Beta

Slashdot: News for Nerds

×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Skeptics Question OLPC's Focus With $75 Tablet

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 4 years ago | from the put-them-in-touch-with-arrington dept.

Businesses 159

With the recent announcement of OLPC's shift in focus, many are criticizing the nonprofit's attempt to design what could be seen as unrealistic hardware at an impossible price point. "The OLPC project has become an unrealistic hardware 'dream' and lost its focus on education, wrote blogger Wayan Vota on OLPC News, which has followed the OLPC since its inception. The project comes up with unrealistic hardware designs and price points that destroy its purpose even more, he wrote. 'Excuse me if I get mad at the XO-3 hype. I'm angry at the energy devoted to fantasy XO hardware instead of OLPC educational reality. I miss the original OLPC Mission, where children, not computers, controlled our dreams,' Vota wrote."

cancel ×

159 comments

Needed: DIY education software (5, Insightful)

Animats (122034) | more than 4 years ago | (#30553216)

Yes. The OLPC needs to be coupled with software that gives children a basic education with little or no teacher assistance. Then it's worth deploying in places where the educational system has broken down.

Like Afghanistan.

Re:Needed: DIY education software (-1, Flamebait)

sopssa (1498795) | more than 4 years ago | (#30553248)

Or you know, you guys could just stop breaking shit up.

Re:Needed: DIY education software (1, Offtopic)

selven (1556643) | more than 4 years ago | (#30553262)

There are lots of places that are broken down that the US hasn't even touched.

Re:Needed: DIY education software (2, Insightful)

aurispector (530273) | more than 4 years ago | (#30553366)

Amen brother. Most of the world is controlled by tin pot dictators and strong arm thugs, no intervention from the US necessary.

OLPC was always a liberal wet dream; if we all wish real hard, maybe we can stop the rain! Why would anyone think you could create hardware and software better and cheaper than what the rest of the world could do? Sorry, but no matter how noble your intentions you still can't pull a rabbit out of a hat just because you want to.

This is more proof, as if it was needed, that the OLPC project was the quintessence of wishful thinking. Stop wasting money on a failed concept; just buy the little bastards a netbook and call it a day.

Re:Needed: DIY education software (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30553486)

It wasn't wishful thinking; it was different thinking; it said, computers are so powerful, I want to use moores law for cost, NOT power. I think it likely that the whole OLPC might have been the trigger to the chain reaction that ended in the creation of netbooks. Maybe they haven't gotten quite as cheap as OLPC would have liked, but they are finally causing people to realize that static, or slowly falling cost + often increasing performance isn't the only game in town.

Re:Needed: DIY education software (1)

aurispector (530273) | more than 4 years ago | (#30553658)

Nope, it was wishful thinking all the way. Netbooks were inevitable regardless of OLPC. Eventually the market would have produced them. Even so, despite the world's best efforts netbooks STILL cost $200=. Why? Because THAT'S WHAT THEY COST. Getting all teary eyed about some starving 3rd world kids isn't going to bring the price down. Besides, what good does a computer do a starving child? Many nations chose inexpensive windows based alternatives because that's what the developed world is using. If you have a very limited budges, why would you waste it training your kids to use an OS that nobody else uses? OLPC is and always was a pipe dream running face first into the brick wall of economic reality.

Re:Needed: DIY education software (1)

icebraining (1313345) | more than 4 years ago | (#30553896)

Besides, what good does a computer do a starving child?

Maybe that's not the people they're trying to help. There are those who don't starve, but don't exactly have schools available.

Many nations chose inexpensive windows based alternatives because that's what the developed world is using. If you have a very limited budges, why would you waste it training your kids to use an OS that nobody else uses?

I don't think OLPC's objective was to train the kids to use the computer, those countries don't have exactly a large computer-related job market. I think the objective was to provide a tool to educate about *other* stuff.
For example, providing offline copies of Wikipedia. [wikimediafoundation.org]

Re:Needed: DIY education software (1)

selven (1556643) | more than 4 years ago | (#30553544)

Something like OLPC is, despite the massive shortcomings of this particular implementation, still in my opinion a better idea than most other plans for dealing with poverty. Airdrop food and water? They eat it, are happy for a few weeks, then go back to normal. Give medical supplies? Tin pot dictators and strong arm thugs will grab it and become another 1% richer while the people keep dying. Education, which is what OLPC is trying to do, is a more practical solution and has some measurable real world results, including creating skilled labor and reducing overpopulation.

Re:Needed: DIY education software (1)

sopssa (1498795) | more than 4 years ago | (#30553578)

If they are living on airdropped food and water, there probably isn't much they can do with a laptop (beside anything else, if they have no food, they probably have no electricity)

Re:Needed: DIY education software (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30553908)

"Most of the world is controlled by tin pot dictators and strong arm thugs, no intervention from the US necessary."

You have no clue how many of them are in power because of US interventionism.

Re:Needed: DIY education software (3, Insightful)

sopssa (1498795) | more than 4 years ago | (#30553534)

There are lots of places that are broken down that the US hasn't even touched.

And has there actually ever been a need to touch any of them? Other than for oil, of course. My country gets along just fine without being in war all the time, as do most other european countries too (apart from UK, but thats where US comes too...)

Re:Needed: DIY education software (1)

CAIMLAS (41445) | more than 4 years ago | (#30553780)

That's OK. We've got to unjustly blame the capitalist giant for something, somewhere, when the problem isn't 40 years old and there isn't some overwhelming evidence that the results have actually been positive. Especially now that the global warming scheming has basically blown up in the schemers' faces.

(These haters seem to ignore the fact that Afgahnistan was systematically broken, as opposed to chaotically broken, before we got there in '03. No, it was not a poppy field paradise in the fall of '02.)

Re:Needed: DIY education software (1, Offtopic)

Attila Dimedici (1036002) | more than 4 years ago | (#30553276)

I'm sorry, but Afghanistan was broken before the U.S. military arrived...before 9/11 happened.

Re:Needed: DIY education software (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 4 years ago | (#30553380)

I'm sorry, but Afghanistan was broken before the U.S. military arrived...before 9/11 happened.

Yeah there's a whole movie about it [wikipedia.org] now.

Re:Needed: DIY education software (2, Informative)

pjbgravely (751384) | more than 4 years ago | (#30554028)

Um, don't you mean Charlie Wilson's War ? [imdb.com]

Re:Needed: DIY education software (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30553396)

I'm sorry too, but the US was largely responsible for the destruction of Afghanistan many years before 9/11.

