Archive for October, 2009

Brainstorming Time!

For the last few weeks, being acquainted with the XO was of minimal task because the Sugar on a Stick (SoaS) release has made the checking on the XO’s sweet UI simple for me. Although the XO feel is of much getting used to. Exploring the XO at the user level was not complicated at all. Even to others without any idea about the XO laptops, Sugar, and OLPC. The hardest part was the shifting from the processing speed I was used to to that of what the AMD Geode is capable of.

In the first place, the main reasons for requesting 3 XOs were to answer 3 major questions to help us before, during and after developing the specifications for the activity:

  1. How is collaboration made between two users or more in the activity being shared?
  2. Is it possible to do the activity in 3D without requiring additional memory that could have allowed the child to do another activity?
  3. What are the other issues that we are to consider with regards to the limited hardware we are working on?

To answer the aforementioned questions, we only need to conduct simple testing activites at user level which only involved exploring the XO as if you were one of the lucky kids out there having one. In this task, I have been helped by my friends – roommates, co-scholars and classmates. The issues that concerned us were:

  1. It lags. For some time, out of the blue, an XO screen just freezes. Pressing any keys or directing the cursor with the touch pad won’t do a thing.
  2. The touch pad also becomes stubborn. It’ll be moving the cursor nicely this minute then it starts to go the other way. The cursor has to be gently maneuvered or application of greater pressure on the touch pad is necessary because the problem is either over/under sensitivity.
  3. During the sharing of activity, the lagging is more frequent but it happens to at least one of the XO’s sharing at the particular time. As observed in the Maze Activity, for 2 XO’s, they alternately get stuck in the middle of the activity and then most times, one returns only after the other XO has finished the maze. At 3 XO’s, one XO gets stuck, another could possibly do so, then one remains in the game, and at some time after getting stuck, one XO returns and the other follows or they do the getting stuck alternately.

With these observations, we now move a step higher in our development. The next weeks will be devoted in discussing the issues observed, refining ideas, adding new ones and coming up with the final specifications. The squinting of eyes to view the picture is now over. Thus, the time to look at the details is here as we start to figure out how we can hack the XO.


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