Saturday, January 21, 2017

Kano review

Below is a quick review of the Kano computer.

WTF is it?

The kano computer is a raspberry pi based computer that is meant for kids to put together and build themselves.  Looks a bit like this:

propaganda video:

It ships with a nice guide that most kids will be able to follow to get the piece of the Kano computer up and running.  Optionally you can also buy a screen kit where everything can fit all together in a tidy package. The screen kit that houses the raspberry pi and and keyboard is the reason I went with the Kano over just piecing one together for the kids.

Once you get the hardware set up, the KanoOS walks you thru setting up a user account and starts off in story mode where you start off on SD beach and get to explore your computer in a RPG type environment.

You also have menu for kids where they can pick what they want to work on but also has a classic button if you want to get to a more normal Linux experience.

Not shown in the screenshot but definitely present in the menu now is a link to Scratch which this kids love. And of course no computer for kids cant not ship without Minecraft:

The OS is designed to get the kids to go through various quests to learn about the computer and as you complete quests more open up to you. More info around this is available on the Kano developer blog:

The Kano OS is available here:  if you want to throw it in a VM or raspberry pi you have around the house. It is also open source so you can contribute:

The Kano world portal also has fun stuff 

As an added bonus Kano has been sending emails for the kids to experiment with stuff. 

This week's "Secrets of the Computer Kit" included an introduction to the Linux terminal and cowsay!

cowsay, with some Scratch on the other Kano

The kids also got their first real Linux experience by the screen flipping and it still being flipped after a reboot.  We eventually found an option in the menu to flip it back but it was a nice introduction to the hell that is running Linux...good times. Enjoy Linux hell boys I'll be here to help you <3 .="" p="">

Overall extremely pleased.  

Two negative experiences though:

One was the first upgrade process.  It took over 30 minutes to download all the updates. I ended up losing the kids for the nite during that process due to it taking so long.  

Second was the fact the computers showed up one day and the monitors the next!? WTF. I realize Kano doesn't have control of all things shipping but it was a real PITA to have computers and no monitors.  Suggestion: bundle kits should ship together.

Aside from the above, the kids have been enjoying their new computers.

I know it's coming so i'll just address it here: 250 bucks for a raspberry pi?!  Yeah kinda steep...but I did price something comparable out before I bought. Here is what I came up with:   Pi Foundation Display - 7" Touchscreen Display for Raspberry Pi  $79.95  Pimoroni Raspberry Pi 7" Touchscreen Display Case - Noir  $14.95  Pi Model B+ / Pi 2 / Pi 3 Case Base - Clear  $5.00  LID 3.00

SD CARD 32 GB various $10-$20  Full Size Wireless Keyboard with Trackpad  $39.95


Speaker:  ?? 10?

Misc cables to hook it al up ?? 20?

Total ~ $180

or  Pi-Top - GREY - A Laptop Kit for Raspberry Pi B+ / Pi 2 / Pi 3  $274.95

None of the above with the exception of the Pi-Top fit nicely together, I'd end up having build it for the kids and I wanted them to build it themselves.  Plus the Kano comes in fun colors with stickers so they can make it their own.  I'm satisfied with the purchase but you could technically do it for the price of a raspberry pi and SD card if you have the other gear laying around.

In a similar vein is the Piper computer if you are considering things for kids:


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