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Kids Review the OLPC

kdawson posted more than 7 years ago | from the mouths-of-babes dept.

Education 193

A. N. Onymous sends us to OLPCNews for an account of kids' reactions to the OLPC XO, and comments: "My first impression is, it's just like when you give a kid a box of Lego." The video of a 10-year-old and his younger sister replacing a mobo is pretty cool.

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Neato! (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20221199)

My first impression is, it's just like when you give a kid a box of Lego

"These computers sure make a cool fort!"

Re:Neato! (1)

John Jamieson (890438) | more than 7 years ago | (#20221255)

You rich kids must have recieved HUGE lego boxes!

Re:Neato! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20221671)

"You rich kids must have recieved HUGE lego boxes!"

What? In the 1970s, you could get a box of 1000 Legos for $10 from the Sears catalog.
My lower-middle-class parents got me one.

Only in recent years, Lego made the sets smaller, more expensive, and pieces that were way too specialized.

Re:Neato! (0)

Surt (22457) | more than 7 years ago | (#20221757)

If you didn't have at least a million Lego blocks to play with, you didn't really have a childhood.

Re:Neato! (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20221299)

At least one wall or corner of a fort.

It is excellent that many can easily jump right into using the XO. This speaks volumes for the middle of the road bunch that is also targeted by this project. Those in first world countries that see this in a good light.

Many of those in the third world countries will still need a bit of guidance. Specifically, those that have either never seen a computer, or have never had the chance to touch one.

I see the need for a screwdriver to change out the mobo. Does anyone else know what other options there were besides the need for a screwdriver? I have read how practically every aspect of this design was carefully thought out, but was there a discussion on the possible need to open the computer without the need for tools? Where could I find a discussion on that?

Re:Neato! (5, Insightful)

Mal-2 (675116) | more than 7 years ago | (#20221581)

Many devices had screws designed to be turned by 100-yen coins (U.S. quarters are usually a good enough approximation), but this is just FRIGGIN' HUGE in today's miniaturized world, and wouldn't fit in on the OLPC either. Still, coins are not a bad thing to consider when designing for ersatz tool use. They're small, ubiquitous, easy to grip, and probably softer than the screws -- so any damage from ham-handedness is either cosmetic, or happens to the coin.

Are there any truly common sizes for low-denomination coins around the world?

Mal-2

Re:Neato! (1)

pedestrian crossing (802349) | more than 7 years ago | (#20221867)

Despite all of their other faults, the old IBM PS/2 series computers were great for this. You could strip them to the bone with your fingers and a quarter.

Re:Neato! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20221977)

You can do this with a Dell even without a quarter.

Re:Neato! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20222759)

Why is a screwdriver a problem? Surely a cheap screwdriver is not going to cost more than a $1. These could be included if it is unlikely that will have one already.

Re:Neato! (1)

tonsofpcs (687961) | more than 7 years ago | (#20221323)

No, it's "Dude, check out the box" with the parents going: "oh, cool, check this out, this toy really is cool"

PS: I want one :(

LOL My favorite reported impression (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20221763)

> Aput: "It's a stinking piece of shit!"

I'm not surprised that this one is not in the summary!

Re:LOL My favorite reported impression (1)

Hal_Porter (817932) | more than 7 years ago | (#20221879)

He's probably just some paid Wintel shill though.

Not in the article, perhaps? (1)

Mathinker (909784) | more than 7 years ago | (#20221959)

I rather have the impression it's not in the article, either... could you be more explicit as to where this quote is from?

But they missed out a step... (1)

bopo_the_mofo (888877) | more than 7 years ago | (#20222425)

...they missed the bit where they are supposed to first copy all the music and pr0n off the hard disk.

Idiots.

Re:Neato! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20222675)

"My first impression is, it's just like when you give a kid a box of Lego"

You mean they go "What's that shit, I said I wanted a Playstation 3 you BITCH!"?

Re:Neato! (1)

raddan (519638) | more than 7 years ago | (#20223521)

No, it's more like, "WTF? AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAGH!!!" when you step on a stray piece, barefoot, first thing in the morning. My parents must have been angels to have given my brother and I so many tiny, sharp toys.

