Saturday, December 29, 2007

Flash process simplified

After many hours spent on IRC, we have simplified the instructions for adobe flash to two simple commands:
su -
rpm -i

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Update information for "normal" users

I looked at the information on the wiki about updating the OLPC's software, and saw no info targeted for the G1G1 users. I thus decided to take the initiative and write my own (very) short instructions on how to update from stable to stable for "normal" users at the wiki.

These instructions work for all the users who have G1G1 laptops (build 650 or later), and do not work for earlier versions. People with legacy builds should try the Autoreinstallation image instructions.

Friday, December 21, 2007

DC XO Learning Club meetup!

On Wednesday, I went to the first meetup of the OLPC Learning Club. It had a great turnout with the official count being at 42 people.(however, some people came after that count was taken.) I talked with many great people from both the enthusiast and volunteer expert sides of things.

Pictures can be found here: (my flickr account is mattva17a)

Thursday, December 20, 2007

XO's in Iraq

I went to an XO users meetup in D.C. on Wednesday , but I'm still trying to get some background info for some of the stuff I want to discuss in that post. So today I'd like to share an article that that my Dad, who is currently at the US embassy in Iraq , sent me.He works with some of the people who are supporting the XO project in Iraq, so I'd like to draw attention to their efforts.


It's an very encouraging sign for both the country and the XO project!

Monday, December 17, 2007

Top10: Mesh Networking

Here's a bunch of tips to make mesh networking smoother,screenshots to be added when I figure out why my camera appears to be using the old "plug and pray" methodology.
  1. You must go all the way out to Neighborhood view to view local XO's at first. To get them into friends view you have to invite them first(right click, then "invite")
  2. Any activity you start will show up in th neighborhood or friend view as the activity ivo with a xo icon next to it.
  3. Active Antenna can be used as wireless repeaters as long as they have power.
  4. IMPORTANT, setting up a mesh network near a AP with WDS can wreak havok, check your AP settings first.
  5. The mesh can be connect to by normal computers by accessing the ssid "olpc-mesh", however depending on your wireless card this may not work or will crash your computer.
  6. If any computer in the mesh has internet , they can all get access to it.
  7. The school server can use the mesh to distribute software (to be tested)
  8. Mesh traffic can be filtered ,but its not something a novice user should attempt.
  9. Mesh networking uses the 802.11s draft standard, which many new AP's and cards have partial support for.
  10. Though work has been done, I still find the mesh to be power hungry, plug your XO in while using it.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

More flash test results, and other random mutterings

As of joyride 1405, using the instructions at the wiki causes Browse to crash upon loading of any page with flash.

I have tested all of the recent versions to see if flash had made a regression, but no version of flash9 will run after 695.

For some reason, WPA still is finicky. Some keys work, but when they are changed, the laptop stops working.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

State of flash support

Here is the status of flash support on serveral XO software builds :

Build 625 (Gnash support out of the box(no GV), Flash installable but slow,Increase in speed with config file changes)

Build Ship.2 (Gnash support out of the box(no GV), Flash installable but slow,Increase in speed with config file does not work )

Latest Joyride (Gnash support out of the box(no GV), Flash install breaks web browser?(luke,edit with more specific infomation)

A weekend update post with more information is forthcoming.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Bugs, bugs, and more bugs

Sorry I haven't posted in the last few days, I have been busy finding bugs and reporting them.
Here's a summary of a few:

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Networking QuickTips

Here's a couple of things to try when connecting to encrypted networks on the XO:

  • Be very specific about your encryption type, the XO's network autoconfiguration needs some work
  • On a WPA network ,if you have an key that looks like a password, select ascii for the key type. If it looks like a long random sequence, it is probably a hex key.
  • On a WPA network, I have had improved success by entering the full hex key, even if the key is normally a string (I will edit this post with a link to a converter , can't find it ATM)

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Weekend Update

This weekend has been filled with both successes and failures:
  • Got wireless working at school 100% of the time for the XO
  • Simple games work in gasp at an acceptable framerate
  • Nasty black box is partially fixed in gasp.

