Teacher Training Starts – Technical Notes

I will be writting alot about this weekend’s 4-day teacher training program. We are training 24 teachers from Bashuki and Bishwamitra schools and roughly 7 individual from Nepal’s government education bodies.  Here are just some quick technical notes. The Classroom Setup The Classroom Setup. We have the teachers facing each other just as we want the students to face each other in the classroom. This will reduce the risk of XO’s falling forward off the front of their narrow desks.

School Server Setup

That’s the Library server on the left and the XS on the right. Less than elegant I admit.

It’s 2 am and we're tired

It’s 2 am Saturday morning and teacher training Starts in 6 hours. Saurav and Sulochan reflect.

Power is the bane of our existence. Not just generation but distribution as well. Xoctoplug, We need you now! After that, XS instability, particularly EJabberd and the networking. Neither Sulochan nor I are expert linux sysadmins, so problems that may be simple for experienced linux sysadmins are quite difficult for us. We have start the ejabberd service manually after the XS starts up. Jabber sometimes does weird stuff that confuses me (by iracema).  I have had to restart jabber twice because the sharing didn’t appearto be running properly. Chat invitations didn’t seem to show up. The problem might not have been in jabber but in my overrall ignorance about these systems work.

Distributing Power - What a mess!

The AZTech WL830RT4 wifi router wasn’t up to the job. It couldn’t support more than 25 clients when we tested it on Friday. We had to go back to using the Active Antenna. Hopefully the Deliberant access point that Dev chose will be able to support 70 concurrent users.

Random hardware failures are very frustrating – XS hardware, switch, etc. Nothing to do w/ E-Pustakalaya software – Apache + PHP + MYSQL + FedoraCommons – or the XS software but the poor quality of hardware available on the local market I don’t understand IPv6 and at this moment and it is hard for me to tell which ipv4 address my XO is using. This just adds to my general technical confusion.

Our awesome photo + math game always generates an out of memory error. Squeak gods, please help!

Looking at the top command, only about 45 MB of memory free for activities, system svcs take up 205 MB of memory QA and imaging the XO’s was incredibly time-consuming. It took Sulochan and I much more time than we thought. During the QA process about 4 XO’s out of 45 failed. Two XO’s had jumpy touchpads that jumped to the right-hand corner when you released your finger, one XO had a touchpad that only allowed vertical movement, and one I couldn’t get to boot at all. At first the XO had a screwed up display that was all fuzzy. Rebooted once, back to normal for about 20 minutes of use. Then the screen went fuzzy again. Rebooted and on reboot it failed to boot at all. Hopefully I can fix the touchpad problems by pestering Richard Smith, my favorite Tennessean.

OLPC hardware and UI are incredibly well thought out. Hardware usability is fantastic. Sugar requires optimization esp. in loading activities and closing them. they run fairly well once they start, excepting our own EToys-based activities that have persistent memory issues.

 All in all, things are going really well. These are just the technical gripes, many of which I hope to solve before April 24th when we give the kids their XO’s.

1 Response

  1. Bishwa April 23, 2008 / 12:57 pm

    Nice info folks!!!
    Where are you testing this guys?

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