Amazing concept (4, Interesting)

Lord Artemis (1141381) | more than 7 years ago | (#20221243)

Just the fact that a couple of young kids can change a mobo in a laptop, something that most adults (or even many of the computer literate) are either unable to do or shy away from doing, is something to be said for this project.

Re:Amazing concept (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20221277)

Yes. With a designer of the shoulder, lack of audio and the constant finger pointing it's amazing they took THAT long.

OLPC seems like a great idea to many of you /. geeks but guess what, most of the children who can afford to attend a school, learn to read and write, they'll find out that the computers they have on campus work as good or better. /know a director of a school in Kenya.

Re:Amazing concept (4, Insightful)

Lord Artemis (1141381) | more than 7 years ago | (#20221353)

True, but isn't this intended more for off-campus work? Of course the campus computers will work better than a budget laptop, but I had always thought of them as being more for when you're not on campus.

Re:Amazing concept (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20223115)

You forgot to allow for one fact: these kids are niggers.

Re:Amazing concept (2, Funny)

psychicsword (1036852) | more than 7 years ago | (#20221295)

When I was 10 all I could do is take apart my remote control car, get shocked by and old TV that I took apart, and wish I had a computer to mess with. I can't wait to see how this changes the world.

Re:Amazing concept (2, Interesting)

Hal_Porter (817932) | more than 7 years ago | (#20221947)

Can't you die from the voltages inside a colour TV?

I remember reading a long time ago that contact with the back of a colour TV tube was "invariably fatal". Mind you from your experience and a bit of Googling maybe they were just being overly cautious -

http://www.repairfaq.org/REPAIR/F_safety.html [repairfaq.org]
"TVs and monitors may have up to 35 KV on the CRT but the current is low - a couple of milliamps. However, the CRT capacitance can hold a painful charge for a long time. "

Elsewhere they mention that if you add a capacitor, it's dangerous, but so long as there's no capacitance connected, there isn't enough current available at 35kV to kill you.

Another Amazing concept... (1)

poptones (653660) | more than 7 years ago | (#20222571)

If you add a capacitor? The tube itself is the capacitor - that's what the DAG coating (the black stuff on the outside) is for. That's why the tube holds a charge - because it's essentially a big leyden jar.

Re:Another Amazing concept... (1)

Hal_Porter (817932) | more than 7 years ago | (#20223663)

What's the capacitance of a TV tube then? I can see it's not much since the plates are so far apart and C = eA/d.

The dielectric constant, e, of the vacuum inside the tube is not very high either.

This guy, who seems to know what he's talking about, said

http://members.misty.com/don/samflyhv.html [misty.com]

8. CAUTION: contact with output will be painful, though probably not
  particularly dangerous due to low (a few mA) current availability.
 
  HOWEVER, if you add a high voltage capacitor to store the charge,
  don't even think about going near the HV!

Re:Amazing concept (1)

SgtXaos (157101) | more than 7 years ago | (#20222673)

I remember reading a long time ago that contact with the back of a colour TV tube was "invariably fatal". Mind you from your experience and a bit of Googling maybe they were just being overly cautious -


I can tell you that is false. It could be fatal, I suppose, but having had my share of second-anode contact, I dispute the "invariability" of that consequence. :)

It invariably isn't much fun, most certainly!

Re:Amazing concept (1)

kestasjk (933987) | more than 7 years ago | (#20222709)

The CRT is like one big capacitor in itself. Those "Danger, high voltage, etc" signs aren't there to make it look cool.

I've taken apart an old computer monitor (I was ~16), and stupidly took the CRT out and cut the flyback's wires from the CRT (without discharging it, luckily it had been off for a long timeand I was using an insulating knife) and plugged it back in. If you put the flyback's main wire anywhere near its other wires you'd get a continuous arc over a few centimeters, and in the dark you could see a corona coming off the wires.

I remember when I was bending over the thing to take a look at something and I felt my hair stand up because I was getting charge in my hair. I wasn't touching anything so it must have been because of a strong electric field.

I don't want to know how close I was from getting a fatal shock right through my face. (My eye fluid probably would have been the best point of entry..)

