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OLPC Gets a New Name, New Features

Zonk posted more than 8 years ago | from the go-little-laptops-go-and-spread-the-word dept.

226

pickyouupatnine writes "According to a story on Ars Technica, the $100 MIT Laptop is now going to cost $140. It has a new name — it'll now be called the Children's Machine 1 (CM1). The added price comes with new features! The laptop will now come with a 400 MHz AMD processor, 512 Megs of Flash storage, an SD card slot, mic and headphone jacks, a built in camera, built-in wireless, and an 8-inch LCD at a 1280x900 resolution." From the article: "Tremendous progress has been made this summer on the Sugar user interface system that will be shipped with the CM1. Funded by Google through the Summer of Code (SoC) initiative, intrepid college student Erik Pukinskis has collaborated with the GNOME development community to adapt AbiWord for use with the portable Linux system. Although still experimental, AbiWord has successfully been integrated into the Sugar environment. Artists and developers continue to work on the evolving Sugar interface, and the fruits of their labor can be seen in demoes, mockups, and design reviews."

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No, try again (1)

Beuno (740018) | more than 8 years ago | (#15983262)

I can see they finally put some marketing behind the project, "Children's Machine 1" doesn't sound old-fashion and too technical at all...

Re:No, try again (4, Interesting)

zenhkim (962487) | more than 8 years ago | (#15983342)

> I can see they finally put some marketing behind the project, "Children's Machine 1" doesn't sound old-fashion and too technical at all...

Actually, I suspect that the new designation is a nod to project member Seymour Papert, who wrote the book "The Children's Machine: Rethinking School in The Age of The Computer" -- in which he argued (back in 1992) that access to computers and online information networks would be crucial in improving our education systems and preparing our younger generations for dealing with a new and rapidly evolving world.

Re:No, try again (2, Interesting)

kfg (145172) | more than 8 years ago | (#15983398)

. . . Seymour Papert, who wrote the book "The Children's Machine: Rethinking School in The Age of The Computer"

Counter argued by Cliff Stoll in "Silicon Snake Oil."

KFG

Re:No, try again (3, Interesting)

Ruff_ilb (769396) | more than 8 years ago | (#15983532)

Given the serious lack of information in the PP, I thought I'd do some research.

Clearly, Stoll is FAR behind the times - his book was written more than a decade ago, and he argued that the concept of e-commerce was "baloney." Clearly, our children need to make good use of the internet today, and e-commerce is thriving more than ever (he's apparently abandoned his original stance in favor of selling Klein Bottles on the internet (http://www.kleinbottle.com/)).

I don't see how it's possible today to argue that our children don't need exposure to computing to succeed.

Re:No, try again (0, Flamebait)

kfg (145172) | more than 8 years ago | (#15983569)

Clearly, Stoll is FAR behind the times - his book was written more than a decade ago. . .

His book is the more recent.

I don't see how it's possible today to argue that our children don't need exposure to computing to succeed.

Actually read both works, then think, before making up your mind.

. . .he's apparently abandoned his original stance in favor of selling Klein Bottles on the internet (http://www.kleinbottle.com/). . .

I've got a Klein coffee mug. At the time it was ordered he answered the phone himself. Perhaps he'd be willing to disucuss his current views with you.

KFG

Re:No, try again (4, Interesting)

nido (102070) | more than 8 years ago | (#15983744)

I don't see how it's possible today to argue that our children don't need exposure to computing to succeed.

Tacking "computers" onto the existing public school system will certainly prevent most children from ever becoming an expert in the field.

*ding* "okay class, time to put down your english books. We're going 'learn computers' now."
50 minutes later:
*ding* "enough computers, time for History! Let's all get excited about History!"

(This is Gatto's third lesson [hackvan.com] : indifference. "Nothing important is ever finished in my class, nor in any other class I know of. Students never have a complete experience except on the installment plan.")

When you say that children need "exposure" to computers, that seems to indicate to me that you think they some kind of formal introduction. My computer learning experiences were a process of discovery; all the computer "lessons" and "classes" I had in the government's schools were mostly worthless. If all they did was "here's a computer, look what I can do with it, have fun" that'd be one thing. But that's NOT how the government "exposes" topics in their child-prisons. First there are lessons, and then there are tests to grade the student's intake of the material. Then the kids who don't care about the topic are put in remedial classes, and thus begins the downward spiral...

Computers are snake oil, offered by politicians as a fix to the structural problems in their schools. The only fix needed is to restore freedom to the educational process. Let the children pick what they want to learn about, and how they want to learn it.

Re:No, try again (1)

Germik (955292) | more than 8 years ago | (#15983689)

Are you arguing that children don't need exposure to computational ideas or are you just pointing out the counter-argument?

If you're arguing that children don't need exposure to computational ideas at an early age, I'd be very interested to hear your thoughts on why, as I am of the belief that when it comes to ways of thinking about the world and approaching problems, granted students have the intellectual capability, the sooner the better for the students to be exposed to the ideas. The main reason being simply that having multiple perspectives and tools at the learner/problem solver's displosal when presented with a problem gives him a much greater ability to tackle it.

I'm just curious where you stand on the issue.

