Mighty Life List
Aug 24 2007

UX Week: One Laptop Per Child

So, as I mentioned, Adaptive Path’s UX Week was amazing this year — so inspiring. These photos are of the One Laptop Per Child Operating System presentation. If you’re not familiar with the project, their aim is to make sure that every child in the world has access to a laptop. Their first large scale distribution is in September, and the computers are amazing.


-They work in direct sunlight and have hand cranks to power them.
-The icon on the front of the computer represents a little person, and can be color customized to suit a kid’s preferences.
-The operating system is awesome. It’s based on the idea of a community of people participating in activities. When someone in your network is doing something (playing a music game, making a drawing, writing something), and they want others to join in, they make their activity public. That activity icon appears on everyone’s desktops. You can see at a glance which activities are popular, because the xo icons gather around a task in which they’re participating. You click on your preferred activity icon to join the fun, and clicking puts you into an interface with the tools you need to play or learn. A “journal” feature automatically records (saves) everything you do, so you can go back and see what you did, when you did it, and who else helped.
-About 2,000 developers around the world are developing activities for the laptop.
-The laptops are tied to a leasing system that immediately deactivates a laptop if its reported missing or stolen.
-School participation is way up in communities where kids get these laptops, and for many families, the laptop is the brightest source of light available in their homes.

You can learn more at the One Laptop Per Child site. It’s a genius project.

Aug 23 2007

Steal This Idea

Suitcases, originally uploaded by MaggieMason.

OK, I have a good idea, and I think one of you should do it. Please collect little kid suitcases and old bowling bags and turn them into laptop bags and backpacks. If I were doing it, I would:

-Add a sturdy over-the shoulder strap (or two for a backpack option)
-provide a padded interior pocket for the laptop
-provide a pocket for magazines or files
-sew on an exterior canvas pocket with velcro or magnetic flap closure (as a place for phone, wallet, keys, pens)
-Look for suitcases with double zippers, or orient the bags vertically so you only have to unzip a little of the bag to get at its contents

If I wanted to get fancy with the outside pocket, I would:

-add a key fob
-sew in a couple of ribbon loops to hold pens upright

Make a few, put up an etsy shop, then email me. You could also pitch it to ReadyMade for their section on repurposing old goods to make new wonderful stuff. Eh?

Please do this. I lack the time and skill, but you are a very skilled individual who has been looking for a unque product to sell. Thank goodness we found each other.

Aug 22 2007

Mighty Menu

More menu madness! How do I maintain my edge in the face of meal-planning tips? I type naked. (Except for my socks. My feet are always cold.)

Anyway, in my continuing quest to lose baby weight, I’ve been reading You on a Diet by Dr. Oz. It isn’t so much a diet book as a “Potato Chips are Not a Breakfast Food” book.

The book suggested adopting one meal choice that becomes a habit. You could have steel-cut oatmeal every morning for breakfast, a turkey sandwich on whole-wheat bread every day for lunch, or a bowl of nine-grain gruel for dinner. This dramatically reduces the wild-card meals where you might accidentally eat an entire wheel of triple-cream brie.

I decided to adopt habit meals that have endless variations, so I’m having smoothies for breakfast and salads for lunch. For dinner, I’m freezing a bunch of soups that we’ll have whenever we’re too tired to cook or order pizza.


*Update: I added serving info and measurements to more adequately reflect the amount of fruit you’re getting per serving. If you’re making a smoothie for just you, you’ll want to halve the ingredients.

Makes two servings:
1 cup Orange juice
1 cup Lowfat plain yogurt
1 Banana
2 tsp. Cinnamon (a natural appetite suppressant)
3 tbsp. Psyllium husk (for fiber)
Flax seed oil (for delicious Omega 3 acids)

1 cup of frozen fruit, whatever you prefer:

fresh ginger
whatever fruit is about to spoil in the fridge (sometimes I’ll throw it in the freezer right before it spoils for extra longevity and smoothie slushiness)


Mixed greens or spinach
Tomatoes or cherry tomatoes
raw sunflower seeds
hard boiled eggs
cooked beets

oranges or tangerines
cooked chicken
smoked salmon


From Chic Simple Cooking
Chicken soup with lemon zest, thyme, and potatoes
Curried vegetable soup with fresh gingeroot
Winter borscht

From Bill’s Sydney Food
Spring vegetable soup

From Bill’s Open Kitchen
Spiced zucchini soup


-snap peas
-celery leftover from soups
-cherry tomatoes
-baby carrots

Raw almonds
Raw walnuts
almond butter on whole grain frozen waffles
dried apricots
fresh fruit
ak mak whole wheat crackers

Aug 21 2007

Swee’pea and the Monk

My cousins are raising some happy little twins. I’m exhausted just looking at the photos.

Aug 21 2007


The SUV next to me is booming with bass, playing rap at top volume.

I look over to see the driver, a young blond woman with a precise haircut. Her hands are in small fists below her chin. She punches at the air and shrugs her shoulders to the beat. Everything is fine with her. Things are going okay.

Aug 20 2007

Tough Guy

, originally uploaded by MaggieMason.

Me: I got Hank a new outfit!
Bryan: (rasies eyebrows)
Me: It’s cute! There’s a very limited amount of time where we can dress him all Chauncy.
Bryan: That outfit makes me want to kick his ass.
Me: … Shut up.

Aug 13 2007

In D.C.

We’re in D.C. for Adaptive Path’s User Experience Week, and we’ve decided to roll with the baby’s jetlag, as midnight to 8 a.m. is a far more awesome schedule than his usual 9 p.m. to 5 a.m. It’s a much bigger conference this year, and AP encouraged a few of the speakers to bring their babies along (which partially explains the much higher proportion of female speakers than you typically see at other conferences). The presentations have been surprisingly moving so far — a lot of speakers who are really using design to change people’s lives in meaningful ways. More later.