I had the opportunity to bring an XO computer home from work – it belongs to Jim, one of the software engineers we have working at CORE. Apart from my personal fascination with finally getting my hands on one of these machines to play with, I was keen to see what my youngest kids would do when I let them loose on it. They were (predictably) intrigued, and intuitively began exploring the different things they could do with it. My son became very engaged with eToys, using his experience with Scratch to quickly work out how to programme a simple object to behave in various ways, while my daughter quickly mastered a number of the simple maths and language activities. I was impressed with just how quickly and easily they found their way around the interface and were able to work out how to access the different programmes and dimensions the XO has to offer.
The thing that impressed me the most was how easily the XO could identify and ‘map’ the various wireless access points it found in any particular location in a visual ‘mesh’ network neighbourhood. I simply located our home wireless access point on the mesh, clicked on it and entered the password and “hey presto” – I was connected to the internet! The other thing that had me really impressed was something that isn’t a part of the regular install of and XO – Jim has managed to install a copy of eXe on his XO and get it working! Now that’s impressive.
Like all good things, however, this comes to an end – I’ve had to give it back as Jim travels back to Gisborne tomorrow.