As promised, I've got the event report for the OLPC meetup that happened today. It started at about 1PM in the meeting room of a church (apparently the same meeting room that AA meetings are held in - are they trying to tell me something? :) ). People from OLPC in Boston, the OLPC Learning Club DC, and virtually, people from San Francisco were there. All in all in the room in NYC we had about 30 people show up, who represented a very broad cross-section of the constituents of OLPC - teachers, marketing people, and techies such as myself. After an update on some deployments, the XO 1.5 (which will have both the Sugar interface as well as a more traditional GNOME desktop, will have 1GB of RAM so a lot of the memory constraints that came with attempting to run a normal desktop on the XO platform are gone), and learning about the people down in DC for about an hour, we split off into three groups - marketing/communication/community development, teachers and educators, and technology people. I obviously went to the technical side of the room :).
We had an interesting conversation on getting involved in Sugar development, and more importantly, the lack of a closed feedback loop from deployments, and the understanding of pain points that real teachers in the field were having. Adam Holt from OLPC mentioned that the Sugar Labs folks had attempted such a thing in the past, and the results of the feedback, while useful and valuable, were not exactly immediately actionable by Sugar Labs (or anyone else really - things like "battery life is too short").
However, we did find something that is immediately actionable for the techies in the crowd, and Adam will be reaching out for help revising and updating the Sugar Almanac
and the Activity Handbook
which are both currently out of date for current versions of the operating system, and making developer documentation more accessible. I also met and exchanged contact information with George Hunt, who is also a local techie who is heavily involved with OLPC and we're going to get together and work on the documentation side of things.
Adam also mentioned that the support FAQ needs some work, and that's an area that I could really help in. I also met Kevin Mark, who from what I understand is the one man support army on IRC for the XO and Sugar, and I could help there as well.
All in all I think it was a good use of a Saturday afternoon (even though it was absolutely beautiful outside today, and that showed in having to get through the hoards of people in Times Square on the way to the meeting.... :) )