Re:Amazing concept (4, Insightful)

DogDude (805747) | more than 7 years ago | (#20221379)

I don't see how replacing a motherboard is in any way, shape, or form a useful skill for anybody who is not a screwdriver monkey in a local PC shop. Now, if this thing taught kids to repair two-stroke engines, or basic agriculture, that would be impressive (and useful).

Re:Amazing concept (5, Insightful)

Relic of the Future (118669) | more than 7 years ago | (#20221407)

How is two-stroke engine repair any more usefull than electronics repair? Sorry grampa; we'll try to keep the kids off your lawn.

Re:Amazing concept (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20221553)

Are you ignorant or just stupid?
How about to pump water, the basic necessity of life? Or running a generator for electricity? Without electricity your day is basically over as soon as the sun sets. How about for a small tractor to aid in farming the land? Etc, etc, etc...........

Re:Amazing concept (2, Insightful)

LingNoi (1066278) | more than 7 years ago | (#20222005)

Wow you must be a rich, big fat American idiot.

Not all poor people are dumb farmers that live in mud huts located in the middle of no where.

Bangkok has many poor people and they have power and food but no education. Even in the country side people don't live in mud huts with no electricity. Only first world morons like yourself think and talk about this crap with no idea what they're blabbering on about. KEEP THE POOR, POOR. Well, sorry asshole I beg to differ.

I have personally donated money numerous time to the local temple to provide books for the schools but it is not as good as providing a means for kids to learn a skill that would give them a better job then just farming.

Books and stationary become out of date and need to be replaced. These laptops could be passed down to students for decades if only just so the students could read books on them it would be worth it because printing books and shipping them around the country is expensive.

Re:Amazing concept (1, Insightful)

Daengbo (523424) | more than 7 years ago | (#20222309)

Hey "little monkey" (I'm assuming that's the translation of your UID), why would (s)he have to be American. Couldn't (s)he be an equally ignorant person from another developed and rich country?

By the way, if you expect these laptops to stay in the hands of the Thai children to whom they're given, you don't understand much about Thai societal corruption. Wat di.

Re:Amazing concept (1, Insightful)

LingNoi (1066278) | more than 7 years ago | (#20222359)

why would (s)he have to be American. Couldn't (s)he be an equally ignorant person from another developed and rich country?
True, but you lose more mod points if you mention Americans, which is going to happen as the mods bump this ignorant pig up.

Also the old governments actions don't reflect the actions of the new government. Even under the old government the laptops would have reached the children. It would have just cost them twice as much for the project for no actual reason.

It is also off topic. Sure that might happen but saying, "meh we should teach them how to farm better because these poor people are too dumb to learn computers" is such and ignorant first world point of view.

Re:Amazing concept (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20223625)

Hey you, the bucktoothed little gomer - fuck you!

Re:Amazing concept (1, Informative)

Fred_A (10934) | more than 7 years ago | (#20223153)

Hey "little monkey" (I'm assuming that's the translation of your UID), why would (s)he have to be American. Couldn't (s)he be an equally ignorant person from another developed and rich country?
Very unlikely. Other developed and rich countries are typically exposed to foreign cultures daily through news and media and people there actually travel abroad. Only people in the US actually believe that foreigners all live in mud huts.
Only in the US have I ever seen a major local (as opposed to national) newspaper with about 1/2 page (out of 40) of world news. The exposure of the random US person to international matters is almost nil (or deformed beyond recognition).
Luckily there are enough exceptions to balance things a little.

Re:Amazing concept (1)

Eunuchswear (210685) | more than 7 years ago | (#20223661)

Fred, according to google you're standing in the middle of the crossroads. I'd move if I were you.

Re:Amazing concept (5, Insightful)

Short Circuit (52384) | more than 7 years ago | (#20221575)

How is two-stroke engine repair any more usefull than electronics repair?
In an agrarian culture, a two-stroke engine can perform useful work.

Frankly, though, I like OLPC. While I'm not sure it will benefit poor African children much more than giving laptops to middle-schoolers in Seattle, it will still provide some benefits to its target demographic.

Better still, for me, it's inspired tech companies to design similar devices for rich countries, meaning I might have a competent, cheap mobile platform in my future.

Re:Amazing concept (5, Informative)

mrvan (973822) | more than 7 years ago | (#20222195)

Hey, and at least they can now look up on the internet how to repair a two stroke engine!

