G1G1 Canadians Are Humans, With Kids Too

Canada xo delivery

As Canadians we don't get to use the OLPC tax deduction unless you have USA income, but that's ok because we believe in the project.

We can't utilize the T-Mobile Hot Spot service unless you drive to the Ottawa or Hamilton airports, but that's ok because we believe.

But, to be discriminated against based on nationality on a project of international scope is wrong. OLPC is losing goodwill at a massive rate. It is unfortunate that OLPC set our expectations so high and did not follow through. It is becoming apparent that OLPC did not even attempt to send out the Canadian orders on a first come first serve bases.

I have personally stopped lobbying our Provincial and Federal governments re. OLPC in Canada and have put on hold a local school fundraising program centered around OLPC.

Here is what I do know:

  1. You can get a ten digit tracking/order number (70000xxxxx) from the OLPC service line (1-877-705-2786)(about an hour hold time). This number can be used in the FedEx Alt.Tracking web page. However, I have yet to hear of any Canadians who can find their XO in the FedEx system.
  2. Brightstar, the distributer for OLPC, is unaware of any Canadian shipping instructions from OLPC.
  3. Nobody that you can get to on the OLPC phone system knows anything about shipping to Canada.
There is no question that there is a massive communication problem within OLPC. Despite me being extremely polite the OLPC phone reps are getting rude and short and have not been truthful.

Today I was told that we would have our XO's by the 24th. However, they need to be shipped now to clear customs and Brightstar knows nothing of our orders! I am waiting for a call back from a supervisor. However, in the two weeks that I have been pursuing these issues I have never received a call back.

If you have any Canadian success stories post them. If you know anybody at OLPC call them. It's time to go to the top. John Roese CTO Nortel (Ottawa) is on the OLPC board maybe he can explain to OLPC that Canadians are humans, with kids too.

Update: From the LaptopGiving website:

Shipments to Canada will be in early 2008. We sincerely regret the delay. We are currently working on more exact shipment dates for Canada, and will post as they are determined. We thank you for your patience.
TNT wrote this in the XO Shipping (Canada) Forum and Eden thought it was worth highlighting on OLPC News.

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As another canadian donator for the G1G1 fundraiser for OLPC I can understand the feelings here. I did plan on donating on the first day, but due to several payment complications, that stretched out to about day 5.
I personally don't expect this thing to arrive until at least february.. however in a fortunate turn of events I'll be working in Seattle. Perhaps I can claim a tax deduction. At least my donation will go towards a good cause, and I'll eventually get a little toy to play with and hopefully develop some games :P

I sympathise with your frustration but how does stopping your advocacy for OLPC in Canada help your case?

People are losing sight of the whole OLPC plan.

First off, the laptops are for THIRD WORLD CHILDREN, not employed, well off Americans and Canadians. The Give One Get One scheme had a purpose and it wasn't to put laptops into the hands of those that for all intents and purposes don't really need them - in fact could probably buy themselves a decent laptop without even a second thought. How many people did G1G1 for their own kids sake?

What about pure donations to OLPC? Why not just give $400 to OLPC? If you consider yourselves philanthropists and went into G1G1 with pure intentions then it really does not matter WHEN you receive your donation gift!

I'm starting to see why Negroponte was hesitant to let the general public get their hands on XOs.

This Canadian guy should be ashamed of himself.

I disagree with the previous poster. The OLPC project is really for kids in the third world, but people who donated to OLPC with the expectation of receiving an XO by something like the projected delivery dates aren't being unreasonable -- that was the agreement after all. Further, it sounds to me that TNT's gripe isn't so much that he has to wait for his XO, but that Canadians are being unfairly ignored by the OLPC order fulfillment process.

And as far as I can tell, they are.

"This Canadian guy should be ashamed of himself."

Really? I wonder how the American buyers would feel if they shipped to Canada first, and left EVERY American out in the cold, with no information whatsoever. That is exactly what is happening to the Canadians.

It's easy to point fingers, when you at least have a chance to get one. Plus the tax deduction. Plus free wireless.

It would be easier for us to swallow if they were only sending machines to the third world. But the American consumer as well? At our expense?

Put yourself in our shoes.

If OLPC can't pull this off. What says they can accomplish the bigger problems??

This to me is a call for more information. The XO laptop is going to children around the world so they can learn and share information. OLPC is open-source and they have shared so much information about the project already on their wiki site. But their customer service reps seem to be in the dark. Not every donor to the program is perfectly altruistic. I daresay some might be half supporting the project and half just anxious to explore this novel little laptop themselves. A little more disclosure from OLPC would solve so much right now.

I'm not sure why anyone thinks just being Canadian means they're being discriminated against. I was one of the USA people who ordered on the first day and I *still* have not gotten mine. I finally broken down and called FedEx today and found out that it is supposed to arrive tomorrow. Other than expectations, I'm not sure why anyone thinks they deserve a shipment by the 24th. If you participated simply to use the XO laptop as a Christmas gift, you're in it for the wrong reasons. The only reasonable complaint to have about late shipments is that they should not have charged credit cards at the time of the order if they couldn't meet the demand in a timely manner.

