Give One Get One Program Starts Up Again

Beginning today November 17, through the end of the year, the One Laptop Per Child program is inviting people to participate in the Give One. Get One. program. What this program does is allow Americans and now Europeans to purchase the little XO computer and at the same time donate a computer that will go to a child in places like Ethiopia, Mongolia or Rwanda.

As members of the Seattle XO user group clearly remember, actually getting your hands on their ordered laptop was not easy. Many of us that ordered our laptops on the first day did get them in time for Christmas. But, many other people didn't see their laptops arrive tell well into the spring. The good news is that OLPC has handed off the fulfillment part of the program to Amazon. And, now you have clearly defined ship dates and delivery dates. So, you can order as late as December 15th and get your laptop in time for Xmas. 

For more information about ordering the XO laptop visit


NPR stories on XO and the OLPC

A couple of recent stories on NPR about the OLPC initiative and the XO laptop:

'One Laptop Per Child' Plan Faces Challenges in the U.S.

Teens Bring Laptops to South African Children


March 2008 meeting is March 30, 2008

There has been some confusion over March's meeting date... It had been tentatively set for March 23 because that's the 4th Sunday, BUT has been finalized to the next Sunday, March 30, 2008 at 2pm so that we could all observe Easter with our families on the 23rd.

We heard that a few showed up for the meeting this past Sunday and we apologize for the confusion -although we're not sure how that date got into the mix. In any event, we don't want to waste anyone's time and please accept our apologies for the mixup.

So the next meeting coming up is Sunday, March 30, 2008 (not Easter) at 2pm at Saturday House.

Chris Altwegg, Tim Celeski, Wayne Wong
Seattle XO User Group


SeaXO Jam: past Sunday, Feb 24, 2008

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 . 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 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


XO Mini Keyboards

Several people commented on the little USB keyboards that Chris, Wayne and I brought to last Sunday's meeting. These little things are just about the width of the XO itself, are actually pretty good for touch typing and are certainly much, much better then the XO's child-size membrane keyboard.

I found the MC keyboards at a Hong Kong dealer at Though I did find them in the US, the price was much higher then the $22 that Brando charges. If you decide to order one for yourself, I encourage you to look around the site as there's a lot of unique stuff there and since the prices are cheap and that the shipping charge is a flat $3 per order you might find something else you'd like to play with. 

A couple of caveats you should know about. When you plug the keyboard into the XO, notice that all the special keylights at the top of the keyboard light up. Apparently, there some kind of issue with the XO's keyboard mapping that does this. You'll find that the caps lock, scroll lock and num lock's are all activated and they can't be turned off. The way around this is that within 2 seconds of plugging it in, press the caps lock key twice. You'll see all the lights go out and you're back to normal. A minor point about the shipping: these are shipped from Hong Kong and require a signature for delivery. And, finally: being this small there's no room on the key layout for a right hand shift key. Other then these two points, the keyboard makes a great addition to your XO travel kit.



Meeting this Sunday!

Hello fellow XO laptop users!

It's time for our second meeting, this Sunday, January 27, at 2pm at the Saturday House. We'll probably go until 5 or so.

(Directions and links below)

There's no formal agenda for this month, but we can spend time helping each other with our little computers.

We will be doing more Opera web-browser installs, Doom and SimCity game installs, lessons on how to re-image your machine if things get totally messed up, and share insight and ideas on playing audio and video files.

Plus, if you haven't been able to get TMobile working, bring your login information and we can work on getting that working.

Please RSVP if you think you will be attending. (Click to RSVP)

(If you would prefer a weeknight meeting sometime, like Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday, starting at 6pm, please respond and let us know. Maybe we'll do an evening meeting sometime too!)

A couple of other items:
- There's plenty of electricity and extensions, but you might want to bring your XO power adapter along. Write your name on it or on some tape, so you go home with the correct one.
- There's also plenty of WiFi
- The door on 1st Ave has a call box, press #5 and wait to be buzzed in.
- It's a couple of very steep staircases up to the Saturday House space. There's hand-rails, please be careful with coming up.
- If you can't manage the stairs, there is a freight elevator on the back of the building which is wheelchair capable. Please give me a call on my cell phone, and I'll come meet you. Chris Altwegg 206-523-6477)

Dress warmly, it can be kinda chilly in the Saturday House space. And if you need computer glasses, be sure to bring those, the menus in Opera are TINY,
but worth it! Even if you haven't gotten your machine yet, please come!

Chris Altwegg, Tim Celeski, Wayne Wong
Seattle XO User Group

Saturday House:
1952 First Ave. S., Suite 5, Seattle