Re:Amazing concept (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20221635)

You shouldn't look at taking a motherboard apart as a skill that can be utilized in the future, but rather something that gives a child inspiration to do what they love, and learn exciting new things without any type of fear or hesitation.

Re:Amazing concept (5, Insightful)

i_b_don (1049110) | more than 7 years ago | (#20221737)

I think this is really a "teach a person to fish" type of thing. Sure it's a computer... how useful is a computer in an agriculture society... now add an internet connection and wow, how fucken useful is that!? I bet there are plenty of good websites that show you how to repair a two-stroke engine... I even bet the "internets" are pretty good darn good and educating you on many more basic and extremely useful things.

Of course we all know it'll probably be mostly used for pr0n, but that's just a good hook to get kids online and techno-literate. And it's not like you coculdn't say the same thing about us when we were kids....

d

Re:Amazing concept (1)

sqrt(2) (786011) | more than 7 years ago | (#20222641)

And it's not like you coculdn't say the same thing about us when we were kids....
You can probably still say that about a lot of us now.

Re:Amazing concept (2, Insightful)

SolitaryMan (538416) | more than 7 years ago | (#20221745)

I don't see how replacing a motherboard is in any way, shape, or form a useful skill for anybody who is not a screwdriver monkey in a local PC shop.

You can't do this, can you?

Re:Amazing concept (4, Insightful)

localman (111171) | more than 7 years ago | (#20222289)

Having just spent some time working with computers in a third world country, here's my take: if you buy into the idea that the computers are good things, then self repair is good. In these environments I've seen that component breakdowns are very common. I sure replaced a lot of motherboards at the schools I was working in. The biggest problem that I saw was not getting computers to the people, it was educating them on how to use them and keep them running.

From another angle, when the kids saw me replacing motherboards, several of them were fascinated. One of the older kids learned how to do it just because he wanted to, and helped us out for several weeks. Now, I'll admit that it is seems a useless skill, but that's only if you consider learning and enjoyment for its own sake to be useless. No, he won't likely be able to monetize the skill, but honestly he'll be lucky if he can monetize anything. So why not enjoy life in the meantime? And any brain exercise is good for these kids, as it sharpens the mind. There are geeks over there too -- they just don't have access to the stuff we do.

Cheers.

Re:Amazing concept (4, Insightful)

myvirtualid (851756) | more than 7 years ago | (#20223317)

One of the older kids learned how to do it just because he wanted to.... Now, I'll admit that it is seems a useless skill....

In the long run, possibly about as useless as writing a 386 kernel just for the fun of it.

Nope, nothing good ever came of doing tech for the sake of loving tech.

Mod parent up,

pww

Re:Amazing concept (3, Insightful)

pimpimpim (811140) | more than 7 years ago | (#20223421)

Keeping a computer running is an impossibility for almost all people. A friend of mine had a driver for a laptop that stopped working in XP. To exactly find out what the problem was and where to get the driver, I needed about an hour. And windows XP is one of the most serviceable OS-es around (high availability of drivers, many forums with help, etc.). Actually I am fed up with it. I've been looking at the asus EEE-PC which comes with a linux OS that seems to interact like a PDA. In the view movies available you can see that there are buttons for 'write' 'e-mail' 'internet' and that the likes. Well, for 99% of what I am doing, I just want that. For 100% of what my mother would do, that would be enough. I am looking forward to get one, if it is as simple as it looks, I'll get one for my mother too.

Why? Because at the moment my mother will not use a computer, because almost every other action you do you will get a pop-up, asking you to decide on a technical question, with lots of choices. If you are not computer literate, this is a HUGE barrier to start. And what's up with the clicking. Sometimes you right-click, sometimes you left-click, sometimes you have to double click, sometimes you have to hold the button pressed. My mother asked me when you have to double-click and when not. Say, in the start menu, one click will be enough to start an application. But on the desktop, you'll have to double-click.

I hope the OPLC will be a bit like that, removing the non-obvious computer behavior that has settled itself into almost every desktop GUI around. As for your example about the kid, he was doing something technical, working with foreigners, getting used to the kind of work that is done with computers. Those skills start you up and get you somewhere. As a 16 year old I brought the newspaper around, how is that for a useless skill? But you learn how to deal with angry costumers, get responsibility (early starts!), and lots of things you add to your the luggage that make you who you are.

