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Venezuela Purchases a Million Intel Classmates

timothy posted more than 5 years ago | from the olpc-opened-the-way dept.

Education 275

An anonymous reader submits news of the million-laptop order from Venezuela of Intel's version of the kid-friendly laptop. The computers are produced in Portugal. "The machines, rebranded 'Magellan,' will also come with Linux pre-installed as opposed to Windows XP. This order alone is 50% bigger than the entire OLPC project has managed to sell worldwide."

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quick, bomb them (0, Flamebait)

jacquesm (154384) | more than 5 years ago | (#25183421)

obviously they'll be used to simulate Venezuela's nuclear bomb...

And they have oil to boot!

What's holding you back ?

Re:quick, bomb them (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25183445)

obviously they'll be used to simulate Venezuela's nuclear bomb...

And they have oil to boot!

What's holding you back ?

An unfortunate case of scruples.

Re:quick, bomb them (1)

MrNaz (730548) | more than 5 years ago | (#25184253)

Spoken like a true foreigner.

Re:quick, bomb them (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25183447)

Sorry. Only Political leaders have the authority to make stupid decisions like that.

Re:quick, bomb them (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25183511)

obviously they'll be used to simulate Venezuela's nuclear bomb... And they have oil to boot! What's holding you back ?

Ok, based on your past 10 posts, I see that:
- Australia, US (esp Alaska, Texas), Canada, and England (though you actually meant the UK) are bad.
- Poland, Hungary, Russia are ok.
Do I have that right?

Why don't you go back to ignoring genocide in your backyard, and twiddling your thumbs until a country from another continent decides to do something about it. Oh I'm sorry, it's called "ethnic cleansing" nowadays. Next time I'm sure Putin^H^H^H^H^HMedvedev will be willing to help "stabilize" the situation.

P.S. The "Australia was a prison colony" joke and its variants are lame, and has been so for 100 years. Maybe you should leave your basement and find out what the people from there are like.

Re:quick, bomb them (2, Funny)

jacquesm (154384) | more than 5 years ago | (#25183553)

Funny you should say that, no Canada is actually pretty good, I've lived there for 5 years, I know lots of Aussies and just visited England and Scotland a couple of weeks ago. And I met some really nice people there.

There is really nothing wrong with any of these countries, it's their governments that get it very much wrong a disturbingly large amount of the times that they make decisions.

The 'genocide in your backyard' portion of your comment somewhat puzzles me, but I'm sure you will enlighten me as to what it was you meant. My backyard is rather small (all of 1500 square meters) and I'm pretty sure I would have spotted a genocide taking place there. Even a single murder would probably stand out quite clearly.

Whether Russia is 'ok' or not is really not something I can comment on, I've never been there (up to the Polish-Russian border but not to the other side), I just said that Russia has a pretty strong maths and programming tradition but that not much of it made it across the border.

I would like to bet with you that I've spent more time travelling and living abroad than you have and so will ignore your 'get out of your basement' comment.

Also, uid's are free so if you want to be taken a little more serious I suggest you get one and log in.

Thank you for taking such a disproportionate interest in my posting history.

Re:quick, bomb them (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25183601)

My backyard is rather small (all of 1500 square meters) and I'm pretty sure I would have spotted a genocide taking place there. Even a single murder would probably stand out quite clearly.

I read somewher that murder is a crime, genocide is statistics. Anyone would think that statistics would pass by unnoticed on your backyard rather easily than a single murder.

Re:quick, bomb them (1)

TapeCutter (624760) | more than 5 years ago | (#25183703)

"I read somewher that murder is a crime, genocide is statistics."

Or in it's original form: "One death is a tragedy. One million deaths is a statistic."

You won't save the world by shouting at it, all of the random ass-headed cruelty of the world will suddenly make perfect sense if you look inside the Monkeysphere [cracked.com] .

Re:quick, bomb them (2, Funny)

PopeRatzo (965947) | more than 5 years ago | (#25183747)

Also, uid's are free

What does birth control have to do with this?

Re:quick, bomb them (3, Informative)

KGIII (973947) | more than 5 years ago | (#25184137)

I'm not sure what country you are hailing from but it is IUD. Intra-uterine device.

Re:quick, bomb them (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25183795)

Well played. Your post history slams or espouses some country in 8/10 last comments, but by not mentioning it here, I'm sure no mod will ever look it up. I guess I should have expected that.

Do the laptops come with cameras? (5, Funny)

Centurix (249778) | more than 5 years ago | (#25183423)

If so, maybe give one to Miss Venezuela? I'd guess her IM nick would be WorldPeace69...

Re:Do the laptops come with cameras? (0)

jacquesm (154384) | more than 5 years ago | (#25183427)

I'm sure you only want this to inspect her vast tracts of land :)

Re:Do the laptops come with cameras? (1)

Gerafix (1028986) | more than 5 years ago | (#25183633)

Where the dirt road has been traveled numerously... ?

Re:Do the laptops come with cameras? (1)

barometz (1307743) | more than 5 years ago | (#25183713)

Only to redistribute them among the people, of course.

Re:Do the laptops come with cameras? (1)

Centurix (249778) | more than 5 years ago | (#25184363)

Well, I'm sure if you delivered the laptop personally all of it could be yours, including the curtains.

Re:Do the laptops come with cameras? (0)

Eponymous Crowbar (974055) | more than 5 years ago | (#25183737)

But then she could incite a socialist uprising.... in my pants.

lolwut (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25183429)

So now OLPC comes with windoze and classmates come with Linux? o_O

Tables have turned I gather!