Re:No, try again (1)

eikonos (779343) | more than 8 years ago | (#15983609)

preparing our younger generations for dealing with a new and rapidly evolving world

Is that another way of saying: won't somebody think of the children!

Re:No, try again (2, Interesting)

hcob$ (766699) | more than 8 years ago | (#15983713)

Actually, I suspect that the new designation is a nod to project member Seymour Papert, who wrote the book "The Children's Machine: Rethinking School in The Age of The Computer" -- in which he argued (back in 1992) that access to computers and online information networks would be crucial in improving our education systems and preparing our younger generations for dealing with a new and rapidly evolving world.
Actually, children are better served by a teacher who cares about his/her work and genuinely challanges them to actually exercise the mass of grey matter that is so devoid of thought in current times.

Re:No, try again (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15983748)

who the hell said anything about eliminating the teacher????

Sugar? Not so sweet ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15983263)

Well, I think it's great that it's getting new features, and I like the whole OLPC idea. But man, what kind of crack are they smoking? That has to be the most awful interface I've ever seen. From the screenshots, it doesn't look to me like there's anything particularly special about it except in its supreme ugliness.

Re:Sugar? Not so sweet ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15983384)

I know this is gonna make /. cringe...but at $3 a pop why not just put on Windows CE 5.0 ?

Didn't Deliver (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15983264)

140% over the magical $100 price they promised and hyped to death? Sounds like a failure to me and almost fraud how they underdelivered.

This is the biggest flop and most overrated PC ever!

Re:Didn't Deliver (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15983271)

ok, im drunk and probably stupid, but my maths tells me its not 140%, but 40% above the original price....

Re:Didn't Deliver (0, Redundant)

Overly Critical Guy (663429) | more than 8 years ago | (#15983481)

Worst of all, Steve Jobs offered OS X for this laptop TOTALLY FREE OF CHARGE. They rejected it and went with Red Hat, who just so happened to be a sponsor.

So we could have had a $100--er, $140--MacBook. Imagine the cool stuff people would have churned out with XCode and Cocoa...sigh.

Re:Didn't Deliver (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15983498)

So we could have had a $100--er, $140--MacBook. Imagine the cool stuff people would have churned out with XCode and Cocoa...sigh.
*barf* I'm glad they didn't.

Re:Didn't Deliver (3, Insightful)

MBCook (132727) | more than 8 years ago | (#15983523)

I've got a Mac, I've had it for about 18 months now and I love it. I especially love the command prompt and all the Unix utilities. That said, I agree with the decision they made. Being able to tinker and repair the laptop, as well as write kernel changes and such, is a major boon. Children will be able to learn much more about the computer if they are interested. As much as I love my Mac, it doesn't compared to Linux in a few areas. There is much more information available through some of the interfaces on Linux (/dev and such, for example) than I can find on my Mac. There is quite a bit of documentation on writing drivers and kernel changes for Linux, but next to none for OS X save Apple's documentation (which I find to be a little sparse).

Don't forget that while OS X runs well on older Macs, a custom slimmed-down Linux will run much faster and use far fewer resources. OS X is just not designed to run on 128MB of RAM by any stretch, let alone less so applications still have room to run. Frankly I think Jobs knew that OS X was incompatible with what the OLPC people were planning (mostly hardware wise, but also in ideals).

I'm not surprised that RedHat is the distro chosen (especially considering that they are a sponsor), but I don't think that's why they didn't go with OS X.

Re:Didn't Deliver (0, Troll)

Overly Critical Guy (663429) | more than 8 years ago | (#15983537)

You'd still be able to tinker and repair the laptop, as well as write kernel changes. Darwin is open source. Despite that, this magical hypothetical idea in every Slashdotter's mind that kids are all programmers who want to write kernel code is a load of crap. They would have been better off with OS X and its fantastic frameworks, because most kids would rather use that given a choice. Linux is, frankly, a desktop disaster.

There is much more information available through some of the interfaces on Linux (/dev and such, for example) than I can find on my Mac.


XCode ships with professionally written documentation for all its APIs and technologies, much better than the web-searching you'd have to do for Linux.

Re:Didn't Deliver (1)

moonbender (547943) | more than 8 years ago | (#15983543)

You're going to run OS X on a 400 Mhz CPU with 128 megs of RAM? And 256 Megs of storage? How?! Maybe Apple should have offered OS 9... Hey, spatial Finder!

Re:Didn't Deliver (1)

Overly Critical Guy (663429) | more than 8 years ago | (#15983603)

Intel OS X would definitely run on it. But hey, we'll never see Apple make it work, will we?

Re:Didn't Deliver (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15983669)

this magical hypothetical idea in every Slashdotter's mind that kids are all programmers who want to write kernel code is a load of crap.

  No, this idea is taken from the early 80's, when just about every home computer came with a programming language, and kids learned to do basic programming out of curiosity. A large chunk of modern programmers got their start tapping away at Commodore basic. That experience is denied to kids these days, since most computers are shipped as a sort of black box with no programming capabilities whatsoever.

Re:Didn't Deliver (3, Informative)

jrockway (229604) | more than 8 years ago | (#15983545)

Have you ever used OS X on a 400MHz machine with 256M of RAM? If not, I wouldn't recommend it.

Also, please provide the source code for OS X.