Re:Amazing concept (1)

CastrTroy (595695) | more than 7 years ago | (#20223645)

Actually, the only things that require double click, as far as i'm aware, are the file icons on your desktop/explorer. I think everything else is double click. I think there's an option somewhere that lets you enable opening files with a single click. Once that's enabled, there should be no double clicking required. Also, if unsure, you can just single click, and when nothing happens, then double click.

Re:Amazing concept (4, Insightful)

pimpimpim (811140) | more than 7 years ago | (#20222591)

Do you have any clue how things happen in 90% of the world? You don't pay someone $100 per hour to repair for you, you do it yourself. Why are the still so many 80's versions of the Toyota Landcruiser around? Because you can repair them without high-tech equipment. Ideally the OPLC will be around a lot, and if there is one with a broken screen, and one with a broken motherboard, you can make one working laptop out of these two without having to send it somewhere or ask a repair shop. That is one laptop saved, a lot of money saved, and one family more that can write letters, have access to all the information on the internet, etc. This are small steps with huge implications, and that is what makes the world go round.

Re:Amazing concept (2, Insightful)

Moraelin (679338) | more than 7 years ago | (#20222657)

I don't see how replacing a motherboard is in any way, shape, or form a useful skill for anybody who is not a screwdriver monkey in a local PC shop.


Technically true, but developping a love for computers will help them in other ways.

I mean, by old skills with ZX-81 BASIC or (one year later) converting assembly to hex by hand because you couldn't fit even an assembler in 1K RAM, are technically worthless today too. Noone would pay you to convert to hex by hand, unless it's as a drunken dare. But the fact that I grew up thinking algorithmically and liking it, is roughly why I'm a well paid consultant today. And knowing roughly what happens under the hood, as in, exactly what does the CPU do, sure helps write better code than the monkeys who think that efficiency is measured in lines of code.

Now, if this thing taught kids to repair two-stroke engines


You mean the skill that's even more useless in the real world, unless you're a wrench monkey at the local mechanic shop? How's that more useful? Chances are he'd make less money with that than even with the most basic computer skills.

Oh, you mean how it's more macho to take your own engine apart? It never ceases to amaze me how many think their penis size is measured in how often they take their engine apart. Don't you have anything better to do with your time than pretend you're an unskilled low-wage manual labourer? I don't know about you, but my time is more valuable than that.

or basic agriculture, that would be impressive (and useful).


Now you've really lost me? Agriculture? You mean the thing that, since the Great Depression, is so worthless that it survives only by government subsidies? And where you need a damn big farm to even be able to afford the equipment, even with government subsidies?

Newsflash: nowadays everyone can produce entirely too much food, so, as is the case when supply vastly outstrips demand, prices are all the way down in the cellar. The world nowadays is split into countries which subsidize their agriculture, and countries where their farmers went bankrupt and just import the food.

So your idea of a useful profession to teach someone is... an unskilled manual labour job, which mostly lives off government subsidy, for as long as that subsidy continues? Why not just teach him to be a bum and get unemployment benefits then? It will be only mildly more humiliating, but it's less work, the result is the same, and it will cost us all less money in taxes, so I figure it's a win-win.

And generally, what's with your list containing only low-pay low-skill manual-labour examples? God knows that even if you don't understand computers, there are other better paid jobs than farmer or wrench monkey. Want to guide your kid on a non-hardware path? How about management, marketting, non-computer engineering branches (biotech still does decently well, for example), etc?

Re:Amazing concept (0, Offtopic)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 7 years ago | (#20223143)

Newsflash: nowadays everyone can produce entirely too much food
I live in North Korea, you insensitive clod!

Re:Amazing concept (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20223007)

You bought something with a motherboard in it in order to post your asstroturf, didn't you?

Incidentally, building and fixing PCs comes in very handy, because you never have to pay for an electronics device for the rest of your life. You just intercept your neighbor's next discard, spend five minutes and $5.00 replacing the reset button or an IDE cable (it's usually something that dumb) and then turn around and sell it again for $799 to idiots like you to run Windumbs on.