You know, by funding groups within it that were anti-communist, making it a target for the Soviet Union, then backing the Afghan mujahideen when the Soviets invaded. Then after claiming an ideological victory forgetting that the place existed; leaving Afghanistan a war torn hole ripe for strife. Easy pickings for the likes of the Taliban.

Re:Needed: DIY education software (0, Offtopic)

Mike Buddha (10734) | more than 4 years ago | (#30553440)

Yeah, that unprovoked Soviet invasion was totally the US's fault. Our bad, dog.

Re:Needed: DIY education software (0, Offtopic)

sopssa (1498795) | more than 4 years ago | (#30553452)

And what does their thing have to do with US?

Acting like a world police again..

Re:Needed: DIY education software (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30553474)

Heh, somehow I knew that was coming. "Invasion" is a misleading word, but it did at least reveal your own ignorance. The Soviets did invade. Don't get me wrong. But they invaded at the request of the current Afghan government who was having problems dealing with an aforementioned Afghan mujahideen. The Soviets were helping an ally against a fundamentalist terrorist group being funded by the US.

So yes. that is in fact your bad. Dumbass.

Re:Needed: DIY education software (1)

shutdown -p now (807394) | more than 4 years ago | (#30554370)

In fact, Mohammad Najibullah, the last president of Afghanistan before Taliban took over (and recognized as such by UN) - who was executed by Taliban when they took Kandahar - was from that pro-Soviet faction, People's Democratic Party of Afghanistan.

On the other hand, it is somewhat misleading, since PDPA itself only came to power in 1978 [wikipedia.org] , a year before asking for Soviet help (with invasion in support commencing in 1979).

Re:Needed: DIY education software (0, Offtopic)

CAIMLAS (41445) | more than 4 years ago | (#30553806)

So you're saying that the Soviet-Afghan war was the US's fault now, and not Soviet expansionist aggression (like in Poland, Georgia, Ukraine...)? And that these Afghanis wouldn't have fought against helicopters without that evil corruptive capitalist dream in their heads?

No, sorry. Not buying it, because I know otherwise. Sharia/extremist Islamic doctrine has been in Afgahnistan for a long time. They fought against the Soviets for the same reason we've still got opponents there, today: they opposed the Soviets on principle. Not only did the Soviets now bow to Mecca*, but they denounced the very existence of a god.

* Barring an infidel to fight, they'll just fight amongst themselves. That's what dogmatics do.

Re:Needed: DIY education software (2, Informative)

DG (989) | more than 4 years ago | (#30554412)

Disclaimer: I've actually been to Afghanistan. Lived there for a little while, and, inshallah, will return before the mission ends. So not just idle speculation; actual experience.

The AC above has the right of it: the Afghans had their own Communist revolution. When that didn't go well, the Afghan government of the day invited the Soviets in. Of course, Russia/The USSR had interests in Afghanistan going back hundreds of years, so that decision to invade wasn't exactly pure altruism... but yes, the Soviets were invited in.

And smelling payback for Vietnam, the USA chose to fund a group of religious fanatics ("terrorists" or "freedom fighters", your pick) who then proceeded to bleed the Soviet Union dry.

Not that the Soviets have any right to be proud of their conduct either.... they did some horrific things while they were there.

Following the victory over the Soviets, the USA took their money and left, leaving the country in the hands of men who rather enjoyed killing people and who had neither the skills nor the means to effectively govern. And from that festering mess arose the events of 9/11.

Karma, as they say, is a bitch.

A full reading of recent (last 50 years) of Afghan history is enlightening. Lots of very bad men; precious few heroes.

DG

Re:Needed: DIY education software (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30553416)

Well, yeah. We also launched CIA ops to goad the Soviets to invade Afghanistan, then followed that up by persuading the Afghans to mount a rebellion that we knew right off would be met with horrific reprisals that would devastate their country, all in the hopes that it might make an already collapsing country collapse a little bit faster.* But who's counting?

* (But it didn't -- contrary to Reaganite mythology, the Kremlin didn't bankrupt itself with rising military costs; Soviet defense spending was flat throughout the '80s. Hell, Afghanistan may have even stabilized them for an extra half a year or so, since they got to ship the most independent and potentially rebellious parts of their military off to get blown up by the mujahadeen.)

Re:Needed: DIY education software (1)

querent23 (1324277) | more than 4 years ago | (#30553604)

+1 informative. No, it's not "just the us's fault." but, yeah. it is also their (our) fault.

Re:Needed: DIY education software (1)

CAIMLAS (41445) | more than 4 years ago | (#30553974)

You're calling military types independent and rebellious? Not typically.

Re:Needed: DIY education software (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30554038)

You're calling military types independent and rebellious? Not typically.

There's always at least a few in every regiment. Plenty of people go into the military thinking they'll "be all they can be" only to find that what they signed on for is not what they got. They get disillusioned with the fairy tales about their military, and then often proceed thusly in regard to their government as well.

If your country is particularly corrupt or full of shit (like the USSR was), then there are going to be loads of these guys, and your ruling class get a chance to lose their phoney baloney jobs to a military coup at any time they're caught napping. NO-DOZ pills all around, boys!

  (This isn't even talking about the dangerous sociopaths who are always drawn to military service - they're a threat within ANY military.)

Any country with a standing army must be aware of the threat posed thereby. Anything else is foolishness.

Re:Needed: DIY education software (1)

rickb928 (945187) | more than 4 years ago | (#30554020)

"Soviet defense spending was flat throughout the '80s"

Citation needed.

Re:Needed: DIY education software (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30554118)

Okay. Can do. [theatlantic.com]

Re:Needed: DIY education software (1)

GNUALMAFUERTE (697061) | more than 4 years ago | (#30553420)

Implying that the US only destroys other countries by military means, and that their economic domination, shady business practices, and mandatory export of 'culture' don't do any harm. Also implying that all the tin-pot dictators around the world in countries with oil and other natural resources are not puppets of the US government, and that the CIA jackals didn't help said dictators to reach power.

Re:Needed: DIY education software (1)

hairyfeet (841228) | more than 4 years ago | (#30553456)

Hell that place was broke even before the Ruskies went in. Now as for the OLPC, I personally thought the OLPC 1 could have went far...if someone could have fired the ivory tower moron Negroponte. He should have sold it to BOTH the third AND first world( and NO forced charity is NOT selling it to the first world. It is arrogance thinking that all have the cash to G1G1), thus letting the economies of scale lower the price, used the profits to subsidize, maybe even give away a certain percentage to poor children, thus building goodwill, and he should have gave plenty of support to the FLOSSies and pushed them to squeeze every drop of performance they could out of the meager hardware.

