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XO Laptop
olpc : by Tommy - August 16th 2007, 10:15PM
Well the wait for me is over, less than a month after getting the emulator running on my home computer - I got my hands on an actual XO laptop!

Last week I officially joined the OLPC developer network and told them I would be trying to get some ham radio software ported to the XO. Because the applications can be resource intensive, especially when dealing with a 433MHz Geode processor, the OLPC dev team saw fit to send me an actual machine to test on. Thanks guys!

As for a review of the machine, it really is an amazing machine. All of my friends here in Longview that have seen it were all equally impressed with its construction, feel and size. (It's very solid, even if it does look like the malformed offspring of an iMac and Fisher Price toy.) If you want to read more about the hardware specs you can check out the OLPC wiki, to read about the software being developed, you can start with the wiki page on Sugar. The screen is really amazing for it's size and cost. The "dark" mode (for use in the sun) is incredibly crisp and clear. I tried out the PDF reader with the screen turned around like a tablet PC in the sun and it was as nice (if not nicer) than reading on a nice LCD indoors.
I'll post a full review of it later as I learn more about the machine both inside and out. I also hope to let a few grade-school kids try it out for a day and get their thoughts.

For now, you can check out a couple other pics I have of it here and here.

And those of you that still haven't a clue what I'm talking about, you can read my other posts on the One Laptop Per Child project.

Continue reading...

( Comments : 2 | Full article )

Virtual Sugar
olpc : by Tommy - July 29th 2007, 012:05AM
This one was just too cool to wait. For those of you that know, I'm quite pumped about the One Laptop Per Child initiative.

I've written about it in the past, as I write this I have a couple of links in the shoutbox. The most notable one is that prospect that the XO laptop will be commercially available for Christmas 2007. By who? How much? Nobody knows. I do know that I want one.

The XO Laptop uses a custom-rolled distribution of the GNU/Linux system with an overlay known as Sugar. Although Sugar is specialized for the XO hardware, you can install it over a linux setup, or try out a pre-configured virtual machine image (if you use VMware Player or the like). There's even a walk-thru to get you acquainted with Sugar's interface. It took me all of about a minute to point and click my way around before even looking for a guide.

UneasySilence has the links to the files needed to run an image of Sugar.

( Comments : 5 | Full article )

Beautiful Code
books : by Tommy - July 6th 2007, 05:40PM
I just received a hot-off-the-presses copy of the new O'Reilly book, Beautiful Code. The book is a collection of some of the foundational blocks of code that has defined modern programming with each entry being discussed by one of 38 master coders in today's market. The expert takes into account the block of code, walks us through the code and explains the elegance of the code as well as the when/why of how rules were bent to make the code magic.

Believe it or not, it's not simply another boring textbook with a few comments written by experts. This is more of a commentary on programming by some of today's leaders. A great read that I'm going to enjoy.

( Comments : 0 | Full article )

TCEA Conference 2008
neodux : by Tommy - June 22nd 2007, 03:23PM
The time has come It's still quite a ways off, but and I wanted to share the news that I'll be presenting a lecture on PHP at the TCEA annual conference in February. The Texas Computer Educator's Association is a training and advising organization for Texas computer teachers.

My lecture/workshop will focus on PHP and its use in the classroom (specifically high school). I cut my teeth on PHP years ago and I really feel like it is a great way to introduce programming concepts. Instead of the student having to learn a language as well as learn to use an IDE. Instead of fumbling with source, executables, libraries and somewhat cryptic IDE debug messages, PHP allows you to just 'run the source' and instantly you see the fruits of your programming in your web browser.

I think web scripting is also becoming much more relevant than it has been in years past. Instead of making those dumb, boring "cin/cout" programs, students can create dynamic pages for themselves or the school. After learning the basic syntax of C-style programming students are better equipped to move on to Java or C++ after they grasp the basics with PHP.

I'll post more details about the lecture as they emerge, possibly post my Powerpoint slides for your review.

update: My presentation is February 7, 2008 at 4:00p in the Austin Convention Center.

( Comments : 8 | Full article )

Reply to Comments
neodux : by Tommy - June 10th 2007, 12:09PM
Alright, we're all set. You can now post comments in reply to another user's comment. Right now I'm only allowing one level or reply. I might go deeper in the future, just depends on how much use this feature receives. Feel free to comment or reply to someone's comment!

( Comments : 14 | Full article )

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