"I'm not sure why anyone thinks just being Canadian means they're being discriminated against. I was one of the USA people who ordered on the first day and I *still* have not gotten mine. I finally broken down and called FedEx today and found out that it is supposed to arrive tomorrow. Other than expectations, I'm not sure why anyone thinks they deserve a shipment by the 24th"

You don't get it, do you? There is no shipping schedule to Canada. Meaning, there is no shipping to Canada. Period. And no info either. Anywhere! Complete "night and darkness".

Now, I'm very happy you'll be getting yours in a timely fashion. But not one Canadian will. And, if you didn't care about getting your machine, why did you call FedEx instead of waiting patiently?

As I said, we would be happy to see ALL machines go to the third world. But shipping to only the American customers, with no thought to "that crappy nation to the north"?

Funny? That's how it looks and is.

The issue isn't late shipments for the Canadians, it's a total lack of communication. We Americans have at least been given delivery windows to anticipate, and the Canadians have got nothing.

Personally, I think that's bad business, and unfair. (And I'm another American who has yet to side hide nor hair of my G1G1D1 donation; because, it turns out, my shipping address was somehow deleted and they apparently thought that if they just ignored it, it would magically fix itself. Good thing I called.)

And yes, when a company says to expect something between the 14-24th, I do think I deserve a shipment by the 24th, or some damn good answers. This whole shipping thing has been a total debacle; and a big smear on the face of a good idea.

Thank you to all our American friends who do see something wrong with not having a glimmer of an idea about a shipping schedule. The lack of information from the OLPC and the distributor, Brightstar, is very disturbing.

> I sympathise with your frustration but how does stopping your advocacy for OLPC in Canada help your case?

It may be an indicator or organizational issues, in which case it is hard to recommend the OLPC for programmes within Canada. For example: first nations communities that are about as well off as some of the less developed nations. But if the OLPC foundation is having trouble getting their act in order to communicate what's happening and fulfill deals in a timely manner, other options should be examined.

> The only reasonable complaint to have about late shipments is that they should not have charged credit cards at the time of the order if they couldn't meet the demand in a timely manner.

This may be deeper than 'meeting demand'. There may be regulatory problems that are preventing the shipment of "consumer" XO laptops to Canada. In which case there may not be an opportunity for both ends of the deal to be upheld. Of course, maybe Canadians were just put at the bottom of the queue and their end of the deal will eventually be fulfilled. But the lack of information is leaving many of us wondering if they will end up breaking their end of the deal.

THE LACK OF INFORMATION IS THE PROBLEM. For some of us, getting our laptop a few months late is not a problem. As long as we know that both ends of the deal are going to be upheld. There has been no indication that this will be the case.

(And, as was mentioned earlier, Americans would be bitchin' and moanin' if the position of Americans and Canadians were reversed.)

The first time I called I found the representative rude. I realized she was lying since she claimed that Canadians had got laptops, among other inaccurate things. Later I called two more times and found the representatives to be kind and honest even though they had no information for me.

My take is this: No communication. Lots of misinformation. No updates. Throughout this whole process we have been promised to be kept in the loop, but at some point that promise was not kept. There is no schedule for Canada. Nothing. And they say it's first come first serve when it isn't.

Why shouldn't I be insulted by the way this has been handled? Of course I am keeping it in perspective. All I want is a little lovin' here... tell me what's happening and when things are going to get done. That's all I want.

"Really? I wonder how the American buyers would feel if they shipped to Canada first, and left EVERY American out in the cold, with no information whatsoever."

I'd feel a little bummed, but since I'd received notice that a laptop was already on the way to the third world, the main purpose of my donation was already accomplished. Receiving a laptop for my own use is icing on the cake, for however long it lasts.

"It's easy to point fingers, when you at least have a chance to get one. Plus the tax deduction. Plus free wireless."

If you'd read the fine print on the donation page, you'd have seen that the tmobile service was offered only for the US; it is unreasonable to complain about the lack of tmobile support in Canada. It's unfortunate that a Canadian wireless company didn't come forward to offer a similar offer for those North of the border. And strictly speaking, since laptops are going for more than $400 on ebay, I shouldn't really claim the $200 donation as $400 (donation) - $400 (fair market value) = 0. Only heaven knows what the fair market value of an xo laptop will be after the G1G1 offer is over.

"It would be easier for us to swallow if they were only sending machines to the third world. But the American consumer as well? At our expense?"

I'm guessing that Americans, seeing others use these delightful toys in coffee shops, are more likely to go into debt and fund more olpc's than folks in Canada. (You don't hear news reports about Canadians driving the world economy by loading up their credit cards. ;) )

So, instead of seeing a valid communication problem here, you would rather argue uselessly, and insult us? Merry Christmas to ya.

OLPC is an International project. It just happens to have started in the USA. Thus, it is easier for US residents to donate/receive XO laptops than those in other countries. If this project had started in Spain, for instance, those of us in the USA would have the same problems that those in Canada are feeling.

Please don't fault the USA. Is it our fault that someone in our nation formulated this project? I think not.

Indeed, I donated on the first day. And on Saturday, I did receive my XO laptop. Still, I had no expectation of receiving it by Christmas (despite the promises), and was looking toward the greater good. I just wish that everyone could remember that G1G1 is an altruistic--and not hedonistic--program. Whether day one or day thirty; Canadian or from the USA; and all the rest of the complaints. Your XO will come. This is certain. Even more certain is that the one you donated will soon be in the hands of a deserving and thankful child in a developing country...and THAT is the whole point of this project.

