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Widespread Keyboard Failures on OLPC's XO-1 264

Posted by timothy
from the gift-horse-dental-work dept.
otakuj462 writes "Many participants in OLPC's 'Give 1 Get 1' program of last November are now encountering what has come to be known as the 'stuck key' problem, in which one or more of the keys on their XO-1 laptop's built-in keyboard become stuck in an activated position, or are activated when adjacent keys are pressed. As of January 30th, the official word from OLPC is that the root cause of this problem is unknown because '[t]here are several manufacturers of the keyboards.' ('So far we don't know of any _reliable_ method of fixing the keyboard or the exact root cause.') It is unknown just how widespread this problem currently is, as the 30-day manufacturer's warranty has already expired for most G1G1 participants. However, the OLPC forums are full of reports. OLPC is currently deploying the XO-1 to children in Mongolia and Peru, as well as other developing nations. If OLPC is actively deploying units with known, critical hardware bugs, without a dedicated support infrastructure in place, to children who have never seen a computer before, should they still be considered to be a responsible organization? Did OLPC deploy their hardware too soon?"
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Widespread Keyboard Failures on OLPC's XO-1

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  • First post? (Score:4, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday April 20, 2008 @01:33PM (#23135644)
    Amazzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzing!
  • by Anonymous Coward
    $100 doesnt buy much these days...there is a reason that laptops dont sell for under $450...they cost money

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by hack slash (1064002)
      "$100 doesnt buy much these days...there is a reason that laptops dont sell for under $450...they cost money" My 4gb Asus Eee cost me £240 (about $490), I've been using it regularly for over 5 months now and it's still going strong, several scratches on the outside because I've not felt the need to be gentle with it because there's no spinning disc inside that's suseptable to shock damage, I find the keyboard absolutely fine to touch-type with and some of the keys are getting more shiny as they're us
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        "$100 doesnt buy much these days...there is a reason that laptops dont sell for under $450...they cost money"

        My 4gb Asus Eee cost me ...about $490...still going strong
        ...
    • by Lemmy Caution (8378) on Sunday April 20, 2008 @05:41PM (#23137216) Homepage

      $100 doesnt buy much these days...there is a reason that laptops dont sell for under $450...they cost money
      One problem is it that $100 buys plenty in the places that a lot of these laptops are supposed to be going.
  • by raving griff (1157645) on Sunday April 20, 2008 @01:35PM (#23135652)
    I don't think that it is so much a problem with not testing the hardware enough as it is a problem with how OLPC designed the laptops. These are computers that are being used widely by children all over the world, and, regardless of how you look at it, kids have a tendency to break things. Now, it is obvious that the XO-1 is designed to be a sturdy piece of equipment, but I find it downright silly that the keyboard is non-replaceable. The keyboard, of all things, should be easy to swap out for a new one--it is after all the primary input device on the computer, and if you lose that, you lose the computer. OLPC should have thought ahead to possible broken parts and made everything--from the touchpad to the keyboard to the LCD to the hard drive--removable and replaceable.
    • by acidrain (35064) on Sunday April 20, 2008 @01:43PM (#23135724)

      Agreed. And the competition is going to make as much hay with this as possible.

      While this kind of thing happens to the major manufactures, having had this happen right out the gate is going to be a permanent black mark that intel, asus and the rest are going to use in their advertising. OLPC should have been more careful to ensure that faults could be repaired. After all, these are going to the third world, and over there they fix all kinds of things we would throw away.

      • by Rogerborg (306625)

        Does OLPC have "competition" in any meaningful sense? The Classmate doesn't compete directly with the XO, since Wintel is simply bribing its way into markets; technical problems with the XO won't have any effect on the "purchasers'" decisions. And among the beaten wives that consist of OLPC's first world sponsors, this is just a reason to give OLPC even more free money for fucking up. Again.

        OLPC won't have any real competition until a Chinese cloneshop starts churning out identical units at 3/4 the pri

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by arivanov (12034)
      Well, it is easy to guess why it is not replaceable. It is designed predominantly for markets which require nationalisation of the keyboard which is usually country specific. If the keyboard is non-replaceable this goes a long way towards guaranteeing that they are used wherever they have been shipped and not reimported into the "Developed World".
      • by arth1 (260657) on Sunday April 20, 2008 @03:46PM (#23136496) Homepage Journal
        That's an easy guess, yes, and one I think is far from insightful.

