Just another weblog

olpcMAP May Update: Part Two May 29, 2011

Disappearing markers: The latest update to Google AppEngine should help us store all of our markers, without worrying about them disappearing on us.

They’re announcing a couple of things at the Google I/O Conference and
we’ll have to go over their blog posts in the next few days to find out
how it can help olpcMAP.

Still interested in getting it on WikiMedia ToolServer, though.  Bastien
(Wikimedia) was very interested in the possibility when we talked.

Collection: Here are the XO maps of the world, Uruguay, and La Rioja in Argentina:

Interactive map (random URL is random)

Summary: As part of my Plan Ceibal work, I have significantly updated the OfflineMap activity.  Built-in maps library, compatibility with Google Earth files, measuring tool, extensions for users with internet connections, and other features and improvements.  I’ll upload it when I get home.

Nick finally flew back to his homeland after two months of working for Plan Ceibal. We (OLPC family and blood related family) met at Royal East in Cambridge to celebrate his return. After just one week at home he will move on to bigger places and things. He will do an internship in ESRI, then possibly Facebook in the fall and starting Jan 2012 he will participate in Code for America fellowship program. He said:” This is exactly the opportunity I’ve been looking for – one that combines civil engineering with technical, computer-sciencey stuff.  I don’t know which city I will be working for, but much of next year I will be at the program’s office in San Francisco”.

OLPC Foundation (Boston office) has moved to its new office in Cambridge. Happy Memorial Day weekend to all!


April olpcMAP update April 10, 2011

Filed under: Volunteering — polyachka @ 9:30 pm
Tags: , , , , , ,

April news from olpcMAP:

1. The demo of olpcMAP will be presented at the Boston New Tech Meetup on Tuesday, April 12, at 7:30PM.

2. Social enterprise venture: olpcMAP presentation will be given on Wednesday, April 13, at 7:30PM, at OLPC office:

   1 Cambridge Center, 10th Floor
    One Laptop per Child
    Kendall Square
    Cambridge, MA  02142.

Join us and 20+ others from Tufts/MIT at the OLPC Foundation’s headquarters this Wedn evening 7:30PM led by me and Adam.  Questions for discussion:

    * Why should we volunteer, and for what, over the course of our lives?
    * What makes volunteering around ICT4D / ICT4E (*) so incredibly challenging?
    * Is “DIY Foreign Aide” a voluntourist joke, or a material change in 3G intl development?
    * Where can community tools like unleash grassroots power in this decade?
    * What volunteers have managed funds+community to unlock their global volunteer experience?
    * What’s behind trendy corporate social responsibility / service learning leadership buzzwords?
    * With 2 million XO laptops distributed, how do volunteers actually engage to prove themselves?
    * What differentiates our social movements from yet another Twitter/Facebook marketing campaign?
    * How did Mike Lee (in attendance from DC!) build far beyond so many others cities?
    * What can the Mideast’s Arab Spring teach US–conquering our own fears–converting self-organized aspirations to proven opportunity?

We will raffle off a RED XO Laptop to the person who asks the most genuinely eye-opening question.  By popular vote when our Wedn April 13 event ends by 9PM!  But you MUST arrive on-time at 7:30PM as the 1st floor security desk will in fact close after that time.  Hosted in conjunction with Tuft Univ’s

3. The latest thing is the news page, that was just launched by Nick, and we already added some events and updates to it, including Linuxtag event by Christoph D. The main idea is to have one stop shop for all events, meeting, news, jobs, internships, for OLPC/Sugar community, and edutech community.

How it works now: you need to type your topic in the box next to post word and then create your name and message with the link to the main page or how to contact if applicable along with the main theme (from drop down menu). We will enhance it by sorting events in chronological and geo order. Add your event/opportunity now :

4. olpcMAP will turn 6 months old on April 22, 2011. It looks more mature, check it for yourself: 🙂

5. Finally, Nick Doiron is in Uruguay doing an internship for Plan Ceibal in Montevideo. He is working on getting an open mapping program called gvSIG onto the blue XO for 7th grade and above.  “It goes beyond the Map activity.  You can highlight all schools with <1000 students, or color each state in Uruguay to show the population density, or see how firefighters and farmers can use maps to make decisions.  The project has the support of the national Department of Transportation”.

Nick will be meeting others in Uruguay for Conozco School Tour from April 30- May 5,  and then the Summit May 6-8,  Already more than 30 people signed up and it is going to be a great opportunity to witness nation-wide OLPC deployment. Christoph D will  be reporting daily about the upcoming events in Uruguay.