In this season of GIVING, and dare I say of Christmas, please keep in mind the bigger picture. Yes, Santa will eventually come to you, but has the OLPC love actually been released from your heart?

My (sarcastically) favorite part about all of this is the judgmentalism going on. I know that's not a word, but everyone seems to want to be pointing fingers--accusations of discrimination against one part of North America or another. Claims on all sides of lies, deceit, rudeness!

This is terrible. Our rich, (culturally) white sense of entitlement has run amok here. This isn't Apple or Dell you're accusing of being crappy to customers and the people who are upset here at OLPCNews are involved in this thing which means they're also not bad people.

We all need to calm down and get perspective. We're doing this program not because we wanted a cool little laptop for Christmas. We're doing it because we believe in the OLPC concept.

I mean, *really*--threaten your support of the program because they fail to get your laptop to you in a timely fashion and have been less than communicative??? Glad to see you're so willing to sacrifice for your fellow human.

This sense of entitlement kind of makes me want to puke. "How dare they ignore Canadians/Californians/Floridians/Day-1-Donors/etc!"

Yes, they've screwed up royal--something is severely wrong here, but acting self-righteous and holier than thou tends to alienate people, not appeal to them.

To be perfectly honest, we should all feel honored that we've been lucky enough to take part in this program at all. I'm not saying we shouldn't feel frustrated--we were promised something and it's difficult when promises are broken--but for crying out loud--be a little mature about it!

Hopefully, OLPC has learned their lesson and will be more communicative. If not, contest your payment with the bank and go find another charity and/or laptop to drop your cash on.

This isn't an iPod you're waiting for--this is a computer that can change the world. Be a little patient with the folks that made it and they'll get you your damn XO. Have the faith you had in them in the first place. It's not like what they're trying to do is easy, right?

You guys STILL don't get the point.

There is no shipping schedule for Canada.

Thus, there are no shipments to Canada for an indefinite period of time.

And no one with information.

Our collective orders are on hold indefinitely, with no recourse to anyone, including OLPC, because even they do not know. Brighstar is not informing them, either.

Poor business practices are just that...

But thanks for the holier than thou comments from people who at least HAVE a shipping schedule. It's so easy when you're not on the short end of the stick.

Merry Christmas to you all.

I really feel for Canadian donors. I'm frustrated by the lack of communication, and at least I know that XOs are arriving in my country.

Most complaints aren't about whether the laptop will arrive by Christmas, but whether the laptop will arrive at all. Like many American donors, ALL the Canadians are just left wondering right now: maybe OLPC lost the order; maybe OLPC can't mail it to their location; maybe they'll all ship across the border next week without notice and end up stolen off of porches. (No signature required and there's a big laptop on the box... Durr.)

This program is an excellent, beautiful, wonderful idea, and I really want it to succeed, but the implementation has been downright embarrassing. Most people would be satisfied if OLPC just posted their current status on their 'progress' page. As it is, we don't know when to call, what to believe, whether they've learned from what went wrong, or how to babysit shipments. OLPC customer service seems just as frustrated as the donors. I bet they don't have any information to give us.

This is bound to shake donor's confidence that OLPC will be able to deliver hundreds of thousands of laptops to remote areas of the globe. It definitely shook mine. I mean, if they can't even get them sent to Canada....or communicate with donors... how are they going to help children in developing nations? Will my donation actually allow an under-privileged child somewhere have a chance at self-education and collaboration, or will my donation be used to pay for distribution fiascoes?

I hope OLPC lets us into the loop soon, or this project could fail before it's begun.

I ordered on the first day and I really hoped to get one in time for my trip to New Zealand on Friday, but it doesn't look like it's going to happen. I assumed that orders were just slow to go out and that because of customs and such I wouldn't get it in time, and I was ok with that, but now that I know the extent to which this seems to have been mismanaged, I can't help but be a bit upset about the situation.

Thank you Kityoko! That is a well worded post, and express our sentiments to a T!

I personally have donated six, inclusive my one G1G1 (On the first day). I could have ordered all of them as G1G1, but it is not the machine I care about, compared to the project. Thus, it's sad to be considered greedy and selfish because I ask for help, and information.

God bless. :)

Wow is the FUD flowing strong here. It's just amazing that not getting enough information has been embellished into what must be some dirty secret deep in the bowels of the OLPC project. For the last time, Canada isn't being treated significantly different than the USA itself. Even *we* aren't getting information on our shipments, and I never recall there being a *guarantee* we'd be getting anything in time for Christmas.

Your shipment is going to be later than expected. Boo hoo. So is mine. Like I said, the only problem I have with it is how quickly I was billed for what wasn't sent. I couldn't care less which country got their shipments first so long as there is every indication that shipment *are* being made. It's going to take more than some empty space under a few trees to spin this into a scam. It really makes me wonder if some of the naysayers involved aren't actually astroturfing for the Eee and Classmate camps.

Finally an update regarding G1G1 shipments to Canada:

"Shipments to Canada will be in early 2008. We sincerely regret the delay. We are currently working on more exact shipment dates for Canada, and will post as they are determined. We thank you for your patience."