        The places which need these devices the most won't necessarily even have a national keyboard layout, and often multiple languages, so where there's different keyboards, being able to switch key caps becomes more important, not less.

        Anyhow, changing key caps is one thing, but changing a keyboard another.
        Easy replacement of keycaps and locale settings on a device doesn't help much if the problem is with the underlying keyboard mechanisms. Then you need to repair or replace the keyboard, which has diddley squat to do with the legend on the caps.
        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by iamstan (110049)
          In places where they are being deployed, a localized keyboard layout is developed and provided. Go read wiki.laptop.org for more information.

          The XO uses a gel-type keyboard. Individual keycaps are not replaceable. The entire keyboard, however, is easily replaceable.
    • by grumbel (592662)

      Now, it is obvious that the XO-1 is designed to be a sturdy piece of equipment, but I find it downright silly that the keyboard is non-replaceable.
      Why is the keyboard non-replaceable? Anything special about it? Since pretty much every part of the OLPC can be replaced with ease, the thing is designed so that broken parts can easily be fixed.
    • The keyboard, of all things, should be easy to swap out for a new one--it is after all the primary input device on the computer, and if you lose that, you lose the computer.

      I find this to be an irritating trend, one that Apple seems to be taking the lead on. One of the things that computers brought to the table with the PC revolution was the concept of modularity. That if there was a problem with one modular component, it could be easily replaced with another and the whole was still good.

      The principle applies to creating new components. As long as the new did what the old did (albeit in a more efficient way) it didn't matter because the components were designed against

    • by metasj (815368) on Monday April 21, 2008 @12:05AM (#23139138) Journal
      The keyboard is designed to be replaceable at home (as is the touchpad, the LCD, just the LCD lightbar, and even the bumpers...). Sophie & Philip demonstrate [youtube.com] separating the display an motherboard (similar disassembly [laptop.org] of the bottom half allows for replacing the keyboard and touchpad).

      At the moment, the bottleneck for people in the US is getting replacement parts -- in the meantime, you can install an ASK-3100 keyboard [instructables.com] instead (for +clickiness and -waterproofing).
  • by Anonymous Coward
    They can rip the key out and use a key remapping tool to get some other key used in its place.
    • by Dr. Cody (554864) on Sunday April 20, 2008 @02:13PM (#23135918)
      I've only got one key left, but I managed to whip up a nifty morse code keymap.
    • by fyoder (857358)
      Not sure why this is modded funny, given that it is an option, especially since it seems that the alt key is particularly prone to stickage, so you simply map it to the xo's equivalent of the windows key which isn't used for much. The problem is that recipes I've seen for this use xmodmap, and sooner or later you're going to be trying to fix something in a shell pre X, and you'll be hooped if you haven't fixed the problem physically.
      • by conlaw (983784)
        There may be a simple solution: open the lid, hold the laptop upside down and firmly slap all over the bottom. If a stuck key is being caused by a lump of dirt, a crumb of food, or a couple of real bugs hiding out, this process will dislodge them thus magically unsticking the key(s). Obviously, those in "developed" countries could just use a can of pressurized air or a vacuum, but these kids probably don't have access to either.
        • by Drantin (569921) *
          I'd be interested in knowing how that dirt or those crumbs got under the rubberized keyboard...
          • by tftp (111690)
            In rubber keyboard designs the dirt that gets under the pads often migrates from the other parts of the enclosure. If you have a lid in the enclosure that the user can open, or air vents, or a connector cover, that's the way the dirt will enter. Also, some dirt may be left after the final assembly of the product (usually plastic shavings.)
      • So does that make you our volunteer then to hop a plane to Mongolia and teach the little ones xmodmap?
        • Now that I think about it...

          While expecting children in the developing world to learn to configure X would be silly, perhaps this is simply a UI design problem:

          If modifier keys can get stuck and a remap could help, maybe the following sort of prompt can be built into an XO software update:

          "Is this key stuck?"

          "Press a new key that you want to replace that key with. You can change this later on the key replacement screen."

          So the remap happens, and the kids don't have to learn X.
        • by fyoder (857358)

          So does that make you our volunteer then to hop a plane to Mongolia and teach the little ones xmodmap?