Re:lolwut (2, Funny)

aliquis (678370) | more than 5 years ago | (#25183931)

And 2008 is the year of the Linux third world notebook / Linux desktop for children!?!

Re:lolwut (5, Informative)

DrSkwid (118965) | more than 5 years ago | (#25184277)

> The machines, rebranded 'Magellan,' will also come with Linux

I tracked down an attribution [theinquirer.net] - with pictures of the device

"This is effectively a second-generation Classmate PC, and integrates a Celeron ULV part and uses Linux, although down the line it is expected to migrate to a fully Atom-based system with a "lighter version of Windows" (whatever that is)."

The Portuguese have also bought 500,000 of the same devices. [eweek.com]

gotta like a bit of source (2, Interesting)

DrSkwid (118965) | more than 5 years ago | (#25184299)

The official details on the BOM state the computer costs 180 to manufacture, although a source told us 369 total

The benefits of not ordering with Windows (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25183431)

Why order them with Windows when you can just install bootleg copies for free before deploy. You save money,thumb your nose at capitalism and your students gain valuable experience learning to make the OS work firsthand

Re:The benefits of not ordering with Windows (1)

muszek (882567) | more than 5 years ago | (#25183807)

How in the world does installing bootleg copies gives anyone a "valuable experience learning to make the OS work firsthand"?

On the other note, I wonder what made them choose Linux. Was it a choice based on merits or did Hugo Chavez'es political stance (anti-US/capitalism) made an impact?

Damn,

Re:The benefits of not ordering with Windows (2, Interesting)

lysergic.acid (845423) | more than 5 years ago | (#25184135)

rational people make rational choices. his socialist stance probably has something to do with his choosing an open source OS based on its merits. i mean, he had no problem ordering laptops from Intel. so i don't think he was trying to make a political statement with this purchase.

and in the interviews i've watched of Chavez, he comes off as a surprisingly intelligent person--i had no idea national leaders could be like that.

Re:The benefits of not ordering with Windows (2, Interesting)

MrNaz (730548) | more than 5 years ago | (#25184293)

The ironic thing is that Chavez is actually a good leader and a very intelligent person, while the western media does its best to make him look foolish. Bush has the mental capacity of a ball peen hammer, but the western media does its best to make him look smart.

Re:The benefits of not ordering with Windows (1)

MrNaz (730548) | more than 5 years ago | (#25184273)

Because if you can get Windows to work on constrained hardwre like a netbook, then you can make anything work on anything. If you have the skills to make Windows work on a netbook, I bet you can install Solaris on a pair of scissors.

Made up or unsourced quotes? (4, Informative)

1u3hr (530656) | more than 5 years ago | (#25183469)

This paragraph in the submission:

"The machines, rebranded 'Magellan,' will also come with Linux pre-installed as opposed to Windows XP. This order alone is 50% bigger than the entire OLPC project has managed to sell worldwide."

But despite the quotemarks, this is NOT in TFA. No mention of Linux, or the name "Magellan". Hopefully the anonymous submitter didn't just make it up, it would be nice the source was cited. We all know how carefully Slashdot is in vetting its articles, after all, so I'm sure it's all verifiable.

Re:Made up or unsourced quotes? (5, Informative)

zeraeiro (946048) | more than 5 years ago | (#25183481)

Part is true. I'm from Portugal and all over the media you hear everyday everywhere "The first Portuguese computer ever made (...)". They don't even mention it's a Intel Classmate. http://ww1.rtp.pt/noticias/index.php?headline=98&visual=25&article=356756&tema=29 [ww1.rtp.pt] Not sure about the scale of the order in comparison to OLPC.

Re:Made up or unsourced quotes? (2, Interesting)

weetabeex (1065032) | more than 5 years ago | (#25183619)

Indeed, Intel Classmate was rebranded 'Magellan' in Portugal for some government funded laptops for students. I wonder if it really will be rebranded the same in Venezuela.

Re:Made up or unsourced quotes? (5, Informative)

The Dotmeister (1043252) | more than 5 years ago | (#25183577)

Actually the name isn't "Magellan" but "Magalhães", and it dual boots (at least in Portugal) Windows XP and Linux CaixaMágica (a portuguese distro) as you can see here http://www.eescolinha.gov.pt/equipamento.html [eescolinha.gov.pt] .
It's being sold to kids in primary school for 50 euros and it comes with an option for mobile internet, which you can buy from mobile carriers. If you're not a primary school student, well you've got to pay 285 euros for one.

Re:Made up or unsourced quotes? (1)

PopeRatzo (965947) | more than 5 years ago | (#25183757)

It's being sold to kids in primary school for 50 euros and it comes with an option for mobile internet, which you can buy from mobile carriers. If you're not a primary school student, well you've got to pay 285 euros for one.

Proof that Hugo Chavez is a dangerous Commie terrorist like the Bush administration says.

Re:Made up or unsourced quotes? (2, Insightful)

blind biker (1066130) | more than 5 years ago | (#25183847)

It's being sold to kids in primary school for 50 euros and it comes with an option for mobile internet, which you can buy from mobile carriers. If you're not a primary school student, well you've got to pay 285 euros for one.

The little I know about Portuguese culture brings me to expect a lot of these machines will be sold for %= EUR, but not to kids only. There's ways to abuse the system, and I suspect it will be abused.

Re:Made up or unsourced quotes? (5, Insightful)

lysergic.acid (845423) | more than 5 years ago | (#25184177)

oh c'mon. you don't think if the same deal were offered in the U.S., U.K., or any other western nation that you wouldn't also have people abusing the system?

i mean, 285 euros is pretty affordable for most Americans, but i still see people going into stores to buy these for their "kids" and then just keeping the laptop for themselves. consumers want the best deal possible as well. that's the flip side of capitalism.

