Archive for May, 2008

I am writing from the OLPC offices in Cambridge, MA preparing to present on the KAPPA IV pilot tomorrow.  There has been a lot of excitement over the last couple days – Windows will run on the XO, and the Gen 2 device looks simply incredible:


Largely our conversations have focused on the technical, and we are looking forward to a change in pace and talk about teaching and learning.  Here’s a preview of our presentation.

More soon….

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Appologies for not posting in a few weeks. We have been very busy planning workshops in order to create a more formal training program around the OLPC. I had a tech break-through today however, and thought I should share. Some background first – NYC schools have a robust wifi network of Cisco routers that do not broadcast their SSID’s – and for whatever reason, the traditional work-around of manually editing the networks.conf file doesn’t work. So we wrote a simple python script that connects directly. The problem however, is students have to go into the terminal each time and type in “python wifi.py” – this is fine for grades 4+, but unrealistic for early elem.

From here on out will be a mini-tutorial on how to connect to hidden wifi networks (networks that don’t broadcast their SSID) in NYC and place an icon on the desktop to control the connection:

Step One – download ExecCommand.xo

JT Olds wrote a great little xo application for running shell scripts. Download it from the wiki: http://wiki.laptop.org/go/ExecCommand

and open it from the browser activity – it will place an icon on the desktop that looks like a gear.

Step Two – setup Sudo

Sudo is a linux application that allows you to give special privlages to users.  Since we are trying to connect to the wifi from the desktop, we are the OLPC user – which does not have the correct provlages to run some of the commands we need to.  SO:

  1. open the teminal activity
  2. type in “su -l”
  3. type in “yum install sudo” – let it download (you have to be online obviously) and say “y” to any packages
  4. type in “visudo”
  5. press the “i” key
  6. scroll down and find where it says “Default requiretty” – type a “#” in front of this (comment it out)
  7. scroll to the bottom and add this line “olpc ALL = (ALL) NOPASSWD:ALL”

Step Three – Modify the ExecCommand application to connect to your wifi

  1. still in the terminal as the su user
  2. type in “nano /home/olpc/Activities/ExceCommand.activity/bin/exec-script.sh”
  3. remove the second line (leave the first) and add:
    sudo -i service NetworkManager stop
    sudo -i service network stop
    sudo killall /sbin/dhclient eth0
    sudo /sbin/iwconfig/ eth0 essid <enter your ssid here>> key <<enter your key here>>
    sudo /sbin/dhclient eth0

That’s it!  Unfortunately you disable the NetworkManager – which I guess you could try on your network and see if it keeps the connection.  For some reason, we have to in NYC.

BTW this ExecCommand application is great for lots of this – launching Firefox from the desktop for instance…

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