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Submission Summary: 0 pending, 6 declined, 1 accepted (7 total, 14.29% accepted)

Education

+ - Anecdotes of the OLPC in Uruguay->

Submitted by Acer500
Acer500 (846698) writes "Uruguayan teacher Óscar Cabrera compiled a list of anecdotes about the first year of the OLPC project in a rural community in Cerro Largo (Uruguay).

(as you may recall, Uruguay was the first to do a countrywide deployment of the XO laptop, as previously covered http://slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=07/05/12/077205 here ). Among the most interesting (translated):

"It was unthinkable for most of these children to own a computer. A girl told me that his father said that he would buy her a computer when chicken grew teeth", said Cabrera.

It became a part of daily life, as evidenced by these messages he received:

"I'm not letting Nicolás get his XO because he ignores me and doesn't respect me."

"Nelson is late because he forgot his XO in the drawer"

For the teacher, the arrival of the OLPC project (locally called Plan Ceibal) "is something very positive, one of the most important things done in the last years", because of the acquired knowledge and because of the fact that "any child, no matter his economic status, has access to the same tool"."

Link to Original Source
Education

+ - Uruguay OLPC rollout delivers 100.000th laptop

Submitted by Acer500
Acer500 (846698) writes "President Tabaré Vazquez of Uruguay delivered yesterday the 100.000th OLPC laptop, starting the Ceibal Plan (Uruguay's OLPC initiative) rollout in the capital city of Montevideo, where an additional 300.000 laptops will be delivered (an impressive feat considering that Uruguay has a population of 3.000.000).

The laptop itself was received by a 6-year old child of School N 157 from Villa García. The first grade children received the laptops one by one, but were unable to open them before the teachers showed them the mechanism. Fourth graders, on the other hand, were already making plans: "we will study, listen to music and play with the computers".

The Ceibal project has been involved in several other activities, including a book, " Ceibal in the society of the 21st century — References for parents and educators", and "Programming Jam" style activities for developing much-needed software for the laptops (there are future Jams programmed for August 8th, and September 6th. A (spanish-language) mailing list for those of you that want to help can be found here: http://lists.laptop.org/listinfo/olpc-uruguay"
Medicine

+ - Trust drug may cure social phobia->

Submitted by Acer500
Acer500 (846698) writes "BBC reports that a nasal spray based on the "love hormone" oxytocin, which increases trust for strangers, is showing promise as a treatment for social phobia according to scientists from Zurich University.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/7412438.stm

They found that people who inhaled the "love hormone" oxytocin continued to trust strangers with their money — even after they were betrayed. Brain scans showed the hormone lowered activity in the amygdala — a region which is overactive in social phobics.

These findings were initially reported to Nature, according to an earlier article titled "Scientists create 'trust potion' "

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/4599299.stm"

Slashdot discussed similar findings (not oxytocin specifically) in this story:

http://science.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=05/11/30/0530236&tid=191&tid=14

And the obligatory Wikipedia reference:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oxytocin"

Link to Original Source
Education

+ - OLPC a reality in Uruguay

Submitted by
Acer500
Acer500 writes "The One Laptop Per Child project became a reality yesterday in Uruguay, as the 160 children of the school number 24 "Italy" in the humble town of Cardal received their XO computers from the hands of president Tabaré Vazquez, as most newspapers in the country headlined yesterday (in Spanish)

El Observador http://www.observa.com.uy/Osecciones/ciencia/nota. aspx?id=76129.
El Pais http://www.elpais.com.uy/07/05/10/ultmo_279860.asp

In what has become a matter of national pride in being the first country to realize the project's goal, the target is that by 2009, every school-age child in Uruguay will have one, and an initial 15 million dollars have already been allocated to the project.

From the newspaper articles "The happines of having a PC in their hands, some of them for the first time, had the kids in ecstasy, which didn't wait to turn on their computers, introduce their personal information (required the first time they're turned on), choose the screen colors, and start experimenting with them. What initially made them more enthusiastic was the possibility of taking photographs and filming each others with the included webcams"

According to the unofficial blog of the Uruguayan project, named "proyecto Ceibal", , the infrastructure for wireless is not yet in place but will be provided in the next few days by the national telco ANTEL. No photos of the event have been posted online, but you can see an institutional video on Youtube here

One interesting point is that it has not yet been decided that the XO will be the laptop of choice for the entire project. Two other companies want to be considered: Intel, with their Classmate PC , and israeli-manufactured ITP-C. In a press conference, Intel manager for the southern cone Esteban Galluzzi went as far as to compare the XO to a Pentium II, and stressed that the Classmate is able to run Windows XP. http://tic.item.org.uy/?q=node/1013