Re:Made up or unsourced quotes? (3, Insightful)

blind biker (1066130) | more than 5 years ago | (#25184199)

It's just more likely to happen in Portugal than in Sweden or Finland. I don't know enough about the US to say one way or the other. And in fact, the post you are attacking does not mention anything regarding the US.

Re:Made up or unsourced quotes? (2, Insightful)

lysergic.acid (845423) | more than 5 years ago | (#25184213)

it doesn't have to. i'm pointing out that you're attributing a universal human trait to the Portuguese people. either you're incredibly naive or just incredibly self deluded. i guarantee it's just as likely to happen in Sweden or Finland or any other nation for that matter as it is to happen in Portugal. the likelihood of people abusing the system for a better deal is 100% in any capitalist country.

Re:Made up or unsourced quotes? (2, Informative)

The Dotmeister (1043252) | more than 5 years ago | (#25184255)

The little I know about Portuguese culture brings me to expect a lot of these machines will be sold for %= EUR, but not to kids only. There's ways to abuse the system, and I suspect it will be abused.

There's always ways to abuse the system, but as far as I know, to be eligible to buy one for 50 euros you need to go into your kids school, fill a form, wait for verification and then wait for a notice to receive your "Magalhães".

Re:Made up or unsourced quotes? (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25183609)

The name has been translated, the portuguese name is "Magalhaes" (actually there should be a "~" above the second "a", but when I post it looks strange, damn language coding confusions).

There are news here http://waterseven.universebox.com/?p=128, here http://sol.sapo.pt/PaginaInicial/Economia/Interior.aspx?content_id=109149 and here http://www.correiomanha.pt/noticia.aspx?contentid=604E90A9-501B-4A0B-AB89-67561B30D7B1&channelid=00000011-0000-0000-0000-000000000011.

All in portuguese. You can try to autotranslate and become even more confused.

Re:Made up or unsourced quotes? (5, Informative)

Chemicalscum (525689) | more than 5 years ago | (#25183699)

Here we are in Portugese from a Portugese IT site is says that Magellan will be sold to Venezuela with Canaimo Linux installed:

"na Venezuela o sistema operativo Canaima (baseado em Linux)"

http://ciberia.aeiou.pt/?st=10098 [aeiou.pt]

Linux is the operating system of the Bolivarian Revolution.

"Canaima is a GNU / Linux distribution based on Debian which is emerging as a solution to meet the needs of end users office of the Venezuelan National Public Administration (APN) and to comply with the presidential decree no. 3.390 sobre el uso de TecnologÃas Libres en la APN. 3390 on the use of Open Technologies in APN."

http://canaima.softwarelibre.gob.ve/ [softwarelibre.gob.ve]

political title - now make it work (3, Insightful)

xzvf (924443) | more than 5 years ago | (#25183489)

Technology in education has a great deal of potential when you put a computer in each kids hands. The important part is ~$300 million is being spent on hardware. How much will the national government spend on infrastructure that will make it a success. Teacher training and lesson plans, maintenance and support, internet access.... It could be political, your kid now has a computer, but I doubt it will be a success as an educational tool without spending another chunk of money on making it work. By the way OLPC is the reason the classmate exists, and while some zealots will be angry that it isn't their piece of hardware, the real supporters of the OLPC project's mission will be happy to hear this.

Re:political title - now make it work (4, Interesting)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 5 years ago | (#25183519)

Depends on the intelligence of the kid (3, Insightful)

burnitdown (1076427) | more than 5 years ago | (#25183563)

Technology in education has a great deal of potential when you put a computer in each kids hands.

Computers don't change the intelligence of kids, but they may help their motivation.

You cannot educate a congenital idiot into being a genius. You can make him flip burgers faster however.

I think people are hoping that buying computers for kids is the "magic bullet" to somehow turn them all into middle-class level performers.

No scientific evidence exists that shows that will work.

Some useful research:

* The Blank Slate: The Modern Denial of Human Nature [amazon.com] , by Stephen Pinker -- proves beyond a doubt that intelligence and personality are almost exclusively heritable.

* The Bell Curve [amazon.com] , by Richard Herrnstein and Charles Murray -- although the portion about race attracted the most media attention, the real point of the book is that intelligence in populations follows a distribution curve so that only a few are actually all that smart.

You can see why people go into "cognitive dissonance" when they see this evidence. We all like to think we can be anyone we want to be. But just like few are as handsome as Paul Newman, few are smart enough to achieve the kind of results that are desired.

Just as only one out of 100,000 has the talent to be an engineer or an acrobat, only a few are those truly capable of managing the matters of a nation or mankind as a whole.
Pentti Linkola [penttilinkola.com]

Re:Depends on the intelligence of the kid (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25183751)

Pinker's book belongs by all accounts to the popular science category thus I really doubt that it scientfically "proves beyond a doubt" that intelligence is "almost exclusively" heritable.

There is still a lot of debate in that field and current books for psych students don't present the case as settled.

But you know what. I am inclined to agree with Pinker but it's absolute statements like these that discredit him.

And the Bell Curve has not only been criticized for racism but also methodology.

My statements reflect Pinker's thesis (3, Interesting)

burnitdown (1076427) | more than 5 years ago | (#25183887)

But you know what. I am inclined to agree with Pinker but it's absolute statements like these that discredit him.

And the Bell Curve has not only been criticized for racism but also methodology.

I wouldn't consider him "popular science," since he uses hard science in the book and his research is about anything but a popular topic.

Stephen Pinker: Research [harvard.edu]

The entire point of his book is that intelligence and personality are heritable, in contrast to the "blank slate" theory which suggests human beings can be shaped or educated into having certain intelligence and personality traits.

