Thursday, April 24, 2008

Today's Presentation at Sun

Finally, the big day arrived. My OLPC wiki presentation.

When the day started, I wasn't feeling nervous. Not nervous at all. A bit worried though. Worried that I did not plan out a good presentation, since at that point, I didn't. I've noticed that I'm better off contemplating the ideal statements and ideas that I would like to showcase, and then a little while before going up, writing out a brief outline. Detailed outlines tend to confuse me because I then try to stick to them, but with a simple outline I'm free to stray a bit and still give off something good. At home I grabbed a quick meal and went off to Mouse. It was there that the outline was born and here it is.

Introduction to the project
Why we started it.
The goals

Start to show the layout of the wiki.
Talk about navigation, the difference from Getting Started and How To.
Talk about how the page looks when we set out to edit the wiki.
show some example pages.

Videos - talk about how we went about creating them. The three or so day progress. the editing. then show the videos

Pass out the OLPC and have then try out a tutorial.

Speak about how I reflected upon the OLPC project on my blog.

Talk about what i plan to do to get more action out of the olpc community.
I want to start sending out letters, be more active in forums and other blogs centered around the project.

See what I mean? Just little notes to help guide me along. Anyways, after maybe a half-hour or so we all left to head up to the offices. I had a very interesting conversation about colleges and how all of this work can help me out on the train ride up there - gave me quite a few ideas to try and attempt to but into action what I won't bore you with the details with (not yet anyways...).

When we finally got to the place, we were given our passes and were lead to the room. The room itself was fairly large. An "L" shape formation of tables towards the front, surrounding the projector. Also kind of entrapping whoever was up talking by not giving them much places to escape to (not that I was having any thoughts like that...). After the initial setup, which included finding out that the computers there could not load my videos, we were all set to go. I had asked the people at Sun to go see if they could find the connection cord for my Macbook to their projector and someone happily went off to find one. After all, someone in that building had to have a mac...

Now since I was going second, I sat back and watched my friend go up and do this thing. A little ways into his speech, I had received the cord that I needed and continued to watch, and as I watched I scribbled down some more notes for myself. It was around then that I little fit of nervousness began to creep up into the pit of my stomach, but I was able to keep it under control by a mixture of ignoring it at some points and acknowledging it at others - the last thing I needed was a distraction. Anyways, my friend had finished his excellent address of his project and it was finally my turn to jump into the fray.

After an introduction by Carole, detailing what OLPC was all about and the numerous things that I've done with the machines, I opened things up by asking for a guinea pig from the crowd. I saw them up exchange anxious glances across the tables and watched them offer each other up. All of which was funny to watch and served to help relieve some of my own anxiety. When someone had finally allowed themselves to submit, I had her come up and try to open to XO. And what a sight that was. She had started off pressing areas of the computer that should thought buttons should be, fliped it over, messed with the battery a bit, and so on and so forth until she finally gave up. Her successor was not much better, but I believe that she had manged to pull down the ears - the first step in the sequence. (I forget who it was that tried asking the computer to open...) But it was the third person who got it. And this person had happened to be a 10 year old girl. Now, I had orignally stayed away from calling on her for a reason - my plan was to give the adults an untempered shot at figuring it out, and then when they failed, I would pick on one of the kids who happened to be there to wow everyone. Now the little girl came up to the table the XO was on, stood in front of it, looking down with a thoughtful gleam in her eye and...

Picked up the laptop and preceded to shake it.

At that point, I saw my vision of the perfect launch dashed out of existence. The look on my face must have been similar to one a person might don if they had, lets say, beckoned their cat over to them quite possibly to play with it, only to have said cat, in one mighty and sheer random heave, leave a hairball in their lap. Disappointment does not begin to cover it, that semi perceived betrayal of my expectations. The little girl continued to take stabs at it though, refusing to give up and she did, in time, manage to open it - thus saving and consequence restoring my hope for my demonstration.

The rest sort of just feel into place after that. I carried on and finished sans showing the videos I made - the connection cord just was not the right fit. The resulting conversation we all had afterwards gave birth to many ideas, some of which may end up being explored here should I get the time.

I would like to express my thanks to Sun for allowing us to come, to the audience for showing up, and to Mouse (especially JB) for the help on the project.


  1. I heard things went really well--and this post confirms it. I find that most of the preparation for a presentation is done long before the presentation. You've lived with the XO, learned it and documented what you learned for others. I'm curious--of all the aspects of the project, what did you enjoy doing the most?

  2. hmm. I think i liked the exploration that was needed before I even got started with writing. Being able to play with the fairly new technology before most people could make me feel as if I was going into unchartered territory. In my own mind, the exploration felt as if it took a whole new noble life on its own ~ therefore, the wiki and everything else are like my footsteps in the snow, tracing where I've been.