Re:Amazing concept (2, Interesting)

hey! (33014) | more than 7 years ago | (#20223219)

You are proposing a false dichotomy. EITHER: (1) You create a device that can teach kids skills like repairing two stroke engines... OR (2) You create a device that kids can repair themselves. That's like saying either a two stroke engine can do useful work like pumping water, or it can repaired by users. The only thing they have to do with each other is that if you are poor, repairable means that the tool can continue to do useful work.

In the late eighties and nineties, at least here in the US, you heard the term "computer literacy" used a lot in connection with education. The thing was, it was a crock. The "computer skills" kids learned in the late 80s have very little direct relevance in 2010.

The thing about this device is that it is a kind of technological leapfrog, from the computer as an object of study to computer as a tool. They aren't going to receive these computers to learn about computers, like so many American kids. They are going to receive these computers to learn about other things.

If along the way, some start small enterprises as screwdriver shops, that would be a good thing. Many small businesses that can be started with little more than a few basic tools and a little enterprise do more for a society than a few great big ones. The screwdriver shop could be the ground floor of an entire informatics industry. For all we know, software's equivalent of Srinivasa Ramanujan will be some kid hanging around his (or her) cousin's screwdriver shop.

Re:Amazing concept (1)

beef3k (551086) | more than 7 years ago | (#20221881)

And besides, the soundtrack was awesome!

Re:Amazing concept (1)

cpu88 (1142407) | more than 7 years ago | (#20221919)

I'm ONE of them!

With help from an adult... (1)

fantomas (94850) | more than 7 years ago | (#20222813)

Video footage showed an adult pointing out aspects of the computer as the kids were working on it - so offering some sort of guidance. Not to take away from the fact that the kids did indeed work on the computer, but I think it should be noted.

A cute video but not very scientific evidence that this is transferable to any two children anywhere in the world. For all we know the two kids are complete hackers and spend all their days messing around with lego, meccano, taking things apart and putting them back together again. Might also have highly educated parents working in laptop development labs. Would be very interesting to try this experiment "in the field" - I'm sure something like this must be going on in the testing phase of the computers?

Re:Amazing concept (1)

bl8n8r (649187) | more than 7 years ago | (#20223563)

> Just the fact that a couple of young kids can change a mobo in a laptop

Umm, actually I didn't see them pull the mainboard out. They pulled out a lot of screws while an adult supervised, and I didn't see them actually get it back together and functional. It looked like as much of a pain in the ass as disassembling a regular laptop. Taking it apart is the easy step, getting everything back in working order is a much larger one. I think the kids looked interested enough to do it though.

I think it's a great idea to design a product with that in mind. The open-endedness of the OLPC will add to the entire educational benefit. I wonder what kind of FUD Wintel and Asus will cook up now regarding the open design.

OLPC (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20221249)

I have to admit I really like the whole OLPC idea but I'm starting to feel like they are selling out. First they boost the memory (and price) so it will run windows and now we hear that they might use intel processors when last year intel wouldn't give them the time of day. I hope this program is a success and that certain interest (msoft, intel, etc) don't end up dooming it from the start.

Re:OLPC (1)

mdenham (747985) | more than 7 years ago | (#20221453)

You're confusing the OLPC project with Intel's project.

Re:OLPC (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20221479)

The concept of the OLPC looks good - on paper. But the truth is people don't want what amounts to toy computers. They want real computers to do real things on with real software, all things that can be had with real laptops that don't cost much more than this thing.

Re:OLPC (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20221847)

I guess that means I'm either not real, or not a person?

Is this real world testing? (4, Insightful)

ktappe (747125) | more than 7 years ago | (#20221281)

These appeared to be well-to-do kids who were very likely to have used computers before. That is not who OLPC is aimed at. It would be much more telling to see tests with kids in poorer nations for whom OLPC is their first PC.

Re:Is this real world testing? (0, Troll)

EmbeddedJanitor (597831) | more than 7 years ago | (#20221337)

Like sell it on ebay for food?

Re:Is this real world testing? (4, Insightful)

tsa (15680) | more than 7 years ago | (#20221665)

Not everybody in Africa is hungry. Many people that we would consider poor have mobile phones there. They use them for their business.

