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Education GNOME Portables Upgrades Hardware

OLPC 1.5 Hardware Upgrades Include Java, Full-Screen Video 67

Posted by timothy
from the wish-I-could-upgrade-an-old-one dept.
griffjon writes "OLPCNews covers the sneak-preview of the updated One Laptop Per Child 1.5 hardware version. The good news is: full-screen YouTube videos, Java, and access to the gnome desktop. Read more about the updated hardware and chipsets in the fine article."
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OLPC 1.5 Hardware Upgrades Include Java, Full-Screen Video

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  • Full screen youtube? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by sakdoctor (1087155) on Wednesday September 09, 2009 @05:22PM (#29371927) Homepage

    Must not be using adobe's linux flash player then. Not even my 2ghz machine can do full screen without the jitters.

    • by Trepidity (597) <delirium-slashdot@@@hackish...org> on Wednesday September 09, 2009 @05:31PM (#29372023)

      It says "full screen video playback", not specifically Flash, so I'm guessing it's some other kind of video that can take advantage of hardware decoding--- probably DVD.

    • by ShadowRangerRIT (1301549) on Wednesday September 09, 2009 @05:31PM (#29372035)
      Well, keep in mind, full screen on the OLPC isn't as big as on other machines. And if their new hardware has a GPU of some sort, some of the decoding and stretching can be offloaded.
      • by noundi (1044080) on Wednesday September 09, 2009 @05:40PM (#29372133)

        Well, keep in mind, full screen on the OLPC isn't as big as on other machines. And if their new hardware has a GPU of some sort, some of the decoding and stretching can be offloaded.

        If you're referring to the screen resolution it's 1200x900 [wikipedia.org] which is well within notebook class.

        • Actually no. That's only in Black and White and without backlight, which is unuseable for video. In color mode and with backlight, it is only 693×520. Not exactly high definition in my book. It was a really crappy design when released, and it still is today. And expensive, if you look at the full cost including deployment and not counting subsidies.
          • by noundi (1044080)

            Actually no. That's only in Black and White and without backlight, which is unuseable for video. In color mode and with backlight, it is only 693×520. Not exactly high definition in my book. It was a really crappy design when released, and it still is today. And expensive, if you look at the full cost including deployment and not counting subsidies.

            There seems to be a twist to it. Check out this section. [wikipedia.org] The pixel allignments aren't conventional.

            A Philips Research study measured the XO-1 display's perceived color resolution as effectively 984(H)x738(V). A conventional liquid crystal display with the same number of green pixels (green carries most brightness or luminance information for human eyes) as the OLPC XO-1 would be 693x520.

      • by Krizdo4 (938901)

        So does this mean I can run Starcraft in full screen stretched instead of windowed with wine?

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by noundi (1044080)

      Must not be using adobe's linux flash player then. Not even my 2ghz machine can do full screen without the jitters.

      Adobe clearly has no interest in the Linux community. Hopefully YouTube will start using the HTML5 tags.

      • by Shikaku (1129753)

        I seriously wish they would implement this already, even if it is only a configuration thing you can enable like you can to always use HQ when available.

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          Well, it's not on all pages, nor is it fully featured, but they do have a tech demo [youtube.com].

          Main missing features are fullscreen video and Theora.

          I'm not sure there's currently any sort of spec for making an HTML5 video go fullscreen. I can see it being restricted somehow -- to a native control, or maybe in the same way pop-ups are, because otherwise, any script could throw up a fullscreen porn ad -- but it seems like a kind of glaring omission to have no support for it other than calling "save as" on the video (wh

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            Interesting little fact, though: The video tag does support data urls. That means a clip can be embedded into the HTML page itself, base64-encoded. I have absolutely no idea why this is useful, but I thought it was cool.

            That, good sir, is the sound of 10s of thousands of hours of video distraction streaming right past office firewalls all over the world...

      • by ianare (1132971)

        They released flash 64 bit on Linux before any other rplatform, so they obviously have an interest.
        The video tag makes no mention of which codec to use, so youtube could use a patent encumbered and royalty-requiring one (H.264).

        • by noundi (1044080)

          They released flash 64 bit on Linux before any other rplatform, so they obviously have an interest. The video tag makes no mention of which codec to use, so youtube could use a patent encumbered and royalty-requiring one (H.264).

          Yes they did, but the 64 bit version was just as worthless as the 32 bit. The Linux community cried for ages before they went from v.7 to v.9 and when 64 bit started to pick up, which happened much -- much faster than on Windows due to the benefit of OSS, there were a few things which kept people back from migrating, and one of these things was flash. People were content because they realised what stance Adobe had. If they chose to do nothing then sooner or later either Flash had to go or 64 bit had to go.

    • by moon3 (1530265)
      Do not forget OLPC screen resolution is very much like 800 x something, therefore they probably mean 1080p video source, but in reality displaying a small scaled-down image only.
    • Whilest the article (as opposed to the summary) doesn't specifically say "full screen Flash video," I will additionally say that full screen Flash video works just fine on my 1680x1050 20" widescreen flat panel on Ubuntu 9.04 64-bit 2.0Ghz dual core AMD when streamed from YouTube. But YMMV.