Every book has been criticized for its methodology. Criticism alone debunks nothing. Do you have a valid counterargument, or are you just trying to insult away the problem?

Re:Depends on the intelligence of the kid (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25183891)

And the Bell Curve has not only been criticized for racism but also methodology.

      Criticize all you want, but you can't alter the facts. You know, as a biologist I find bell curves everywhere I look. It's only logical that most people can be categorized as being "somewhere in the middle" or "average" intelligence, with a few individuals standing out on the extremely low end or the extremely high end.

      Unfortunately what this means for those of us on the high end is that everyone else is stupid. So we actively seek out intelligent friends, partners, co-workers. Then we get accused of being "elitist" by the "stupid" masses. The scary thing is in a "democracy", we all get an equal vote, which means that no matter how smart I am, the idiots are going to choose the leaders. Well the results in the US are self evident, both with the current president and your choices in the immediate future. I was not impressed with EITHER candidate at the "debate".

      Ahh what I wouldn't give for an Orwellian world where intelligence determined party status directly...

Re:Depends on the intelligence of the kid (1)

KGIII (973947) | more than 5 years ago | (#25184195)

You, like those who are average, think you're in the above average group. This may or may not be true in your case. Speaking of bell curves...

Re:Depends on the intelligence of the kid (2, Insightful)

Collapsing Empire (1268240) | more than 5 years ago | (#25183921)

Here is a modest proposal:

The races may not be equal because different races represent different sub-evolutionary strategies of human groups who moved to different parts of the world long ago. Each race has capabilities that represent adaptation to a particular environment.

If we get away from a discussion of saying one race is inferior or superior to the other, can we have an objective discussion on these differences?

A lot of the modern science regarding racial differences has come to the conclusion that Jews and East Asians have the highest intelligence, so its not some sort of "nazi" type propaganda. Some of us just want to have honest discussions rather than emotion-laden ones that this thread invariably degenerates to. I'm not even Jewish or Asian, yet this topic is fascinating to me.

Why can't y'all just step away from your ego and emotionalism and have a talk?

Re:Depends on the intelligence of the kid (1)

KGIII (973947) | more than 5 years ago | (#25184209)

There are still those who suggest that the evidence is flawed as it doesn't take sociological aspects into account. That a race is predisposed to intellect generally doesn't mean a whole lot until we have examined the sociology associated with this. Are they better because of the pressures put on them? Are they worse because it doesn't matter in their environment?

Re:Depends on the intelligence of the kid (1)

PopeRatzo (965947) | more than 5 years ago | (#25183775)

It's a good thing you only cited really solid sources. I was about to say that you were a flamebaiting scumbag.

"The Bell Curve"? Are you fucking kidding me? Where do you get your reading list, the Josef Mengele Book Club?

Actually, this source is well-regarded (2, Informative)

burnitdown (1076427) | more than 5 years ago | (#25183869)

"The Bell Curve"? Are you fucking kidding me? Where do you get your reading list, the Josef Mengele Book Club?

Godwin's law [wikipedia.org] in action: if you can't beat 'em, call them fascists.

The Bell Curve is still widely regarded as the definitive tome on an unpopular but valid scientific pursuit. Why are you trying to censor science for your personal preferences of what you think reality should be? What are you afraid of?

It's the new Scopes trial: can you accept thinkers like Pinker or Herrnstein/Murray, or must we find some way to shut science out of the debate?

Re:Depends on the intelligence of the kid (0, Flamebait)

Collapsing Empire (1268240) | more than 5 years ago | (#25183893)

You do realize that The Bell Curve was co-written by a Jew, correct?

The Bell Curve is a justification for promoting intelligent people to higher places in society, not a pattern for mass murder and genocide.

Re:Depends on the intelligence of the kid (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25184063)

Some cowardly moderator moderated my 100% truthful comment down as "Flamebait".

Here is a proposal for you, moderator: grow some balls and participate in this discussion instead of anonymously attempting to censor comments you can't refute.

OLPC (4, Informative)

Eukariote (881204) | more than 5 years ago | (#25183509)

This order alone is 50% bigger than the entire OLPC project has managed to sell worldwide.

And guess who is to blame for OLPC failing to gain much traction? http://technology.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/tech_and_web/article4472654.ece [timesonline.co.uk] Yes, Intel mostly. Can't allow there to be so many AMD chips out there...

That's capitalism (2, Insightful)

burnitdown (1076427) | more than 5 years ago | (#25183603)

Can't allow there to be so many AMD chips out there...

That's fair play under the rules of capitalism.

And if we want "freedom," we probably don't want a whole bunch of rules about what's fair play.

Then again, maybe we can do better than a capitalist system.

Re:That's capitalism (1, Troll)

Eukariote (881204) | more than 5 years ago | (#25183689)

That's fair play under the rules of capitalism.

Is it? This is not free competition in an open market with a free flow of information. This is specifically targetting and trying to undo deals for the acquisition of a competitor's products using backroom machinations, bribes, and threats. Anti-trust legislation exists for a reason: to avoid cartels and monopolies and allow an open market to function and thereby protect the consumer. Some rules that are enforced are required. Unfortunately, monopolist corporate power in the US is such that rules have hardly been enforced.