I don't know if this info was a result of this thread, but at least OLPC is now communicating with Canadian donors.

Merry Christmas & Happy Holidays!

"I couldn't care less which country got their shipments first so long as there is every indication that shipment *are* being made."

- The point is, there is no indication that shipments are being made.

"Like I said, the only problem I have with it is how quickly I was billed for what wasn't sent."

- We haven't complained about paying money. But you have.

"It really makes me wonder if some of the naysayers involved aren't actually astroturfing for the Eee and Classmate camps."

- We're all liars and agents with an agenda? Have some common decency. Who spat in your soup?

"Finally an update regarding G1G1 shipments to Canada:

"Shipments to Canada will be in early 2008. We sincerely regret the delay. We are currently working on more exact shipment dates for Canada, and will post as they are determined. We thank you for your patience.""

Hoorah! And three cheers! Info was all we asked for! I'm certainly happy now!

God bless you, Awong! I had written to John Roese's blog earlier (Nortel's OLPC board member from Ottawa). I hope that helped as well. :)

Hi Brian!

Look on the bright side - if the wait is long enough, we might be getting XO's for our "kids" (I admit I'll be playing with mine - it's the big kid in me) with Update.1 and/or firmware updates! Cheers!

Hi Awong!

Thank you so much again for posting that update. I feel sooo happy to be back in the loop again! *Doing a Snoopy dance now* That's all we (I) wanted for Christmas :)

I have no kids, but I'm thrilled to be helping kids with this fantastic program! What a great opportunity for all of us!

So, yes, I'll be definitely fiddling with mine as well. I'm such a geek,that I really want to write software on top of the Open Firmware, in Forth. Looking forward to many happy days, as I hope the kids have. :)

Cheers! And my best wishes to you and yours, my friend!

P.S. I'm a Toronto lad. You?

Hi Brian,

I hail from the West Coast (Vancouver), so although we're combatants in Sports, we're OLPC buddies! When Canadians start getting their XO's, it will be nice to have user groups and maybe we'll meet in the network neighbourhoods!


I'm sorry you're going through this--honestly I am--I'd be frustrated, as well--and I agree that the situation is seriously screwed up. I just don't see how acting the way you are is helpful to Canada's XO situation.

I feel like you're treating a non-profit like a for-profit. You're threatening to stop supporting the great work they do because they screwed up with Canada. You seem to be accusing them of a conspiracy to defraud Canadian donors.

I feel like you're going to do more harm than good for yourself and other Canadian donors.

I wish you luck, regardless. I have faith that OLPC will get you and other Canadians your XOs, eventually. I'm just worried that your attitude and the attitude of others who agree fully with you will help OLPC decide not to extend the G1G1 or bring it back. I'm hoping they'll learn from their mistakes and do a better job for the next wave of shipments. Personally, I think the XO can change the entire world, not just the 3rd World.

One thing to remember is that OLPC is an educational project. As such, they don't have a commercial department or help desk service. So, I'm not surprised at all that the G1G1 process is shaky : this is simply NOT their usual "business". (They still could have done a better job in communication, that's true.)

I don't think that we can draw conclusions about "how will they distribute millions of laptops". AFAIK, the purpose is to have local governments or agencies to take care about the distribution process, it will not be a job for OLPC...

Merry Christmass to all, and especially to the poor OLPC staff who have to endure angry phone calls.

PS: I'm a Belgian who ordered via a Canadian friend. I expect to receive my laptop not before June '08...

"the purpose is to have local governments or agencies to take care about the distribution process, it will not be a job for OLPC"
Luc, you cannot trust local governments and agencies. You never heard about bribes and corruption ? I am among those who think OLPC has to be more serious and efficient. The present situation is unstable (they change their mind all the time). We have a school project in north India but I am reluctant to go for OLPC for these reasons. Implementing our own solution with (for example) the EeePC looks a more serious solution.
P.S. : I am a belgian who ordered through a US relative. (Do you feel this is normal that NGOs have to use tricks and the G1G1 program to get their hand on one sample of the XO ? I don't).

-> to Luc Bollen
Are you involved in some NGO work ?
Feel free to contact me through our website :
Maybe we can share ideas.

@Marc Valentin

My comment was not about how things *should* be organised, but about *how* they are currently organised: "Don't expect to have a first class commercial attitude from an organisation that is anything but commercial".

This being said, OLPC will perhaps benefit from reviewing the way they are organised. The project started with a social and educational objective. To make it a success, a better organisation and a more commercial attitude will help, and is probably needed given the competition that appears now (EEE, Classmate...)

PS: no, I'm not active in NGO projects. But I wish you success in your projects in India.

I am also a Canadian donor and I am glad they have at least given us a rough estimate of schedule. I wasn't sure if I should be hoping each day it would arrive by magic or if I would have to wait another few weeks. It makes it a lot easier to wait when one has a rough idea of schedule. I agree with others above it is more about having the "information" than the actual unit!

I regularly donate to NPR.

One year, they didn't send me my free mug... for six months. It got lost, or they had too many orders, or they ran out and had to reprint them, or something. I'll never know-- because they never communicated what the hold-up was. They didn't post anything on their web site, they didn't send me an e-mail, NOTHING.

