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Hands On With One Laptop Per Child's XO

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OLPC

There's been quite a fuss made over the XO, developed by Nicholas Negroponte's One Laptop Per Child (OLPC). The OLPC vision was to design a low-cost, but powerful connected PC in order to provide kids all over the world with Internet-power. OLPC wants to sell the XO, in bulk, to third-world countries.

At first glance it looks about as garish as those plastic-y toys with chips from companies like LeapFrog and VTech. According to the site, the brightly colored X and O on the cover of the computer are supposed to look like a body inside a mind, but to me it looked like a game of Bingo. Call me crazy, but I expected a PC that was out to change the world to have a bit more gravitas.

Next, I found out that you need to be either Hercules or Houdini to open the case of the XO. Three of us sat there idiotically poking and stabbing at things but the clamshell seemed to have a death grip. Finally someone discovered the key: Locating the big green antennae on the side and flipping them up releases the entire machine.

The keypad—a lime green membrane keypad—feels great, even though it has some bizarrely-labeled keys unique to the OLPC.

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