They didn't make it here in time for the holidays, but my little people didn't seem to care. Our XOs from One Laptop Per Child arrived today and were instant hits. The kids played for hours, checking out all the cool features—chat, Internet, writing, music, drawing, and the still/video camera. Mom was more impressed than she'd anticipated.
The XO is amazing. These gadgets are just small enough to be easily managed by kids, yet still look like "grownup" laptops. The case is hard and appears rugged enough to withstand my 9-year-old son. And the keyboard is just right for small hands. Amazingly the XO came with only one sheet of instructions—how to turn it on. My 7-year-old daughter had hers going before I had a chance to read even that. There are no instructions because, apparently, kids don't need any. They just boot up and go. That's how well designed the XO is. Every application is represented by a (fairly) recognizable icon, and the icons are always available by minimizing the window. The only difficulty my kids encountered was with the browser. I had to set up the Internet connection for them, but that was pretty easily accomplished by following the instructions on the One Laptop Per Child site. Of course, I explained to my kids that somewhere in the world two other children were also receiving new laptops. Especially at this time of year, it seems important to care about the well-being and future of other people. I hope those children are as thrilled and happy as my kids are. I hope they discover, through the kid-sized window of the XO, a whole new world of possibilities and dreams.