          No, someone who knows some English just googles for the information same as everyone else. The weak point is internet connectivity. The value of the whole exercise is seriously diminished without it.

  • XO review (Score:3, Funny)

    by sakdoctor (1087155) on Sunday April 20, 2008 @01:39PM (#23135692) Homepage
    Dodgy keyboard. Less space than an Eeepc. Lame
    • Re:XO review (Score:5, Informative)

      by orasio (188021) on Sunday April 20, 2008 @02:24PM (#23135988) Homepage
      Better text resolution, if you need to use it to read actual books.
      Better battery life (3x) to read books.
      Networking capabilities that the EEE doesn't have.
      Preinstalled software suitable for learning, teaching and collaborating.
      Available quality support in your country.

      Aside from that, EEE would not even exist without the OLPC project. Laptops exist since the eighties.

      The OLPC was needed for this kind of machine to even exist. Even if their machine wasn't the best, their objective would be accomplished.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by zanaxagoras (1116047)

        Aside from that, EEE would not even exist without the OLPC project. Laptops exist since the eighties.

        Ridiculous statement. The Sony VAIO Picturebook (PCG series) precedes both the OLPC and the EEE by a full decade. The EEE is the next gen of truly useful fully-functioned ultraportables like the Picturebook, et.al. On the other hand (and on the opposite of the spectrum from the EEE and the PCG), the OLPC is --- despite its noble aspirations--- merely a glorified toy, and is performing as such.

  • It is unknown just how widespread this problem currently is, as the 30-day manufacturer's warranty has already expired for most G1G1 participants.
    Wow, that's crap. Is that normal for electronics in the USA? Maybe that's why the XO-1 isn't available in the UK or most other European countries -- the manufacturer is responsible for at least 3 years (IIRC) for a laptop under UK law.
    • Re:30 days warrenty? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by schnikies79 (788746) on Sunday April 20, 2008 @01:44PM (#23135730)
      No it's not normal. Almost everything here comes with at least a one year warranty. A lot of computers and computer parts come with a three year warranty.

      They are not required by law to have a three year warranty here or even a one year but I have never seen a new computer have under a one year warranty.
      • Re:30 days warrenty? (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Richard W.M. Jones (591125) <rich@anne[ ].org ['xia' in gap]> on Sunday April 20, 2008 @02:13PM (#23135912) Homepage

        They are not required by law to have a three year warranty here or even a one year but I have never seen a new computer have under a one year warranty.

        Actually in Europe consumer goods are required to last for a reasonable length of time. Two years is the minimum period mentioned in the consumer sales directive [europa.eu] but member states are free to institute their own (longer) periods and higher consumer standards.

        Perhaps this is the reason why the OLPC wasn't sold in Europe ...

        Rich.

        • Re:30 days warrenty? (Score:5, Informative)

          by Richard W.M. Jones (591125) <rich@anne[ ].org ['xia' in gap]> on Sunday April 20, 2008 @02:17PM (#23135936) Homepage

          (Replying to my own posting ...)

          Actually in Europe consumer goods are required to last for a reasonable length of time. Two years is the minimum period mentioned in the consumer sales directive but member states are free to institute their own (longer) periods and higher consumer standards.

          In the UK, the period is six years, under the Sale of Goods Act 1979 [bbc.co.uk]

          Rich.

          • by Phil John (576633)

            Yes and no. If something develops a fault within the first 6 months the retailer has to prove that there was no fault/poor workmanship in the product (hard to do, unless you've obviously abused the item). After 6 months the onus is on you to prove that the defect was there all along waiting to happen which is a lot harder.

            It's not impossible, I had two identical monitors (purchased at the same time) plugged into the same graphics card on the same computer (dual monitor setup). After about 2 years one of

        • by orasio (188021) on Sunday April 20, 2008 @02:29PM (#23136022) Homepage
          It is.
          http://wiki.laptop.org/go/XO_Giving/Europe [laptop.org]

          The OLPC is not a consumer product. They don't have the infrastructure to sell it as such. If you buy millions, they can sell support, including hardware, and warranties.