Instead he went from one failed idea after another, from G1G1, which netted him a teeny tiny percentage of the sales he could have gotten and which showed ASUS there was a good market there, which he then gave away, to the first insisting on Sugar and then turning around and putting XP, which I don't care if MSFT tweaked the living hell out of the build we are talking a device with a 400Mhz CPU, 256Mb of RAM, and worst of all a lousy 1Gb of SSD. Which of course means that even with MSFT providing the XP on another 1Gb flash you will never keep it from becoming a zombie PC, because a fully patched XP is nearly 7Gb.

So when the OLPC goes under, which with the crazier and crazier ideas like above shouldn't be too long, I personally hope someone buys the original designs and sells them to everybody, because there really were some good ideas there. The Mesh networking ( not only great for BFN, but I imagine it could be good in times of disaster), the crank for providing power, the good daylight readable display. All of those are good ideas and with a little more RAM and maybe an Atom CPU could really make an ultra affordable laptop that ALL the world's kids could use and even the poorest adult could afford to give to their kids. But I have a feeling Negroponte is just gonna keep blowing chances and ultra cheap ARM Netbooks will end up being the sub $100 netbook that becomes the "laptop for the masses". Damned shame that Negroponte blew his shot because the OLPC sounded like a nice project.

Re:Needed: DIY education software (1)

Duradin (1261418) | more than 4 years ago | (#30554200)

Selling retail to the first world means providing first world support, and the linux geek down the street in his mom's basement doesn't count.

People are still hung up on the damned crank? Go find a crank powered flashlight. Open it and look and how much of the space is used by the mechanical parts. Put it back together and try cranking long enough and fast enough to charge an XO battery.

Re:Needed: DIY education software (1, Informative)

lawpoop (604919) | more than 4 years ago | (#30553504)

I'm sorry, but Afghanistan was broken before the U.S. military arrived...before 9/11 happened.

Who said anything about the US military? In the 1970s, Afghanistan was a great place. I talked to a guy who visited their as a tourist, and he said all the people were friendly and welcoming. In every hotel he stayed at, there were two little hash chunks on the nightstand, like mints.

Generally countries tend to do well when their territory isn't use strategically for international power games.

Re:Needed: DIY education software (2, Informative)

Attila Dimedici (1036002) | more than 4 years ago | (#30553676)

I'm sorry, but Afghanistan was broken before the U.S. military arrived...before 9/11 happened.

Who said anything about the US military? In the 1970s, Afghanistan was a great place. I talked to a guy who visited their as a tourist, and he said all the people were friendly and welcoming. In every hotel he stayed at, there were two little hash chunks on the nightstand, like mints. Generally countries tend to do well when their territory isn't use strategically for international power games.

Right, if it wasn't for the U.S., Afghanistan would be a wonderful country. The Russian invasion has nothing to do with the change, it's all the fault of the U.S..

Re:Needed: DIY education software (1)

shutdown -p now (807394) | more than 4 years ago | (#30554388)

Who said anything about the US military? In the 1970s, Afghanistan was a great place. I talked to a guy who visited their as a tourist, and he said all the people were friendly and welcoming. In every hotel he stayed at, there were two little hash chunks on the nightstand, like mints.

That was likely during the rule of Daud Khan [wikipedia.org] , which was fairly brief, and which didn't end with the invasion, but with an internal revolution - yet another, in fact, since Daoud himself came to power by overthrowing the king. And despite being called a president, he was effectively a dictator, and didn't shy away from executing political opponents, and brutally suppressing any dissent (particularly Islamists whom he opposed).

Even so, for a ruler of Afghanistan, he was an exceptionally good one. But not likely to last long in any case - being an ardent nationalist of one of the three major ethnicities making up a country does not exactly encourage widespread public support.

Re:Needed: DIY education software (1)

magnusrex1280 (1075361) | more than 4 years ago | (#30553384)

It's both hilarious and ignorant for you to think that Afghanistan has problems only because the US went to war there in retaliation for 9/11. Afghanistan has one of the longest histories of conflict in the world, and for you to imply that the problems there didn't exist before American troops arrived is ridiculous.

Re:Needed: DIY education software (0, Offtopic)

sopssa (1498795) | more than 4 years ago | (#30553428)

Yes, the conflicts and problems that were caused by Americans way before 9/11 too.. USA supplied middle-east and the surrounding areas for long to fight the cold war with Russians and trained the people to fight. It just backfired as they're the terrorists now.

Re:Needed: DIY education software (1)

Mike Buddha (10734) | more than 4 years ago | (#30553454)

Haven't you learned that the world is only what I see on TV right in front of me right now?

Re:Needed: DIY education software (2, Interesting)

Mike Buddha (10734) | more than 4 years ago | (#30553430)

Yes, because Afghanistan was an educational utopia before they started in with the harboring terrorists thing, of course.

Too bad the world isn't really like hindsight says it was.

Re:Needed: DIY education software (1)

sopssa (1498795) | more than 4 years ago | (#30553472)

Who says they were an educational utopia? We're talking about a basic schooling system or nothing at all here.

And since when Afghanistan government has knowingly allowed Al Qaeda training camps and such there? Afghanistan as a country never was involved in any of it. But USA pretty much declared country against them and destroying the whole country completely finally, instead of just handling it clearly without collateral damage.

Re:Needed: DIY education software (0, Offtopic)

Brett Buck (811747) | more than 4 years ago | (#30553500)

Or you know, you guys could just stop breaking shit up.

            That's very insightful, because it was a real educational paradise before the US showed up. Unless you were a Christian. Or a Jew. Or a woman. Or believed in a slightly different form of Islam.

Re:Needed: DIY education software (0, Offtopic)

sopssa (1498795) | more than 4 years ago | (#30553514)

Unless you were a Christian. Or a Jew. Or a woman. Or believed in a slightly different form of Islam.

You really think US went there for any of those reasons?

Re:Needed: DIY education software (1)

palegray.net (1195047) | more than 4 years ago | (#30553252)

If educating children without teachers or other instructional figures there to guide them were easy (or even possible), we'd already be doing it. That said, there is a ton of educational software available in distributions like Edubuntu [edubuntu.org] that can go a long way toward that goal.

