Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Happy New Year from a small green keyboard in the sun!

I've returned to my oldest existing blog space to test the OLPC XO laptop and its browser (called "Browse") as tools for blog posting and editing. If you're reading this, the combination of XO and online editing works... and may inspire me to use this blog (or this one) more than my "main" one called Other Journalism, which depends on software that I've stuck with for years, but that isn't available for the XO.

The experience: I started writing this while sitting on my sunny back porch with the XO screen in "reflective" mode, which seemed appropriate for a New Year essay inspired by this New York Times article. The sun felt good and the screen was perfectly readable, but windchill affected my typing fingers enough to drive me indoors.

Even with cold fingers, I seem to be getting used to typing on the little green chicklet keyyboard. While it's too small for 10-finger touch typing, I've found a modified six-finger approach works. My breakthough was deciding to leave my thumbs out of it and assign my right index finger to the space bar. The six-finger "home" position that works for me is adf lkn (instead of asdf ;lkj). My typing teacher back at Post Junior College would be horrified.

Back to the business of blogging, which generally involves linking and quoting as well as typing one's own thoughts and observations:
  • The XO can open more than one Browse activity at a time and can switch between them with a press of the alt-tab keys.
  • Copy and paste work between those pages, so I was able to insert the Times link above and a block of quoted text from the New Year story that inspired this whole exercise.
The ideal New Year’s Eve party would come with a psychological voucher, redeemable the next day for a post-mortem session with friends. A chance to relish the night’s humiliations, take bets on who went home with whom, and nominate the guest most in need of therapy, present company included.

An opportunity, that is, to forestall the traditional morning-after descent into self-examination, that lonely echo chamber of what should and could be.
For me, this XO blog examination was sufficiently therapeutic... lonely echochamber or not... Now, off into the new year...

(Note: I was able to add text attributes like italic, the bullet list and color using Blogger's "Compose" view of the page, but did most of the writing and editing in "Edit HTML" mode, because the rich-text "Compose" view renders the XO browser's I-beam cursor invisible, just as it does in in Gmail's rich-text view. I suspect the XO Browse team has that on its bug list. I came back later and added the XO image, as well as deleting some stray space around the indented paragraphs.)

Monday, December 31, 2007

One Laptop Per Child blogging

I just remembered that the template I was using for this blog is similar to the color of my new One Laptop Per Child xo computer... Maybe that's a sign that I should do some blogging with and about it here...

For now, I've mostly been posting in olpc forums and bookmarking pages, including some good YouTube videos, at http://del.icio.us/bstepno/olpc

I also tried using the xo browser with WordPress at my other server-based blog, Red Liner