The One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) finally started production around 6th November, which makes it in time for the 12th November “Give 1 Get 1” program. This means you get an OLPC by buying one for a child in a third world country, that’s two machines for US$399. Though it didn’t end up being a $100 laptop, it’s still a pretty neat way to spur the public at helping to move units where they’re needed.
Since the public can start ordering units to donate (and of course get one in return), I thought I’d try the OLPC’s linux-based Sugar OS (which is demo-ed here). You can burn a copy of the Live CD to try on your Windows PC, but I simply got the VMware image of the OS to try on my Intel Mac.
The Sugar OS interface works differently from the typical desktop metaphor. Given that it’s meant for children who have never used computers before, the design team took the opportunity to craft it more intuitively, without the need to read any manuals; learn as you go.
On the left screenshot, I try out the Neighborhood feature. I’m in the center, while other users are shown as nodes with rollover contextual options, which includes “Make Friend” and “Invite”. The right screenshot shows how my blog renders in the Browse app, which is the built-in web browser. At first I didn’t see how I could get back “home” to the main menu, until the menu interface is shown along the border when you mouse over any corner.
Browse doesn’t seem to have Flash video support. Not sure if there’s a linux plug-in we could use. Still, it’s an OLPC after all, not your regular computer. Notice something neat though… the top right of Browse shows some kind of ability to share your activity with others… not sure how it works unless I have it interact with other OLPCs, but I suspect users can browse together.
In fact for almost every activity you perform, there seems to be collaborative features abound. As you can see in both instance, apparently you can share what you’re doing with others… think co-op gaming, music making, web browsing and so on. I love this idea… for instance I’ve always wanted to be able to browse web sites together with friends, and the closest thing that lets me do this is me.dium. Think of me.dium as a social GPS for your online location.
Not sure if I’m going to snag one. What about you?