Software security issues (4, Insightful)

FreshMeat-BWG (541411) | more than 8 years ago | (#15983273)

With all of the talk of experimental software, college-student-style development efforts, and "evolving" software components that are reported with every story on this laptop, I can't help but imagine the number of security holes that are going to be embedded in these wirelessly connected devices. I don't want to knock any of the developers personally for being young, but I don't mind knocking young software as dangerous.

Let's assume there is one nice security hole in these laptops... Is there an automatic update system? Is it centrally controlled like Windows Update or since there are supposed to be large numbers of segregated ad-hoc networks is the distribution of these updates going to be peer based?

How do you prevent making one large botnet powered by a bunch of third-world children turning hand cranks?

Re:Software security issues (2, Interesting)

lee1026 (876806) | more than 8 years ago | (#15983317)

Well, it is powered by Linux, and so far, at least, viruses have had a horrible time trying to infect them. Seeing that the market share of linux is still going to be terriblely low even after this, I doubt that security is a major problem.

Pushing the "porn machine" (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15983339)

I'll let you in on a little secret - Linux (OSS in general) is the poor mans porn downloading system, and porn has driven its development. No one prints porn, so forget printer drivers. A few people want to upload pictures of themselves naked, so there are a few camera drivers. Scanners, forget it. USB keys ? Handy for trading PORN. I don't know how to do it, but if some sort of survey could be done I think you would find that 90% of all Linux systems are used for porn excusively. The other 10% are scientists Latexing their papers AND downloading porn.

And don't forget, these are the biggest cheapskates in the world. They don't want to pay for porn or software.

I don't see why the third world needs porn - they have enough problems with things like slavery, genocide, etc.

Re:Pushing the "porn machine" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15983420)

Nice troll. Well, not really. Actually it was pretty lame, but I'm feeling generous. Try harder next time. You might be a real troll someday!

Re:Pushing the "porn machine" (0, Troll)

chunky shit salsa (956359) | more than 8 years ago | (#15983567)

whaaat, like me? go shit out a nigger, fucking dumb piece of ass queef.

Re:Software security issues (2, Insightful)

FesterDaFelcher (651853) | more than 8 years ago | (#15983445)

That's a ridiculous thought. If I were to pinpoint ANY linux distro, it would the one that:

A. Is brand new and relatively untested,
B. Has a captive audience that has NO PRIOR COMPUTER KNOWLEDGE
and
C. Has millions of identical (hardware as well as software) copies wirelessly connected around the globe.

This is the perfect target. Imagine trying to explain to 3rd world kids why they should install patches on their magic picture box.

Re:Software security issues (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15983353)

All software is evolved. Some people believe software is designed. They're in denial.

Re:Software security issues (1)

frdmfghtr (603968) | more than 8 years ago | (#15983634)

How do you prevent making one large botnet powered by a bunch of third-world children turning hand cranks?


For some reason, I think that given that particular operating environment, anybody contemplating trying to turn these machines into zombies is really wasting their time. They are likely not going to be turned on long enough at any given point in time where they would be useful.

Mind you I'm not a network/botnet/zombie guru and I don't pretned to be, this is a gut feeling. I'd be more concerned about machines that are on an accessib;e network 24/7 that have enough power to actually do some damage.

How to deal with software security issues? (1)

trelayne (930715) | more than 8 years ago | (#15983670)

Hmmm, I know how: all of the thousands (if not 10s of thousands) of 3rd world hackers-to-be who just hate
"developed world" privileged hackers who like picking on the kid who's living on $43/year
might just get mad and learn how to break into Mr. Privileged hacker's computer and invent
their own nasty worms, viruses and other critters. Education always emerges from a challenge.

Re:Software security issues (2, Insightful)

1u3hr (530656) | more than 8 years ago | (#15983717)

How do you prevent making one large botnet powered by a bunch of third-world children turning hand cranks?

If you'd read any of the stories about the OLPC you'd know the crank was dropped from the design months ago. People keep using that image to stigmatise it. Your "third world" qualification only adds to that odour.

But to your actual point: I hardly think the laptops will be a threat to you in your first world home. Internet connectivity between the third and first worlds is poor and likely to remain so. Even if your imagined botnet materialised their attacks would trickle out and be easily blocked. And why would anyone bother when there are tens of millions of wide-open Windows PCs on fat pipes in rich countries?

Feature Creep... (3, Insightful)

patrixmyth (167599) | more than 8 years ago | (#15983278)

Imagine all you could add for another $50! The rise in price is a terrible idea. There was a lot of symbolic significance to being the $100 laptop. Now, with that barrier broken, it will lose that cachet. If they'd simply followed through on the $100 laptop, they could have added all that and more over time.

Re:Feature Creep... (1)

voice_of_all_reason (926702) | more than 8 years ago | (#15983290)

I thought about that too, but will the BIG AND ROUND number translate over to africa (where the customers are?) 100 bucks can translate to anything from 65,000 click-pops to half a million chits or even 3 hippo skins and a used coke can.

Re:Feature Creep... (2, Insightful)

patrixmyth (167599) | more than 8 years ago | (#15983295)

The reason it translates to Africa is because Africa wasn't likely to be the folks getting the bill. The round number is intended for the Buffetts and Gates who have the big money to spend to invest in Africa.

Re:Feature Creep... (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15983328)

Within 2 years, the price will be below 100. It is 100 now, and has more features. This is a great deal.

Re:Feature Creep... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15983386)

after exchange rate, round number probably won't mean much. also, it turns out that the customers for this are middle income countries, not the low income countries. makes sense - PCs are useful in places where there are at least some level of modern infrastrucutre, even if it is unevenly erected across the country. for low income countries, any sort of modern education for the youth would be helpful - my impression is that many such countries suffer from political instability. once a stable government, however "corrupt" it may be, is established, the people generally are able to feed themselves. until then, $100 PC or even $10 PC are likely useless. imagine Lebannon, for example. it is not the poorest of the countries, but what would $100 PCs do for them?

Re:Feature Creep... (1)

Jrabbit05 (943335) | more than 8 years ago | (#15983412)

You know Americian Dollars aren't a common currency to the intended target. It'd be better for the end userto have a round number. Not us penny pinchers who don't want to help anyone.

Re:Feature Creep... (1)

grozzie2 (698656) | more than 8 years ago | (#15983414)

The reality is the price of the machine isn't really going up, but, the value of the us dollar has taken a beating. In most any other currency, the price remains fixed relative to 2 or 3 years ago, it's only in $US it appears to be rising. This is what happens to the currency of debtor nations, and it turns into an endless spiral, till eventually, no americans can afford the '$100 laptop', simply because thier peso's are worthless.

Re:Feature Creep... (1)

servognome (738846) | more than 8 years ago | (#15983584)

This is what happens to the currency of debtor nations, and it turns into an endless spiral, till eventually, no americans can afford the '$100 laptop', simply because thier peso's are worthless.

Yes, it's so sad how the people of the US suffer compared to the good ol' days of... of... umm... before the US existed. There has always been a national debt [treas.gov] , it is not necessarily a bad thing.

For $50 more you can buy a kid to wind it 4U (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15983419)

You could make him carry it around for you, too. Seriously though, the third world doesn't need laptops (nor extra features) - they need vaccines, birth control, planned pregnancies, and womens' rights.

Re:Feature Creep... (1)

iabervon (1971) | more than 8 years ago | (#15983432)

The target price is $100. It's just more because they don't have all the volume discounts at the production level they're starting with. It's using a number of parts that aren't in current consumer devices; once they've got the volume up, the price of the system will be below $100. They've gone over this with their suppliers already.

Re:Feature Creep... (4, Interesting)

MBCook (132727) | more than 8 years ago | (#15983452)

Sounds like a good idea to me. While having a headphone jack would be very useful (listen to language lessons without disturbing others, including learning to read software), the microphone jack too (VOIP idea the article posits) is good, and the display upgrade is VERY good (especially on the 'net at large where most websites assume a minimum screen of 1024x768), I think the SD card is the killer feature.

Before this change, the storage on the machine was fixed. If you wanted to get more storage you would have to plug in an external USB drive (flash, hard drive, CD-RW, whatever). Now with SD cards you can expand the storage in unit, without having a USB key hang off the side of the machine. You can add up to 2 GB (4+ with newer standards) this way. While a 2 GB card is expensive now, it won't always be that way, and smaller cards (say 128 MB) are cheap (if I can get one at a drug store for $17, then people out to be able to get them pretty cheap, especially used). 128MB would be a 25% increase in the system's storage.

Even 64 MB will hold a TON of text, especially if you compress it.

I see this as a good thing. Let's not forget that the OLPC was to be sold at a loss (initially). So for all we know the new features increased the cost $100. They may not have increased costs at all and they just want to lose less so they can make more of 'em.

Hopefully, not only will this help people, some of the ideas will get used in mainstream laptops. If they can do that for $200-$250 (guessing on true cost), then they should be able to make me a nice 1600:900 (or so) LCD that I can view outside, inside, and won't kill a battery really fast. Considering how much power LCDs use (and how unviewable many are in direct sunlight) even a little improvement would go a long way.

And none of this counts the effecting giving tons of kids something as accessible and hackable as a C64 with the power to surf the 'net, be portable, and have an absolute ton of processing power. Considering what came out of C64 hackers (who had a vastly slower chip, vastly less memory, and no internet to get help from) I bet we will see some amazingly talented people as a result of this program.

Re:Feature Creep... (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15983454)

Negroponte has consistently said the price would start above $100 and migrate below that price point.

2006 April 4th http://www.wired.com/news/technology/0,70584-0.htm l?tw=rss.index [wired.com]

"In time, Negroponte expects the $100 laptop to be a misnomer. For one thing, he believes the cost -- which is actually about $135 now and isn't expected to hit $100 until 2008 -- can drop to $50 by 2010 as more and more are produced."

Re:Feature Creep... (1)

kitzilla (266382) | more than 8 years ago | (#15983464)

Don't dispair. By the time CM! finally hits the streets $140 USD will be worth ... well ... about a hundred bucks.

CM-1? (1)

sohp (22984) | more than 8 years ago | (#15983280)

Thinking Machines' CM-1 [wikipedia.org] also came out of MIT. You think they could do better than re-use historic designations.

I call Feynman! (1)

Bob Cat - NYMPHS (313647) | more than 8 years ago | (#15983406)

Any thread containing a mention of a new type of computer will eventually reference Feynman's work for think.com.

Lame me down, you modders!

Didn't read the article (slashdot, afterall) (1)

InsideTheAsylum (836659) | more than 8 years ago | (#15983298)

Since honestly there's most likely not much else that needs to be known about said "children's machine 1" other than it's not happening for a while yet and is going to cost more. But really, where is _my_ children's machine 1? I want one, it seems like it has all the features I need and want -- a screen, a keyboard, and compact enough to take with me anywhere I want without trembling about it breaking and costing me a liver to replace. Isn't the biggest problem with creating said product that it's going to be expensive to manufacture and they don't have the money to get it to all the kids? Well, why not mark it up to $250 and start selling it to consumers? I know I want one.

Re:Didn't read the article (slashdot, afterall) (1)

kfg (145172) | more than 8 years ago | (#15983417)

. . .where is _my_ children's machine 1?

Silly rabbit . . .

KFG

Re:Didn't read the article (slashdot, afterall) (1)

Aqws (932918) | more than 8 years ago | (#15983477)

They do intend to sell a commercial version for like 3x the cost, and have the profits go to getting the kids the laptop.

Re:Didn't read the article (slashdot, afterall) (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15983538)

This is so true. Cut a deal with Fisher Price or Mattel. I bet this is a financially sustainable, if not profitable, venture.

A $140 machine for children (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15983305)

Isn't Nintendo already making a $140 machine for children called the "Wee"?

Re:A $140 machine for children (1)

Duhavid (677874) | more than 8 years ago | (#15983658)

If you network two together, would that be a "wee-wee"?

High-res small screen (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15983307)

an 8-inch LCD at a 1280x900 resolution.

Wow, that's almost 200dpi. Wish I could get a 21" monitor at that granularity.

Err, laptops? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15983310)

Some of the target audience for this laptop can't even afford paper and pencil. And you want to give them laptops? Shouldn't they learn how to read and write (with pen/pencil) instead of how to type?

Re:Err, laptops? (1)

dosius (230542) | more than 8 years ago | (#15983396)

Computers taught me to read. I could program before I could write, not sure that's a good thing.

-uso.

Aarrrgh, my eyes! (4, Funny)

macshit (157376) | more than 8 years ago | (#15983323)

Why on earth is the user interface predominantly neon green (and not just neon green highlights, but vast solid areas of neon green)?!?

I guess if it's for kids you want a somewhat cheerful and happy looking interface, but it seems a bit excessive. If you're simply going to blind them, why bother including an LCD in the first place?

Re:Aarrrgh, my eyes! (1)

AaronLawrence (600990) | more than 8 years ago | (#15983718)

Indeed, that's probably going rather too far, although I like that they are removing decorations.

Another problems is that LCDs often have problems with colour at high brightness, so those neon-green on white scrollbars might be practically invisible in many situations, e.g. off angle viewing.

LOL (-1, Troll)

Stumbles (602007) | more than 8 years ago | (#15983327)

Ha hahaha. Didn't take them long to MAKE THAT move did it? I was wondering just how long it would take for the price of this "$100" laptop to go up. Well, you all can believe all the wondrous, beneficial (supposedly), helpful, "it's a great teaching, learning assest" hype surrounding this "teaching tool". But what everyone failed to realize it was just a marketing gimmick.

What's with the huge resolution? (2, Interesting)

Rekolitus (899752) | more than 8 years ago | (#15983334)

Seriously. I have a 14" laptop, and it goes up to 1024x768 (in fact, I've never used anything higher), and they're stuffing 1280x900 on an 8-inch screen?

Re:What's with the huge resolution? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15983356)

Well, not exactly...

"The OLPC screen is very small, and has a resolution twice as high as our usual displays. Based on these observations, a "shrinking" process takes a 1200 x 900 pixels image and creates a 600 x 450 pixels image by reducing each group of four pixels into on as follows..."

http://www.manucornet.net/pub/olpc/theme_and_displ ay/ [manucornet.net]

Re:What's with the huge resolution? (1)

bblboy54 (926265) | more than 8 years ago | (#15983377)

Us old farts (those of us over 25) just dont have the eyes that these young whipper snappers have.

Re:What's with the huge resolution? (1)

Doppler00 (534739) | more than 8 years ago | (#15983416)

Since the computer will be running a custom operating system, everything will be scalled to the higher resolution screen. Believe me, this is a GoodThing.

Re:What's with the huge resolution? (1)

Phroggy (441) | more than 8 years ago | (#15983443)

This is absolutely the direction we need to be going. More dots per inch = clearer image, if your software isn't too dumb to handle it properly. It's only when your software insists on drawing fonts that are 12 pixels tall that you have a problem.

Windows and Mac OS X both fail pretty badly. Windows actually tries to work properly, but it's buggy as hell, looks absolutely terrible, and the applications don't support it consistently. The Mac doesn't even try (although it does at least support scaling high-res icons). This is something I know Apple has been working on, and Microsoft probably will address in Vista.

Re:What's with the huge resolution? (1)

MP3Chuck (652277) | more than 8 years ago | (#15983467)

For whatever it's worth, I think the Windows Presentation Foundation [wikipedia.org] in Vista is supposed to solve that problem.

