So, at precisely 2:45 this afternoon, the FedEx man pulled in front of my apartment building and delivered the package that I’d been awaiting with about as much patience as a kid getting a Wii for Christmas. My very own OLPC XO laptop! It should have arrived five days before (a series of holiday screw-ups at the FedEx location in the Bronx) and so I practically pounced on the deliveryman as soon as he walked through the door. I dropped to the floor, tore open the tape and packaging and dumped the grail to the floor.
My, I thought, that looks…small.
Right around now, all of the members of my writers group will be crowing “I told you so!” Okay, I knew what the “C” in OLPC stood for. But I had read that the keyboard would be only 20% smaller than a normal-sized keyboard. My hands are tiny, I thought, no problem. And look at all the countervailing awesome: a spinning monitor that can fold back into a tablet for reading ebooks, 17-hour battery life, a screen that goes black-and-white for easy reading in daylight, water and damage resistant casing…I mean, it seemed like the perfect travel laptop!
And all of that stuff is still great, only I have one problem: I needed a travel laptop to write. And by write, I mean type on a keyboard upon which I don’t have to squish my fingers together and practically roll them back and forth to reach adjacent keys. Holy crap that keyboard is small! It must be half the size of a normal one. When they said this was designed for children in third-world countries, I assumed that they wanted almost all children to be able to use it. But plenty of eight and nine year olds will have hands too big for this thing. And I just feel sorry for the tweens. (Pictures below comparing it to a regular keyboard)
I guess I could get one of those folding portable keyboards and connect it with a USB. But that seems to sort of defeat the purpose of a lean, mean travel-typing machine. Should I sell it on ebay? Learn to type small? Endure the friendly cackles of my writer’s group?
Well, I think I gotta do the last one no matter what 🙂