Re:Needed: DIY education software (1)

phantomfive (622387) | more than 4 years ago | (#30553304)

I'm visualizing a computer that would help people who don't even know how to read. The first, most visible icon on the desktop would be a reading tutorial. The literacy rate in Afghanistan is around 28%. Afghanistan is a good potential case for this (one they are no longer in danger of violence from various armies, perhaps) because they mostly don't have trouble feeding themselves, they are self-sufficient, and now they are ready to move to the next level.

To move to the next level, they need information, and literacy will be a huge step towards that. After that it seems like they will be ready for Edubuntu.

Re:Needed: DIY education software (1)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 4 years ago | (#30553350)

The problem is, without literacy there is generally very, very, very little aptitude for learning and in order to be self-taught you have to have an aptitude of learning. For example, to an illiterate person, why would they want to read in an unstable world? They have lived all their life without reading, see no possible advancement with literacy (for example, a farmer isn't going to think they can suddenly bring rain if they can read). Teachers on the other hand, can persuade people to want to learn, they can show opportunities with learning. They can bring practical skills along with higher learning to people.

Re:Needed: DIY education software (1)

phantomfive (622387) | more than 4 years ago | (#30553404)

It seems like when you are using the word aptitude, you mean motivation. If aptitude is really the only problem, it can be solved with good software. Reading pedagogy is a well developed field, and there should be little difficulty making such software.

I agree teachers are better, but they can be expensive, and certainly computers by themselves are good motivators. You have this cool toy, and you want to learn how to use it, so you have to learn how to read. It won't work for everyone, of course, but after the others start seeing the benefits of reading, the popularity will grow.

A computer for a kid in a developing country could be a great teaching tool. If you start trying to think of ways it could be used, I'm sure you'll think of some good uses too.

Re:Needed: DIY education software (1)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 4 years ago | (#30553462)

I agree teachers are better, but they can be expensive,

Yeah, but you also have to realize that most of these countries are extremely poor. A (native) teacher can live on a lot less there and have a better life compared to their students than here. A lot of these people live off of a dollar or so a day, so if you give a teacher $5 per day for each day of school, assuming there are 160 school days in a school year, that is $800 a year while keeping the teacher roughly 5 times as rich as their students. That is only enough for 10 of these laptops assuming the unreasonable price of $75 for each one. While the initial cost to teach the teachers may be high, native teachers can be quite cheap.

You have this cool toy, and you want to learn how to use it, so you have to learn how to read. It won't work for everyone, of course, but after the others start seeing the benefits of reading, the popularity will grow.

And one of two things happens

A) Your parents or you decide you are starving, the laptop is worth a lot of days worth of food, so you sell it

B) You learn reading and use the laptop and really end up going nowhere because the knowledge is purely theoretical.

The problem is, even with all the knowledge contained in all the scholarly books, it doesn't put food on the table. In most developed countries if you are good at theology, psychology, chemistry, biology, or anything else for that matter, you can get a good paying job doing it. In third world countries and some developing countries, most of those skills would be lost on the people there and end up doing a whole lot of nothing.

Re:Needed: DIY education software (1)

phantomfive (622387) | more than 4 years ago | (#30553522)

See my comment here [slashdot.org] , it addresses most of your points.

As for the remaining points, if there are enough competent teachers, it would likely be better to have teachers. The US is such a place. But in some places competent teachers are hard to find.

Finally, I am not sure how to keep people from stealing/selling the laptops, but I'm sure if I thought about it, I could come up with a solution that worked most of the time (the war on stealing is like the war on drugs: it may never be won all the way). Any such solution would likely be culture specific: some cultures are naturally more honest than others, and for some the solution might be as simple as pasting a sticker of the virgin mary on the laptop to make them think twice about their evil actions.

you forget the shame (1)

r00t (33219) | more than 4 years ago | (#30553736)

after the others start seeing the benefits of reading, the popularity will grow

Nope. There are two very human reactions:

1. Don't admit that you can't read. Avoid situations where it would be obvious to others.

2. Claim that reading is unimportant. Say that people who waste time on reading are nerds.

Re:Needed: DIY education software (1)

QuestionsNotAnswers (723120) | more than 4 years ago | (#30554372)

The problem is, without literacy there is generally very, very, very little aptitude for learning

So if you can't read you are a thick hopeless lost cause? Condescending you are.

Of the illiterate people I know (I admit I am in the first world so not heaps), the best technique for getting them to read and write has been the computer. It doesn't judge and it is patient. And they are motivated to learn because there is *something* of interest to them. Trying to read the rules about a game. Surfing pron. Racing the typing tutor. Whatever. Try it with any illiterate friends or their children and find something that interests them that needs them to read some simple words.

Re:Needed: DIY education software (5, Interesting)

KermitJunior (674269) | more than 4 years ago | (#30553344)

It already has been proven. Three groups of kids. First group traditional education. Second is guided but loose (like a lot of decent homeschoolers - not all, mind you) and Third was kids who just had someone to ask questions of and list topics/projects. Guess which group scored better at the end of the testing? Yep... group three. With little more than the Google equivalent of a "teacher". You ever see how quickly school can suck the imagination, creativity and desire to learn out of a kid?

And before you ask... "Values for a New Millenium"b Dr. Robert Humphrey. Info is in the last part of the book.

Now, when he proved several techniques that took Inner City kids from drug addicts to straight A students... who do you think shut him down? Kids? No. Parents? No. School Board? You betcha. (And that isn't knocking all School Board people...) Read the book.

Re:Needed: DIY education software (4, Interesting)

causality (777677) | more than 4 years ago | (#30553388)

It already has been proven. Three groups of kids. First group traditional education. Second is guided but loose (like a lot of decent homeschoolers - not all, mind you) and Third was kids who just had someone to ask questions of and list topics/projects. Guess which group scored better at the end of the testing? Yep... group three. With little more than the Google equivalent of a "teacher". You ever see how quickly school can suck the imagination, creativity and desire to learn out of a kid? And before you ask... "Values for a New Millenium"b Dr. Robert Humphrey. Info is in the last part of the book. Now, when he proved several techniques that took Inner City kids from drug addicts to straight A students... who do you think shut him down? Kids? No. Parents? No. School Board? You betcha. (And that isn't knocking all School Board people...) Read the book.

You'd love what John Taylor Gatto has to say [johntaylorgatto.com] on this subject. He also has a shorter essay here [cantrip.org] . He highlights how many of modern public schooling's techniques are profoundly anti-educational and seem designed to encourage dependency. He also advises that it takes about 50 contact hours to transmit basic literacy and mathematics skills; after that, the person is capable of educating themselves given access to books and other resources. One trivial example of the damage this does can be found in those computer users who get confounded by very simple issues that are found in Page 1 of the manual, the README file, the help file, the FAQ, and the vendor's Web site, yet they still need handholding, not because they are incapable of reading and understanding the information, but because they feel helpless.