Re:What's with the huge resolution? (1)

Overly Critical Guy (663429) | more than 8 years ago | (#15983522)

The Mac doesn't even try (although it does at least support scaling high-res icons).


Quartz has supported resolution-independence since the beginning, and OS X Tiger does scaling through Quartz Debug.

Commercial availability? (1)

cpenner461 (736929) | more than 8 years ago | (#15983343)

I know they're saying that it's not available for the general consumer, but in line with this recent discussion [slashdot.org] I think it'd make a perfect PDA. It's smaller than most laptops, but has more functionality than most PDA's. Naturally if size is a true concern for you it may not work (probably can't slip this in a pocket), but I'd buy one in a heartbeat. I saw a guy/site the other day that's trying to get them to charge $300 for a consumer, the consumer gets one and two kids somewhere in the world get one for free. I'd even do that (although with the price creep on the laptop itself I'd be more inclined to pay for 2 instead of 3).

Stop this elitist culture of whining (5, Insightful)

virchull (963203) | more than 8 years ago | (#15983345)

Whenever a posting about the "$100 laptop" goes up, there is a flood of techno-elitist criticism on this board - like the CPU can't be overclocked. Who cares? The culture of these comments is elitism and xenophobia at its worst. Who cares if there is some waste / inefficiency / lack of elegance in the program. If it changes the lives of a few thousand kids, it is worth it. Take a look at programs where governments (pick your favorite, or not so favorite one) spend billions of dollars a day and have little chance of positive impact on poor kids in remote locations.

Get up out of your server log, or your WOW game and take a look at real life in remote places. If you don't like what you see in the "$100 laptop" program, stop whining and start doing something about it. They have a website. Go contact them to help.

Re:Stop this elitist culture of whining (0, Offtopic)

grozzie2 (698656) | more than 8 years ago | (#15983435)

Take a look at programs where governments (pick your favorite, or not so favorite one) spend billions of dollars a day and have little chance of positive impact on poor kids in remote locations.

for a measly hundred million a day, you can invade thier country, kill thier uncles and aunts, maim thier parents, and have plenty left over to blow up all the bridges, destroy the power plants and replace thier government with a set of puppets whose main purpose in life is to try stay alive. When it's all said and done, you can tell those kids just how much you have improved thier lives....

Re:Stop this elitist culture of whining (1)

lee1026 (876806) | more than 8 years ago | (#15983509)

Of course, if there is no waste, then we can change the lives of a few more thousand kids. Isn't that a worthwhile goal?

Re:Stop this elitist culture of whining (1)

Overly Critical Guy (663429) | more than 8 years ago | (#15983596)

Calm down. Wanting to overclock the CPU isn't "elitism" or "xenophobia." It's people wanting even more options for those who are buying these machines.

Re:Stop this elitist culture of whining (1)

trelayne (930715) | more than 8 years ago | (#15983721)

Here here. This topic is attracting a lot of elitist eggheads who are interested in taking on "that mediocre laptop project". Maybe they should get back to playing on their game consoles. This topic is not for children. Ahem, I mean children pretending to be adults. It's meant for real, impoverished children who will get a lot more stimulation/education from these laptops than western, whining kids playing yet another fancy game to get over their obese boredome. If you don't have something constructive to say or do, then clam up and get back to daydreaming about getting a hot girlfriend in place of your sex toy.

The CM1 is neat. Me want. (3, Insightful)

gklinger (571901) | more than 8 years ago | (#15983348)

I think the CM1 is pretty cool and I wouldn't mind having one to fool around with and I suspect I'm not the only one. What they should do is sell individual units for $200 to people in developed countries. The could put the extra $60 towads subsidizing the cost of a unit sold to developing nations so the price will remain $100 and the extra $20 could go to the One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) program to help cover administrative costs and development of future equipment. While more advanced computers are available, often for very little money, I would buy one to give to my young niece (think baby's first computer). I suppose the OLPC could sell quite a few to developed nations for use with very young children. Having their own computer would be a source of pride and would teach responsibility and the educational possibilities are as wide open in the developed world as they are in the third world. This project is wonderful and I applaud everyone involved.

Me too. (1)

despisethesun (880261) | more than 8 years ago | (#15983458)

People have been saying this since this project was announced and yet these clowns still haven't gotten the picture. I'd love to have one of these things to fuck around with, and like you I'd be willing to pay a little extra to subsidize the whole thing since it seems like a good cause. And yet the OLPC people keep saying "not fucking happening". You've got to wonder if there is something wrong with these people.

Re:The CM1 is neat. Me want. (2, Informative)

Aqws (932918) | more than 8 years ago | (#15983529)

Here's a quote from their wiki: "Will OLPC spin-off a commercial subsidiary? The idea is that a commercial subsidiary could manufacture and sell a variation of the OLPC in the developed world. These units would be marked up so that there would be a significant profit which can be plowed into providing more units in countries who cannot afford the full cost of one million machines. The discussions around this have talked about a retail price of 3× the cost price of the units. "

Call me cynical... (1, Interesting)

NotQuiteReal (608241) | more than 8 years ago | (#15983560)

I know I do.

Yeah, you just wait - if these things ever get distributed to the kids you think need them, you are mistaken.

What makes you think the same thing won't happen to them as happens to stuff like food? They will be absconded with and sold to people who will buy them on eBay (or whatever) without asking where they came from.

Yeah, just what the 3rd world needs - computers. Not non-corrupt governments and basic infrastructure... yeah, computers, that's the ticket!

You can teach kids about "stuff". My crank broke off, my screen is broken, my battery is dead, my OLPC won't boot, I have no local internet connection. Some bully just killed my sister for her OLPC. What's for dinner?

Sorry, didn't mean to harsh your buzz, but come on? Computers for poor kids in the third world? Aren't there any prerequisites to support that?

I suppose you could flood the world with these devices to the point that they are worth less than the mugging they would take to steal from someone, but somehow I doubt it.

Think about it - if you handed out dollar bills to these folks what would happen to them? You are talking about handing out $140 bills? OK, it is not as fungible as cash, but say you traded it in for 100:1 value? You propose handing out dollar bills and you don't think the bad guys aren't going to harvest them?

On the other hand, maybe they will only go to semi-desparate places that do have some modicum of rule of law, etc. In which case, never mind.

Mod me troll or flamebait, but that's just me.

A camera on a children's computer is a bad idea... (1)

jerryasher (151512) | more than 8 years ago | (#15983351)

So my kids would love for me to get one or two, knowing that we would also be buying them for kids in underpriveledged nations. But, I am not buying my kids in this country a computer with a built-in webcam. [nytimes.com]

resolution isn't that simple (2, Informative)

rm999 (775449) | more than 8 years ago | (#15983355)

"8-inch LCD at a 1280x900 resolution."

That is in monochrome, specifically for displaying ebooks. The color LCD is supposedly a quarter of this resolution (according to wikipedia), likely because each color pixel is made up of 4 color components (according to wikipedia it may be a RG-GB config). So, in monochrome mode, the color filter is somehow removed and each of those 4 components can create their own monochrome pixel.

Put an electrical plug in it and id buy one (2, Interesting)

voss (52565) | more than 8 years ago | (#15983359)

Seriously,

In trying to make a laptop for the third world, they might have stumbled
upon an amazing breakthrough product. Is it possible they might have
accidentally stumbled on the Commodore 64 of laptops? Even at $199
Id buy my nephew one.

Re:Put an electrical plug in it and id buy one (1)

Carlbunn (817714) | more than 8 years ago | (#15983540)

That's something I would like to see. Charge around 200 - 250 usd, and use the overcharged money to give more laptops to the people that needs them

I'm sad (1)

dcapel (913969) | more than 8 years ago | (#15983385)

an SD card slot, mic and headphone jacks, a built in camera, built-in wireless, and an 8-inch LCD at a 1280x900 resolution."

I feel sad. My box not only lacks the former, my resolution is lower than the latter :/

I sure hope they do enough real world testing. (1)

assassinator42 (844848) | more than 8 years ago | (#15983389)

Otherwise they might end making and distributing a bunch of them only to leave kids and teachers wondering exactly how they're supposed to use them.

Re:I sure hope they do enough real world testing. (1)

pembo13 (770295) | more than 8 years ago | (#15983645)

How much did not knowing how to use something stop you as a child?

I want one (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15983395)

I would definatly pay $200-$250 for one of these if they gave a tax credit, and the extra $ went to buying kids them. It would be great as a remote for my PC running VNC. Hook me up Negroponte. I hope he's reading these comments or some one in the OLPC proram is, sounds like lots of people want them, and it would be a great way to subsidize the project.

AAAARRRRGGGHHHHHHH!!!! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15983397)

An Important Notice from the United States District Court for the Northern District of California About Partial Class Action Settlements Involving Dynamic Random Access Memory ("DRAM")

IF YOU PURCHASED DRAM IN THE UNITED STATES, YOU COULD GET BENEFITS FROM THE PARTIAL SETTLEMENTS.

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You do not need to do anything to remain in the Class. Settlement Class members will be entitled to receive money from the settlement fund when it is ultimately distributed. If you want to exclude yourself from the Class, you must do so not later than October 3, 2006. Please read the Notice described in the next paragraph carefully for directions on how to exclude yourself. If you do not timely exclude yourself from the Class but want to object to any or all of the settlements, you must file a written objection not later than October 3, 2006. Please read the Notice described in the next paragraph carefully on how to object.

A more detailed description of this litigation and the proposed settlements are contained in the Notice of Pendency of Class Action and Partial Class Action Settlements (the "Notice"). The Notice may be accessed at www.DramAntitrustSettlement.com or obtained free of charge by writing to: In re DRAM Antitrust Litigation, c/o Rust Consulting, Inc., P.O. Box 24657, West Palm Beach, FL 33416 or calling the Class Administrator at (866) 483-9938.

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With all the worries about ... (1)

Spacejock (727523) | more than 8 years ago | (#15983433)

... childhood obesity, couldn't they come up with a better idea than giving kids 'Sugar'?

Re:With all the worries about ... (1)

kfg (145172) | more than 8 years ago | (#15983499)

Have you ever seen an impoverished, underfed third world child deriving some small measure of pleasure and sustenance by chewing on a stalk of grass?

KFG

jews did lebanon! (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15983439)

jews did lebanon!

unnecessary feaature-creep (1)

schweini (607711) | more than 8 years ago | (#15983479)

i am really sorry to hear this - apart from the fact that 100$ had a nice symbolic ring to it, i would've loved if a back-to-basics PC like the original one would gain more popularity - the lines between 'necessary' and 'luxury' are way to blurred noawadays, anyhow. didn't the originnal design have a USB port? so why do they have to include a webcam? sure - i guess the CMOS itself costs near to nothing, and will be hooked up to the usb bus internally anyhow, but it's still not necessaary, even though it might be a good deal.
anybody know where i can buy a basic mobile computer nowadays? something that takes advantage of the advances of some technologies (batteries, flash storage), but compromises for 'good enough' in other parts ( a pentium II runs firefox and older versions of office fine enough), and comes in a toshiba libretto-style formfactor?

Disproportionate Specs? (4, Interesting)

Millenniumman (924859) | more than 8 years ago | (#15983558)

This computer has a very low power processor (although it is good enough for what it is for), and poor storage (512MB is insufficient, even for this computers purposes), and yet it has a camera (How do you store the pictures?), and a high resolution screen (1280x900, 8 inches). Why not put on a cheap screen and add a reasonable amount of storage, and probably still end up lower priced?

Re:Disproportionate Specs? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15983663)

My laptop runs on 512 MB of ram fine in linux. I only break 120 MB used when I throw firefox on and I can leave it on for days and never break 250 MB used..

This is all while running xfce, xchat, gaim, 3-4 terminals, screen, thunderbird, and xmms constantly. If I throw on gimp and OOo I MIGHT be able to break 300 MB used...

512 is plenty if you get off windows and stop running all that spyware, buddy.

Re:Disproportionate Specs? (1)

Millenniumman (924859) | more than 8 years ago | (#15983687)

I was referring to the storage, not the RAM.

And I use OS X, not Windows.

I think they should have named it the (2, Informative)

pair-a-noyd (594371) | more than 8 years ago | (#15983568)

CRM 114 instead

Actual technical details? (1)

afree87 (102803) | more than 8 years ago | (#15983575)

I would like to call Slashdot's attention to several design elements of this laptop which most coverage has overlooked:

1. The laptop will carry Esperanto teaching utilities [laptop.org] .
2. The laptop will include an Office Assistant [laptop.org] sort of creature which was, quote, "inspired by the Tamagotchi toys, and its purpose is to allow kids to interact with the control of the computer in a simple and fun way". The assistant is named "Amiko" because that is Esperanto for "friend".
3. The laptop will have its own UI, unlike any UI which has ever been used on a real (non-toy) laptop, which for me at least recalls bad memories of Microsoft Bob [laptop.org] .

There does not seem to be any page on the website for people to discuss how the laptop actually ought to work, or if these ideas are at all sane.

Is it just me, or when reading these software details, doesn't the whole thing seem just a little less plausible to you?

Starting to wonder why (1)

rolfwind (528248) | more than 8 years ago | (#15983577)

my laptop's screen isn't this good:

"has higher resolution than 95 percent of the laptop displays on the market today, approximately one-seventh of the power consumption, one-third of the price, sunlight readability, and room-light readability with the backlight off."

Flop (1)

gnu-sucks (561404) | more than 8 years ago | (#15983616)

...and if you pay $400, you can get a dell with a 15" screen, and decent storage.

Seriously, 1280x1024 on an 8-inch screen? And a web-cam? What the hell are these guys trying to do? Scare people away from computers? Or, I'm sorry, "children's machines'"?

Re:Flop (1)

pembo13 (770295) | more than 8 years ago | (#15983653)

I do not understand your logic, how would a supposedly high res and webcam scare anyone away from a machine?

New Hope (1)

v1ncent (997828) | more than 8 years ago | (#15983647)

It would have been nice to keep the price tag at an even $100, but it's hard to sustain an organization while producing a negative income. In the end, the third world population will greatly benefit from this project and it's nice to see the digital divide reduced. With access to technology and all the benefits it can reap, these populations will finally have hope.

You know what's cool about this (1)

CrazyJim1 (809850) | more than 8 years ago | (#15983691)

This is going to be a standard by which a 3rd world nation sees computers. If any self respecting geek wants to make a difference in the impoverished 3rd world, he should write some free software for this machine. I myself may write code for this machine. They should do something like this in the United States, where kids get a laptop instead of books. It'd be a revolution. You could even gauge which software teaches best by the test scores.

Wrong approach to education... (2, Insightful)

hcob$ (766699) | more than 8 years ago | (#15983749)

Simply put... Better Education != More Technology

The solution to education is that we elevate it to status that it deserves. Talk to many successfull people, and I'd wager that they could point to less than five (5) teachers that made a difference in their life and learning. Our Education system has these major ERRORS in it's design.

1.) Grade school is focused on churning out people who meet an arbitrary number on college entrance exams

2.) College is focused on churning out as many BS students as possible.

3.) It's too easy to get a teaching certificate

3.) ALL CLASSROOM TEACHERS ARE PAID TOO LITTLE

Solve problems 1, 2, and alter those to focus on critical thinking and you'll see a major difference in our children. Solve problem 3, 4, and we will never have to speak about teacher shortages again.
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