punkwalrus (punkwalrus) wrote,

OLPC Part 10: More software tests

I still steal some time to work with the OLPC software. I also got a chance to let two of the Heare kids, Scarlet and the K-man, work with it. Scarlet , who is 9 (and a half) took to it very quickly. Her brother, age 6, took a little longer. SR immediately started with the Paint program which I had not actually given a strong look at yet. While I found a lot of Linux controls familiar (like the color picker), SR didn't grasp that right away. Most of the time she was drawing lines and filling them. Also, like everyone else, she found having an additional mouse to be essential.

I also tested this as a "working laptop" at Katsucon, and found the laptop to really be lacking in these kinds of features. Speed is the biggest problem, especially when switching applications. Also a mouse is even essential, and with or without a mouse, the XO Sugar frame, which is activated when you touch near corners, keeps showing up because it's kind of trigger happy. But that's like claiming a child's trike is ineffective as a hauling device; it's simply made for a different purpose and target audience. But this is for those people who think this would make a great laptop for writing a novel and browsing the web at Starbucks. Get an Asus EEE PC, or even better, save an older laptop from being tossed, load Linux, and have fun.

Make no mistake, this is more of a "toy," or a tinkerer's delight, for me. That being said, let's look at what I did with my cool-ass toy in the last week.

Turtle Art:
This reminds me of the old "Logo" program I worked with way back in 1981, and then again in 1988 when I got my AtariST. You have a figure, or a "turtle," who leaves behind little lines. You get the turtle to move and leave lines via commands, and thus draw shapes. But it's got a modern twist: the steps for the OLPC are arranged like puzzle pieces (it used to be command line only back in the day, like "forward 4; left 5; run" and so on).

I have found this to be kind of fun. The biggest issue I have is you only have two variables (Box1 and Box2). I recall my "peak" with this program was with the ST, when I made a spirograph-like series of steps. I still have not replicated this with Turtle Art, but I just got a spiral, so I am a few bored moments with the OLPC away from making one.

This is fun, but gets old quickly. The accent is British English, so it says, "Heh-loh SCAH-Lett" instead of "Hel-lo, Scar-let." You can adjust the pitch, speed, and face. I recommend the slower speeds and lower pitch, otherwise the British English is almost indecipherable.

Some other things I did:

Using Google Mail is slow. Also the cursor does not appear in the text boxes, so you are not sure where you will start typing. Paint is extremely slow and jerky when drawing circles and squares, often making you create a square or circle bigger than you intended. I finally got my 8gb HCSD card to "stick" in the slot and not loosen itself, so it shows up upon boot.
Tags: computer, heares, olpc, scarlet
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