I am very grateful that there are people like this who will stand up and say something, who will expose these important ideas. Make no mistake, that takes courage. It's little wonder that you generally don't see folks like that on the prime-time evening news, for what they have to say, however true, is also quite inconvenient to many powerful interests.

Incidentally, you may appreciate my sig; it's quite apropos.

Re:Needed: DIY education software (4, Insightful)

Penguinisto (415985) | more than 4 years ago | (#30553836)

I can second Gatto's theories, both as someone who has read and bought his book (The Underground History of American Education), and as a former teacher.

I've discovered many times over that once a student is genuinely passionate about a subject (I taught CompSci), the absolute best thing you can do (besides encouraging them) is to give them a few guidelines, help them when they get stuck somewhere, supply them with all the reference material they can stand, and then watch them go at it... I've seen kids take on Linux with zero previous skills in *nix, and in less than a year gain a better mastery of it than any recent CS grad. The biggest trick is to give them the tools from which to do the research, and from which to better themselves - in or out of a classroom. Then you give them the knowledge, but only when they need and desire it.

/P

Re:Needed: DIY education software (1)

bcrowell (177657) | more than 4 years ago | (#30554148)

Gotto has some interesting things to say, but:

He makes statements without backing them up. For instance, he insists sincerely that dumb people are rare, and that the schools make people dumb. Okay, interesting hypothesis. Where's his proof? Actually there's quite a bit of evidence that there are vast genetically determined intellectual differences between human beings. For instance, there are studies of twins separated at birth.

He also seems to have set up a very comfortable self-reinforcing belief system. "...if you asked the kids... why they felt so bored, they always gave the same answers: They said the work was stupid, that it made no sense, that they already knew it." His interpretation of these kids' statements is that they're all Einsteins who have been crushed by the educational system. Once we're convinced of this, everything that ever goes wrong with a kid's education is evidence that the educational system is messed up. What if the kid is saying the work is boring because he's just a kid who isn't interested in intellectual things? What if the other kid is saying the work makes no sense because he's a kid who's just not very bright, for hereditary reasons, and can't understand it?

Re:Needed: DIY education software (1)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 4 years ago | (#30553318)

The problem is, without much teacher assistance, education for the sake of learning, won't exist and without that there is no way for them to get ahead. For example, without a teacher to prod students in learning chemistry, there is very little motivation for the student to learn chemistry in a third-world country. Why would the average kid there study about valence electrons when there is seemingly little future for it? In a student with a developed, or developing economy, a student might want to be a chemist and make a living, but in a war or poverty torn nation, chemistry would be little more than a trivia.

While students may have an aptitude for learning practical skills, those things do little more than sustain them. In order to make a difference higher education for the sake of learning must happen, teachers are one way of giving the motivation to make it happen.

Re:Needed: DIY education software (1)

daveime (1253762) | more than 4 years ago | (#30554016)

Baby steps man.

Afghanistan and many other places don't need their children to become chemical engineers just yet. They need people growing up with practical skills like farming, irrigation, building etc, so they can create some kind of infrastructure and foundation for the next generation.

Being able to even read the instructions on the seed packet will help them far more right now than being able to make a chemical weapon.

Re:Needed: DIY education software (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30553360)

Soon as Microsoft became interested in this OLPC project, I knew it was doomed. That's because it's all about marketshare for them and is not otherwise anything they've shown any interest in. Go ahead and mod me troll because you don't like it, cuz I don't either, but that observation has predictive power.

Re:Needed: DIY education software (1)

couchslug (175151) | more than 4 years ago | (#30553666)

They'd just get snuffed for having OLPCs. Taliban routinely bomb schools, education being the enemy of religion.

Infinite Loop (1)

westlake (615356) | more than 4 years ago | (#30553726)

The OLPC needs to be coupled with software that gives children a basic education with little or no teacher assistance.

This is the fantasy that sank OLPC the first time around.

Every culture has its own educational tradition. Its own theory of how children should be taught,what they should be taught, and by who they should be taught.

There are gatekeepers, secular and religious.

"No" means "no." No purchase orders. No deployment. No support. No protection.

You can't work openly.

You can't work secretly without someone paying the ultimate price.

"If you educate a boy, you educate an individual; but if you educate a girl, you educate a community. No other factor even comes close to matching the cascade of positive changes triggered by teaching a single girl how to read and write." Stones Into Schools [csmonitor.com]

Taliban bomb schools in NW Pakistan [google.com]

The geek will blithely hand the Afghan girl a lime-green laptop that can never be openly carried or displayed.

It would be suicidal even to speak of it to a stranger.

The girl is illiterate, like her sisters, her mother, her grandmother.

True literacy implies a basic understanding of all forms of communication. The girl needs to learn how to see. The girl needs to learn how to hear.

The girl needs a teacher. She needs a school - a defensible space in which to learn.

 

Why laptops? (5, Insightful)

acidradio (659704) | more than 4 years ago | (#30553238)

It is nice that they want to make laptops for these kids but I think they are overdoing it. It seems like the proponents are more enthralled with the sizzle rather than the steak. Why can't we just put in reasonable computer labs with Internet connections?

I studied in Mexico for a while and it is quite common for many people, especially kids, to go to the neighborhood Internet cafe and pay a small fee to use their computers. There were always lots of kids there and they didn't mind that it was a "community" computer. While it would be nice to give everyone laptops, the whole idea of providing computing to masses of schoolchildren in the developing world needs to at least start with computer labs in the schools.

Fundamentally I see problems with giving kids in the developing world laptops:
1.) These are poor countries and the devices may be lost/stolen/sold to pay for essentials of life
2.) Not likely to have Internet access at home, may not even have reliable electricity
3.) Access to teachers in school (and tech support...).

I think they just wanted to make glitz and glamor out of this. The idea of a computer lab is not very sexy when compared to giving kids expensive pieces of hardware which will magically transform their lives.

Re:Why laptops? (5, Insightful)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 4 years ago | (#30553394)

Why can't we just put in reasonable computer labs with Internet connections?

Location. If someone has to walk 3 miles to go to the nearest place with a computer lab, they aren't going to go that often. If they have a laptop close by, they are more apt to use it.

3.) Access to teachers in school (and tech support...).

