Recommended Accessories for Your XO Laptop

   
   
   
   
   

After Wayan previously compiled the extensive G1G1 2008 Buyer's Guide I thought it would make sense to follow up with a list of recommended accessories for your XO, just in time for Black Friday.

bunch of XO accessories
My XO accessories collection.

As you can see on the photo to your right I'm somewhat of an XO accessory victim myself and also freely admit to nightly purchasing binges every now and then;-)

On a more serious note there certainly are a ton of cool accessories available for your XO so the list below is really just a selection of what I feel to be the highlights.

First of all it's good to know the two central places to purchase XO gear: I Love My XO and XOExplosion.

ilovemyxo offers a range of great products, please note that they also have a store on Amazon.com:

  • XO Thin Spin 2 Gig USB Flash Drive: It's such a simple product but I absolutely adore my green ilovemyxo USB flash drive. Before I got it I always seemed to run out of space on my other USB drive which I used for university files, Live-USB Linux versions and for upgrading my XO. Now that I've got a dedicated XO flash drive my life has certainly become simpler.
  • XO Flex light: The USB powered light is really useful when using the XO at night, especially when you're somewhere outside (e.g. on an island close to Vancouver). Admittedly I haven't used the XO flex light all that often, on the other hand it once helped me find my keys which I probably wouldn't have found without it.
  • XO wireless mouse: I admit it, before receiving the XO wireless mouse I wasn't quite sure whether I would really need it. But now I actually use it quite a lot! A wireless mouse also comes in handy when demonstrating Sugar to other people since you can stand in the back row while showing off the Journal, collaboration, etc.
  • USB2.0 LAN Adapter: No doubt about it, we all love the Mesh network and the impressive wireless range of our XOs. However there are times, for example when your flatmate is reflashing your wireless access point to run Linux, when a wired network connection comes in handy. The ZoWii adapter plugs into a USB port on your XO and then provides a wired Ethernet port to get you connected, no driver installations required!
  • XO Travel Pack: This is an all-inclusive package that contains all the four products mentioned above, plus green JVC Gumy heaphones and an XO stylus. That way you save $16 compared to buying the items seperately, on top of that you can get the XO Laptop Bag for only $10 extra.

The kind folks over at ilovemyxo are also offering a special deal on the travel pack for all our readers:

OLPC News readers can build their own travel pack! Need more, fewer or different items on the road? Need a replacement battery or power adapter? Build your own travel pack and save 10% by entering code: "olpcnews" at checkout. (Note: Offer excludes replacement keyboards, touchpads and screens)

XOExplosion also offers some great things:

  • XOView - USB mounted viewfinder for the OLPC XO: This is still one of the coolest things ever designed, kudos to Mike Lee and Phil Carlizzi for coming up with this outstanding idea!
  • Temperature Sensor (assembled / unassembled): Personally I think measure is one of the coolest activities around, especially when combined with sensors such as this one.
  • XOCover Sleeve: The XO is certainly a very robust laptop and you can easily throw it into your backbag or something. However the fashion-aficionados among you will definitely want to show off by carrying along their XOs in this exclusive hand-made felted-wool cover sleeve.
  • Solar power: Seeing an XO run off a solar-panel is pretty cool and if I did any hiking I'd immediately get one of them to keep my XO powered while exploring the Austrian Alps.
  • Spare parts: We have all XO'ed under the influence, some merely testing whether the keyboard is indeed water-proof, others destroying their display during olpcnews meetups at Lucky Labrador Brewing Company in Portland, OR. Luckily these days the spare parts are available to fix these issues, plus they're very affordable. By the way, I've heard rumours that olpcnews authors who order spare parts receive a free hangover cure in the form of a Bloody Mary and an Aspirin!

On top of all that gear you should also check out the cool manuals from FLOSS Manuals which now offer printed versions of the OLPC Laptop User's Guide (online version) and Sugar User's Guide (online version) at $17.5 and $14.4 respectively. They offer international shipping, I think my total for both books plus shipping was around $40 which I consider excellent value.

What is your favorite XO accessory? Did we miss anything? Let us know by posting a comment below.

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4 Comments

Wow, what a sales pitch.

In my opinion, the only must have accessory for the XO is a (generic) USB flash drive with the files that are necessary to reflash the XO on it. That way you can backup your files on external media, and be able to reflash your XO in a jiffy when something goes wrong.

Two nice to have accessories: an SD card that is always installed. It can be used for a secondary OS or to extend the storage of the XO. (A carefully crafted secondary OS will make the XO look like a speed daemon.) The USB to ethernet bridge is also nice to have, since wired networking is definitely more reliable than interference prone WiFi.

It is easy to go overboard on accessories for the XO. I figure if you feel obligated to spend more than 10% of the price of a computer on accessories, you probably bought the wrong computer.

The only accessory I have for either of my XOs is additional memory on SD, a 12V cord I made myself, and a cheapie USB LED light for using the XO in low light. Total cost maybe $20 per XO. Everything bought from the lowest bidder.

If you feel that buying XO accessories is a little too much, you can always make an Open Source Bag to go with your Open Source laptop

One of my favorite XO accessories is the iLite: http://mikegyver.com/IdeasnProducts/iLite/index.html

I got it soon after the 2007 G1G1. to my great disappointment, I tried to find it on sale somewhere now, and can't locate any place to purchase one. Someone needs to contact its creator (see the URL above) and talk him into resuming making and selling iLites. It's tiny, adjustable, and best of all, it puts no stress at all on the USB port because it's nearly weightless.

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