          They are not iXO's. Their goal is not to sell laptops for everybody. They are making this for kids who might use them to learn. Both objectives don't have to be acheived together, and don't even need to be compatible.
          • Erm, that page says to me that it's not being offered in Europe. They prevent you from paying with a non-US credit card and they stop your from shipping outside the US, undoubtedly because they don't want all the support and warranty issues with Europe.

            Rich.

    • In the UK the manufacturer can be liable for repairs/replacment for up to 6 years, depending on various factors like what kind of product and how much you spent on it - for example you'd expect a fridge freezer, washing machine or cooker to last for many years, but not a laptop or PC.
      Check out the Sale of Goods Act 1979: http://www.tradingstandards.gov.uk/wirral/Consnews09.htm [tradingstandards.gov.uk]
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Cal Paterson (881180) *
      I'm not sure what the letter of the law is in the UK, but the state-of-play is that warranties on laptops last for a single year, and the retailer normally offers a 30 day return policy. Only hardware faults are covered: software fault, accidental damage, theft, acts of war and god are all excluded. The only exception to this is if you are able to prove that you are mis-sold. If you don't produce a receipt (other other proof of sale) then there is no obligation for anyone to do anything.

      In short, if th
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday April 20, 2008 @01:44PM (#23135728)
    M kybr wrk fn
  • Fix it yourself (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Marcion (876801) on Sunday April 20, 2008 @01:48PM (#23135750) Homepage Journal
    The idea of the laptop is to make schools and children responsible for and in control of their own technology, rather than being passively spoon fed technology.

    Therefore the idea is that people fix things themselves. This is a good thing if things are built with this in mind. Repair your own thinkpad (no problem), repair your own ipod (no chance).

    If we have any hope of saving the planet from being one giant landfill dump, then we really need to learn to fix electronic devices ourselves.
    • Until you find out it's a small mechanical SMT component that's probably custom manufactured, you can't even find a replacement for.

      Not to mention the target audience doesn't exactly have an electronics store in their backyard. Or a soldering iron. Or perhaps even an outlet.

      (Cue Kung Pow... "Let me know, if you see a Radio Shack")
      • (Cue Kung Pow... "Let me know, if you see a Radio Shack")

        Whatever you do, don't let him play Black Betty....

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by orasio (188021)
        In Uruguay, the first country where they are deploying, there are electronic stores as close to home as in any US town. I don't know about Europe.

        Electronic technicians are very easy to find there.

        Anyhow, I don't think they could be of much help.
        The computers come with a very reasonable support contract with Brightstar, and they should be taking care of the repairs.
  • by fyoder (857358) on Sunday April 20, 2008 @01:55PM (#23135796) Homepage Journal

    Not quite sure what is meant by "we don't know of any _reliable_ method", unless perhaps it means something that works for everyone the same way 100% of the time, and there's some small number of units that can't be fixed by disassembly and wiping the area under the affected key with isopropyl alcohol. I didn't even go that far with mine, I just pried up the edge of the keyboard mat near my stuck alt key just enough to get the q-tip in.

    The XO is designed to be like the old Volkswagen Beetle -- cheap and easily fixable by non-experts in the field. Yes, it would have been nice if they weren't prone to stuck key syndrome, but it's not the end of the world, and these are fricken amazing devices at twice the price.

  • Be realistic. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by bcrowell (177657) on Sunday April 20, 2008 @02:01PM (#23135838) Homepage
    Let's be realistic. First off, there is no information to show how common the problem is: 1 in 100, 1 in 1000, 1 in 10,000? Also, note that it appears that everyone on the forums complaining about this is someone in a developed country who bought one via give-one-get-one. The blog at olpcnews.com linked to in the slashdot summary seems to be saying that there needs to be a system for distributing spare parts. Well, actually that wouldn't do any good with the stuck key problem, because the OLPC folks don't have enough information yet to know which keyboard supplier or suppliers are causing the problem. They could ship spare keyboards to Mongolia, but there's no way to know yet whether the replacements would have the same problem. OLPC does have a plan for dealing with hardware breakage. The plan is that they're trying to get the defect rate very low, and then have people in the communities receiving the laptops take care of the small number of defects by cannibalizing machines. That seems like a very reasonable plan for a village in Mongolia where 100 kids have 100 laptops. No, it's not a very reasonable plan for an affluent adult in the U.S. who isn't part of a community that has received a pile of these laptops -- but, uh, sorry, that isn't the main mission of OLPC. Some of the buyers in developed countries seem upset that the warranty period is only 30 days, and that they have to pay for shipping. Yeah, sure, OLPC could extend the warranty to a year, and pay for shipping, but that would cost money, and they'd have to pass on those costs, driving up the cost of the laptops. The goal right now is to continue decreasing the cost of the laptops.
    • by zenyu (248067) on Sunday April 20, 2008 @02:41PM (#23136120)
      Some of the buyers in developed countries seem upset that the warranty period is only 30 days, and that they have to pay for shipping.