Naturally, I launched a smear campaign about how much NPR sucks and how they are obfuscating, poorly organized liars. To this day, I can't hear Carl Kasell's voice without a shiver of rage running down my spine.

Happy Holidays, everyone,

Yeah, that mug comparison sure holds up! I bet your children were quite sad when they didn't get their mug under the Christmas tree.

This kind of thing is exactly why I imagine the OLPC project was reluctant to sell to western consumers. Because of this donation program, people now see the OLPC project as an online store they can order laptops from, and when the service and "purchasing" experience isn't as good as amazon.com, they get angry, and blame the project.

After all, what *business* has the right to treat its customers so unfairly?

Here's some thoughts:

If western buyers want business-class service and customer support, that's going to be bundled into the price of the laptop - say $500 for two laptops instead. That means less buyers overall, and less laptops for both first world and third world kids. Commercial products are expensive partly because of the cost of maintaining that "customer is always right" standard.

If the OLPC project suffers bad press and negative attention from supporters as a result of sloppy customer service, they're going to avoid offering their tech to westerners at all in the future, because all it does is set them up for ill will from irate consumers.

OLPC is not conspiring to keep Canadians without their laptops, they're just incompetent at dealing with commercial shipping services and supply-chains. While it might be reasonable to expect a mail-order business to be on top of these things, it's probably actually a good sign that the OLPC project hasn't invested the limited time of their experts in perfecting their first world business model. Cut them some slack.

I think everybody understands that algo. However they did choose to offer the G1G1 service to get more visibility, so they have to take responsibility for the service. I'd have still participated if I knew from the start I would only get the laptop in 2008. But you can't blame people from being disappointed when they're promised something first and then put on hold without any information.

Anyway, long live OLPC. Let's say the delay will make the holidays feel longer.

I think the thing that really upsets me are the Canadian FDD's that are left wondering if they'll even RECEIVE a laptop, and the folks in the US that ordered days later, and have already received theirs.

I don't have my XO yet (I'm a FDD), Brightstar messed up the shipping address. I called yesterday, and FedEx informed me of the situation, and that the packaged was being held until they resolved the matter. But at least I know where it is, unlike our friends in the north that don't even know if their orders will be shipped.

Keep your chin up, Canada.

Are you kidding me? Would you like some cheese to go with your whine?

This is not about US vs Canada (although with Canadians, *everything* is). It's certainly not about *your* kids, it's about educating kids in places that have substandard educational infrastructure.

Geez. You donated money, a fine thing tax deduction or not. So you don't know when your "premium" will arrive.


As an ex-pat Canadian, I can assure you that you are embarrassing Canadians everywhere.

Peter Laws
Norman, Oklahoma

You spat in my soup, Brian. You. I have not complained about money, and I would have thought nothing of my Give 1 donation being immediately charged, rather I have mentioned that the Get 1 part is better off not being an immediate charge if there isn't immediate shipment. You, on the other hand, have done far worse than complain about money. You have selfishly complained about not getting *your* something soon enough to fit your apparently high-strung Canadian lifestyle, and smeared the OLPC project in the process. Whether or not that something you needed is the XO laptop itself or shipment information is insignificant. It is all kinds of amusing that you are suddenly happy to get a vague answer of "early 2008" when that is exactly what any reasonable person would have expected would happen given late 2007 delays. I never liked them mentioning a Christmas target date in the first place, and it is suitably ironic that people turn into such jerks in what is supposed to be the season of good will.

Several of the commenters here seem to have taken the essence of this program to heart.

OLPC is about educating children.

The postings however would seem to suggest that the XOs are needed here as well.

For 'developed countries' we can sure be childish at times.

Don't forget...the 'little green ears' are listening!

Canadians participated in the program under the same guidelines as our American neighbours. They deserve EQUAL treatment. But from all the vitriolic postings, many of my fellow Americans seem to disagree.

Very sad and telling on the state of our society.

The most offensive thing about this is for OLPC to
pretend that they had something worked out for both
USA & Canada back in November. Whatever plans they
had must have fallen through, but they don't mind
keeping up the charade without an explanation.

Maybe the plan was to ship to Canada in February. But Why?

Update --

"Oh Canada... We at OLPC are very sorry about the Canadian shipment
situation: we underestimated the time it would take us to fully work
out the import duties and taxes and we were not clear in our
communication to you. We apologize for everyone with a child who will
not receive a laptop this year. You can visit the laptopgiving.org
website to download a gift card that lets your child know that an XO
laptop is on its way; it is obviously not the same as a laptop, but we
hope it helps in some small way. We are working on the logistics of
getting XOs to Canada: everyone should have their XO in the
January/February time frame. The team at OLPC wants to thank everyone
who has thus far participated in Give One Get One. Thanks to the
generosity of Canadians, more than 4000 children in the
least-developed countries will be receiving laptops in early 2008.
--Walter 20:39, 20 December 2007 (EST)"

This goes a long way. At least for me. I hope they keep the communication channels open.

I found the gift card page. You need to print on thick paper, or the ink leaks through: http://www.laptopgiving.org/en/gift-cards.php.

I found the gift card page. You need to print on thick paper or he ink leaks through:


Thank you OLPC.

Anyone with customs & duties experience should share their expertise with OLPC to expedite the process. It would be really unfortunate if the laptops were just sitting in a warehouse till someone can figure out the paperwork.

