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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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  • by Trepidity (597) <delirium-slashdotNO@SPAMhackish.org> on Wednesday September 09, 2009 @04:31PM (#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 SanityInAnarchy (655584) <ninja@slaphack.com> on Wednesday September 09, 2009 @06:23PM (#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.

  • by Abreu (173023) on Wednesday September 09, 2009 @07:18PM (#29373643)

    If you browse YouTube, you will find out that a non-trivial percentage of the videos are uploaded by school kids all over the world (yes, including developing countries)

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 09, 2009 @07:54PM (#29373889)

    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, but it is happening. So it's not either fix Sugar OR improve the hardware, it's both/and.

    Third, as some ex-OLPC'ers have said on Slashdot in the past, 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, and that was supposed to be a big innovation. (That was a chipset or microcontroller bug IIRC.) Apparently the video has had problems also. (A problem w/ Geode itself I gather.)

    So this hardware refresh sacrifices a potential lower cost
    (how much, I wonder? *) for some real usability improvements
    for Sugar.

    * (The cost savings of keeping things the same may not be as much as you might think. Obsolete DDR for my old PC costs way more than DDR2, e.g.. The Geode is EOL, so no "free" MHz improvements via Moore's Law. Etc. Staying with the mass-produced herd as it improves can be cheaper than sticking with buggy-whips and steam engines.)

  • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Wednesday September 09, 2009 @09:04PM (#29374323) Journal

    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...

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