OLPC Sighted in the Wild

Last week we brought the OLPC’s to Kenneth Hahn Park in Baldwin Hills.  The computers played a limited role of documenting the hike through the park in pictures.   The kids were surprised to learn that there were a number of edible plants like pink pepper and fennel/lincorice.  There was also some  wild cotton, sage, and California sagebrush, a.k.a. Cowboy Cologne, a number of bugs, and sweeping vistas of the city.

View above La Cienega

All the pictures above were from the OLPC.  Below are some others from phones:

TamTamMini, TamTamJam, SynthLab and OLPC at Audubon Middle School

I went in to my first day volunteering at the Famli after school program at Audubon Middle School knowing very little about OLPC, so I asked the kids to show me their  favorite programs.  TamTamMini and TamTamJam were two of the programs they showed me and it was pretty impressive how much they already new about the programs.  I was a little frustrated because on the OLPC there are no help pages incorporated with the applications (there is documentation online, but I was looking for the familiar help on the menu bar).  But soon after I was pressing random buttons and clicking things and figuring things out like a kid. I also played around with the synth lab b/c the icon (sine wave) caught my dsp (digital signal processing) attention.  This application I understood better b/c I’m familiar with dsp and I worked on the clam project which uses a similar network metaphor for the signal processing components.

For all the benefits of the hands-on approach, the programs have complexities that really require some explanation.  Caryl, to the rescue, provided me with some useful links that I will post here for future reference.

The following link is a video that introduces TamTamMini.  The main non-intuitive thing was which keys on the xo map to which piano keys.  Also I noticed that the version on the video seems to be different because on my xo there’s no sound patches from synthlab :

The following link is a wiki page that gives an overview of this family of programs (TamTamMini, TamTamJam, TamTamEdit and SynthLab):


The following link has kids giving a recital using TamTamMini:

The following has an orchestra of xo’s… Hey where’s my lab coat?

Well, I think it will be fun playing with these programs with the kids.  Some of them already play instruments and music is a part of Torre’s curriculum.  I think that once I figure out SynthLab, I’ll be able to explain some acoustics and phonetics to the kids.