I ordered on the first day. I live in the US. I have not heard anything regarding the shipment of my laptop. I do not care. I donated to support a cause. Anything I get in return is brilliant, but NO ONE "purchased" a laptop here - WE ALL MADE A DONATION.

I work for a non-profit arts organization. I can attest to the fact that non-profits are uber busy, under-staffed, and full of good intentions to help make the world a better place. Seriously, American, Canadian, Timbuktooian alike - let go of the anger and be happy that you helped a child in a developing nation improve his or her educational opportunities. And if a gift ever arrives for you, be doubly happy! Even if it arrives 18 months later than you expected. You might want to re-read OLPC's mission statement to remind yourself of why you supported this wonderful experiment in the first place:


With peace,
= Bender =

I have received an email containing much the same information as Walter Bender's "Oh Canada" post on the OLPC Wiki.
It just had this to add:
"As soon as your order ships, you will receive another email from us with tracking information."

Just discovered this post today after waiting for my own XO to arrive. Yes, I live in Canada (Montréal) and yes, I am frustrated that my laptop has not yet arrived while my friends and colleagues in the States have been receiving theirs. However, I recall Nicholas Negroponte, in a recent interview, stating quite emphatically that he was not in the business of selling laptops. Clearly, creating a business model that serves First World nations is not the priority of OLPC. Let's keep this in perspective.
If you are also an educator that is interested in how you can help the initiative in a practical manner (beyond $$), please read this recent blog post that highlights an interview with Elana Langer, a Canadian educator who is working with Walter Bender and the MIT labs to develop educational resources for the OLPC initiative - http://mtl-peters.net/blog/.
Ultimately, this initiative is centred around the belief that education is the most important resource to be developed for the sake of our children, not just in developing nations but in our own communities as well.

Best wishes for the season!

While a citizen of the U.S., I am also a United Empire Loyalist. My maternal grandparents, Dr. and Mrs E. Kyle Simpson, were medical missionaries in China for over twenty years in the the early 1900's for the United Church of Canada. My mother was born "a day's sedan-chair ride from Chungking," in the province of Szechuan, in 1917. Her brother-in-law, Paul Joliffe, was also born in China, and worked for many years for Traveler's Aid in Canada, as well as a school district in the Toronto suburbs.

I have ordered 10 XO's, and will be keeping only one.

My wife and I have donated two XO's in the name of my mother and her parents to the Sahana Project. I will be sending another to a well-known programmer, Andrew Tridgell, and we are also donating one to the people of the Navajo Nation.

My XO arrived yesterday (I ordered it within three hours after the program started). I have started using it, and can already attest it is a fabulous machine.

You'll be able to learn more about my experiences using it, and providing instruction about how to use it, at my blog, http://gotoxo.wordpress.com


This is strange...

According to the main page of the OLPC Wiki, while Canadian donors were being asked to be patient, American donors were having their laptops expedited.


Now, I don't want to read anything into this, but it does strike me as odd.

Our friends north of the border have no monopoly on getting too little - and incorrect - information.

Those of us who were first-day (11/12) donors are still being told by one OLPC web page that we'll see our systems arrive before 12/24: www.laptopgiving.org/en/shipping-information.php

...while an email from OLPC, that I just received today, contradicts this (see below).

Yes, it's a non-profit; yes, they're new at this; yes, this isn't their main business (but it's supposed to be Brightstar's ONLY business, and that's supposedly why Brightstar was hired to do fulfillment!)....but the inconsistent, uninformative, and frustrating mis- and non-communication is really beginning to leave a bad taste in everyone's mouth. From a PR standpoint alone they've really shot themselves in the foot on the G1G1 program - it's going to be remembered for all the missteps rather than the original mission.


--------------received 12/21/07----------

Dear OLPC Donor,

We are very sorry to report that your XO laptop will not be arriving by December 24. If your laptop is a gift for a child, please click here to download a gift card explaining that an XO laptop is on its way.

Your laptop is scheduled to be delivered before January 15.

Your order reference number: 700000xxxxx

As soon as your order ships, you will receive another email from us with tracking information as well as information on how to take advantage of T-Mobile USA's offer to provide one year of complimentary access to T-Mobile HotSpot.
To find out everything you need to know to get started with your XO laptop, please click here or visit www.laptopgiving.org/start.

For Terms and Conditions of the Give One Get One initiative, click here.

Thank you for participating in our Give One Get One program. Thanks to your generousity, thousands of XO laptops will be delivered in early 2008 to children in Afghanistan, Cambodia, Haiti, Mongolia and Rwanda.

OLPC Foundation

From the first time I heard about the limitation of G1G1 sales/donations, I thought it waas a big mistake. At least as foolish was including exactly one other country, and then giving them short shrift! What ARE they thinking in those Media Labs??

I can sympathize with the whole bureaucracy, paperwork, export BS, taxes argument. But why does that stop them from allowing people to make their own arrangements for that? Have a transshipper -- like olpcnews suggested from the start -- and let the planet partcicipate in what is truly a global project.

Just one hell of a really bad decision on Negroponte & Co's part.

The other thing is: it's so stupid. Linux is much more used in the rest of the world than in Microsoft-dominated US. Many more people who are comfortble with Linux would have bought machines ... and OLPC would have that many fewer support issues!