  • My solution for efficient flash payback does not work in latest firmware

Goals for next week:
  1. Flash!
  2. Simple p2p gasp games between XO's
  3. Increase WPA networking success rate to above 50%

Friday, November 30, 2007

QuickGuide: Changing the Language to English

Although not obvious, it is fairly trivial to change the language of the CLI on the XO-1 in the pre-joyride builds.

  1. Switch to a developer's console via Alt + =
  2. Change to root using su - root
  3. nano /etc/sysconfig/i18n
  4. Change the LANG to "en_US.UTF-8"
  5. Reboot
For a permanent solution, see the wikipage on tag editing.
Now, although part of the initial boot sequence may still be in the previous language, the terminal and sugar will all be in English.

To change the languge in sugar, use sugar-control-panel

New XO

Thanks again to Micheal Connet and Julie Fletcher over at Nortel for providing us with another laptop.A post on some networking experiments will be forthcoming.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Gasp running on XO

Here is a quick pic of gasp running using the developer terminal.
As you can see it creates an activity window that fills the screen, but does not fill it, leaving black space. A solution may be to change the default screen size in gasp.

QuickGuide:Renaming your XO

As requested, this is the fastest way I have found to rename the XO.

1.Open up the developer console (Alt-= on mine,may be different on others)
2.Go to the terminal
3.Open the file ~/.sugar/default/config with your favorite CLI text editor
4. Find the line that says nickname and edit to it your liking.
5.Restart sugar (ctrl-alt-backspace) or restart the computer
6.Voila, the laptop is now renamed!

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

QuickGuide: Installing a XO activity using removable media

Here's a quick tutorial on installing a package from a usb thumbdrive or sd card:
  1. On a computer with internet access download a .xo package onto your removable device.
  2. Insert your usb drive or sd card (usb ports are under the "ears, sd slot is on underside of monitor)
  3. Wait a minute for the device to mount.
  4. Using the web browser activity, go to "file:///media"
  5. Find your device and click on it.
  6. Find the package and click it. The main Sugar frame should come out , then hide again.
  7. Wait a minute or so , and your activity should appear in the XO launcher.
  8. Enjoy

Results from first day

The XO seems to have some strange issues with my wireless at home and I was only able to get it online for 30 minutes but in that time I learned several things.
  1. You can share activities across the whole Internet
  2. Google Video does not work (due to gnash lacking .flv file support apparently) Maybe I can install regular flash?
  3. Normal computers can connect to the XO's mesh network (though it crashed my network card after a while).It shows up as "olpc-mesh"
  4. Support for WPA appears to be very finicky
After trying for several hours to get it back online, I decided to try a firmware upgrade using a USB thumbdrive.At first it was giving me an error about "wrong machine type" but I found that taking it in 2 firmware steps worked fine.

Then I decided to start messing around with gasp , and I figured out several things
  • In some areas of the system ,gasp works just fine natively but if it is part of an activity it needs(or rather pygame does) the olpcgame wrapper.
  • Its better suited for building activities then being an activity itself
  • Someone has already mentioned gasp as a useful game development tool on the game development page (this certainly was not me)
  • Pippy example code would be really sweet.
Then ,just for fun , I decided to find out if it was possible to get activities installed without internet access.The answer is that yes it is possible,but you still have to go trough the browser(only to your usb drive instead of a website).So installed Sim City, which runs great.
Of course the nostalgia ran out in about 10 minutes,but it was still fun.

Well, hopefully I can figure out my networking issues and dig deeper into this great device.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Introducing the XO

Thanks to Jeffrey Elkner,Micheal Connet and our friends at Nortel for allowing me to test the XO laptop and attempt to get some of our learning activities working on it.

Information on the laptop
Color: Green(only color available at the moment)
Hardware Revision: B4-15
Software Revision : Unknown now(but working on it :) )

Current Plan for first day:
1. Change language to english
2.Investigate Pippy
3.Attempt basic gasp compatibility (draw a window. or activity)
4.Check out some of the basic networking capabilities of the XO