So far, I haven't spent much time with the XO applications that ship on the device. My children have been dabbling with TamTam and some of the others.
I have been fussing with getting Firefox, Flash, Skype and OpenOffice.org running. In the meantime, I have been learning a lot and experiencing a fair degree of frustration. This frustration is probably similar to the frustration/crankiness/feeling-dumbness that novice computer users experience at one of my workshops about Sketchpad or Fathom or some other application. When they are unfamiliar with the keyboard, don't understand the file system and can't find the sample files they are supposed to load and it feels like the experience is flashing by them, it is no wonder that they might think the whole thing is stoopid.
I think it is often useful to put ourselves back in that learning mode to regenerate empathy. It is like when Math teachers try to get a CAS to do what they are very comfortable doing on the blackboard. They have trouble and it should generate empathy for their students who will have trouble with whatever approach to algebra is employed since they are new to it.
OLPC has an insightful response to the rather lousy review that the Guardian gave to the device (it's for the kids - stupid!). The reviewer sounds like he was trying to do a lot of the same things as I am. We talk about paper-trained teachers. Well I am paper-trained and Windows-trained!
Like the Possum Lodgers, I can pray "I'm a man, but I can change. If I have to. I guess." But it is not so bad yet that I have to invoke their motto "Quando Omni Flunkus Moritati", "When all else fails, play dead".