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Old 17-08-2007, 11:16   #1
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XO, OLPC as a boat computer.

Over the last few years I've kinda been keeping an eye on the OLPC(One Laptop Per Child) project. It's designed to give school children in third world countries a low cost, rugged AC power optional laptop in order to give them a better education.

I really didn't think much of it until I heard about the power requirements for it. The average power usage will only be about 2 watts, with a maximum of I believe 8 watts during heavy usage such as playing videos. It has wireless networking capability and an optional pull cord generator which from what I hear can give reasonable results. (One number I heard was one minute of pulling for an hour of use.)

It's obviously designed for children, but it runs a modified version of linux and I have no doubt that there will be people out there creating new software for it which will give it more capabilities. (Someone has already posted a video online of them playing the game Doom on an XO)

There are now rumors that this laptop will be sold on the consumer market for a slightly higher price with the profits going to provide more laptops for children.

It's not powerful, you'd only be able to play the simplest games on the thing and even watching movies might be a strain on it, but as a word processor, email, and internet browsing computer, it seems like a good idea for a boat. With the very low power usage of about 2 watts, even a small solar panel could provide all the power you'd need for it even if you wanted to leave it on all the time.

I'm just curious about other people's opinions on this idea and if they've heard anything about it or considered the same thing. There are other similar computers of course, but this is the first I've heard of a laptop computer with such a low power requirement.
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Old 17-08-2007, 12:30   #2
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I think for the applications you've mentioned, word processing, email, and internet browsing, it it would be worth a look, simply due to its low power consumption.
The specs says it has a sealed rubber-membrane keyboard-switch assembly, no HD, but does have 1GIG of flash memory and 3 USB ports if one wanted to store more stuff. Since it runs on linux, you can forget about the various Windows nonsense to boot!
They expect a 5yrs lifespan in the hands of children, I wonder what that translates into sailor years?
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Old 17-08-2007, 15:37   #3
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Interesting concept.



One Laptop per Child - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

One Laptop per Child (OLPC), a $100 laptop for the world's children's education
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Old 24-09-2007, 06:44   #4
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Buy two keep one

Developing-world laptop project to let donors buy two, keep one

CANOE -- CNEWS - World: Developing-world laptop project to let donors buy two, keep one
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Old 24-09-2007, 11:02   #5
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Windoze nonsense

Quote:
Originally Posted by Efraim View Post
Since it runs on linux, you can forget about the various Windows nonsense to boot!
Not disagreeing about Windoze nonsense, especially the latest, improved (?) Vista resource hog security blackhole thing. I dearly want Linux to succeed, but once you start working with it you soon see it has its own challenges. The average person couldn't install a piece of hardware without giving up. I'm a certified geek and I struggle with it, though Ubuntu is heading in the right direction. Here's hoping!
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Old 24-09-2007, 11:36   #6
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The core embedded system on my new boat will be a Mac Mini... robust, small, low power, unix-based, reliable and pleasant OS layer, and easily interfaced. MacENC works great for chart work, though frankly I prefer the "appliance" chartplotters for general use, and the system with wireless access point is also a sealed backup and file server for the laptop (normally packed safely away).

Admittedly, it is frustrating that some otherwise generic software is not platform-agnostic; I was recently disappointed that the alluring Navigator's Library is, deep in the fine print and email follow-up, revealed to depend on a windoze-only encryption program to prevent piracy, even though the same material is available elsewhere (though how the products compare in usability, I have no idea).

There is also a somewhat unanswered question about whether the Sailmail software requires native Windows as opposed to the parallels/bootcamp emulations on the Mac - does anyone know? That and some of the more esoteric ham radio software (ALE and "sound card modes") are probably justification for also embedding a mini-ITX (which, in its recent incarnations, is about the tiniest you can get with a fully-capable PC). It will certainly not have network access, though!

Cheers,
Steve
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