Actually, I think that may be more of a negative than a positive for most kids. Most teachers are rather controlling with computers, most kids with their own computer could go more in depth with it. I don't know about anyone else, but generally on school computers I at least tried to do nothing more than what the teacher said, after all no use getting in trouble. But on my home PC I experimented with things, bootloaders, operating systems, drivers, system files, and really, it was because of this that I got interested in computers. If my only experience with computers was at school, I would have probably turned out to be one of those people who know nothing more than Windows, Word and Excel, who thinks to use HTML you must be some 1337 coder and PowerPoint usage makes you some computer wizard.

Really, the OLPC program was a success, not only in transforming the lives of thousands of kids in third world countries, but by making computers more affordable for the first world as well with the advent of the netbook.

Re:Why laptops? (1)

BikeHelmet (1437881) | more than 4 years ago | (#30553444)

I thought Asus invented the "Netbook"? Or was that Psion?

The price of the OLPC was what got me. I couldn't afford $400 + S&H to get one. Netbooks are a lot cheaper than that... I've seen many refurb ones for $150.

Re:Why laptops? (1)

Changa_MC (827317) | more than 4 years ago | (#30554322)

funny how asus "invented" the netbook right after the OLPC pricepoint was set. Could it be that selling commodity computers for a small margin was less of an "invention" and more of a reaction to competition?

Re:Why laptops? (1)

pongo000 (97357) | more than 4 years ago | (#30553626)

Most teachers are rather controlling with computers, most kids with their own computer could go more in depth with it. I don't know about anyone else, but generally on school computers I at least tried to do nothing more than what the teacher said, after all no use getting in trouble.

[citation needed]

"Most teachers"? "Most kids"? Do you have facts to support these assertions? No, I didn't think so. (So typical
of those who try to paint all teachers as technophobic curmudgeons.)

There are many school districts in the US, forward-thinking school districts that are equipping every student with a laptop, and the technical support to go with it. Some examples:

http://www.irvingisd.net/one2one/main.htm [irvingisd.net] (Irving ISD, Texas)
http://etc.usf.edu/L4L/A-Review.html [usf.edu] (Student laptop initiatives, mostly in Florida and California)
http://www.dallasnews.com/sharedcontent/dws/dn/education/stories/092009dnmetnetbooks.388a677.html [dallasnews.com] (More Texas school districts)

Technology in education is alive and well.

Re:Why laptops? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30554006)

Bzzt.......stupidly wrong

How about citing schools in countries that OLPC would be used in? Underdeveloped countries.

Re:Why laptops? (1)

CAIMLAS (41445) | more than 4 years ago | (#30554018)

Really, the OLPC program was a success, not only in transforming the lives of thousands of kids in third world countries, but by making computers more affordable for the first world as well with the advent of the netbook.

Thousands of lives?! My god, man! That's incredible return for the millions (billion?) spent! (Granted, I don't think that's necessarily the number, but I never actually heard/read about the success stories; all I heard was nonsense about how geeky they were.)

That said... the OLPC project was a massive success, but not for the reasons you mention. It was a success because the marketing was awesome; that was, mostly, what they produced. It was sufficient to create subequent generations.

Oh yeah, and the new $75/tablet figure: nonsense. Not because they won't reach it, but because it's easily reachable today at cost. The profit margin, on the other hand...

Re:Why laptops? (1)

jhol13 (1087781) | more than 4 years ago | (#30554356)

I sincerely hope most children don't (have to) "experiment with bootloaders, OS's, drivers, etc."

Computers are far beyond that today. I really hope OLPC is not even remotely trying to make children "computer wizards". With that I do not mean that it should hinder it, but there are a bit other stuff in the world beyond tuning operating systems.

In that area (searching and learning) teachers can be a huge help. Google or Wikipedia is not usually the best option.

Re:Why laptops? (1)

phantomfive (622387) | more than 4 years ago | (#30553470)

It could work. If someone with vision produced a competent educational suite, designed to help these kids actually learn and succeed in life, it could make a huge difference. There is no reason software couldn't be written to take kids all the way through high school (and give them tools they need to expand their own knowledge base afterwards). To pass the high school level all you really need is basic algebra and reasonable reading skills. After that, they could fill in the gaps with interesting topics like basic mechanical projects [gizmodo.com] or fashion tutorials (anyone kid should be capable of matching the colors of their clothes even if they are poor) or music lessons or programming or any number of interesting things. If they are in really poor areas, they could introduce things like rabbit raising [fao.org] that will make a difference in their lives immediately. The kids don't have to do all of them, they can choose from a few. If someone with vision and drive were doing it, then it could be great.

Nicholas Negroponte, the head of OLPC, has shown that he is not that man. He has floated around from OS to OS, failed to deliver what was needed, failed to show he even understands what is needed, failed to develop any kind of reasonable software to do anything (sugar is an ok start, but......it's still just a start). I wish he were more competent because it could be a great project. What a shame.

Re:Why laptops? (1)

selven (1556643) | more than 4 years ago | (#30553548)

Unfortunately, charities need marketing and PR just like everyone else.

Re:Why laptops? (1)

rastoboy29 (807168) | more than 4 years ago | (#30553808)

No, you're mostly wrong, point by point:

1. Just because something may go wrong is no reason not to do something.

2. That's why they have wireless grid technology and wind up power chargers.  Or do you not know anything about this project?

3. Having a computer in the home where you can mess with it many hours per day is the best way to learn the most.  If you never had this opportunity, you wouldn't understand.

I think you may have a point about the sizzle and steak from a pure price point perspective, however.  And say that five times fast ;-)

Re:Why laptops? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30554262)

1. Re sold to pay for life's essentials...
You need to address this. This is not a theoretical, poverty is _the_ core of the problem for most of the people this project purports to help. How much basic essentials do you think the average Child (or their guardian) could get for this thing?

2. Because Wireless Internet means Free Teachers, Education and no one would ever charge people for access to bandwidth and books (which they can't afford and the Copyright holders will not grant access to). Wind up? That didn't make the production model... who is it that doesn't know about the project now?

3. "Having a computer in the home" assumes you have a home where you can and are allowed to just "mess" around. Instead of, you know, dealing with the necessities of life. Actually leaning from it presumes you have no other pressing issues, and you _want to_. You're Western Arrogant Bias is showing, you "Privileged American Brat" :-)

I'm not trying to be a jerk, but look, computers don't teach you anything in and of themselves. Books do, though. eBooks are just becoming useable (serious ones, not novels) and there is really just simply not a lot of useful course ware available. Start there, make some useful courseware (not this Cool Sugar GUI) and you can come back and try and make your point then. And I don't mean just a few basic things, you need to replace the whole education curriculum... why? because this project's comparatively Monster Sized "Per Child" cost against traditional education blows a hole in the budget for that traditional education. So you must replace all of it.