Re:That's capitalism (3, Insightful)

aurispector (530273) | more than 5 years ago | (#25183907)

The OLPC is a nice toy and Negroponte gets credit for creating the netbook category, but that's it. Face it, the hardware is slow and not really special - oops sorry, the case has pretty kiddie colors. You could make the case that the OS is something new, but I don't see a huge clamor to bring it into every classroom everywhere. My kids use whatever OS is put in front of them. They take a while to find how to do stuff, then they do it. Where's the demand for the OLPC? They want to put nonstandard hardware and software in the hands of kid's in the 3rd world. Apparently, Secretaries of Education everywhere are scratching their heads wondering why they would put their kids on a different track than the rest of the world. And somewhere down the road the kids would have to be retrained to use standard PC's. Why?

The OLPC project should return to it's original vision of giving one laptop per child and get out of the hardware & software market. Change the mission to helping fund computer acquisitions. If they took all the money they wasted on hardware and software development they could have put more laptops out there by now.

OLPC is a classic example of why the market is better at developing and bringing products to market - better, faster, cheaper. Don't put the blame on Intel.

Re:That's capitalism (1)

kisrael (134664) | more than 5 years ago | (#25184085)

I think you are too dismissive of the software they're doing;
a basic computer w/ connectivity and a browser and some document handling is a 2/3 of the battle, and opens up whole new worlds. But there's another 1/3 of software that really encourages active constructive learning.

(that said, much of the the OLPC learning software is clunky + unfriendly in UI, but they are working to make it better as a learning platform)

People can pick up officedrone-ware later. Diversity from "standard" might be a worthwhile goal in and of itself.

Re:That's capitalism (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25183783)

That's fair play under the rules of capitalism.

Screwing with non-profit organisations dedicated to changing the world for the better, simply for the purpose of making a few quick bucks, is fair play?

It seems that you have forgotten that capitalism is means towards an end, not an end in itself.

Re:That's capitalism (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25183809)

Capitalism is a means to an end? What is the end, in your humble opinion?

Re:That's capitalism (1)

Hucko (998827) | more than 5 years ago | (#25183947)

making me rich...

Re:That's capitalism (2, Insightful)

KGIII (973947) | more than 5 years ago | (#25184317)

There are a lot of unproven beliefs here on /. and one of them is the belief in a utopia created by a free market. It is commonly supported here. Then someone comes along and finds that it isn't doing what they want and they'll say it is corruption, bribing, etc... They do this without any evidence to support their statements. Much like they believe in this fictional market as a cure.

What they forget is that we're humans and those genes haven't been removed yet and probably won't. Self preservation and greed are short term goals that are a part of who we are. The true irony is when they come and say that they're "naturalists" (as has been done before here) and completely ignore the fact that being natural means being true to your genetics, being things like an omnivore, and having the instincts to gather all you can in case lean times are in the future.

It is as if they think we've reached *the* high point which is odd because they seem to believe in evolution. The belief is that they have the answers now, don't need to substantiate them, and then go on to ignore much of what they claim to believe in.

The sad truth is that we're here for a short time and if we kill off a huge percentage of the population both the environment and the resulting changes in our species or learning would certainly better us as a whole. The claim is that people don't think long-term enough. The reality is that those who claim to think in advance are only being very short term thinkers as far as the scope of existence.

Magellan computers make me sick (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25183525)

As a Portuguese concerned about the education of the young and concerned about the economy, I must that these Magellan computers (named after Ferdinand Magellan, a very famous portuguese maritime explorer) are nothing but a huge scam based on portuguese tax holders. We are talking about a 900 MHz refurbished Intel Classmate PC that is both ugly, heavy, and marketed as "built in Portugal", which is _not_! And the choice of operating systems is appalling! We can either stick with Window XP or Caixa Mágica, a portuguese GNU/Linux distribution that is horribly produced, horrible to use, horrible to maintain, but thrown around at every state sponsored GNU/Linux deployment. No wonder people dislike GNU/Linux after using Caixa Mágica...

Re:Magellan computers make me sick (0, Flamebait)

edsousa (1201831) | more than 5 years ago | (#25183549)

Me too... Yesterday I was arguing with my dad telling him: "IT IS NOT the computers that will make kids smart!"
You probably don't know, but the current government offers these computers to kids in elementary school (those from low income families) as also some other conventional laptops (read: 500USD laptops) to kids in medium and high school.
But the truth is that year after year, kids get more stupid.

Year after year, kids get more stupid. (1)

burnitdown (1076427) | more than 5 years ago | (#25183635)

But the truth is that year after year, kids get more stupid.

Not disagreeing, but, why do you think that is?

TV? Genetics? Mutations? Social welfare? Religion?

Re:Year after year, kids get more stupid. (2, Interesting)

edsousa (1201831) | more than 5 years ago | (#25183785)

Mostly, lack of education.
Moral education at home, and not demanding work from the students. Its lot alike to the US "No Child Left Behind". To give you an example:
A colleague of mine taught some years in high school and was dismissed because he was being to hard with kids. He demanded one kid to solve "1000/100" without the calculator. She couldn't.

Re:Year after year, kids get more stupid. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25183787)

Godzilla

Re:Year after year, kids get more stupid. (1)

pbhj (607776) | more than 5 years ago | (#25184115)

But the truth is that year after year, kids get more stupid.

Not disagreeing, but, why do you think that is?

TV? Genetics? Mutations? Social welfare? Religion?

Missing option ... Cowboy Neal?!

Re:Year after year, kids get more stupid. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25184469)

But the truth is that year after year, kids get more stupid.

Not disagreeing, but, why do you think that is?

TV? Genetics? Mutations? Social welfare? Religion?

Because each year, YOU get smarter.

Re:Magellan computers make me sick (2, Interesting)

SL Baur (19540) | more than 5 years ago | (#25183711)

You probably don't know, but the current government offers these computers to kids in elementary school (those from low income families) as also some other conventional laptops (read: 500USD laptops) to kids in medium and high school.
But the truth is that year after year, kids get more stupid.