Hey David,

That looks like my order reference number. I'm beginning to think we all have the same order reference number in our e-mails.

It's starting to look like there will be only one unit shipped in the North American continent, and we'll have to time share. ;)

Can I call dibs? lol

I've had problems with other companies not knowing the deal with a Canadian product launch. Usually the confusion comes from mass shipment that originate in the states and cross the border together on the same pallets.

Once they make it past customs the skid is split and the individual tracking number becomes active.

The usual customer support tools don't work until the skid splits and no on has bothered to explain it to them. So unless you get connected to someone pretty high up in the organization you'll never find out about it.

Keep in mind I have no idea if this is going on with OLPC but I have seen it happen a number of times with technology launches in Canada.

After 24 hours with two XO's. Here is what I've noticed.

It is slow! Especially for a machine with a diskless hard drive. It takes longer to boot up than my Averatec laptop with XP. Opening its own apps is also really slow. Kids are not going to like this, anywhere.

No documentation ships with the XO. Not even as a file onboard. The OLPC people say that the XO is so simple, that a child will just "discover" how to use it A few hours have been spent at our house with two XO's... one with an adult and another wth a child. Personally, I think this lack of documentation is just lazy. I hope that's all it is. The child gave up on the XO entirely after less than hour. Their concluding comment was, "It doesn't work!" Maybe that sums it up. But in the interest of discovery, here are a few things I have "discovered."

I discovered that, thankfully, for my child and me, there is a "Getting Started" page at the XO Wiki, but you can't get to that without an internet connection. Getting an internet connection, as it turns out, is as 'simple' as getting on a real computer, downloading and PRINTING the instructions which are as 'simple' as finding the unlabeled Linux terminal app on the XO and typing in some Linux code. Yikes! They are going to love that out here in the bush.

But, I did get on the internet with XO. And I rediscovered by my first XO learning. That is, the XO is slow. Browsing on a XO, using a full-on wi-fi cable modem that routinely tests out at 6+ Mbps is....painfully...slow. Let's move on with our discovery.

If literacy is an OLPC goal for third world children, then the most helpful XO application for a teacher might be the Write application. It could help a child become literate and motivate the child to become a writer and better reader. A big motivation for an emergent writer, anywhere, is to emulate the print that they see around them. But, the XO can't print! The OLPC people say that paper is too expensive for learning children and that they will just use the XO to show their work. A piece of paper, or cardboard, or garbage that has a child's writing on it will be infinitely cheaper, and more motivating to an emergent writer, than an XO that can't print!!! What child wants to yank on a string, wait two minutes for a machine to turn on, wait some more for an app to open to show off their learning? Rather, parents and family can point proudly to a piece of writing that is simply stuck to a wall, always visible for the people in his or her world to see.

I hope the lack of documentation and lack of a print capability are just the result of looking for an easy way out of some tough work and not a symbol of some western, techno, arrogance. An arrogance that demands that a child carry the most expensive thing in the village, wait for it to turn on, and consume electricity, just to share their literacy. Let's assume the best, and keep on discovering.

I discovered that the default file format for the Write application is ODC, supposedly a standard open source document standard. But not even Open Office can open XO Write files without formatting being lost and tons of gibberish being added. MS Word doesn't work, either. There goes communication with 98% of the world. Saving a document as RTF fairs no better, which is a standard that has worked across apps and across platforms, reliably, for years, until the XO. Plain text format seems to work best, but even those files have to "opened with," not just opened. So, even though you can create mixed media documents in XO Write, you will not be able to share them with anyone else in the world. And you won't be able to print them either.

There is no email app for the XO. They tell you to use an online mail app with the browser. Yahoo Mail only sort-of works in "classic" mode with the XO browser. Even in classic mode, however, the XO will not upload attachments. The new version of Yahoo Mail does not work, at all, with the XO. How about G-Mail?

Google Mail works, but takes about two minutes to load. Interestingly, the XO will upload attachments to Google Mail. This gave me hope for Google Docs as a tool for the XO to communicate with the rest of the world, since the XO can only produce plain text documents. Since the XO has not applications that create documents that can be shared with the world, how about using the XO with Google Docs?

I've used Google Docs from a lot of different platforms and browsers with no problem. The XO, however, does not play well with Google Docs. The only Google Doc application that works with the XO browser is the word processor, which does its work, s-l-o-w-l-y. The presentation app tries to work with the XO browser, s-l-o-w-l-y, but all you can do is create a bunch of blank slides. These get accidentally saved in a file called "unsaved." I say accidentally, because you can't actually save your work; that command doesn't do anything, but Google saved something in the background. Finally, the spreadsheet application acts like it is working on-screen, but it didn't even create a file called "unsaved" and when you leave you spreadsheet, your work will be gone. You cannot save your work, at all! It's weird how three apps from the same company performed so differently on the same platform.

Other observations. In 24 hours, the XO has frozen dead, twice. Recovery was as easy as holding the power button, waiting two minutes for a restart, and being willing to lose all of my work for that session. No idea why it froze, but both times I was trying to use Google Docs. I ran into another strange behavior. About six times, so far, the XO has tried to open one of its own apps, but the app never opens. You can still use the XO, go back forth between apps that are running, or from apps to the 'homeview' (desktop), but the broken app never loads and you can't stop it. You must reboot...a concept that the XO will bring to the developing world.

