OLPC = One Laptop Per…toddler?

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 🙂


7 thoughts on “OLPC = One Laptop Per…toddler?

  1. Mercurio Rivera says:

    Ha! Those computer-less kids in Third World countries are especially tiny. Everybody knows that.

  2. Matt Kressel says:

    It looks like the old Speak and Spell. Remember those? I say keep it and learn to type small.

  3. Eugene says:

    Bummer. Well, at least you get that free year of T-mobile! I think you should hold onto it for a while, even if you can’t use it. And if you do go with a USB keyboard, that’s still lighter than most laptops, even the ultraportable ones.

  4. Mariko says:

    That is quite possibly the smallest computer I’ve ever seen. Happy New Years Alaya, and while your sister is there tell her if she doesn’t call me soon I’m going to have catch the next plane to DC and whack her upside the head with the Riverside Shakespeare or my newly acquired Norton Anthology of Literature Written by Women.

  5. Ross says:

    Possibly to make it less attractive to adult thieves? The way it looks practically screams out “made for little kids! if you see an adult with this, they stole it from a kid!”

    Also not good for your situation, I suppose…but my 2 year old loves mine!

  6. Mercurio Rivera says:

    Hey! How are you enjoying your laptop?

  7. Carrie says:

    Where did you get this??? I am dying for a computer for my 3 year old… This would be prefect! What is the cost?

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