You can blame some of that on television, the rest of it on poor education one way or another.

The most valuable education I ever got was sitting down with a friend in HS to write a development system. I wrote the editor, he wrote the assembler (and later rewrote the editor in assembly language instead of binary patching with the Apple "mini-assembler").

I would not want to sit down in front of one of today's computers and learn the assembly language via a data sheet like I did with the 6502. In some ways, our technology has gotten backwards and "advances" in programming haven't been.

Re:Magellan computers make me sick (1)

no_such_user (196771) | more than 5 years ago | (#25184011)

On one hand, you want kids to build on the achievements of previous generations. On the other, those previous achievements become more abstract. But you know, televisions were corrupting our kids' minds back when you were learning on that 6502. And, there are plenty of 6502 emulators out there. The challenge is then to excite children about learning the basics, so maybe they can go on to tackle a modern CPU datasheet.

So maybe there's a way to supplement the educational system. Shows like Junkyard Wars and Mythbusters -- a huge step forward in helping our kids get excited and learn about science and technology. It's possible to have an equally engaging show about programming and all, perhaps including 6502 assembly. So maybe not quite Discovery or TLC material, but isn't that what YouTube, self-produced video, etc. is all about?

So, just think -- kids in Venezuela watching educational videos on programming 6502 assembly, and using a 6502 emu, all on their cheap Classmates. Sounds pretty cool to me.

Re:Magellan computers make me sick (1)

SL Baur (19540) | more than 5 years ago | (#25184055)

So, just think -- kids in Venezuela watching educational videos on programming 6502 assembly, and using a 6502 emu, all on their cheap Classmates. Sounds pretty cool to me.

And you completely miss the point I was trying to make.

Why should anyone need a video to learn how to program (anything)?

Re:Magellan computers make me sick (1)

KGIII (973947) | more than 5 years ago | (#25184345)

Why should they or why would they? I'd go with they shouldn't but they would because not everyone learns the same with the same methods.

Re:Magellan computers make me sick (1)

blind biker (1066130) | more than 5 years ago | (#25183873)

Why was this post modded flamebait? It was just stating something the OP feels to be a fact. And I tend to agree - kids are, actually, getting stupider. At least in western countries.

Stupider in the sense of knowing less than previous generations, and at the same time being less curious about the world they recently inhabit, while quick gratification and shallowness are the hit.

Re:Magellan computers make me sick (4, Funny)

aussie_a (778472) | more than 5 years ago | (#25183605)

, I must that these Magellan computers (named after Ferdinand Magellan, a very famous portuguese maritime explorer)

Yeah we all know who he is. There's a Civilization Wonder named after him (Magellen's Expedition, increases the amount ships can move per turn).

Re:Magellan computers make me sick (3, Insightful)

fireboy1919 (257783) | more than 5 years ago | (#25183817)

I know for a different reason. [youtube.com]

All the best stuff I know I learned from cartoons.

Turns out that I'd never heard "Get Along, Little Doggie" before that, either.

Re:Magellan computers make me sick (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25183959)

It was also an extremely overpowered wonder for maps with a lot of islands.

Re:Magellan computers make me sick (1)

16384 (21672) | more than 5 years ago | (#25183679)

Well, our prime minister thinks he can jump start our economy, and get us into the new technological era by throwing computers around. This is not the first laptop plan this government tried, and I think it'll mostly be wasted money. The sad part is that we lack the money to do some really important things, but at the same time we blow millions at the drop of the hat on things like this, or the deal with MIT, as if it would magically solve everything.

To make everything worse is the amount of propaganda going around here about the first portuguese computer!!! People, it's just a rebranded Intel Classmate that will be assembled here! The amount of propaganda shoveled by every single media outlet is preposterous. They just amplified what the government said, without any fact checking whatsoever...

Re:Magellan computers make me sick (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25183885)

First, as a Portuguese i'm pleased to see my taxes being put on child education rather than football stages for Euro 2004.
Second, Magalhães is built in Portugal but i'm sure your would prefer OLPC which is made on China by ten years kids.
Caixa MÃgica is just a linux distribution, if you want to blame the horrible on it, blame Gnome/KDE/RPM guys.

The true is that this government is making good projects which tries to educate your population and at the same time stimulates your economy, and that is pissing of people with your politics believes.

Re:Magellan computers make me sick (3, Insightful)

fsmunoz (267297) | more than 5 years ago | (#25184207)

Hello,

While I disagree with the usefulness of this programme as stated I have some comments on your remarks:

"We are talking about a 900 MHz refurbished Intel Classmate PC that is both ugly, heavy, and marketed as "built in Portugal", which is _not_!"

They are partially made in Portugal, which is better than not made in Portugal at all - from a Government POV companies that develop and build here should be favoured, and I agree. As for the ugly and heavy, so is the OLPC and pretty much every laptop in the segment, they're ultimate value is utilitarian.

"And the choice of operating systems is appalling! We can either stick with Window XP or Caixa Mágica, a portuguese GNU/Linux distribution that is horribly produced, horrible to use, horrible to maintain, but thrown around at every state sponsored GNU/Linux deployment. No wonder people dislike GNU/Linux after using Caixa Mágica..."

I disagree with your descrition. Instead of a Portuguese distribution that has been developed for years now and to some extent commercially successful and fully localised - not only language-wise but also in terms of local available ISPs and other peculiarities - they should have used something else? Like, let me guess, Ubuntu - which seems what everyone and their dog propose nowadays whenever they hear that something else is available?