      Some people are simply delusional. When I participated in G1G1 I assumed there was no warranty. My guess is the 30 day warranty is only there because of some stupid law. The way I see it, I made a donation to the OLPC Foundation, and got a neat little example of the technology I was funding. If mine had experienced any problems I would never have dreamed of draining OLPC's resources by returning it for replacement. I would have attempted a repair and reported on the success or failure of my repair, so that the knowledge could be disseminated to the children using the laptops.

      I haven't experienced any problems, and I really wish commercial companies would adopt a technology like its screen or its ability to take falls and keep on ticking, and especially the power-saving technologies which makes this thing the only laptop that has never run out of juice one me; I carry around three heavy batteries with my regular laptop and run it in its maximal power saving mode and it still doesn't hold a candle to the OLPC.

      The keyboard doesn't have the best feel, and I would only want commercial companies to copy it when making a keyboard for children. It is spill-proof. When I've spilled hot coffee and cold soda on it, I just had to wipe it off. Again, this is unlike my Sony Vaio and Lenovo T-61 keyboards which I've had to replace when even take-it-apart-deep-cleaning did not restore functionality post spill.

      From what I've read, it appears the stuck key problem is fixable with a cleaning. Taking apart an OLPC is _much_easier_ than taking apart a commercial laptop, so I think this whole complaint is completely overblown. I'm not going to go so far as to say the article poster is an Intel sock puppet. I've seen they crazies who talk about having "bought" an OLPC right here on slashdot. Since the OLPC has never been on sale to individuals, you know these people are delusional right off the bat. The apparently large number of these folks either speaks to the success of the G1G1 program at reaching many many people, or it speaks to the sorry state of the war on drugs at it's goal of combating the crack epidemic. Either way, these idiots should be ignored, and I hope the folks at OLPC do not take these jokers seriously.

      My only disappointment with the G1G1 program is that it wasn't G2G1, Give 2 Get 1. That could have resulted in more laptops in the hands of children, and fewer laptops in the hands of these complainers.
      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        by bcrowell (177657)
        My only disappointment with the G1G1 program is that it wasn't G2G1, Give 2 Get 1. That could have resulted in more laptops in the hands of children, and fewer laptops in the hands of these complainers.
        There's a G1G0 program [laptopgiving.org].
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by westlake (615356)
        The way I see it, I made a donation to the OLPC Foundation, and got a neat little example of the technology I was funding.

        OLPC won't find it so easy to extract a second check from donors whose laptops fail prematurely.

  • ..but the whole OLPC thing really does need a "What could POSSIBLY go wrong?" tag. Sad, sad, sad.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by orasio (188021)
      I don't understand how you are looking at it.

      When Negroponte talked about a 100 dollar laptop, everybody was laughing at him, saying it could not be done.

      They are selling under 200 dollar laptops, with a good chance of making them for 100 dollars in one year or two, or at least for the equivalent to that amount, taking into account currency devaluation.

      Other people are selling cheap, good laptops now, and a new market has emerged. Their vision, that was far fetched, is now very close. I think the OLPC is al
      • by mobby_6kl (668092)
        All of that doesn't matter, really. OLPC's ability to deliver the laptops at twice the target price, the availability of EEE, you anecdotes of failed HP laptops, and pretty much everything else. What does matter, though, is whether or not the laptop does anything useful for the kids. The keyboard failures alone do not make it useless, of course, but it's still a problem. Remember, the keyboards were supposed to be designed to withstand some abuse, which is why they suck to type on. If the keyboards have to
        • by mellon (7048)
          Yes, they could indeed have sent them useless junk that their power systems wouldn't support (not everybody has 120VAC wall current, you know). But it turns out that sending them computers that run easily off of a range of DC voltages, and that draw substantially less power, was a better choice. So that's the one they went with... :')