Re:Is this real world testing? (2, Funny)

cp.tar (871488) | more than 7 years ago | (#20222387)

Not everybody in Africa is hungry. Many people that we would consider poor have mobile phones there. They use them for their business.

Actually, some of those people are quite rich and would only need your assistance with getting vast sums of money from their corrupt countries...

Re:Is this real world testing? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20223027)

Uhhh... your North American bias is clearly overriding your sense of common sense. In the USA, cell phones are expensive and wired phones are cheap. In Africa, as in Honduras or a dozen dozen other countries, it's far less expensive to own a cell phone than the obligatory house a wired phone must exist in.

Homeless people carry cell phones. That does not make them "rich".

Re:Is this real world testing? (0, Flamebait)

d474 (695126) | more than 7 years ago | (#20221449)

It would be much more telling to see tests with kids in poorer nations for whom OLPC is their first PC.
*ahem* They are from Canada. How much of a handicap do you want?

Re:Is this real world testing? (2, Insightful)

steveha (103154) | more than 7 years ago | (#20221819)

These appeared to be well-to-do kids who were very likely to have used computers before. That is not who OLPC is aimed at.

Once the OLPC is distributed, there will be a growing population of kids who have "used computers before".

And I don't think the plan is to limit the maintenance teams to 8 and 10 year old kids. Even if your assumption is correct, and unprivileged kids in poor countries can't fix things as well as these Canadian kids can, do you think that maybe unprivileged 14 and 16 year olds might be able to do what these Canadian 8 and 10 year olds managed to do?

It would be much more telling to see tests with kids in poorer nations for whom OLPC is their first PC.

Those tests will come, in time. Meanwhile this was simply a fun test that someone did just because they could.

What I find telling is that the manual dexterity of a 10 year old is adequate to the task of disassembling the OLPC, pulling the motherboard, then putting it all back together again.

steveha

Re:Is this real world testing? (3, Insightful)

Professor_UNIX (867045) | more than 7 years ago | (#20222837)

What I find telling is that the manual dexterity of a 10 year old is adequate to the task of disassembling the OLPC, pulling the motherboard, then putting it all back together again.
Guided step by step by some hipster-looking amish geek dude in the background. If I stood behind someone and told them exactly how to disassemble something I'm sure they could take apart an iBook G3 and put it back together perfectly too even though it's very complicated. Honestly, to me, that OLPC seemed like a major nightmare to take apart. I counted at least a dozen screws before I got bored and stopped paying attention. Dozens of screws to replace a motherboard in a laptop that's aimed at the third world? It should be two screws and a couple of snaps, tops. Snap to pull off the LCD to get to the motherboard underneath, unplug a ribbon cable from the LCD, couple of screws holding the motherboard in, remove a ribbon cable that goes to keyboard and that's IT. These things are too god damn complicated to be worked on in the field.

Re:Is this real world testing? (2, Funny)

yada21 (1042762) | more than 7 years ago | (#20223181)

the manual dexterity of a 10 year old is adequate to the task of disassembling the OLPC, pulling the motherboard, then putting it all back together again.
So employing kids to build them would be a good way of getting the cost down?

Oh, no! (2, Insightful)

kjzk (1097265) | more than 7 years ago | (#20221283)

"The video of a 10-year-old and his younger sister replacing a mobo is pretty cool."


Here comes the job market competition!

Just when I thought it couldn't get any worse...

12-year-old post (2, Funny)

prxp (1023979) | more than 7 years ago | (#20221343)

From TFA:

Then twelve year old "SG" made a surprisingly well-written literary statement about the $100 laptop" on Freedom to Tinker: My expectations for this computer were, I must admit, not very high. But it completely took me by surprise. It was cleverly designed, imaginative, straightforward, easy to understand (I was given no instructions on how to use it. It was just, "Here. Figure it out yourself."), useful and simple, entertaining, dependable, really a "stick to the basics" kind of computer. It's the perfect laptop for the job. Great for first time users, it sets the mood by offering a bunch of entertaining and easy games and a camera.
Damn! I've gotta work harder on my posts from now on!

Re:12-year-old post (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20222103)

One must insist that for a 12 year old, their prose is highly grandiloquent!