Bad. Idea. Poorly. Executed.

Kinda dreamy both ways (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30553260)

I always thought the idea of technology item X transforming problem Y as being a particularly dreamy form of dream. But I'm just an old cynic that has heard that line from so many before I stopped waiting. Maybe they could prove me wrong.

If anything they have to build something. XO-3 sounds kinda nice, if they could deliver. And you'd have a real product in a real market, not some pipedream. And you could always try to turn the pipedream into reality with a XO-3 buy one give type thing.

In any case the OLPC response by real companies has proven the market for the simpler sub notebook type thingies, so built it and they will come. And the social engineers can get a real product to form some betterment around.

Seriously... (1)

bsharp8256 (1372285) | more than 4 years ago | (#30553300)

Does anyone take anything said by the OLPC program seriously anymore? I think the idea of providing these to needy children was never a goal taken seriously by these people. They wanted a hardware design playground and used the above-mentioned goal as a way to gain the support needed for their playtime. Education was never a goal. There, I said it. Mod me to hell.

Re:Seriously... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30553340)

And the nearly 1,000,000 XO-1 laptops in the hands of children in developing countries suggest you are a troll.

Re:Seriously... (1)

westlake (615356) | more than 4 years ago | (#30553818)

And the nearly 1,000,000 XO-1 laptops in the hands of children in developing countries suggest you are a troll.ZZZ

Confirmed deployment of OLPC outside of Columbia, Peru, Uruguay and Rwanda is - for all practical purposes - insignificant. Summary of Laptop Orders [wikipedia.org]

Re:Seriously... (1)

tabrisnet (722816) | more than 4 years ago | (#30553844)

Citation needed. That they were all delivered already.

Re:Seriously... (0)

couchslug (175151) | more than 4 years ago | (#30553352)

I agree, but at least they kickstarted the netbook craze which will help accomplish their goal without their direct participation.

We don't need them any more and I could care less if they never do anything worthwhile again. Their business model is not my concern,

Books and education (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30553328)

I don't see what the poster thinks has changed.

Many of us have pointed out from the beginning that having a computer is not equivalent to education... let alone solving the problems of food and shelter.

OLPC is a Westerner's arrogant fantasy and has been from the beginning. Not at all saying we should not try and level the playing field, but the targets of this program are not suffering in their education because they don't have a Laptop. They are a long way from that.

Boondoggle? No, just misguided and arrogant.

Re:Books and education (1)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | more than 4 years ago | (#30553866)

Well the OLPC can be used as an eBook reader, and from a technology standpoint possessing just a handful of the machines could mean unprecedented access to books for a school. Of course, this is assuming that the books are available, in a libre format, in the language that is being used at the school, which leaves few books available even for schools in developed nations.

In my opinion, what is killing the OLPC program is not that it was misguided from the start, but that it must fight a tidal wave of people whose interests run counter to the entire concept. American and European corporations see the developing world as a fresh market, with fresh business opportunities, but the OLPC project seeks to raise the standard of education without making the schools dependent on developed nations (in the long run). That is the root of the problem: the very capital and technical expertise that would be needed to jump start the project comes from people and corporations who stand to gain less if the project succeeds in its primary goal.

Microsoft was already caught seek to turn the OLPC project into a vehicle for entering third world schools and ensuring that they have a market in those countries. I wonder how many other companies had internal memos detailing which aspects of the project ran counter to their goals and how they could try to manipulate the project into compliance.

Low price attempts are good PR (1)

TibbonZero (571809) | more than 4 years ago | (#30553356)

I think they are either trying to be overly ambitious and unrealistic with themselves, or knowingly going to the press with absurdly low pricing to get headlines and discussion (like this) happening- but when/if it comes to light the price will be 2-3x of this. OLPC has got some lofty goals, but I don't know if they fully saw netbooks coming (competition) and have obviously before have came out with announcements of unrealistic pricing ($100 laptop) and when they released they were 2x that.

Re:Low price attempts are good PR (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30553408)

Oh how quickly people like you forget. Do you think pcworld (the article's home) gives a fuck about the long term health of the OLPC project? Look at the headline on the article "Skeptics question" - who dat? The answer is: the IT companies. The OLPC set itself a goal of hitting $100, and in the process proved that laptops were vastly overpriced money-machines for the likes of Dell. They kick started the cheaper netbook craze, that was later picked up by companies like Asus...

PC World is printing the grumbling of IT companies who don't want the prices of netbooks driven down further. Your comment that "but I don't know if they fully saw netbooks coming (competition)" - is pure fucking ignorance and stupidity. Do some reading, FFS.

And BTW, in case you are wondering if I'm some OLPC booster... I was a big supporter of their original goals, before they ditched them (and Linux) and started courting Microsoft, and in the process turned themselves into a small non-profit shifter of shitty underpowered netbooks running Windows badly. With this move, maybe they can regain some of that pioneering drive.

Re:Low price attempts are good PR (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30553542)

Except that there are perhaps a few thousand XO-1s running Windows, and around a million running Sugar. As far as I know, all of them being manufactured have Sugar.

The real problem with OLPC is the huge disconnect between the right hand (Nick Negroponte, the industrial designers, and the marketers) and the left (the hardware developers, the educators, and the software developers who split off into Sugar Labs). Neither half is aware of what the other is doing, to the detriment of all.

Re:Low price attempts are good PR (1)

McFortner (881162) | more than 4 years ago | (#30553530)

Cherrypal.com manages it with their Cherrypal Africa at just $99.00. OLPC just keeps adding and adding onto the design and that keeps raising the price. Maybe they should just buy the laptops from Cherrypal and install their OS onto it.

typical techie outcome (4, Insightful)

timmarhy (659436) | more than 4 years ago | (#30553390)

This is what happens when you have techies trying to implement a business plan. they fail to understand the key drivers and get lost in the technical considerations. producing a $100 laptop in itself it's actually a meaningful goal, attempting to educate the poor is the goal, thats what they lost sigh of.

Re:typical techie outcome (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30553574)

Amusingly enough, this is what happens when you have non-techies try to design a hardware product. The hardware developers at OLPC had no input whatsoever into this design. It is the clueless pipe dream of industrial designers, which is unfortunately being paraded as the future of OLPC.