PS Mike Lee and Christoph D are finalizing their own map jams in coming weeks, check for updates on


March olpcMAP update March 18, 2011

1.  Search made easy: now people come up first! Nick has rewritten search so that names take precedence over group names, and group names take precedence over descriptions, so these searches now show what you’d expect, and more common names (such as “Haiti”) still show the whole country in Google Maps.

2.  New way to move your markers or change your name on the map. And that is how:

* Don’t do it in Internet Explorer, it will not work, do it another browser.
* If you created a brand new marker, you can click and drag marker until you have left the page.

 * If you have an older marker that you want to move: click Edit, then click the new link on top of the window: “Change Name or Location”
* On the new page, click and drag your marker
* Follow the “Click to Confirm by Email” link above the map (this e-mail goes to the contact address for the marker)
* Check your e-mail and click to confirm (it’ll take you directly to your newly-placed marker)

3.  Profile pages: profile pages are different from markers.  It is easy to see all information about the person or deployment on the page and in the future pages will enable creation of groups. You can find a link to your profile page in your marker’s “Bookmarks” section. For example, Nick’s page is

4.  We now have Featured articles or markers on the map’s homepage If you want to suggest somebody’s blog post, article or a volunteer/deployment to be featured on the map, email us the link to a blog or website, or just the name, and we will feature them! Please, use

5.  New view is together with local views like This view enables you to hide either volunteers or deployments by clicking the checkboxes in the upper left.  That’s also where you can check to view News/Articles. It’s possible to do geographic searches of news, just like we do with go=Jamaica, but until we have many news items, we show the most recent 100.

6. You can add more news/articles at  They become part of Shared and the news layer at the same time!  We post it openly at

7. It took several months to process, receive and upload all video interviews from SF OLPC Summit in Oct 2010, but finally it is all done. Please see all 28 interviews uploaded to youtube under user verhovzeva. Links to the Interviews were also added to interviewees’ markers on the map. Enjoy!


Caryl Bigenho Presentation on Sunday, Feb 20 February 19, 2011

Filed under: Volunteering — polyachka @ 4:01 pm
Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

From Adam Holt:

In 2009 Caryl Bigenho took the pioneering initiative of building the 1st known /local/ (and lowercase ;)) olpcMAP, showcasing ~10 Sugar/XO projects — long before itself reached 500 volunteer/projects — crystallizing and catalyzing a community now made up of well over 100 Southern California volunteers:

*Thanks OLPC Southern California OSSIE (Open Source Software in Education!) *We’ve come a long way Babe!

Now, on Sunday 1PM PST (that’s 4PM EST) we’re coming together to reinforce Caryl’s extensive+amazing “glocal” mentoring of projects around her city, and around the globe.  Much of this work done silently around and not yet recognized by anyone at all!  And she’s not the only one.

So our “barn raising” will introducing new larger LA/Southern Calif edutech volunteers to the next level here — to each other — and to each others’ projects we’ll work together to showcase here:

In preparation for Feb 25-27’s quite huge SCALE / Southern CA Linux Expo:

     Sunday Feb 20, 1PM PST  (4PM EST) +1 866 213-2185    or    +1 609 454-9914
     Access Code: 1671650# Backchannel:

Sunday we’re all about to learn how far we’ve come, with OLPC/Sugar/edutech with along our favorite Hollwood iBoulevards &
iHighways — next week we’ll be hitting the longer road exploring a new city/region each week, so think hard about those Sugar/OLPC teachers/kids projects in your own town that have done phenomenal stuff, WHY YOUR CITY IS DIFFERENT, and most important the secret dad/sister/mentors behind the scenes who deserves their fair shake /quiet honor around our global community map at long last (lowercase+UPPERCASE ;))

Those who share the very most creative stories of grassroots/community accomplishment (whether told already in and or not, will receive a RED XO, as a month+
ago here, when so many similarly unknown talents were shared here:


Blue Ocean Strategy for olpcMAP (Part Four) February 6, 2011

Reach beyond existing demand. Do not just focus on existing customers and drive for finer segmentation. Instead of focusing on customer differences, we need to build on powerful commonalities of what users value.  This allows to unlock a new mass of customers that didn’t exist before.  Think non-customers before customers, commonalities before differences, and desegmentation before pursuing finer segmentation. Three groups of non-customers: those who don’t like us, those who don’t know of us and those who are about to leave. Find what they all don’t like and fix it!

So what we did: we gathered feedback from customers and non-customers (i.e. volunteers and non-volunteers) to learn what we can help them with.  Their answers were:

– easily find volunteer opportunities on the website,

– if they inquire – to hear back quickly and

– be helped with finding flexible opportunities that match their availability plus

– get trained;

– then people want to meet in person, share ideas and each other’s stories to get inspired;

– they want to be treated as valued individuals 

– and have purpose to feel useful and appreciated.

