Prologue of elf's OLPC Journal


Mon Nov 12 22:17:27 2007

As promised by an earlier email confirming my registration into the Give 1 Get One program, I received an email on November 12 about how to order an One Laptop Per Child laptop. So I ordered one.

The first problem I encountered was that Canadian provinces weren't listed in the drop-down menu on the Paypal site. So, I thought I would be clever and added the province after the city. On the folling page, the site warned me that I hadn't filled the province field and supplied the proper drop-down with Canadian provinces listed. I then submitted my pament successfully.

Only then did I realize that the province appeared twice in the address and that the postal-code was wrong. Argh! I further realized that there was no way to fix it since I didn't create a Paypal account and there was no way to cancel the order and re-order either.

So I logged into #olpc on and pointed out the Canadian province oversight and my quandry. cjb said someone would fix the first problem and that I should email paypal at for the second problem— I did so.

By 10PM I hadn't received any reply so I mentioned this on the chan and I got a helpful suggestion from bemasc about calling olpc at 1-877-70-LAPTOP.

Update Tue Nov 13 11:52:23 2007: I called the LAPTOP number and was told to call OLPC Customer Service at 1-800-201-7144. I am currently on hold with a single-song loop interrupted by, "Thank you for calling, please hold for our next available agent." The song can best described as a synthesized piano playing a 4-note tune in a minor key with an improvised coda, backed by synthesized bongos and strings; think 1980s Frank Mills. Finally talked to Christine at 12:15 and got my postal code corrected.

Udate Tue Nov 13 23:20:04 2007: There was supposed to be a confirmation email, but I haven't received one. The mail logs show nothing, other than the 2 announcement emails I have already received. Comparing this with Amazon's ordering system, the OLPC ordering process is quite amateruish. They should have hired Amazon to handle the logistics of ordering and delivery (when I mentioned this on #olpc, I received a cryptic, "Maybe we tried." response.) I was told that a company called Brightstar is handling it instead.

Joy of Tech


Thu Nov 15 12:23:44 2007

Confirmation Email

Thu Nov 15 21:52:49 2007

I just received a confirmation email about my donation and the amount charged to my credit card. The email was a single paragraph of HTML with an attached image. Lovely.


Mon Nov 19 09:41:33 2007

Some good news from Jim Gettys:

<jg> eidolon: whether one is going to get a system by xmas depends on three things: 1), the presumption that g1g1 orders are first come, first served, [it is] which I expect is a decent one, 2) the number of orders by a particular day, 3) the number of machines Quanta can manufacture and ship in time. From what I know, you have a decent, but not certain chance.

<jg> then wish Quanta great luck in ramping production. The good news is that the suspend/resume problem we've been fighting (and which had been causing us to be reluctant to really greenlight production) has been found: it is embedded controller firmware (fixed in next update...). [09:22]


software security

Tue Nov 20 23:39:03 2007

We have set out to create a system that is both drastically more secure and provides drastically more usable security than any mainstream system currently on the market.

With users as young as 5 years old, the security of the laptop cannot depend on the user's ability to remember a password. Users cannot be expected to choose passwords when they first receive computers.

Bitfrost the security system built into each OLPC. It was invented by Ivan Krstic, who is featured in the Google Video, with contributions by Simson Garfinkel.

OLPC Ad, Demo and Review


Wed Nov 21 18:48:01 2007

This TV ad aired yesterday during a football game; and this is David Pogue's review of the OLPC. He shows the trick to opening the laptop; the Google video mentioned that when adults were given one, they couldn't figure out how to open it; the kids figured it out in 5 minutes.

Ivan Krstic does a more detailed demo at SIGGRAPH 2007; the startup of the camera application took a surprisingly long time— about 20 seconds. I asked about it on #olpc and they have, "vague ideas but no conclusive evidence", why this is the case.

Deadline Extended


Thu Nov 22 12:15:01 2007

Businesswire is the first to report that the Nov. 26 deadline has been extended to Dec. 31, to give organizations more time to plan in purchasing bulk orders. People ordering during the extended period will get their laptops beginning in 2008.

According to the release, orders have averaged $2M per day.

"A Little Laptop With Big Ambitions"


Sun Nov 25 08:16:24 2007

There are no signs that Mr. Negroponte's project is in danger of fading away.

WSJ article summarizing the siyution so far, including competition from Intel and MS.

From its inception, One Laptop Per Child posed a threat to the personal-computing dominance of software giant Microsoft and chip maker Intel. Mr. Negroponte's team, drawn from MIT, designed a machine that didn't use Windows or Intel chips. It uses the Linux operating system and other nonproprietary, open-source software, which users are allowed to tinker with.
Last year, Intel, which normally doesn't sell computers, introduced a small laptop for developing countries called the Classmate, which currently goes for between $230 and $300. It has marketed the computer aggressively, although it stands to make little money on the initiative. But it hopes to prevent rival Advanced Micro Devices Inc., or AMD, whose chips are in Mr. Negroponte's competing computer, from becoming a standard in the developing world. ...
last month, an Intel representative gave a PowerPoint presentation to a Mongolian official that offered a "head-to-head comparison" between the Classmate and the One Laptop machine. Intel claimed the Classmate prevailed in nine of 13 categories, including processor speed and support for different operating systems, a copy of the presentation indicates.
Mr. Negroponte says he complained to Intel's chief executive two weeks ago, then "made peace." Intel and the One Laptop project, he says, have agreed to work together to design by early January a new "Intel-based" One Laptop device.