      • by drinkypoo (153816)

        It stutters on mine even from cache, I have 2GB memory (2x1GB) and an nVidia 8600GT running current binary drivers, using Jaunty. Tried with Swiftweasel and with good old Firefox, haven't had Firefox beat swiftweasel in any department yet though.

    • well then hopefully it can't use Java to run fullscreen Runescape too. The last thing Runescape needs is more 12 year olds lol. Alas, I fear that Runescape in standard def mode is easy enough for those machines to run it :( ahhhhh! *runs away in fear*
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by pembo13 (770295)

      I have used Core 2 Duo machines running MS Windows which show jitters with Flash, I come to assume that that is simply a feature of Flash.

  • by sznupi (719324) on Wednesday September 09, 2009 @05:47PM (#29372253) Homepage

    It's a bit of a shame there will be two vastly different performance levels now, with large number of 1st gen machines excluded from running some of the stuff...especially since they could conceivably do it, given different, leaner software choices at the beginning (say, basing UI on Gnustep/Etoile libraries, Webkit instead of Gecko, packing XFCE in dualboot fashion like Gnome currently is only for 1.5-gen machines)

    • by adriccom (44869) on Wednesday September 09, 2009 @06:01PM (#29372451) Homepage

      It is a bit of a shame, but the work is being done.

      I'm sure we could use more help, so dig in:

      http://wiki.laptop.org/go/F11_for_XO-1 [laptop.org]

      https://www.redhat.com/mailman/listinfo/fedora-olpc-list [redhat.com]

      hth,
      adric

    • by SanityInAnarchy (655584) <ninja@slaphack.com> on Wednesday September 09, 2009 @07:23PM (#29373213) Journal

      What's more a shame to me is just how much this seems to confirm the direction the OLPC has set, ever since they decided they had to support Windows, and then decided they were dropping Sugar.

      Basically, they're moving it less in the direction of being a ridiculously cheap education appliance, and more in the direction of being just a sort of cheap netbook PC.

      Not that there's anything wrong with that, but the netbook market is pretty saturated, and they had a number of things that used to set them apart. By moving in this direction, instead of, say, cheaper, more rugged, more reliable, and improving Sugar, it looks like they're going to be competing head-on with the major OEMs very soon, if they aren't already.

      I mean... I don't know, maybe I'm jaded, but I haven't seen an encouraging OLPC story in awhile now. There just doesn't seem to be anything interesting left.

      • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Your points are well taken, but a couple of counter-points are in order.

        First, Sugar didn't run as well on the limited 1.0 hardware as it might have. Performance negatively impacted basic usability more than it should have. The RAM was particularly limiting performance in my experience. So these changes will make Sugar a better platform without even touching the code.

        Second, the Sugar code (not to mention the underlying OS) *is* being improved constantly. The OLPC organization may not be funding that, b

        • Second, the Sugar code (not to mention the underlying OS) *is* being improved constantly. The OLPC organization may not be funding that, but it is happening. So it's not either fix Sugar OR improve the hardware, it's both/and.

          However, it is still a question of priorities. And the OLPC organization has made it clear that not only is sugar not a priority, but that Negroponte thinks it's a mistake, and wants to see a plain old Windows OS on those laptops anyway.

          the 1.0 hardware had some bugs that kept it from living up to its potential. In particular, the battery-saving micro-sleep thing has never worked well,

          Does the hardware refresh address this? In particular, how does the battery life compare to the original?

          Staying with the mass-produced herd as it improves can be cheaper than sticking with buggy-whips and steam engines.

          Oh, I agree. I can see Apple's reasons for choosing Intel, for example. It's Worse Is Better [jwz.org] at work.

          But just as with Lisp and C:

          The lesson to be learned from this is that it is often undesirable to go for the right thing first. It is better to get half of the right thing available so that it spreads like a virus. Once people are hooked on it, take the time to improve it to 90% of the right thing.

          A wrong lesson is to take the parable literally and to conclude that C is the right vehicle for AI software. The 50% solution has to be basically right, and in this case it isn't.

          So, the question is, is this new hardware

      • by westlake (615356)

        Basically, they're moving it less in the direction of being a ridiculously cheap education appliance, and more in the direction of being just a sort of cheap netbook PC.

        To get to the "ridiculously cheap" appliance you need to sell more than 1.4 millon units. One Laptop Per Child [wikipedia.org]

        OLPC began as take it or leave it bundle of hardware, software and a constructivist philosophy of education straight from the western media lab. The education minister was expected to sign the purchase order, not to question the un

  • by spiffmastercow (1001386) on Wednesday September 09, 2009 @05:59PM (#29372413)
    That's gotta be a first... Well, knowing Java enthusiasts, probably not.. But building hardware to fit Java is like building the horse to fit the cart.
    • Plenty of cell phone handsets were designed around running java hardware, and part of the BluRay hardware spec was making sure players had the processors and memory to run java.