Get the strategic sequence right.  So after we looked across paths to discover possible blue oceans, constructed a strategy canvas that clearly articulates our future strategy, and via survey learned how to aggregate the largest possible mass of buyers for our idea, the next step is to build a robust  model to create value for the users.

Sequence of buyer utility, price, cost and adoption. What is the value or compelling reason for users to use it? In short: what needs of customers do you satisfy compared to others or before?

The buyer utility map (customer productivity,  simplicity, convenience, risk, fun and image, environmental friendliness) vs. buyer experience cycle (purchase, delivery, use, supplements, maintenance, disposal)  – all 36 possible combinations to think through… From utility to pricing… Competition is almost eliminated when exceptional utility is introduced together  with great price…

Here we learned that we can offer convenience, simplicity and fun by helping our users to find each other easier and share their thoughts via olpcMAP, also resolve issues and questions.. by making help transparent and hence easy to answer as according to “six degrees of separation”, when you connect to bigger number of people, you have access to more problem-solvers … Also the importance of being part of the group of people who share your views and passion supersedes many other worries people have.

Now it is scary, it is disruptive as no one knows if it is successful or not… Here comes Adoption matter and the need of educating all: employees, business partners and general public that this new strategy will work…


What Are We Missing On The Map? January 29, 2011

Besides home/front page, that was described earlier on this blog, and is still in works, it feels like the map needs more interactive Help section and the Meeting place for sharing ideas, jobs, internships, event postings, etc. Here are my thoughts so far:

Help Section:

1. FAQ in pdf format and available via search (magic archive).

We can identify 20-50 most frequently asked questions from volunteers and XO/Sugar users that we get through RT and write them down with best possible answers maybe even with images. We also should  try to expand Nick’s initial write up, Mark Battley/Nancie Google Doc and other possible questions in story telling format. Then we’ll combine them in a pdf doc and also into the map so people can type the question in Search and get the answer via magic archive. It will also help transfer part of the support gang/RT work to the map and triage questions.

2. Answers by Live Caring Humans.

This part is for support gang to answer questions not frequently asked or very specific, related to certain topics requiring great share of expertise.   I think it will be much better in quality than yahoo answers as our support gang volunteers are more qualified in EduTEch area and it will be an opportunity for them to build public recognition as experts, if they want. Questions and answers could also be anonymous or under nick names to preserve participant’s identity. We can feature the best question of the week…

Meeting Place/Intersection:

1. Forum.

Discuss topics, new articles, olpcnews themes, any news, events, videos, etc. All that is happening now on support gang list, but has 100% value not only for 200 people on the list but whole OLPC community worldwide no matter what home country. That is the way for them to keep up to date on news/release, see and post comments.

2. Lampost.

a) “half-baked ideas” per Nick – Encounters/Treasures… People who have ideas but need either advice, partners, resources or something else… (example, someone wants to start a deployment in Laos and looking for sponsorship, etc.)

b) List of Volunteers, similar to format…with possibly several fields to fill in and short intro what they are looking for (length, type of work, location, paid/non-paid, contact info)

c) Offers of grants, jobs, internships, etc.

 3.Global Calendar.

Upcoming events world-wide, markers can post their event here freely…

Very open questions:

How can we do multi-language support? If someone knows a better answer to the question in Help, should we prompt people to post it via When a question is posted for live caring humans, should it be emailed automatically to the right people, who sign up to receive those and answer by topic/area (potential ambassadors/mentors/SMEs)? In order to participate in discussions,  how do people identify themselves – with their email, marker  id or anonymously? Should some questions be answered off-line or all be on-line? Please send us your ideas as we are still working on the design of these pages. Thank you!


Happy Birthday, olpcMAP! January 24, 2011

Filed under: Volunteering — polyachka @ 8:37 pm
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Today olpcMAP is 3 month old! After its launch n SF OLPC summit, the map evolved into something very agile and beautiful, and it is just the beginning!  Please, see our map’s photo collection:

1. At first, it was just an idea.

2. Then it was the idea of many people!

3. Nick made it all real and launched the map on the last day of SF OLPC Summit.

4. December 2010 Cambridge olpcMap Sprint gave it more meaning and map beautifiers worked hard to add markers and make them pretty.

5. We’ve been experimenting with the “look and feel” and we are looking for testers.

6. Norway’s team  liked the project and offered to create video and pdf tutorials that they finished. What a great job!

7. We are about to finalize our home page and it feels good to be home! There are 465 markers living here today! 🙂


%d bloggers like this: