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Negroponte's Talk at Emerging Technology Conference

Zonk posted more than 8 years ago | from the from-the-horses-mouth dept.

195

xacting writes "The video of Nicholas Negroponte's talk about MIT's One Laptop per Child (OLPC) research initiative was just posted to MIT World. In it, he discusses the challenges of tripling the world's laptop production, dealing with China's policies towards free speech and the problems of grey markets." From the article: "The key to churning out these cheap educational devices is volume -- and the more countries that join the bandwagon, the sleeker and less expensive the computers are likely to be. Negroponte casts a wary eye on the potential grey market appeal of the machines, and is determined to make them so distinctive as a government-distributed, educational tool that taking one would 'be like stealing a post office truck.' Negroponte concludes, 'Changing education on the planet is a monumental challenge,' taking decades. But OLPC will 'seed the change,' and help 'invent the future.'"

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195 comments

Stylish (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14366793)

It will be very stylish for me and profitable for the original $100 laptop recipients if I can find these on eBay fairly soon after they're distributed. I'll pay $150.

Not so sure ... (4, Insightful)

RageEX (624517) | more than 8 years ago | (#14366799)

Why is everyone so sure that putting a laptop in a kids hand will help them that much? I'm sure it's a great idea on some level but what about starving illiterate kids, wouldn't food and teachers be a better investment?

Re:Not so sure ... (4, Insightful)

quokkapox (847798) | more than 8 years ago | (#14366814)

Not every community in Africa is starving and lacking teachers.

Think of what benefits would result if every student in a small Kansas town were given a $100 laptop with Net access.

Re:Not so sure ... (2, Insightful)

GoofyBoy (44399) | more than 8 years ago | (#14366866)

The Internet is a mixed bag, good and bad.

I rather have kids (in Kansas or Africa) read a good international newspaper than to have them uncontrolled access to the Internet.

Re:Not so sure ... (3, Insightful)

quokkapox (847798) | more than 8 years ago | (#14366999)

The Internet is a mixed bag, good and bad. I rather have kids (in Kansas or Africa) read a good international newspaper than to have them uncontrolled access to the Internet.

The internet is a good international newspaper, and much more. Internet access with good training is probably the most empowering thing you can donate to people who don't have access to such tools. Save people from dying of starvation, malaria, and war, and then teach them how to use the Internet. Then they can write their own international newspapers.

Re:Not so sure ... (1)

GoofyBoy (44399) | more than 8 years ago | (#14367133)

>The internet is a good international newspaper, and much more

Its the "much more" that I wouldn't want kids to access. There are lots of stuff I wouldn't want adults to access either.

Just give them the international newspaper, not a step by step how to send spam emails.

Re:Not so sure ... (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 8 years ago | (#14367439)

oh, yes. it's ok they they read about international events i a paper, but lets not give them an avenue to learn or study, cause you might get more SPAM.....
If getting more spam is the reult of helping people learn to help them selves, This I, for one, Welcome are new spam overlords! Bring it on, hell if I thought creating an open relay would help people fend for them selves, I would create one.

Re:Not so sure ... (1, Interesting)

flyingsquid (813711) | more than 8 years ago | (#14367346)

The MIT media lab website says: Kids in the developing world need the newest technology, especially really rugged hardware and innovative software.

Frankly I think these MIT guys are idiots. Perhaps kids in the developing world need 19th and early 20th century technology- clean water, decent roads, adequate food and nutrition, basic literacy, electricity, basic medical care- before we start worrying about the goddamn laptops. But hey, what do I know, these are MIT engineers and I only spent three months in rural Madagascar. While I was there I saw remote mountain villages that were barely out of the Stone Age and I can't imagine how a 100$ laptop could help these people... unless they sold the damn thing and bought some rice and cows. Maybe these guys ought to spend some serious time in the developing world and seeing what the problems are before they start touting the solution. If anything, this 100-dollar laptop does more harm than good, since it distracts from the real problems facing the developing world (seriously, when is the last time you read a headline that said "millions dying in Africa due to laptop shortage"?). Sure, there are probably some things you could do with a laptop in Africa. But the same 100$ a kid, spent on basic development of infrastructure, agriculture, education and health care would do vastly more.

Re:Not so sure ... (4, Insightful)

RageEX (624517) | more than 8 years ago | (#14366878)

Who said Africa?

A lot of fat Ameircan kids get very early access to computers, what good does it do them? Seems like we still have a problem with math, reading, and reasoning in this country and throwing money at it doesn't necessarily help.

I'll repeat myself, I'm sure it's a great idea on some level. But will spending all this money on technology ahead of treating disease, famine, poverty etc. produce results? These machines can't teach a child to read or write can then? Will they just become a fancy Feynman-eque abacus?

Re:Not so sure ... (3, Insightful)

ZeroExistenZ (721849) | more than 8 years ago | (#14366870)

Food is a temp sollution as it feeds them once, barely, and after being fed they require being fed again after.It grows dependency on the Western world. Making them independant, giving access to information and education creates independance and in the long run will help them feed themselves, maybe train some doctors engineers and farmers in the long run? Education will be able to provide that, in the long run.

Further, having the 3rd world countries develop, will create an economy to do business with for the Western countries, instead of exploitation.

Re:Not so sure ... (1)

c_forq (924234) | more than 8 years ago | (#14367430)

Further, having the 3rd world countries develop, will create an economy to do business with for the Western countries, instead of exploitation.

But where we get our cheap resources if that happens?

It's the Software, Stupid (4, Insightful)

Slugster (635830) | more than 8 years ago | (#14366923)

This is the problem--that there is not really much useful media to put on these machines.
For the most part, "the Internet" in itself is not directly useful in a lower-grade classroom, unless you want to teach kids about porn. What electronic media is available is usually only optional, and designed to complement the printed books.

What really needs to be created is MEDIA, electronic versions of suitable textbooks. And a database of quiz and test questions, organized by book sections, and a program to automatically check those answers. If the hardware had a way to do very-short-range networking (I'm thinking IR here, it only needs to work inside one room and not cause interference in adjoining rooms) then the ability to push file content over it and a way to check quiz answers in real-time would be a good thing too.

But you really don't need a whole laptop to do this. A laptop is really just adding a whole bunch more problems. A simnple e-book type device with a few input buttons would work. You wouldn't even really need a multi-tasking OS; this greatly cuts down on the speed and memory requirements of the hardware.

And finally, the thing's got to be drop-proof, water-proof, crayon-proof, ect. It needs to run off of regular disposeable (or possibly rechargeable) batteries, not $150 li-ion jobs. A laptop is NOT what will work for this.

And really--e-textbooks would/should be priced far lower than printed copies. There's no incentive for any school to even consider going to e-book use, if they are going to have to pay a bunch of money for hardware, and then pay a bunch more for "e-book licenses". If they just go with the printed books, they only pay a bunch once.
~

Re:It's the Software, Stupid (1)

Stan Vassilev (939229) | more than 8 years ago | (#14367146)

Ouch dude, the Internet is not directly useful for them?
What a monumental understatement.

For a very basic start, just check all the mathematical, biological, chemical and so on information collected on Wikipedia. And that's just one single site of millions containing useful information - instantly searchable and accessible.

Re:It's the Software, Stupid (1)

westlake (615356) | more than 8 years ago | (#14367521)

For a very basic start, just check all the mathematical, biological, chemical and so on information collected on Wikipedia. And that's just one single site of millions containing useful information - instantly searchable and accessible.

The World Book is known for its ties to the standard school ciriculum, articles begining at the level they would be introduced in the classroom. You do not teach elementary science to kids by using The Handbook of Chemistry and Physics as your textbook.

Re:It's the Software, Stupid (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14367210)

>> It needs to run off of regular disposeable (or possibly rechargeable) batteries, not $150 li-ion jobs

You must be god-damned deficient. These machines have a hand crank (DUH!). Too bad for Slugster, and too bad for boudreau, hound hitter, pooch puncher, poodle pumper!

Re:It's the Software, Stupid (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 8 years ago | (#14367249)

But you really don't need a whole laptop to do this. A laptop is really just adding a whole bunch more problems. A simnple e-book type device with a few input buttons would work

My wife and I have been looking at a laptop-like learning toy for our son. It has a small LCD screen and costs about AU$100. For $150 I can get a cheap palm pilot, complete with IR and a market for cheap/free software.

So I see these cheap laptops as mass marketed palm devices with keyboards instead of (probably) more expensive touch screens.

Re:It's the Subject, Stupid (2, Insightful)

maggard (5579) | more than 8 years ago | (#14367297)

Y'know, if you;d actually bothered to find out what you're talking about first your post would've been legitimately insightful, instead it's just hopelessly offbase.

These are crayon & water proof.

These don't require a $150 LiOn battery, they use a hand-crank.

They're not just intended to be dumb reader devices but links to the larger world. Online encyclopedias, newspapers, updated textbooks, communicate with other kids in their native languages (IM shorthand in Urdu), get their assignments from the regional school, etc.

Lots of kids schools aren't like your wealthy western ones. They're shorter days, breaks for plantings & harvests, don't have libraries, indeed lots of these kids don't have electricity in their homes (why these laptops are often the brightest thing at night in their houses.) They have to be able to take them home, use them at night, etc.

Govt's like China allocate the equivalent of US$20/year for each kid's printed school books. With these laptops they can offer those gov't text supplied texts, a coupla thousand others, the latest news, access to encyclopedias, etc. all for negligible cost over the laptops.

Oh, and media? With a standard cheap platform lots of that can be developed quickly, by interested individuals, by non-profits, by governments, by the communities themselves. Once the 1st batches are out there the next set will find a set of tools to build further on, etc.

But, you'd know all this if you watched the videos or read any of the articles on this before rushing to post your under-informed argument against what you (incorrectly) assumed it was...

Re:It's the Software, Stupid (2, Insightful)

Jtheletter (686279) | more than 8 years ago | (#14367360)

A simnple e-book type device with a few input buttons would work. [...] It needs to run off of regular disposeable (or possibly rechargeable) batteries, not $150 li-ion jobs. A laptop is NOT what will work for this.

Your comments about software and e-books are great, however the above quote shows you haven't actually read anything about these or watched the video. Don't rant about something that you don't know anything about. This laptop more or less IS just an ebook but with a full keyboard, or did you really think kids could do work with only a few buttons for input? It's supposed to be an extensible yet simple learning device which means output AND input for any subject. Touch screens are expensive and fragile so we're left with full keyboard input to capture all input needs.

Second, it does run off rechargable batteries which are recharged by a handcrank. Thus solving the need for electric outlets for all these, costs of electricity, or even electricity being present at all.

Finally, yeah, there's a lot of porn on the internet, but why does everyone setting up this argument make it sound like that's the only thing you can possibly find? Hell, half of all US universities have class notes online in unsecured sites. (MIT itself offers many complete course notes free.) Wikipedia, as someone else mentioned, while not 100% accurate certainly boasts enough correct info to be a good starting point for almost any subject. And what about the thousands of other sites that offer information for DIY projects? And just because there isn't cheap/free/OS media or lessons/ebooks available now doesn't mean they won't be developed hand-in-hand with this project. You have to start somewhere, if the hardware is put in place the software will follow. It seems to me that a noble pursuit for any teacher would be to donate some time developing open source course work for these machines, I'm sure that many will. In fact perhaps some slashdotters with all their open source organization skills should set up a site to start developing and hosting such programs so that when the time is right there IS learning software to distribute with these? Although given the huge strides this program has made already just developing this laptop and worldwide goal I'm sure the people involved have given plenty of thought to the idea of software (although right now the only articles I've read on it don't make much mention as the hardware is the big news item at the moment).

Re:It's the Software, Stupid (2, Insightful)

cbreaker (561297) | more than 8 years ago | (#14367413)

I'm glad you made the comment on Internet porn. There's so much more stuff on the Internet that's NOT porn. While it might be easy enough to find porn sites, the number of non-porn sites easily outnumbers them. It's a bunk argument that's always used as a point against the Internet.

your wrong. (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 8 years ago | (#14367412)

You need to learn how to purify water?
google: "how to purify water?"

there are a ton of good math sites, educational site, science sites. etc. . .

of course, if you had bothered to look into these device you would know they are hand cranked power based, and not full featured laptops.

printed books are expensive. dollar, it information, a internet connection from a 100 dollar laptop is vastly more economical.

Established school systems are so ingrained, it is difficult to come up with new ways ti utilize new technolgy.
I would bet dollars to donuts, we will see new learning techniques arise from this program.

books are very efficient (2, Interesting)

Quadraginta (902985) | more than 8 years ago | (#14367504)

I'm not sure I agree with you here. In fact, books are exceedingly efficient ways of distributing valuable information that everyone wants. Thing is, the marginal cost for printing and distributing a book is very low, not much more than a few dollars. Plus they're sturdier and more portable and accessible than a laptop can ever be. All you need to boot them up is some decent light source. The only skill you need is to be able to read.

The Internet by contrast is superior at distributing actual applications, like software, or fast-changing information (like news, or the latest tech innovation, or Fedora Core X, or odd bits of information that are only of rare use. (For example, in your example, the reason you go to Google to find out how to purify water is that in your Western life you are very unlikely to need to do it. But you don't go to Google to learn the rules for driving a car, or how to add, because that's a ubiquitous skill that you learned long before you learned about Google. In a country where purifying water is a top and general priority, people are going to learn about it from their parents and neighbors, not Google.)

None of these seem especially relevant to folks in poor countries. What they really need is access to basic information that is already well understood (how to dig a safe well, how to prevent AIDS transmission, reliable accounting and credit practises, basic nutrition). These things are actually very well conveyed by book.

The one exception I can see is that the Internet is also good for two-way communication between people well-seperated, and places like Africa are often short of experts of one stripe or another. I can see how it might do some good if you could have interactive, or semi-interactive software, that might let a back-and-forth go on to teach people stuff better. Say, an adaptive teaching program that could teach a range of students, from the barely getting started to the most sophisticated. A book tends to be a one-size-fits-all solution, which does not serve the spectrum of students in the real world. That's why you need a teacher, too, to customize the learning. But software could, in part, replace the teacher at lower cost. Or serve as some kind of faux triage nurse that could ask some questions about your symptoms and find out whether you should just rest up and drink more fluids -- or whether you really should make that 2 day trip to the clinic. These things would be good.

Re:Not so sure ... (1)

Crazy_Wade (942287) | more than 8 years ago | (#14366944)

And what about electricity and proper disposal of batteries.

Only REFUGEES are starving! (2, Interesting)

mangu (126918) | more than 8 years ago | (#14367581)

wouldn't food and teachers be a better investment?


Not food, definitely not. When the current president of Brazil was elected, one of his campaign themes was the so-called "zero hunger" program, for distributing food to the allegedly starving poor people of Brazil. Much to his embarrassment, after he came to power, the Brazilian federal agency in charge of statistics [ibge.gov.br] published the results of a study showing that among the poorest people in Brazil obesity is a much worse problem than hunger. The managers for that agency were severely reprimanded and ordered to not publish anything without checking with the president's office first.


About teachers, you may have a point. Lack of proper education is certainly one of the main cause of poverty in poor countries, after high taxes and excessive government spending. But computers are one very important education aid that's missing in poor countries' schools. In these days, someone who's not able to use a computer is untrained for almost any decent job anywhere in the world.

I want one, no, TWO! (3, Insightful)

Medievalist (16032) | more than 8 years ago | (#14366800)


I'll happily pay for at least one 3rd world child's $100 laptop if I can buy another one for MY kids!

Re:I want one, no, TWO! (2, Interesting)

brontus3927 (865730) | more than 8 years ago | (#14366858)

Agreed. I'd help fund the $100 laptop project by being able to buy them at twice the price.

Re:I want one, no, TWO! (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14367096)

I'll happily pay for at least one 3rd world child's $100 laptop if I can buy another one for MY kids!

This idea's been discussed quite a bit. There are some issues with anti-dumping laws in the trade agreements, but if they can work that out it might happen. I hope so, I want one just cause it's cool!

Various comments have asked why the imposed limit....I think they're worried that if there's a resale market for the laptops, 3rd-world kids for whom $100 is several months wages are liable to just sell the things instead of using them. Or lose them to theft. IMO it's a hopeless strategy...we can't stop trade in heroin or machine guns, and we won't stop people from trading these either.

Re:I want one, no, TWO! (1)

Oldsmobile (930596) | more than 8 years ago | (#14367134)

"we can't stop trade in heroin or machine guns, and we won't stop people from trading these either."

Yes we can! Declare a war on green laptops!!

Remember how they declared the war on terror? Now its really hard to get any terror from the guy that hangs at the street corner.

Drugs are no problem, but terror -kinda hard to get right now.

Well if they offer... (1)

NidStyles (794619) | more than 8 years ago | (#14366812)

If they offer the First world a model at 200 a piece, I'm sure it'll help drive the cost of investment down for the participants involved. I know that I would buy at least one, probably more. I can already think of a few things to use them for, and that's without actually looking at where in my work environment they could be useful.

I don't understand this approach (4, Insightful)

giorgiofr (887762) | more than 8 years ago | (#14366818)

Time and time again, we have been shown that trying to deny people access to things they want leads to one thing only: black market, with all the niceties that usually follow it.
So why is Negroponte so keen on preventing everybody who's not a starving child from getting the 100$-laptop? Especially since he seems so worried that they might not be in enough demand to grant them the best prices for components etc.
I say, why limit distribution and *force* this to be a government-sponsored program?

Re:I don't understand this approach (1)

X-rated Ouroboros (526150) | more than 8 years ago | (#14366919)

Probably because he doesn't want market forces to enter into anything but the production of the laptop.

He's trying to make it so the laptops have essentially zero non-intrinsic value.

Re:I don't understand this approach (1)

ivan256 (17499) | more than 8 years ago | (#14366955)

He needs to take freshman inrto to economics then. By limiting the supply to near nil for people who have money, what does he think is going to happen to the monitary value of the laptops? And once they have an inflated value, you can bet these kids will be selling their laptop instead of using it.

Instead of trying to create a social stigma, he should just make them as widely available as possible. He's a smart guy, so he must understand that. So one must wonder what his motives really are.

There is no social stigma (1)

samjam (256347) | more than 8 years ago | (#14367092)

There is no social stigma to "rich" hackers having one.

Folk will get one and then claim to be a software developer for the project and vastly increase their sex appeal from the mere geek-world to include all the NGO's and aid-agency volunteers too!

Yay!

There may be a social stigma to 3rd world people having one.

As Nelson would say: "Ha ha! You're poor!"

Sam

Re:I don't understand this approach (1)

Puhase (911920) | more than 8 years ago | (#14367072)

I have one word for you, Somalia. Negroponte and the rest need to find a way to make it so these laptops have great educational value and probably little else. Warlords in places like that tend to capture anything that development aid provides and use it as a kind of control over their region. I'm not saying that their plan is going to work and that these people won't steal them anyway, but its better to try and make them less valuable to those who want to put them under armed guard in a warehouse than to do nothing at all and almost gaurentee that that is where they are going. We could always have a U.S. solider come free with every laptop so they can guard the child while they have it.

Fundamentally flawed premise (1)

poptones (653660) | more than 8 years ago | (#14367309)

In your scenario, what would happen then (and it's likely if this does take off) is the guerillas in places like somalia and afghanistan and iraq would become "early adopters" and funnel the laptops away from the children. They might even open "schools" to make it easier to obtain and warehouse them. These things are supposed to have built in wireless connectivity, durability, a stand alone power source (the hand of the one holding it) - doesn't that sound liek the perfect tool for any militia looking for a robust means of organizing field operations?

and don't you think the world's governments are, at some point, going to step up with this argument and squash the project under the guise of "fighting terrorism?"

The only way to remove the "intrinsic value" from these is to give them none and to flood the market with them.

So far as the "stealing a postal truck" euphemism - what happens when the kids grow up? If you give one of these to every twelve year old in the world, eventually those twelve year olds are going to become twenty year olds. How do you create a stigma equating ownership of one of these things by an adult to the act of stealing a postal truck when you have spent a decade giving a postal truck to every child in the world?

Re:I don't understand this approach (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 8 years ago | (#14367532)

need to find a way to make it so these laptops have great educational value and probably little else.

I just heard of a great idea called Digital Rights Management...

Re:I don't understand this approach (1)

LionKimbro (200000) | more than 8 years ago | (#14367383)

I disagree. Banning things is very successful at limiting access.

Any solution less then total, and you seem to believe that banning things does nothing.

No, au contrare, banning does a lot.

It's the difference between cities in Nevada that decriminalize prostitutions, and cities in other states that criminalize it.

Even though the effects are not total in other states, they DO make a visible difference in what people see, and even what people do.

What's the big deal? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14366831)

Why are they so determined to keep the laptops exclusively for 3rd world kids? Why can't I go out and buy one? What's so wrong with that?

Yeah ok bud... (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14366832)

People in Africa are fucking starving or dying of AIDS. I seriously doubt a hand-cranked laptop is what they are looking for right now.

Re:Yeah ok bud... (1)

TheBogie (941620) | more than 8 years ago | (#14366862)

I seriously doubt a hand-cranked laptop is what they are looking for right now.

Maybe these laptops will decrease the spread of AIDS (no one spreads AIDS while downloading pr0n).

Re:Yeah ok bud... (4, Interesting)

Daniel_Staal (609844) | more than 8 years ago | (#14367057)

Why not? If they are starving (and most africans aren't, you know) they can look up what is edible in their area. (Or how to prepare what they have to make it last.) If they are farmers, they can look up farming techniques. (A lot of africa is at the subsitance level: a little better farming techniques would be all they need to start generating wealth.)

As for AIDs... A large portion of the problem with AID/HIV in africa is education. People don't know what to do to protect themselves from it, how they can get it, etc. With an internet connection they can look all that up.

This is the 'teach a man to fish' principle: If they are starving today, they need a fish. If they are likely to be starving soon, they need fishing lessons. A cheap internet connected laptop would allow them to look up the best way to fish. Or whatever else they need.

(Also: cheap laptops mean cheap teaching of basic computer skills. Which means the students are more employable, in more jobs, with less on-the-job training. Which is better for the economies of the countries.)

These can help. Don't doubt it. Don't assume Africa is in the stone age.

Re:Yeah ok bud... (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 8 years ago | (#14367422)

actual ther is a huge educational push about aids i Africa, has been for 115 years.They're culture needs to change.

Don't cut out the grey market.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14366851)

This plan is doomed to fail if it depends on keeping these things out of the grey market. The grey market will provide a huge volume for these devices at $100 each. Trying to make them 'distinctive' is just going to drive up the cost. Negroponte is going to have to realize that truckloads of these things will be stolen, or even legitimately produced and sold into the grey market, and deal with that as a cost of doing business. If you flood the market with enough of these things, then people will be less likely to want to steal or buy them off children who need them.

When... (1)

Sebastopol (189276) | more than 8 years ago | (#14366852)

...will we see a group of, oh, 20 or 30 kids get these, open the box, and do something with them? I revisited TFWebsite, and even the Wiki page is completely devoid of softare. I'm still waiting to see exactly what these things will do. Seriously, I want to see a study where they give a few dozen kids brand new boxes and show me how the peer2peer is going to revolutionize things.

I remember being this excited about Ginger (aka Segway), and Transmeta's plans to dominate the CPU world. I'd like to hope there's some new concept behind this, but it is very fuzzy, even after reading the Business and BBC articles. I don't even know what to get my hopes up about yet.

Patiently waiting for some substance. I guess I'm just not a smart as everyone who is frothing at the mouth at how this is going to be so revolutionary.

Re:When... (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 8 years ago | (#14367369)

It is not revolutionary technology.

I, and presumable you since you posted here, live in a world where knowledge is taken for granted.
The people these are for do not.

What is revolutionary is giving people this much control of what they can learn.

IT like the interenet 20 years ago, who knew about all the cool ways to learn, get knowledge and meet people that would be invented?

of course, giving them a device with no connection, and anything short of a library of indormation would be a com,plet wast. well, the hand generator could probably be stripped out.

Knockoffs and cheap "copies" (1)

rts008 (812749) | more than 8 years ago | (#14366887)

"Negroponte casts a wary eye on the potential grey market appeal of the machines, and is determined to make them so distinctive as a government-distributed, educational tool that taking one would 'be like stealing a post office truck." How long after they are in the public's hands will it be before you can buy one alongside the "Rolex" watches for 30.00 or "Gucci" handbags for 5.00 on the street in say, Bangkok?

Re:Knockoffs and cheap "copies" (1)

Marxist Hacker 42 (638312) | more than 8 years ago | (#14366926)

I think he also seriously underestimates the usefulness of post office trucks. Around here the little jeeps with jeep hood ornaments, repainted grey, are used in Eastern Oregon as farm vehicles- you can get them legally, used and surplussed, for about $500 on the used market.

logicall (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14366890)

AIDS and such in Africa will not be abolished any time soon as there is no cure yet... educating kids in Africa however can be done much sooner...

Hes not selling individually because theyre selling the laptops in bulk, which makes acquiring one so feasible for them.

Why is it hard to convince people of a good idea? (1)

Oldsmobile (930596) | more than 8 years ago | (#14366899)

I think the $100 laptop initiative is a good idea, but I run into tons of opposition when I hype this to my friends. Yes, all my friends are very progressive and I thought they would jump on the possibility of bringing low cost education to poor countries. Yet they all point out that Negroponte and those supporting this idea are in the end, companies that are really only interested in profit, the computers are purchased by governments with alterior motives and in the end, there is alot more that could be done with this money.

I know of the usual responses to these. I agree, that it is questionable to have Robert "Fox News" Murdoch solve the third world's problems sounds like a joke, I know the media lab has dwelled in rather silly ventures. But I really would like to believe in this venture.

Could someone please think of something totally overriding (and simply understood) that would turn people who are sceptical onto this project?

Re:Why is it hard to convince people of a good ide (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14366968)

$100 buys a lot of mosquito nets, that would prevent a lot of malaria and save a lot of lives. I think you have an uphill battle to convince people of the merits of laptops vs. mosquito nets.

Re:Why is it hard to convince people of a good ide (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14366975)

/s/alterior/ulterior

Re:Why is it hard to convince people of a good ide (1)

ivan256 (17499) | more than 8 years ago | (#14366987)

but I run into tons of opposition when I hype this to my friends. Yes, all my friends are very progressive and I thought they would jump on the possibility of bringing low cost education to poor countries

Your friends understand that a laptop isn't education any more than a chalkboard is education.

You want to turn people on to this project? Come up with a killer app for these boxes. Until there is one, we'd be better off buying books.

Re:Why is it hard to convince people of a good ide (1)

ivan256 (17499) | more than 8 years ago | (#14367001)

Replying to myself, but what the hell...

You know what would be great... Send these kids a bunch of speak-and-spells and build them a library instead. Those things are way cheaper than $100. Hell, they could probably teach the older kids to build them for the younger kids for pennies on the dollar... (that last part was a joke, BTW)

Exactly (1)

everphilski (877346) | more than 8 years ago | (#14367191)

You want to turn people on to this project? Come up with a killer app for these boxes. Until there is one, we'd be better off buying books.

You get it. At this point compiling a good almanac for these kids is going to be way more cost effective and educational.

Re:Exactly (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14367224)

Especially if you put it on a CD so they can read it using their new $100 computer!

Re:Why is it hard to convince people of a good ide (2, Insightful)

periol (767926) | more than 8 years ago | (#14367150)

14 years ago, I was given a used x86 machine with no hard drive, and floppies for DOS, MS Word, and two computer games. I had never touched a computer or typewriter before. No one taught me how to use it, I just started playing around with it, and two years later graduated to a 486, and so on and so forth. Now, I run IT for a small company.

Much of the negative feedback for this project seems misplaced to me. I suspect that just because we don't know how these laptops will be used doesn't mean that they won't be used. I don't believe that there is "alot more that could be done with this money." I think this is similar to the argument against desktop computers back in the day - no one could imagine how they would be used, so it seemed like a big waste of time.

Here's my simple formulation of an argument: every little bit helps.

Re:Why is it hard to convince people of a good ide (2, Insightful)

geekoid (135745) | more than 8 years ago | (#14367280)

tell them that they are cynical asshole who would let a child continue to be dependant on handout becasue someone might abuse a tools they could use to learn how to take care of themselves?

There are many, many cases where rich people, large corporation and companies have done something becasue they thoughyt it was right?

However, you could tell them that it is in the corporation best interest to have an educated self-suffciant population. You need to to have a strong market base to sell things to.

I guess you could say "It's better to have people be fed and educated with disposable income that companies will try to get, then it is to have people starving to death with no way to help themselves that companies don't care about"

Your friends would rather give a man a fish, instead of the fishing pole.

Methinks the whole approach is wrong (3, Insightful)

CodeShark (17400) | more than 8 years ago | (#14366901)

Okay, so you have a kajillion kids laptops out there -- which are then quickly out-dated in terms of both hardware and software.

Wouldn't it be a whole lot better to first develop and distribute a "thin client" laptop that is not much more than a browser, screen, keyboard, and Wifi connection, along with substantial enough (and presumably pricier) servers that act as access portals, and then second, a more advanced laptop that can store useful data and other programs usable by more advanced students that qualify for them?

Secondarily, I would think that the first and/or second laptops could be sold as an entry level laptop in the first world countries with a sufficient profit margin (and the ability of educational systems like rural school districts, etc. to purchase a limited number of machines without the profit margin built in) to underwrite the distribution of many more machines to the third world? After all, if the whole thing is done under a non-profit framework, there isn't shareholder bottom line to worry about. What think ye all?

Re:Methinks the whole approach is wrong (1)

AoT (107216) | more than 8 years ago | (#14367124)

From the Laptop website:
"The laptop will have a 500MHz processor and 128MB of DRAM, with 500MB of Flash memory; it will not have a hard disk, but it will have four USB ports"

That sounds a lot like thin client hardware to me. I think the idea is to create a meshnet between the laptops and some sort of central server and then push info to the kids. That and let them look things up online at the same time.

Re:Methinks you're lazy (2, Interesting)

maggard (5579) | more than 8 years ago | (#14367196)

That sounds a lot like thin client hardware to me. I think the idea is to create a meshnet between the laptops and some sort of central server and then push info to the kids. That and let them look things up online at the same time.
It only sounds like that because you couldn't be bothered to do a bit more research before rushing off to post.

These are NOT thin clients, they are fully stand-alone devices. The mesh part only comes into play for communications, not for operations. There is no central server, no must-be-in-range-to-work, etc.

Think about it, the goal is these kids can sit with these after dinner and be the first first in their family able to read a story, in their local language, to their siblings before bed, to do their homework, to learn about the world beyond their village. Do you really think that a thin client that only works within 100 meters of the district school is something folks who actually do put time & energy into these ideas would go for?

C'mon, for the time it took you to post you could've answered your (wrong) guess for yourself.

I may be way off base here, but... (3, Insightful)

uxo (415276) | more than 8 years ago | (#14366933)

I'm guessing there are a couple billion people in the world that would rather have clean drinking water instead of a goddamn $100 laptop.

Particularly since $100 is probably a half to a third of their yearly income...

Re:I may be way off base here, but... (1)

laptop (942299) | more than 8 years ago | (#14366989)

We or somebody's governement has to buy them or donate them...maybe our "american corporations" would donate to this cause...elsewhere governments will pitch in... And later when the network is in place at some location "near" the spoiled water, that's when people begin cleaning up their own drinking water.

and I bet (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 8 years ago | (#14367243)

they would like to find out how they can improve there water so it is drinkable.

Improve water use in agriculture, improve wells, improve sanitation, find out what then need to filter water, have an avenue to contact other people to help them

It is said, that if you give a man a fish he eatse for a day, but if you teach hin to fish he eats forever. This tool has the potential to teach everyone to fish.

It's a brilliant dream (2, Insightful)

laptop (942299) | more than 8 years ago | (#14366937)

There's nothing like connectivity to information, and there's nothing like getting accurate information, and there's nothing in the world that can provide this link between people and data like the internet. Kids learning languages and merging languages. Kids learning about cultures and merging them. Kids identifying problems and solving them. Kids exploring their world with the wisdom of others at thier fingertips. These laptops could be a major step!

HAVE A GNAA NEW YEAR (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14366953)

This message courtesy of the Gay Negroponte Association of America.

So... wait a minute, this sounds familiar (0, Troll)

Servo (9177) | more than 8 years ago | (#14366963)

Give an infinite number of poor kids an infinite number of cheap laptops and given an infinite number of time typing randomly they will recreate the works of Shakespeare?

Just because someone is smart and comes from a top engineering school doesn't mean everything they say is golden. This guy is a serious liberal crackpot.

The good ole' Death Squad Torturer (-1, Flamebait)

AlienSexist (686923) | more than 8 years ago | (#14366964)

Negroponte, a Torturer's Friend [commondreams.org]

According to a detailed investigation the Baltimore Sun did in 1995, Negroponte covered up some of the most grotesque human rights abuses imaginable. The CIA organized, trained, and financed an army unit called Battalion 316, the paper said. Its specialty was torture. And it kidnapped, tortured, and killed hundreds of Hondurans, the Sun reported. It "used shock and suffocation devices in interrogations. Prisoners often were kept naked and, when no longer useful, killed and buried in unmarked graves." The U.S. embassy in Honduras knew about the human rights abuses but did not want this embarrassing information to become public, the paper said.

Bush to Tap Negroponte as Intel Director [infowars.com]

Negroponte, who speaks five languages and has held official posts in eight countries, served as a member of President Reagan's National Security Council from 1987-1989 after serving as the U.S. ambassador to Honduras. Wyden said Negroponte's time in Honduras is the reason why he voted against the nominee. The senator said Negroponte was too evasive at his confirmation hearing last week, inadequately reported human rights abuses by death squads in Honduras and aided Contra rebels during the fight between the guerrillas and the Sandinista government in neighboring Nicaragua. "I believe the record of the ambassador's service there is particularly telling in terms of his judgment and his willingness to confront difficult facts, which I believe are two key requirements for the director of national intelligence," Wyden said.

Re:The good ole' Death Squad Torturer (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14367036)

Wrong Negroponte, you monkey-spanking doofus...

Re:The good ole' Death Squad Torturer (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14367045)

You sir are a dumbass.

You are talking about John, while the rest of us are talking about Nick.

Get your Negropontes straight!

Re:The good ole' Death Squad Torturer (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14367459)

Get your Negropontes straight!

But they all look the same!

Re:The good ole' Death Squad Torturer (1)

zootski (567832) | more than 8 years ago | (#14367055)

There are more than a few Negroponte's in this world. There is, for example, Nicholas Negroponte, and then there is John. Maybe they're related? Why don't you do some more excellent research and TELL US.

RTFA, moron (1)

RedNovember (887384) | more than 8 years ago | (#14367065)

You're talking about JOHN Negroponte. The article references NICHOLAS Negroponte.

Learn to read.

Re:The good ole' Death Squad Torturer (2, Informative)

lobsterGun (415085) | more than 8 years ago | (#14367077)

That's all well and good... but that has nothing to do with the man behind the $100 laptop.

The $100 laptop guy is Nicholas Negroponte.

The former abasador to Honduras is John Negroponte.

They are different people.

Wrong Negroponte (1)

AoT (107216) | more than 8 years ago | (#14367143)

That is John, we are talking about Nicholas.

Nice troll though.

Why make them unattractive? (3, Interesting)

lheal (86013) | more than 8 years ago | (#14366977)

Why put any artificial barrier at all in front of your product? If your goal is to make them ubiquitous, then let nothing get in the way.

He recognizes capitalism's inexorable hand, but refuses to accept it. He'd be much better off working with it. Accept that there is going to be a market for the things, and sell into the market. Someone's going to.

For instance, he could make a bare-bones, fully-functional version of the product available to schools, but sell a more elaborate model to consumers, a similar but higher priced one to business, and a milspec one to the US DOD.

By working with capitalists, instead of fighting them, the project would stand a much better chance of actually succeeding.

They're not esthetically unattractive (2, Insightful)

maggard (5579) | more than 8 years ago | (#14367358)

WOW, what a GREAT IDEA! Do *EXACTLY* WHAT THEY'RE DOING!

Oh wait, you didn't bother to actually watch or look up any of this before posting, huh?

'Cause if you did you'd know that they're actually pretty attractive little boxes. Their 'unattractiveness' will be in the sense of "You're using a device my community paid for, you're not a kid, not a school-teacher, what kind of jerk are you and have you met the business end of my hoe?!" unattractive.

Regarding capitalism, yes Quantas, Nortel, Intel, Redhat, etc. are all in this entirely for altruism... NOT.

Quentas gets to sell the design commercially (they guesstimate that model will cost around US$200.) Nortel gets real-world experience in mesh networking. Redhat gets their name and OS out on hundreds of millions of devices. Intel gets to expand their market with all of those Intel-friendly applications and follow-on laptop versions.

If that's not "taking advantage of capitalism" then I dunno what is.

Just a thought.. (3, Interesting)

Chaffar (670874) | more than 8 years ago | (#14366994)

What is the first thing a kid receiving a $100 laptop going to think? Yep, that's right:
HOW MUCH CAN I SELL THIS FOR?
The fact is that $100 for these kids is worth 200 days of work if you follow 50 cent/day wage they get for 12-14 hours of work (according to this [corpwatch.org] but I've heard of even less...).

What to do? Use this "machine" for an undefined incomprehensible goal, I mean even the makers don't really know exactly how this laptop thingamagig will actually be beneficial in REAL terms (ignore the use of buzzwords such as explore, interact and create, they don't mean anything). OR, they could flog it in the closest market for the highest they can, giving them REAL benefits, such as cash, to buy that tin pot they'll use to boil water, or whatever it is they need.

The first thing they need to realize is the importance of education. The second thing will be for them to actually do something about it. The third and last component will be to give them the tools they need to achieve their educational goals.

Both my grandfathers were refugees from the Armenian Genocide and arrived in France/Syria with nothing at all with them, they were orphans 5/7 years old and couldn't read or write. One of them went to a French school, got the education he needed. The other one didn't have the same privilege, he taught himself everything. Guess which one actually was the more educated person at the end? Yep, the one who taught himself.

The point? Education is not only about the tools you have at your disposal, it's also the willingness and dedication to learn.

Re:Just a thought.. (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 8 years ago | (#14367219)

no shit sherlock.

This is about giving someone the tools so they have that option.

THey will not be able to resell the device for 100 bucks. Maybe 20.

"(ignore the use of buzzwords such as explore, interact and create, they don't mean anything)"
yes, they do.
It is important to give an avenue for a person to look at new ideas, interact with people around the world, or next door, that may have a solution to a problem. They can find ways to create solutions to problem, use the internet to make money.

Who are they going to resell it to?

Re:Just a thought.. (1)

laptop (942299) | more than 8 years ago | (#14367289)

Wouldn't selling it off in a nearby market stimulate the local economy, and probably give the guy who bought it a chance to do something good too. It's not a socialist idea, we're not trying to fix the value of these laptops, we're trying to spread the tools that people need to communicate and learn out all over the planet.

Re:Just a thought.. (1)

danila (69889) | more than 8 years ago | (#14367290)

The fact is that $100 for these kids is worth 200 days of work if you follow 50 cent/day wage they get for 12-14 hours of work (according to this but I've heard of even less...).

There are countries where people get paid 5$/day (e.g. Russia today), but many people still managed to pay 1000$ for a desktop computer so that their kids can stay competitive.

Regardless, this is an extremely complex topic. Education is sitting in the middle of all other issues and you can't oversimplify it like Mr. Negroponte does with his OLPC program. Even to list the areas that would affect this development would probably take me 30-60 minutes. It's just so complex.

But. If someone can get from governments some money for a sexy project and get some kids some laptops, I am all for it. Certainly, it won't do any harm.

It's not like stealing a post office truck (3, Insightful)

stefanlasiewski (63134) | more than 8 years ago | (#14366997)

"like stealing a post office truck"

It's not stealing. Isn't this more like BUYING a used, surplus truck from the postal service? You give someone a laptop-- what's wrong with them selling the laptop?

What would be the disadvantage in selling these laptops to people in wealthy nations as a commodity? That is precisely what the Freeplay Foundation [freeplayfoundation.org] does with their "Lifeline Radio", which is a robust, windup/solar powered, AM/FM/SW radio designed for people who live in areas without power. You can buy one radio through CCrane [ccrane.com] and they'll donate a second one to someone in need.

Re:It's not like stealing a post office truck (0)

geekoid (135745) | more than 8 years ago | (#14367173)

he is address the concern that people will steal them. If they make them unique enough, it will be very hard to resell it.

"What would be the disadvantage in selling these laptops to people in wealthy nations as a commodity?"

nothing, at he says there is no reasn people wn't be able to buy one.
In practicallity, there will be very little need for these in an area that can get internet access from a library.

Re:It's not like stealing a post office truck (1)

periol (767926) | more than 8 years ago | (#14367306)

In practicallity, there will be very little need for these in an area that can get internet access from a library.

If you really believe that, I think you should be the first to donate all of your computers to charity. Believe me, I'll be right behind you. Time to start hitting that library!

Re:It's not like stealing a post office truck (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 8 years ago | (#14367523)

The systems available at libraries are fro more powerfull then these laptops.

I was talking about people in very economically depressed areas.

Re:It's not like stealing a post office truck (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14367574)

The systems available at libraries are fro more powerfull then these laptops

The systems at the library are also time-shared, monitored, and use restricted.

People in very economically depressed areas have just as much an interest in doing their own things on their own time without someone looking over their shoulder and telling them what to do.

Re:It's not like stealing a post office truck (1)

stefanlasiewski (63134) | more than 8 years ago | (#14367341)

he is address the concern that people will steal them.

I didn't actually watch the video (No time!), but from what I gather he was also talking about "grey market" resale-- not stolen goods.

Re:It's not like stealing a post office truck (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 8 years ago | (#14367485)

You can buy one radio through CCrane and they'll donate a second one to someone in need.

They could finance the delivery of these laptops in the same way.

Not a good idea... (1)

dtjohnson (102237) | more than 8 years ago | (#14367000)

There's two ideas going on here: 1) using computers for education, and 2) using an ebook instead of a regular book. Idea 1 has been going around and around for years and has produced very minimal results, given all of the money that school districts have spent on equipping every school with the latest hardware. The most important thing for teaching is a teacher and computers have not proven to be a good substitute for that. That doesn't stop the local schools from pushing an annual 'technology levy' to raise funds to upgrade every computer every couple of years, though. The school computers do get used for a lot of stuff such as email, student powerpoint, internet research, etc., just not for teaching.

Idea 2 would eliminate the expense of purchasing a pile of books for every student by giving them handy 'ebooks' to read on their laptop instead. The problems with this are that the hardware has a short lifetime, can be finicky to maintain, is not as readable as an actual book, and is less convenient and more time consuming to use than just cracking open a book. If you doubt this, look around at how many people buy 'ebooks' compared with paper books. The world still likes their books, given the current state of the technology alternatives. Maybe idea 2 would be more appropriate in third world countries with limited access to real books in the appropriate language or in poor inner-city schools. The best schools, though, in the first world countries will stay with books for the time being.

Re:Not a good idea... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14367098)

Funny because if evey school in the US donated 1/10th of the anual tech budget to a program to research, develope, and promote, effective educational software then the problem would already of solved itself. In my own personal case I was too poor to own a computer growing up. But the computers at school even without instruction provided me with ample opertunities for educating myelf. I accually tought a class on BASIC for the comodor 64 with nothing but a book on basic from my local library and donated computers, learning as I went and teaching what I learned the night before to my fellow classmates.

Re:Not a good idea... (1)

periol (767926) | more than 8 years ago | (#14367379)

I work in IT today because I taught myself computers, starting when I was 13. I never took a class, had only one class ever where there were computers in the classroom. But that learning environment was tightly controlled. Because I had the computer at home, I learned without constraints. And now it's my job.

All of which means I think there's a world of difference between giving a kid a laptop, and letting them use a computer in a lab at school occasionally. A world of difference.

Grey market concerns (1)

CmdrPorno (115048) | more than 8 years ago | (#14367011)

I know they want all of the production to go to needy children, but they could eliminate a lot of the grey market concerns if they would increase their production to provide for sales to geeks and the like who are willing to pay for a cool tech toy, and use the profits to build more machines for needy children...

Please, think of the nerds!

Books (2, Interesting)

mugnyte (203225) | more than 8 years ago | (#14367090)


The modern world throws away thousands, if not millions of books ever year. Some of them are reference materials, spanning every education level. If the thrid world was given these books instead of a connection to the internet, I think it'd be vastly more useable, longer lasting, and cheaper.

This removes the need for electricity, connectivity, and familiarity with technology. Books are what the entire world has used for much much longer than the internet as a source of knowledge. it's a shame to skip this.

Re:Books (2, Insightful)

geekoid (135745) | more than 8 years ago | (#14367153)

there expensive to ship.
A 100 dollar laptop that can connect to the internet is FAR more valuble, and is a less expensice. Becasue one device can get you a lot more information then the same weight in books.

hey needs early adopters and a support base (1, Troll)

Yonder Way (603108) | more than 8 years ago | (#14367121)

We need a first wave of these devices ASAP in the hands of the free software community to sort out the capabilities of the device and then create a software base for it that will be useful for its intended purpose. It's going to be a tough sell until then.

I can just see some gummint beauracrat in Turdistahn trying to figure out why he should spend a billion dollars on these things when his country's GDP is half of that, and he won't know what to do with these things once he has them.

Q's & A's to the posters who don't bother to w (4, Informative)

maggard (5579) | more than 8 years ago | (#14367135)

Since most of the posters seem woefully under-informed (you DID watch the video before posting?) here are responses to a few of the silly comments that have already come up:

  • Q: Why stop these US$100 laptops from being sold?
    A: They're not. Quantas, their manufacturer, is free to sell the same item to anyone. However those commercial versions cost will be closer to US$200.

  • Q: Why is this only for 3rd World places?
    A: It's not, the State of Massachusetts and others are already committed to large purchases. Why not get your community involved?

  • Q: Why insist on targeted distribution?
    A: Because all the research shows that 'seeding' 1 per 5 kids or whatever doesn't have the same network effect (figuratively & literally) that ubiquitous use in an area does.

  • Q: Why do these kids need laptops? Why not food/water/medicine?
    A: They need all of those, and those are vital things to see they get. But once those immediate needs are met the long term goal of providing an education is what will help these kids and their communities be self-sufficient, indeed able to assist other neighboring communities.

  • Q: Where's the software for this?
    A: It's Redhat Linux, this is /., are you serious? OK, less inflammatory answer: With a standard cheap platform out there individuals, organizations, governments, and the communities receiving these will be able to develop what they can take advantage of.

  • Q: So what's to keep unscrupulous folks from buying these out the back door of warehouses?
    A: First the local communities will likely look down on this theft of their resources pretty intensely. Second the goal is to make any trade in these universally unsavory. Will it be 100% effective? No. But this is an easy issue to rally behind and the $100 models will be distinctive from their commercial kin.

Re:Q's & A's to the posters who don't bother t (1)

Isao (153092) | more than 8 years ago | (#14367586)

I think Nick is great, and I'm supporting the OLPC program, but...

Q: So what's to keep unscrupulous folks from buying these out the back door of warehouses?
A: First the local communities will likely look down on this theft of their resources pretty intensely.[...]

I've seen too many sacks of food marked "UNICEF - For Emergency Relief Use Only" being sold out of the backs of trucks to finance some warlords next BMW, "technical" or Barrett light-50 to believe this. Maybe in Fresno.

He wants thep POPULAR, but WITH STIGMA? (1)

fuzzy12345 (745891) | more than 8 years ago | (#14367208)

I haven't understood his strategy from the beginning: He wants the economies of scale, but he won't seel one to me and you, and he wants theft prevention by the shame of being seen with such a product. And the children are supposed to feel proud to carry them>

And what's wrong with 'borrowing' a mail truck, anyway?

And if Every Geek (2, Informative)

Nik Picker (40521) | more than 8 years ago | (#14367215)

Sponsored at least one laptop .. how many more laptops could be paid for ?

I wrote to them asking where I could send $100 to sponsor the creation of the laptop.. I was automailed a response.

im still waiting for a real person from their group to answer my question .

Power to the people (2, Funny)

davro (539320) | more than 8 years ago | (#14367351)

The laptops will use innovative power (including wind-up) hand crank.
Surly it would have been better to have a usb foot operated pedal for the wind-up power so you don't have to remove a hand to charge it back up, this will end up being a job for little brothers/sisters.

Love it.

Clive Sinclair was into this once ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14367437)

I distinctly remember Personal Computer World writing about Sir Clive Sinclair's idea of putting computers with AI into African villages, to replace the obviously insufficient real intelligence there .. to guide, effectively, the suffering poor by knowledge machines. Come on people, let's get a machine down there now and give them some knowledge!

This was in the 80's sometime. Somehow, the project didn't get very far ..

Anyone know of a link to the original story about Sir Sinclair? It sure seems terribly similar to what Negroponte is up to these days. (Not that Mr N would be likely to take a hint :)

Cheap laptop and software revolution (1)

CrazyJim1 (809850) | more than 8 years ago | (#14367461)

Once kids get the cheap laptop, book manufacturers are going to take a stance so they can sell E-books to the kids. And other software manufacturers will look in how they can come to the education front when kids are using computers instead of books.
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