There is also an article, in Spanish, that claims the Intel Classmate costs $500 in Argentina.

One Beer Chiller Per Child


Mon Nov 26 21:35:17 2007

<olpc_wad> Damn.  The USB beer chiller won't run on a stock XO. I'll have to mod 
           the USB power switch.
<jg> olpc_wad: how much power does it want?
<olpc_wad> USB 1.0, 5.75W 
<e1f> wow. you're going to need a bigger boat
<olpc_wad> But it doesn't cool to optimum drinking temperature, only 45F
<mburns> One-USB-Beer-Chiller-Per-Child?
<jg> I thought we could put out that much power; just we'd have to 
     take some of it from the battery.....
<olpc_wad_> The XO can handle it, but the overcurrent protection will kick in 
            at 5W. Not to worry, simply populate R281 with a 120K ohm resistor

OLPC in Nigeria

Wed Nov 28 18:58:21 2007

BBC has a story about a 300 laptop trial-run of the XO in Nigeria. It also has a video of the Yo-Yo Charger.

Shipping Information


Fri Nov 30 15:20:15 2007

On Tuesday, I received an email from informing me that, "the first phase is expected to ship out just prior to the Holiday's (mid December). The following ship times can range up to 4 months. We will be using UPS as our shipping carrier."

A few days later, a webpage was posted with more details about shipping (however this information only applies to U.S. orders.)

Donation Date Scheduled Delivery Window
Nov 12 Dec 14-24
Nov 13-15 Dec 17-31
Nov 16-26 Dec 26 - Jan 15, 2008
Nov 27-Dec 31 Early 2008

Boston Globe Report

Sat Dec 01 21:23:23 2007

The Boston Globe has an article about the latest numbers of laptops sold including news about the lawsuit by a Nigerian fraudster who likely studied law at Dr. Mbongo's School of Jurisprudence.

The Globe estimates 190,000 sold via the individual G1G1 program, no estimates on the G1GM (Get 1 Give Many) program. Peru has ordered 260,000 and a Mexican millionaire has ordered 50,000 for Mexico.

First Deployment

Sat Dec 01 22:32:53 2007

Ivan Krstic has a journal of the first deployment of the OLPC in Uruguay.

Unboxing Pics


Wed Dec 05 18:47:57 2007

Unboxing slideshow of a develper program XO laptop.


Sun Dec 09 17:56:16 2007

The laptops should begin shipping tomorrow (Monday). They have been in Chicago (at a Brightstar warehouse) for about a week, being loaded/upgraded with the latest OS build.



Thu Dec 13 17:58:07 2007

The G1G1 website (and Sugar) was designed by the excellent design firm Pentagram.


Fri Dec 14 22:33:28 2007

XO laptops began shipping on Monday and several people on #olpc have already received theirs (there seems to be a cluster in MA, but that could be just because people from MA are hanging out on #olpc). There are however a few hiccups like one laptop that was DOA, and one laptop that arrived in an empty box.

OLPC Office


Sat Dec 15 21:14:07 2007

<bernie> posted some pics of the OLPC office. Note the the cable-management system installed in the ceiling, the wheelchair accessible kitchen sink, the bare walls of the reception area (I offered some of my paintings) and Chris "emacs is my desktop" Ball's Cinema display.

Still Waiting...

Thu Dec 20 23:08:49 2007

A rather unflattering article about OLPC in Macworld.

The Canadian Situation

Fri Dec 21 14:21:36 2007

Oh Canada... We at OLPC are very sorry about the Canadian shipment situation: we underestimated the time it would take us to fully work out the import duties and taxes and we were not clear in our communication to you. We apologize for everyone with a child who will not receive a laptop this year. You can visit the website to download a gift card that lets your child know that an XO laptop is on its way; it is obviously not the same as a laptop, but we hope it helps in some small way. We are working on the logistics of getting XOs to Canada: everyone should have their XO in the January/February time frame. The team at OLPC wants to thank everyone who has thus far participated in Give One Get One. Thanks to the generosity of Canadians, more than 4000 children in the least-developed countries will be receiving laptops in early 2008.

—Walter 20:39, 20 December 2007 (EST)

Like I said earlier, they should have contracted Amazon to handle the shipping, rather than a "global logistics company" called Brightstar.

Update Mon Dec 24 19:57:40 2007: I received an email from explaining the situation as summarized on the wiki.

Intel Quits


Thu Jan 03 21:31:17 2008

Intel quit the OLPC board after reject a request to abandon it's Classmate PC and back the XO instead.

Overwhelming Success

Mon Jan 28 18:13:30 2008

On Sunday Jan. 20th, I sent an email to the OLPC service department asking for an update for my order. I received an auto-reply that was tagged as spam, by Spamassassin, that a response would take 3-5 days. Today, 8 ays later, I received a reply telling me that, "due to the overwhelming success of the G1G1 program", I will be receiving an email before my laptop ships and that the shipping dates have been "extended".

Not impressed in the least.

Update Mon Feb 04 18:36:46 2008: Rich Burridge cancelled his order. Sad, but understandable. I've stopped caring about my order.

luis fernandes / OLPC Journal / Last Modified: Fri Mar 07 08:52:09 2008