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday April 20, 2008 @02:10PM (#23135890)
    Amazingly, there IS a support mechanism in place for the target countries. There isn't one for the people who received laptops in return for a charitable donation. Support for the G1G1 program is volunteer-based. Sorry we're not as quick to fix everything as the billion-dollar companies you morons keep comparing us to. The manpower we have is being devoted to target countries, so forgive us if we seem to be neglecting the rich white demographic who has time to harass us on Slashdot. Posting anonymously for obvious reasons.
    • I thought I remembered there being support for countries that had bought in to buy the laptops for children.

      You are right I think that the people purchasing laptops here misunderstood the nature of what they were buying and the arrangement that went into it. But sadly you'll find that many people do not ever read the fine print, and will crucify your company for not being just like every other electronics maker even though you are not trying to be.

      I'd recommend starting off with a public plea noting that r
  • Hey, at least these people have one :) I ordered my XO on day 1 of the Give One, Get One program and it's still not arrived yet.
    • If you received an email confirming your order, and you have not received a Fedex Tracking Number, we recommend:

      1) Try the Order Tracker at http://laptopgiving.org/ [laptopgiving.org] using your original email address, OR your 10-digit reference number.

      2) If that fails to clarify, please send:

      * Your 10-digit Reference / Order Number

      (or PayPal confirmation number if you have no such records)

      * Order Date
      * Order Method (PayPal/Phone)
  • Who cares?! (Score:3, Funny)

    by urcreepyneighbor (1171755) on Sunday April 20, 2008 @02:31PM (#23136034)
    <sarcasm>At least they are trying to make the world a better place! Results don't matter!

    Now, let's all drop our pants and have a circle jerk to the Powa of Da Collective! w00t!</sarcasm>

    Of course, right now, some poor little kid in the middle of some hellhole is cursing his America POS computer. :)
  • New Rule! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by pembo13 (770295) on Sunday April 20, 2008 @02:37PM (#23136082) Homepage
    Stop pointless speculation in the summary. This isn't CNN or Fox news. Just give us a summary of what the topic is about, give relevant links, and allow us to form opinions. Thank you.
    • Stop pointless speculation in the summary. This isn't CNN or Fox news. Just give us a summary of what the topic is about, give relevant links, and allow us to form opinions. Thank you.
      You're new here, I take it?
  • To say that there is "no dedicated support infrastructure" is rather misleading. When my Thinkpad keyboard glitched out, I sent it in for repair, a depot tech swapped in a new keyboard module, and sent it back to me. The only difference in the XO-1 case is that the user will have to swap the keyboard module out rather than have a tech do it.

    If it turns out that a significant number of keyboards are dying in the field, they may well end up having to ship a few boxes of replacement keyboards to the various
    • To say that there is "no dedicated support infrastructure" is rather misleading.

      Not if you are talking about the other poor (I mean in the sense of income, not that they are getting these laptops!) countries that are receiving the laptops - if a lot of keyboards break there, and there's no easy means for people in those countries to get repairs, then there is a problem.

      I had thought though that with large government contracts that some of these countries are purchasing, that support came along with ti.
      • My understanding is that the various contracts generally included hardware above and beyond the amount required, to account for breakage. Depending on exact failure rates, they may well need to ship more FRUs of one type or another to these locations. The laptops are designed to make replacing parts easy, so support beyond new parts shouldn't be necessary.
  • by poetmatt (793785) on Sunday April 20, 2008 @03:14PM (#23136326) Journal
    Okay, there were some problems. NOTE THE DATE: As of January 30th. Nothing has been posted since March in there. I think it's safe to say the situation may have changed since january, seriously thats almost 4 months ago.

    Really why is this even a post today that far back?
  • I have a G1G1 and mine is working fine. Have installed new OS updates (joyride branch) every couple of weeks since Christmas and it keeps getting better. Never had the stuck key problem, though the original release had some trackpad bugs, long since fixed.
  • by davidpfarrell (562876) on Sunday April 20, 2008 @04:28PM (#23136804) Homepage
    I was the first one to report the bug here:

    http://dev.laptop.org/ticket/5658 [laptop.org]

    Although the cause is still unknown, I do believe that the way I was holding mine could have accelerated the issue in my case:

    I held it in my left hand with the lower left corner of the base in my palm - My fingers being under the base and my thumb being over the base in the left corner. I would then type and scroll with my right hand, so the entire weight of the laptop was being held at the point where my thumb was pressing on the lower corner - The laptop would essentially flex down and to the right.

