Archive for August, 2007

OLPC review by a 12 year old; XO speed

Ed Felton’s blog features a review of the OLPC XO written by a 12-year-old. Amazingly literate – we mustn’t discount the intelligence of kids! I really think the OLPC project will have results far beyond expectations.

The main negative issue that “SG” mentions is the speed:

My main problem with this laptop is how very slow it is. It’s true that I am used to faster computers, but that’s not the problem. It’s just really slow. I had to wait two minutes to get onto one application. That’s just a little longer than I can accept. Also, it got slower and slower and slower the longer I went without rebooting it. I had to reboot it all the time.

It was confirmed that the machine reviewed was a B2, and I agree they are very slow, especially with the latest software. I’ve got a B2 and a B4 (much closer to the planned Gen1 version) and did some quick side by side tests to show how much faster it has already been made.

Both machines are running build 542, the Trial 2 milestone build.

Switch on to “home” screen:

  • B2: 128 seconds
  • B4: 72 seconds

Launch “Write”, the AbiWord version for Sugar:

  • B2: 25s
  • B4: 9s

Launch “Web”, the browser:

  • B2: 39s
  • B4: 14s

So fortunately that issue has already been addressed. I was interested to see the opinion of a non-adult on the keyboard:

my favorite part of the computer: the keyboard. It’s green rubber so that dust and water won’t get in under the keys, and this makes the keyboard an awesome thing to type on. Every time you hit a key, it provides a certain amount of satisfaction of how squishy and effortless it is. I just can’t get over that keyboard.

Pretty much all the adults I’ve heard comment on the keyboard disliked both the size of the keys (too small) and the tactile feedback. Great to hear from someone closer to the target audience… Incidently, the B4 keyboards are definitely better than the B2 keyboards – on the B2 I had to press the keys hard to make sure they registered, whereas the B4 picks up my typing without missing letters.