Re:typical techie outcome (2, Insightful)

DerekLyons (302214) | more than 4 years ago | (#30553930)

Actually, it's the typical outcome of a project whose goals are political and philosophical, being executed by someone with little or no real world experience. The outcome is even more certain when you consider the real goal (outflanking wintel in the developing world and spreading the Holy Gospel of F/OSS) had to be carried out covertly under the guise of the 'cover story' - educating the world's poor.

You know better... (1)

lazycam (1007621) | more than 4 years ago | (#30553406)

No so long ago a few guys had a dream that computers should be in everyone's home, not just research centers and businesses. Now, most wired homes have multiple desktops and laptops. Dreams of a better hardware or software platform drive us to develop more efficient, cheaper systems. OLPC's founders and contributes are ambitious, and there is nothing wrong with that. While the perfect $75 platform may not be available next year, within 5 years its an obtainable goal. Remember a $200 machine is closer to a $75 dollar computer that previous "affordable machines" of late (excluding the recent popularity of netbooks).

Re:You know better... (1)

CAIMLAS (41445) | more than 4 years ago | (#30553566)

Even "poor" households in third worlds have multiple computers. I doubt there are many US households that have fewer than 2-3 computers.

Now, a general purpose "personal computer", which hasn't had the electronic interface obscured, is another matter. Most of those computers are in other electronic devices - stereos, MP3 players, TVs, microwaves, and the like - and have had the bulk of their functionality removed.

ZOMG (0, Troll)

MacGyver2210 (1053110) | more than 4 years ago | (#30553410)

Holy crap, Deja Vu!

Holy crap, Deja Vu! P I seem to remember something similar like "Oh they'll never be able to make 1,000,000 laptops at that pricepoint and distribute them effectively." OLPC: Proving you wrong, again and again.

Re:ZOMG (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30553508)

No one (who knows how to build consumer products using Chinese ODMs) said it couldn't be done. You misrepresent the anger we have.

So, once again. Bloody hell, what we said is it misses the point. Third world (now called "developing nations") children would like to eat and have shelter. Books and Schoolrooms. Solve the right problem. Anyone can build a cheap laptop with a more realistic hardware design. Like starting with (at the time the ubiquitous) StrongARM with built in LCD controller. 1M units? You could have even asked a whole freaking handful of chip companies to make you an ASIC if your true goal was -robust and cheap-.

So forget it, epic fail all around. Nice case, that's all... same as most things that are "designed" in North America :-(

Re:ZOMG (1)

CAIMLAS (41445) | more than 4 years ago | (#30553576)

Sorry, I don't remember them actually meeting their price poitn the first time. I do remember them selling them for over twice what they'd initially said they'd cost, though.

Re:ZOMG (2, Insightful)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | more than 4 years ago | (#30553900)

Perhaps that is because so much of their funding came after they agreed to do things for the corporations that were offering to sponsor them? Like, say, agreeing that they would produce a system that could run Windows? As the AC noted, a $100 laptop is not at all impossible to produce, you just need to have modest hardware.

ole.org (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30553490)

This is why the Open Learning Exchange was founded by Dr. Richard Rowe. He had been President of the OLPC project and broke away primarily to concentrate on the supplying educational software to the kids. See http://ole.org/about/faq/ [ole.org]

You need courseware before you need laptops. Indeed, OLE's initial plan doesn't require laptops for the kids.

Irony (4, Interesting)

CAIMLAS (41445) | more than 4 years ago | (#30553558)

The irony is, the hardware more-or-less existed when the OLPC was first conceptualized - and it could've been done inexpensively at that time, too. Five years ago, a $100 linux-based "netbook" would've been entirely feasable.

No, it wouldn't have had color or an x86 processor. And yes, it would've been a crappy monochrome LCD. But it'd have gotten great battery life, been able to do audio and the basic tasks outlined for the project, and (importantly) been able to be sold for under $100.

It was pretty obvious that Intel was making buku bucks off the advertising associated with the original platform. The OLPC guys got taken for a ride by associating with Intel on that one.

This time around, with enough volume there's no reason $100 shouldn't be achievable for a consumer price, and a lot less than that for production.

Re:Irony (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30553952)

It was pretty obvious that Intel was making buku bucks off the advertising associated with the original platform. The OLPC guys got taken for a ride by associating with Intel on that one.

Beaucoup.

I hate grammar nazis, but... Dude.

Re:Irony (1)

LOLLinux (1682094) | more than 4 years ago | (#30554210)

It was pretty obvious that Intel was making buku bucks off the advertising associated with the original platform. The OLPC guys got taken for a ride by associating with Intel on that one.

Yeah, except for that simple fact that they were using AMD Geode chips in the XOs.

Nice, enslave them instead of freeing them at $75. (1)

sethstorm (512897) | more than 4 years ago | (#30553892)

Not only will those developing countries use them, they'll also spend 12+ hours a day making them. Then some Audi-driving party boss(or his equivalent in the Third World) enslaves the very people that were meant to be freed by this technology.

At that cost, you've just added a slave labor incentive to the mix. How about just cut to the chase if all you're going to get is slave labor in a Third World country?

What about trade-ins (1)

uninformedLuddite (1334899) | more than 4 years ago | (#30554172)

Couldn't a program be run by some big corporate mob where they give you a hundred bucks off the cost of your shiny new laptop. Then they could take your old one, give it to the poor with Linux installed on it? I have a couple of old laptops here that would fit the bill perfectly and I bet a lot of other /. users would too. We don't need to create something when the resource they need is sitting around wanting to be used but headed for the dump or years in a dusty draw.

Not just being grumpy (1)

uvajed_ekil (914487) | more than 4 years ago | (#30554304)

He's right. The OLPC project appears to have lost its focus on improving education for the most disadvantaged children, and is instead attempting to innovate in other ways. This falls into the same category as many other tech/geekdom mistakes: making the gadgets and gizmos the focus rather than what they can do for people. I love building and upgrading computers, trying out new operating systems, and just generally tinkering with all sorts of things, so that is a legitimate hobby for me. But crap like M$ software and things like Macs are popular because people can just get their real work done with them. The most awesome, multi-touch, quad core, 16GB DDR4 tablet computer won't help an author like my mom finish a book faster, or do anything to help a kid learn if the kid can't get one. Make it work, and make it available NOW, and you've got a winner.
Load More Comments
Slashdot Account

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Don't worry, we never post anything without your permission.

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>
Create a Slashdot Account

Loading...