You can move files back and forth to a USB drive. But there is not much point unless you want to see some plain text files on another computer, or use files you have downloaded with XO, off of the internet. If you already have files on the USB drive, you can move them, but not if they are in folders. And you cannot create any folders on the XO, or the USB drive, or organize your work in any way. Your files are just a pile of unorganized files. This feels like the bad old days of computing, thirty years ago, when even adults didn't want to use computers, let alone kids.

I see I've forgotten to share one of my first "discoveries" about the XO. The touchpad is insanely difficult to use and is not adjustable. Perhaps there are more Linux commands to "discover" that can be typed into a 'user-friendly' terminal window to make it work.

So, one child with a laptop declared the XO to be broken. Is it? The adult is not so sure. Maybe, like everyone else, I believed that someone ought to be able to build a simple, inexpensive laptop that just worked. Maybe the XO is a step toward that goal. It may not be broken, but it certainly does feel half-baked.


Thank you for posting your honest experiences and feelings about the XO laptop. OLPC should be able to take some criticism about its project in order to improve future updates to both the software and XO hardware, especially if a child feels that it doesn't work after using it for less than an hour.

As an educator I agree that students need to be able to work with environmental print. My primary students enjoy printing their work and sharing it with others (they don't have the time to share their work electronically while they are producing their own work). Not having the choice to print will limit the students' learning.

Hopefully OLPC will be able to continue to improve upon its innovations to achieve its educational goals. You have made them (and myself) aware of some of the current XO's shortcomings in its present implementation. This information can be beneficial to the overall project if OLPC is willing to listen to and address concerns. IMO, part of the reason for the G1G1 program is to test the XO's abilities in real situations (as used by both kids and adults - yes, an adult can be a child at heart) and make improvements, so both positive and negative reviews are necessary.

BTW, are you Canadian? Regardless, thanks for the review.

I received the XO under the G1G1 program for my 5 1/2 year old son. I did it because I was excited by the idea, plan and reality of the program. I feel for the Canadian woes, and I feel a bit guilty that I got my son's on December 22 (despite the fact that I got an email on the 21st saying that I should expect the unit on the 15th of January).
I am not a linux user, although I am going to buy linux for dummies tomorrow. I will say, that I recognize that there are some limitations in the system (printing, etc.), but I keep reminding myself that this is a proect for children and is in its own infancy. To illustrate this, they are beyond build number 653 already.
I think that forums like this are great, and I believe that in the spirit of what I believe Linux to be, OLPC will bee reading these comments and will work on improvements.
Back to my son ... he was extremely excited by the machine, kept announcing how great it was that he has a real computer. This is a kid with doting grandparents and 2 doctors for parents (hardly underpriveleged). I can't imagine how thrilled the kids for whom this project is intended feel. Anyway, he played for a while then on to his other gifts. Every day, he plays with the XO and even though he is too young to do much on his own, he is already learning to navigate some of the features.
I do want to take another minute to point out a way in which the G1G1 program is extremely important. I think it is vital to get these machines into the hands of North Americans. For kids in Uruguay to have access to the same technology as kids in Peru is great, but not necessarily the ultimate in forging forward in technological equality. For these kids to working on the same technology as American and Canadian kids is a strong step in this direction.
Finally, use them, enjoy them, learn from them and be patient. The technology will improve. Learn linux, improve or add features yourself, and share them with the world. This is but an early incarnation of a bold new idea. It will grow. Get Bill Gates involved (I know, evil MS, but really, how many of you are reading this on a Windows machine?).

1. I agree with, Gordon and would like to elaborate on Gordon's comment.

"I do want to take another minute to point out a way in which the G1G1 program is extremely important. I think it is vital to get these machines into the hands of North Americans. For kids in Uruguay to have access to the same technology as kids in Peru is great, but not necessarily the ultimate in forging forward in technological equality. For these kids to working on the same technology as American and Canadian kids is a strong step in this direction."

Having two separate, essentially non-inter-operable systems for first- and third-world users is a very good recipe for permanent technological and cultural segregation. Our own (U.S.) courts determined, during the desegregation debates of the 50's and 60's, that "separate but equal" is invalid because separate is inherently unequal.

2. There is probably no better means by which to guarantee a successful push on this product than to continue the G1G1 program. For every one person who is willing to give a computer outright with no strings attached, there are probably at least five who will do it to get something. The desire to possess is simply stronger for most people than is the desire to give. The absolute best you can hope for from most people is that they should love their neighbor as much as themselves. To love their neighbor more than themselves is just too much to ask.

What is required for this to happen is that people must see the desirability of the product. There was no market for automobiles before their common availability. In the same way, people will want the XO when it becomes a reality in their hands rather than something on the net like any other odd news item.

3. To say "You simply must give these computers to all the poor children of the world because it's the right thing to do." is equivalent to my saying "You simply must give money to my church because it"s the right thing to do." For me to make such a claim would be laughable. Even if you attended my church, there is only a 10% chance you would actually give money to it. What must occur is that a person must be induced to want (desire, long for) to give a computer, not to be made to feel as if he/she ought to. Humans are quite adept at getting out of their duties and obligations, but can be absolutely enslaved by their desires.

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