This is exactly part of the reason why GNU/Linux user distributions more often then not fail when bundled: there is always a distro-du-jour that describes the one included as "horrible", and people just say "Fuck *this*, if even Linux users say this is braindead [because it uses apt/yum/emerge instead of yum/emerge/apt and other really life-defining stuff] I will just use Windows". Which, more often than not, they do.

Re:Magellan computers make me sick (1)

Glonoinha (587375) | more than 5 years ago | (#25184437)

I hate to point this out, but the most amazing era of technical prosperity and growth (the tech boom, circa about 1998~2001) happened using computers that were less powerful than the machine in question.

In both 1999 and 2000 I was issued a new laptops, the one I got in 1999 was top of the line - it was a Pentium II running at 366MHz with a 6G hard drive. Maybe 128M of memory.

These 900MHz Celeron based machines are 3x more powerful than the best machine I had during the tech boom, and the work I did on that machine was billed out at $160 an hour towards commercial ventures (insurance, business to business e-commerce, real time systems processing fraud prevention AI, etc.)

So - I'm guessing they're plenty fast enough for kids to learn to program in any number of computer languages, interact with the system at the command line, and do just about any thing in an educational setting that would promote their understanding of computers. To tell the truth they would probably be MORE beneficial to the students if they couldn't run IM, couldn't reach myspace / facebook / youtube, couldn't play games and couldn't display .jpgs (no pr0n for youts - pr0n : not yours.)

That means. . . (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25183545)

1 million more hits on Google for naked pictures. It's one of the best uses of the Internet, you know.

Classmate, Magellan, Venezuela and Portugal (5, Informative)

lejerdemayn (823082) | more than 5 years ago | (#25183663)

Even though TFA doesn't mention it, it's true that the computer being sold is called Magellan. It's basically a rename of Intel Classmate, with 1/3 of it being produced in Portugal. It was launched a few days ago over here (Portugal). The computer is being given (almost free) to kids in the 5th grade, and sold to the public for ~285 euros. Imo, it's just sad to see what I believe is a waste of public funds! First, the government is pouring cash into Intel's pocket for a sub-product, when it could've allied itself with the OLPC. Second, they think that by throwing fishing sticks at people, they'll learn how to fish. The computers will most likely be used for IM (MSN), social network (hi5) and warez. As for this deal with Venezuela, Chavez and Socrates (portuguese prime minister) are having some deals, and this is just another one. Portugal also has a huge community in Venezuela (around 1 million iirc).

Re:Classmate, Magellan, Venezuela and Portugal (1)

fsmunoz (267297) | more than 5 years ago | (#25184133)

Hi,

While I agree with you on the waste of money part - I am in general highly suspicious of the "throwing computers at the problem" strategy and actually think it has been having detrimental effects in several educational areas - I also disagree somewhat with some of you points:

"the government is pouring cash into Intel's pocket for a sub-product, when it could've allied itself with the OLPC."

The current state of the OLPC is a bit distant from the initial promise, so I don't actually think it would make such a difference. Also there is a difference: the OLPC was meant as a new UI for "emergent" countries while the Magellan is basically a cheap dual-boot computer meant to increase exposition to regular computer usage (yes, that means also Excel and Word).

"Second, they think that by throwing fishing sticks at people, they'll learn how to fish. The computers will most likely be used for IM (MSN), social network (hi5) and warez."

Yes, here I agree with you... but perhaps we are both Luddites in a way, I mean, having access to a laptop can be considered something very good - heck, having a computer when I was a kid was essential to my future career. Anyway perhaps some sort of "computers at school" strategy with supervision would be better. The Portuguese PM like to talk about Finland so it wouldn't hurt to see how they are dealing with this.

"It's basically a rename of Intel Classmate, with 1/3 of it being produced in Portugal"

While a bit deceptive I find that 1/3 is better that 0/3. The government should favoutr solution that are built domestically since they contribute in a much broader way to the development of the regions and the social fabric. Plus, the Linux itself is from a well-known local distribution, Caixa Mágica. This is something that could prove interesting.

Bottom line: somewhat critical about the process itself, Microsoft and Intel have something to gain here for sure but could perhaps prove interesting in some regards.

Chavez! (3, Funny)

saterdaies (842986) | more than 5 years ago | (#25183765)

Damn right-wing reactionaries and their mega-corporations! When will they realize that they should be purchasing from friendly non-profits like OLPC. I say we all move to Venezuela and start a socialist revolution!

Re:Chavez! (1)

dogeatery (1305399) | more than 5 years ago | (#25184335)

I'm with you!

Good for Venezuela (4, Insightful)

damburger (981828) | more than 5 years ago | (#25183767)

Although its popular on both left and right to demonise Chavez, I think his rule will have a long term positive effect. Regardless of the current state of Venezuela, the Missions he created are contributing to a healthier and better educated population which is the foundation of future success.

I predict he will be out in a few years, and Venezuela will continue on a roughly social democratic route. The idea that he is turning it into another Cuba is just absurd hysterical screeching from the elite he has pissed off by treating the Venezuelan poor like human beings for a change.

Re:Good for Venezuela (1)

pmsr (560617) | more than 5 years ago | (#25183863)

The left demonizes Chavez? In some parallel universe no doubt.

/Pmsr

Re:Good for Venezuela (1)

freddy_dreddy (1321567) | more than 5 years ago | (#25183973)

With a bit of help from petropolitics [foreignpolicy.com] any idiot like Chavez can become popular.

Re:Good for Venezuela (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25184181)

With a bit of help from petropolitics any idiot like Chavez can become popular.

Bush couldn't.

