks each of us could coax out of our XOs. It is always amazing to see so many multi-colored XOs in the Neighborhood screen as people powerup and start to show up in the mesh network. The gathering of so many XOs, for many of us, provides the relatively rare opportunity to test out sharing of applications such as chat and browser. Several people took advantage of the streamlined installation of the Opera web browser from a USB stick. Some just wanted an orientation to the keyboard and Activities while others explored viewing images and ebooks and playing MP3 files.
There were discussions about the (still) delayed release of the highly anticipated Update 1 of the operating system which is supposed to finally have power management, extending battery times and allowing suspend and resume. Evidently, for developers, Build 691, which is Release Candidate 2 for Update 1, has been out for testing sine mid-February. The latest updates available for non-developers is Build 656, which includes the fix for connecting to WPA protected Wi-Fi access points (actually that's a Build 653 fix) and stops the touchpad from an annoying habit of jumping the cursor to the lower right of the screen. Several of us at the meeting were running Build 656 with no problems.
We are still working on getting a local Community Jabber Server up and running in the Seattle area but the project is proving difficult and the software temperamental. It has a tendency to run out of resources and crash. We're sticking at it however because it could add so much to the usefulness of the XOs. A Jabber Server would be an internet resource that would allow mesh networking and sharing of applications to be extended beyond the physical limits of what your antennas normally would "see". Imagine, you could mesh into the Seattle XO user group meeting neighborhood from the comfort of your home or from your hotel room while on a business trip. We've got hardware and can get connectivity, we could use the help of anyone with experience with Ejabberd Configuration and XMPP Extensions.
Seth Woodworth, our resident OLPC insider, demonstrated how easy it was to take apart the XO. Not all that many screws and a lot of modules that snapped in and out. Yes, the machine did start up flawlessly after it was reassembled.
Seth also announced a couple of "local" events coming up that might be of interest:
There is a LinuxFest Northwest conference in Bellingham, WA coming up April 26/27th and it will have a OLPC/XO laptop event/presentation track during the conference. Admission and parking are free, and all ages are welcome. There are shuttles and van's leaving from Seattle and Portland to help shuttle people to/from the conference in Bellingham. For more info go to
Seth also talked about the high level of interest in the XO by various health organizations. There is now an OLPC Health Portal to help coordinate resources -see http://wiki.laptop.org/go/Health . Seth is organizing a "Health Jam" at the University of Washington April 19/20 -volunteers are needed. (BTW, a "JAM" is OLPC's lingo for a focused event around a particular topic or software category)
It was brought up that our regular schedule of meeting the 4th Sunday of each month means that the next meeting is March 23 but that happens to be Easter. (Date has moved to March 30 - see sidebar.) It seemed "do-able" at the time but, as always, will keep the latest info on the home page of the SeaXO.org website and we will be sending out an email meeting reminder as we get closer to the date.
Chris Altwegg, Tim Celeski, Wayne Wong
Seattle XO User Group