    The problem presented within 4 days of receiving the laptop.

    Since I have received my replacement, I have not held the laptop in same fashion - not even once - and will not.

    And luckily, so far so good - I've not experienced any problems with it.

      -- start rant ---
    I was also the first person to send mine back based on the bug, *BUT* I wasn't the first to be mailed a replacement.

    If you read the threads on the bug you'll one of the tech guys next-day-aired some other dude a laptop after his was returned for testing - I was a little bummed!

    All of the official messaging from OLPC says that a replacement cant take as long as 30 days. I waited for 30 days and then called support.

    They informed me that it would be several more weeks before they shipped my replacement.

    Actually, I received it less than 48 hours after getting off the phone with them.

    By the way, the support staff are incredibly nice!

    -- end rant --
  • by fhage (596871) on Sunday April 20, 2008 @10:00PM (#23138532)
    I'm a day 1 G1G1 donor and my XO had the dreaded sticky control key about 45 days after purchase. I tried cleaning underneath the membrane with no luck, so I remapped the sticky key, but soon other keys started to stick. One of the ideas presented on the olpc wiki was to replace the original keyboard with an ultra-mini, after-market USB keyboard [http://www.instructables.com] mounted internally.

    Since I have basic shop skills and know how to solder I did just that, spending about $35 for the keyboard and about 4 hours making the modifications. I couldn't be happier with this modification. The action of real keys doubles the usability of the XO, especially for people like me who have big, clumsy hands. I used to dread having to enter enter text on the old keyboard. The new mini keyboard is a joy to use and I can type in my normal style and rate. Highly recommended if you are up to the task.

    I'm personally quite disappointed in both the OLPC manufacturers as well as the response by some of the G1G1 donors. The faulty XO-1 keyboard may be the downfall of the whole project and all we in the US can do is whine, and hope a factory in China can fix the problem.

    I fully disassembled my original XO keyboard and found the sticky key problem is clearly a design flaw in the way the two membranes are held apart. The bottom membrane has a serpentine array of traces which are exposed to contacts attached to the upper membrane and are arranged in small groups under each key. The top membrane has small circular contacts, with clusters of 2 -17 contacts under each key Separating the membranes, and holding the contacts apart from the traces below, is a pattern of rubbery glue, printed into linear traces between key rows and small diamond shaped dots internal to the rectangular groupings of contacts above. Most keys have an array of 4 contact dots with a 2mm, diamond shaped spot of glue directly between all 4 contacts. However the Ctrl, both Hand and Alt keys as well as the ] key have 6 contact dots with only 2 super tiny dots of glue to hold the membranes apart. Apparently these keys are the ones which stick the most often. For these keys, the designer placed the center pair of contacts in the group of 6, directly over a trace below with little separating glue. The only possible repair would be to separate the membranes and place additional dots of glue over the traces on the sticky keys. OLPC need to come clean about this mistake and build a better, more robust keyboard and make them available to all XO-1 owners.

    (PS. This message was entered on my hacked XO, under Opera)

  • Why slashdot, why? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Vexorian (959249) on Monday April 21, 2008 @08:35AM (#23141984)
    I can't believe this piece of BS got to the home page. Let me list the issues here:
    • FOUR links to olpcnews (Intel) . That's the equivalent to using fox news as a reference during the US elections...
    • The news bit is coming 3 months later? wtf
    • There are known fixes, and you can actually buy yourself an USB keyboard, which you should have done if you are freaking rich geek adult buying something with keyboard designed for kids.
    • The summary mentions no support infraestructure as a reason for not believing it could succeed on undeveloped countries, it fails to mention there is such a thing on the target countries.
    • No figures, no statistics, the summary is implying the problem is widespread and everyone is suffering from it, but no data.
    • 1 month fix [tech.coop]?
    • The final phrase on the summary, man it is terrible, thanks slashdot, I am tagging this "firehoseabuse"

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