As advisor and local guru Juan Grompone stated, "who will ultimately benefit from this is education". This will be an interesting test to see if the OLPC project meets its intended goals of "learning learning". Let's hope this project is the means that will foster among some of the children the desire to learn and to tinker; I, for one, will be eagerly awaiting the first feedback from this."
Education

+ - OLPC pilot project to launch May 10th in Uruguay

Submitted by
Acer500
Acer500 writes "May 10th will be the date where the One Laptop Per Child pilot project will officialy start in Uruguay, according to uruguayan newspaper "El Pais", the OLPC wiki http://wiki.laptop.org/go/OLPC_Uruguay, and the project's unofficial blog http://olpc-ceibal.blogspot.com/2007/04/el-105-es- el-lanzamiento-del-primer.html (all resources in Spanish mostly)

Teachers at the rural school in the modest town of Cardal, which will be first in the project, are already being trained. On May 8th a press conference will be held.

There's also an official video on YouTube of the uruguayan OLPC project, named "Proyecto Ceibal" (named after our national flower the Ceibo).http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dx5sI8ucp5Q

Government's official webpage (not very up to date)http://www.presidencia.gub.uy/_Web/noticias/2 006/12/2006121402.htm

According to an ONG webpage http://www.uruguaysolidario.org.uy/nuevo/spip.php? article2856, the OLPC project wasn't the only one considered, Intel and Microsoft offered their alternative, the ClassMate PC http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Classmate_PC, whose main selling point was running Windows XP. The Intel representative also downplayed the OLPCs capabilities comparing it to a "Pentium II, obsolete". After the Cardal pilot project, government-sponsored LATU (Technological laboratories of Uruguay) will evaluate the OLPC and two other competitors, the ClassMate — brochure here http://www.intel.com/intel/worldahead/pdf/CMPCbroc hure.pdf (PDF Warning), and Israel's ITP-C http://www.itpsoft.com/productos/index.php?id=496& s=126

As a Uruguayan, I can only hope that all this competition will result in a good, usable computer for the education of my country's children."
Media

+ - VMD, a new contender in the HD format wars

Submitted by
Acer500
Acer500 writes "New Medium Enterprises in U.K. has announced that they have successfully developed a Versatile MultiLayer Disc (VMD) which is capable of holding anywhere between 20GB up to 100GB of data stored across 10 layers and read via conventional red laser technology.

Originally, it appears, the format was developed by two companies called MultiDisc and TriGm.

The big surprise is that the first players will be launched in January already and cost a pittance compared to rival formats HD-DVD and Blu-Ray at less than $180 (£95). On top of that, the VMD discs have a significantly larger storage capacity, according to the company's website: starting with a minimum storage capacity of 20GB today.

"Looking ahead to 2007, if and when the blue laser becomes more reliable, for greater capacities such as VIDEO ON DEMAND (100-200GB), Blue laser Multi layer Discs using VMD technology can be developed along traditional lines. VMD has the capability to enhance Blue Laser through its Multi Layering technology, increasing capacity of its currently proposed 50GB maximal possible capacity to 100GB and 200GB." (from the company's website)

At CeBIT in March 2006, NME demonstrated a prototype VMD player and announced that they were expecting to launch the format in the third quarter of 2006. Rather than competing head-to-head with the HD DVD and Blu-ray Disc formats, they intend to market their format in China and India initially with a possible expansion into Eastern Europe, Russia and South America coming later. With this in mind, they have signed a deal with Bollywood production company Eros Group who intend to release 50 Bollywood features on the format before the end of 2006 (information from Wikipedia).

Reuters is also running a story: New technology could nip DVD format war in the bud"
Programming

+ - Project Management integration tool, is it needed?

Submitted by
Acer500
Acer500 writes "I am looking for ideas for an university project, and I've noticed that some small companies or development teams use several different tools for each part of the project management life cycle (requirements, project schedule & time tracking, bugs/issues, etc), often by different vendors, using different kinds of databases and interfaces (for example, Project & Bugzilla).

I want to know if this is prevalent or just a few isolated cases, and if there is a need for an integration/middleware system, so I'm asking for your help in determining this:

Does your small company or software development team use more than one tool for the project management life cycle?

Do you find that you have to look at information from those several different programs to get information about the project's status?

Is information entered twice into your systems (for example, hours worked on a bug fix in both the bug program and the project schedule)?

Do you think this problem has been solved (for example by the integrated approach of Microsoft Team System)? Or are there companies that would need or desire this approach?

Would having the information in a central location be useful for a project manager? Or would it be better if the middleware interacted with each program, updating them each time information is entered in one of them, keeping them synchronized (say, a bug is entered, and the project schedule tool is updated to reflect this)?

Thanks in advance"

"In the face of entropy and nothingness, you kind of have to pretend it's not there if you want to keep writing good code." -- Karl Lehenbauer

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