[OLPC XO] Connecting to Network [Part 4]

Jan 24, 2008
Nikkei Electronics Teardown Squad
Connecting to a WLAN environment. WLAN spots within range are indicated as circles.
Connecting to a WLAN environment. WLAN spots within range are indicated as circles.
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Starting Browser. Japanese fonts were not displayed.
Starting Browser. Japanese fonts were not displayed.
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Gmail. Despite the strange display of Japanese, it was sufficient enough for email.
Gmail. Despite the strange display of Japanese, it was sufficient enough for email.
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Google Docs. It was sufficient as spreadsheet software, but a dialog box for data saving was unavailable.
Google Docs. It was sufficient as spreadsheet software, but a dialog box for data saving was unavailable.
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Zoho Writer. It could display a caret, but text decoration was unavailable.
Zoho Writer. It could display a caret, but text decoration was unavailable.
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Zoho Sheet. The file name can also be specified in this screen.
Zoho Sheet. The file name can also be specified in this screen.
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We moved to an environment where we could connect the XO to a wireless LAN (WLAN) and studied its networking performance. We set up the WLAN so that it did not hide the ESSID because, otherwise, we would have had to manually set up the network connection.

We clicked the "Neighborhood" icon to access a wireless infrastructure mode network, not a mesh network. The circles with key symbols represent networks protected by WEP keys. If you click on a network and enter your WEP key, you can establish a connection to the network.

We started Browser to see if the XO can display Japanese. In the photo is our Tech-On! Website. As you can see, the Japanese is obviously not displayed correctly, which shows that Japanese fonts are not supported as standard.

The XO does not display flash content by default, which is probably to avoid the playback of large-volume content assuming that the XO will be used in environments with unstable network access.

We went to YouTube to confirm whether the XO can replay flash video, but the computer could not easily complete the download of the considerably large volume of content, immediately hanging as we attempted another operation. For flash content playback, the XO features an open-source flash player called Gnash as standard.

Then we examined if office-related online services were available. We tried Gmail first. The software appropriately displayed the mailbox and emails in it. We could also smoothly compose an email in plain text mode after turning off the rich formatting capability. But once we activated rich formatting, which allows HTML mail editing, we could not see where we were editing because the caret was not displayed.

We moved on to Google Docs, trying to compose a new word processing document. It was working all right on the surface, but the caret was not being displayed when we looked at it closely.

This phenomenon was similar to what happened in Gmail. It was hard to see where we were editing. For this reason, the software appeared to be virtually unusable. This was too bad because Google Docs had no other significant problems.

The software also could not process and display a dialog box containing commands to change file name, for example. We guess it was because Sugar uses the "Matchbox" window manager, which is not a multi window system.

The same as these applications, Google Spreadsheet also had no problems in ordinary use. The software, however, could not display a dialog box for specifying file name when saving the file. Although it does not matter when editing a file sent through an email, for example, not composing a new sheet, we had the impression that Google Spreadsheet was slightly awkward.

We tried another service, "Zoho," for a change. "Ziho Writer" word processing software displayed a caret. On a closer view, however, layout-related capabilities were unavailable. In addition, as Google Docs, we could not find a screen for file name specification when saving the file.

In the case of Zoho Sheet, however, we could name and save a file because this software had an area for file naming in the same screen. In this manner, depending on how the service is designed, we could use some software applications without any significant trouble.

Through these results, we found that Browser's JavaScript compatibility seemed to be quite high. It was worth adopting the same rendering engine as Firefox. It is only that Browser does not allow any operations based on capability to display dialog boxes, due to the window system's limit.

Moreover, Browser could render flash content, but we felt the processor was a little underpowered when processing large amounts of data such as video.