Re:Good for Venezuela (2, Insightful)

freddy_dreddy (1321567) | more than 5 years ago | (#25184327)

Bush is popular, you're just not in his target group

Re:Good for Venezuela (4, Insightful)

Zeros (1016135) | more than 5 years ago | (#25184163)

No, Chavez is trying to make Venezuela like Cuba. No poor people in Venezuela are now even worse than they where before. Anyone that thinks Chavez is doing something good has definitely never lived there. (I'm Venezuelan and middle class). I know defending Chavez has become cool among some people but no, he is a horrible human being that is doing MUCH MUCH worse damage than bush did in this 8 years.

Re:Good for Venezuela (0, Troll)

damburger (981828) | more than 5 years ago | (#25184201)

You are middle class. I rest my case

Re:Good for Venezuela (1)

Zeros (1016135) | more than 5 years ago | (#25184245)

Your case was about the elite... if you think middle class is elite then you have problems

Re:Good for Venezuela (2, Insightful)

damburger (981828) | more than 5 years ago | (#25184263)

I have no evidence you are from Venezuela. I have no evidence of your economic status. I simply have your unsubstantiated statements - and the fact you made the very hysterical comparison I mentioned was being made by the elite of Venezuela. I heard a business owner in Venezuela, with a straight face, compare the current situation to the Bolshevik revolution DESPITE THE FACT HE STILL OWNED HIS BUSINESS. The Venezuelan elite are comically shrill when it comes to complaining about their lost privileges, and you have simply provided an example (if you are indeed Venezuelan at all).

Re:Good for Venezuela (1)

Zeros (1016135) | more than 5 years ago | (#25184347)

This conversation is being derailed, I am venezuelan and you cant prove i am not. In fact why the hell would i lie about that? I really wish i was more eloquent in english so that i could state my point in a way even you would understand. Is a privilege buying foreign currency? ... Anyway before this conversation goes deeper into a flamewar i will end it here and wont respond anymore. But i can tell you your views are flawed, yes he is trying to make it seem as if he is helping the poor but he is draining the economy by wasting money by either giving free oil or lots of money to other countries.

Re:Good for Venezuela (1)

Reservoir Penguin (611789) | more than 5 years ago | (#25184431)

Like having more doctors and something to eat three times a day makes people's life much much worse. Chavez is a hero of all socially progressive people all over the world.

Re:Good for Venezuela (2)

Toll_Free (1295136) | more than 5 years ago | (#25184241)

lol.

That's pretty much how everyone was viewing Castro in the 'early days'.

Socialism is screwed, US isn't a democracy. You might be right in that Chavez might be out in a few years, but I highly doubt his "legacy" will be a good one.

Just because he is putting missions out in the field and educating the general populace in his ideals doesn't mean he isn't brainwashing them and / or leading them to the future revolucion (spelling intentional) against the tyrannical Norte.

Bin Laden educated his followers, for Crissakes.

--Toll_Free

Re:Good for Venezuela (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25184329)

(I happen to live in Venezuela)
You can see how good the Venezuelan poor have been treated so far here [imageshack.us] , here [photobucket.com] , here [imageshack.us] , here [imageshack.us] , here [imageshack.us] , here [imageshack.us] , here [imageshack.us] , here [imageshack.us] , here [imageshack.us] , here [imageshack.us] , here [imageshack.us] and here [imageshack.us] .
Not much of a change, is it? You may notice that some of the unfortunate characters are wearing baseball caps and t- Please don't take the PR spin at face value; some good has been done, but it's akin to treating pneumonia with aspir
Regarding "hysterical screeching", just take a look here [flickr.com] , here [flickr.com] , here [splinder.com] , here [nancarrow-webdesk.com] , here [imageshack.us] , here [imageshack.us] and here [imageshack.us] . At any rate, there's not much socialism here, but rather statism [wikipedia.org] .

Re:Good for Venezuela (1)

damburger (981828) | more than 5 years ago | (#25184429)

A couple of pictures without date or context might tug at the heartstrings a little, but you would do well to stick with numbers;

Although commonly thought to be a command economy, government spending as a percentage of GDP in Venezuela in 2007 was 30%, smaller than some capitalist countries such as France (49%) and Sweden (52%). According to official sources, the percentage of people below the national poverty line has decreased significantly during the Chavez years, from 48.1% in 2002 to 12.3% in 2007.[3]

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Economy_of_venezuela [wikipedia.org]

Regardless of what you think of the source, it has the benefit of being a quantifiable statement, rather than a set of pictures which tell you nothing about the state of a country.

Re:Good for Venezuela (1)

KGIII (973947) | more than 5 years ago | (#25184427)

The listing of the citizen's constitutional rights on products that they buy in the store daily and the advances made in adult education so that they can read them may well be the start of what makes his name go down as legend even though the USA doesn't like him but, a bit of history will show that we don't like ANYONE in the region that we don't own. We have gone to great measures to ruin entire democracies in South America.

As a person who is a citizen of the United States of America I'd like to hope that we, as a nation, are too weak to actually do shit about it at this point.

For all the haters out there... This didn't need OLPC. OLPC got it a jump and made it viable as a choice. They opted to go with this product. That's freedom. Let them have their freedom.

Just the effect of not using Windows (1)

synthespian (563437) | more than 5 years ago | (#25184229)

Just the effect that a million or more kids will grow up realizing that computers are something that can have different operating systems, that is, that they're not inherently connected to that monopoly product such as Windows, is very beneficial.

There's a whole generation out there that grew up thinking computers equal Microsoft, which suits them fine, but is just horrible for a free market economy.

It's strange how Linux gets easily picked up by leftists, who end up upholding free market principles as a side effect, while dyed-in-the-wool capitalist types will staunchly support Microsoft.

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