Magalhães is the code-name of the Intel’s Classmate version that starts to be distributed today in Portugal. The Portuguese Government plan is to distribute one for each kid between 6-9 on this first phase. A daring and yet amazing step I confess, for which the results aren’t within sight of any of us!
Although the idea it’s new (there’s OLPC for instance and for which I’m still a big FAN, and would love see more widespread) nevertheless I’m grateful to live in a country that really looked a it and decided to address it in such way. Today’s measure will certainly dictate the forthcoming generations of portuguese and (MAYBE) allow us to bridge the technological gap that we’re so much lacking in Portugal.
The portuguese version of Intel’s classmate is code-named after Fernão de Magalhães, the portuguese sailer that first circumnavigated the Earth. As a computer is somewhat limited, yet powerful computer (especially if you consider the public for which it was conceived), it comes with 1Gb memory and 60Gb of hard-drive, webcam, ethernet port, wifi, 2 usb drives and a card reader. As far as I know it will come pre-bundled with both Caixa Mágica (Linux) and Windows XP. Some argue that it makes no sense, other will say that wouldn’t make sense if was the other way around, well… I have mixed feelings, if part of me hates the idea of seeing yet another generation succumb to the M$ governance, I’m also wise enough to say that there’s no perfect world and to leave our kids struggling on a system different from the one their fathers use for instance just for puristic reasons, doesn’t seem an option too… Plus, I’ve started with Windows (less than that actually) but just see where I stand today 😉
One of the downsides I’ve realized immediately regarding hardware/software was the fact that contrary to the OLPC project, this project is essentially a kids version of what is the grown-up PC playground. The Hardware doesn’t seem to have been designed or even adapted to (except in size) for children. When you first look at the running operating systems, especially windows system which is dependent on a parent control skin sort of (easy desktop) makes it even more obvious and in my view of it leaves much to desire in terms of kids usability. Kids generally hate children stuff, especially if it’s stupidified. At this stage it’s just an opinion based on the reaction of some of the kids to which I’ve introduce it, I would need to conduct more tests with children to make this assumption a final conclusion. By the looks of it seems to me as if it’s just a matter of time, before they’ll downgrade to a real OS 😉 and then again that might just be the key idea 😉
I’ve took some more photos in case anyone is interested, just follow the link: Magalhães@Flickr and you’ll find some more shotsfrom it.
In a sentence it’s an amazing jump, let’s just see where we’ll end up 😉