      • Plenty of cell phone handsets were designed around running java hardware, and part of the BluRay hardware spec was making sure players had the processors and memory to run java.

        Yes, I get this, and I was being sarcastic.. Though I guess it doesn't show through with no tone of voice attached. But actually implementing Java in hardware would involve designing a microchip that could run Java bytecode. Hence the "building the horse to fit the cart" comment in GP.

        • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

          by Anonymous Coward

          Say hello to Jazelle. [wikipedia.org] Though from wikipedia it seems to do some translation between the bytecode where necessary.

          • If I could, I'd mod you +5 informative. It's still not a complete java implementation, but definitely more hardware acceleration than I expected.
    • by owlstead (636356)

      AFAIK VIA does not produce any Java accelerators for their processors (and I keep a close watch on them). So in general I think they just get much better speed, which in turn will make running Java desktop applications much more bearable. The overhead of Java is not so noticeable on current desktop processors, but one something like the XO 1.0 it's a different story.

    • by drinkypoo (153816)

      It's not a first, but you're right about the cart and horse thing. SPARC hardware in particular has been altered to be faster running Java.

  • ...computer hardware gets faster. Yawn!

  • Then why doesn't someone shoot the submitter who said "full-screen YouTube videos" instead of "full-screen Flash"?

    I mean, firstly, most people in developing countries need YouTube like your average insane asylum needs flower wallpaper - it just doesn't fucking matter, and it's stupid to boot. Secondly, we're geeks. We're supposed to be accurate. Of course, I would say that someone need full-screen Flash about as much as I need another night in the drunk tank. It might be interesting for a little while, b

    • by orasio (188021)

      This video shows some XO's maintenace tips.

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ns4RgDBPR80 [youtube.com]

      If you search "Plan Ceibal", and skip the lots of promotional videos, you will see some examples of youtube being of use.
      "Youtube videos" are more important than "flash" video, whatever that means, h.263, h.264 or some other codec. If they are able to use youtube with the new tag, it's just as useful. The thing is being able to play full screen internet video, a function the device has, not a technological spec of the hard

      • by painehope (580569)

        As I avoid try - not completely successfully, but better than most people, I believe - Youtube like the plague of idiocy that, by and large, it is, I'm not aware of them using anything other than Flash. And given my recent research into how to build home-made tattoo guns (not the cheap "get an electric toothbrush and..." crap, but actual hand-crafted professional-grade tattoo guns, as my recently departed roommate is a tattoo artist) as well as videos linked to from certain (non-technical, more sociopoliti

        • by orasio (188021)

          I don't believe in charity either. Plan Ceibal is a social program funded by our government, not charity.
          There are lots of volunteer work that help a lot, but the main effort is government-funded.

          What I mean about features vs specs is that Youtube is a real measure of the hardware capacity.
          Every portable media player can play some kind of video, in some widespread codec.
          Being able to play full screen Youtube videos is more important than being able to play H.264 MKV files at 12 FPS FULL HD, because most peo

          • by painehope (580569)

            Apologies for the late reply, had a lot going on. Okay, I get your point. I was just seeing things from a radically different angle. You see, I don't watch television. Never really have. Yes, I watch movies for entertainment, but any serious information I want, I go find the appropriate book, make a pot of espresso, sit down, and start reading.

            So to me, Youtube is not a big deal. I'd rather read an article on hpcwire.org, clustermonkey.org, or on /. (to give you examples) than watch Youtube. It reminds m

  • Perhaps another G1G1? I've always wondered, since the design was completely open source, why some clever person didn't just order a few thousand direct from the manufacturer, and sell them?

    • I've always wondered, since the design was completely open source, why some clever person didn't just order a few thousand direct from the manufacturer, and sell them?

      They wouldn't let anyone in the first world order them (except through G1G1). Asking people to buy one for the price of two is a bit much for most. They probably would had greater volume had it been G0.25G1.

      • by orasio (188021)

        They didn't ask people to buy, they offered them for a price. Here, in the "third" world, we are used to paying double for stuff that is cheap in the "first" world. It's called logistics. It's cheaper to sell 100000 for 200 bucks than 1 for 400.
        If you buy them by the tens/hundreds of thousands, and not for resale, you get a special price.
        If you just want one, the unit cost is much higher, it implies expensive logistics, warranties and stuff.
        I don't think they got any money from that G1G1 program, probably t

  • I just found this! [laptop.org] Even though I know the machine isn't targeted at me the XO-1 design seems horrible, even when ignoring the estetics. But this one seems very interesting! If it turns out this way it is absolutely something I'll consider purchasing! The idea was buy one sponsor one, but who felt they wanted an XO-1? I'll gladly sponsor an XO-2, given that this will be the result, more or less.
  • Why are these hardware updates again?

  • I'm sure we could use more help, so dig in..thanks for the post
  • I just cannot get excited after participating in the g1g1 program the first time around. I was significantly unimpressed by virtually every design decision in the first machine. Given enough time, netbooks will come down and eliminate the OLPC IMHO.

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