New World Meet the Old World (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20221359)

Training third world assembly workers by the back door, eh? Sounds cool. Liberal academics hijacked by CIA sponsored hegemony. I love it! Where can I send a crate of these?

Chinese kids are even cheaper. (5, Informative)

nick_davison (217681) | more than 7 years ago | (#20221365)

The video of a 10-year-old and his younger sister replacing a mobo is pretty cool.
Correction: The muted video of a 10-year-old and his younger sister being blatantly directed on exactly what to do by the pair of adult hands that keep entering the video to catch things they do wrong (including almost dropping it at one point) and apparently updating the instructions for them that they're evidently not doing on their own implies OLPC has learned what Nike figured out twenty years ago: kids make the best slave labor.

Information Age (2, Insightful)

Nymz (905908) | more than 7 years ago | (#20221749)

OLPC has learned what Nike figured out twenty years ago: kids make the best slave labor.
While I don't expect the days of child prostitution or child slave labor to end anytime soon, I do expect the need for technically able workers to continue increasing in this current Information Age.

Re:Chinese kids are even cheaper. (1)

pembo13 (770295) | more than 7 years ago | (#20221883)

You seem to be under the impression that the plan is to rely on the kids to maintain the items themselves. This seems to be more of an it is possible, than this is Plan A.

You say "slave" like it's a BAD thing. (1)

NeuroManson (214835) | more than 7 years ago | (#20222453)

If you think about it, 1 first world kid building a laptop for 1 third world kid, in a way, is delicious, poetic, and ironic justice. At least the first world kids have their Wiis, their full powered PCs, their Playstation 2s 3s, and Xboxes. But they could learn about the kids who they're building OLPCs for, their countries, et al.

It'd be just like the stoopid UNICEF collections we used to do as kids, except we'd actually be doing something directly applicable, and learning something in the process, not just rattling a can full of pocket change.

Re:Chinese kids are even cheaper. (1)

jeffehobbs (419930) | more than 7 years ago | (#20222601)

Sometimes you need small, small hands for that kind of delicate work.

uh oh (4, Funny)

Carbon016 (1129067) | more than 7 years ago | (#20221369)

Those kids didn't use proper anti-static safety protocols when replacing that motherboard! At this rate, it's going to be twenty laptops per child!

Re:uh oh (1)

nick_davison (217681) | more than 7 years ago | (#20221387)

At this rate, it's going to be twenty laptops per child!
I always prefered Blendtec's [youtube.com] twenty children per blender program, myself.

Re:uh oh (1)

antdude (79039) | more than 7 years ago | (#20221897)

And maybe injuries and deaths to the kids too! :)

"guided" disassembly (5, Insightful)

strtj (1067246) | more than 7 years ago | (#20221385)

A 10 year old and an 8 year old disassembling a laptop on their own would be quite an impressive feat. These kids, however, seem to need assistance from the "long arm of the law" every few steps. When will we learn that it's not how rapidly kids are able to do something, but whether or not they succeed in the end on their own?

Re:"guided" disassembly (0)

narfbot (515956) | more than 7 years ago | (#20221667)

Argh, who cares if it was guided? The fact they are learning something is much more important.

I put together my first computer from parts when I was 10. It wasn't exactly easy either. It was an XT, which required a lot more steps than I'm sure they had to take with their easy, integrated all-in-one machine. I got a lot of guidance from my Dad.

If you think kids learn by figuring out things on their own, you're sadly mistaken. You give them tools, teach what you know about the tools, then the creativity comes. I've far surpassed anything my father has done with computers, and it's thanks to him for introducing it to begin with. His field isn't even in computers!

Re:"guided" disassembly (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20222179)

So? Big deal! The kids were able to remove a motherboard from a laptop. This was a VERY different experience then when I disassembled my first XT.

To learn 'skills' on how to assemble and dissemble things I think they'd be better off with legos, model rockets, remote control cars, etc. Who cares that it's a 'motherboard' in a 'laptop'.

I personally think the OLPC is a waste of time. I would much rather see OEPC (one encyclopedia set per child). Put knowledge and history in their hands. Not something that they can paint on. So what, it teaches them to look at a screen and move a mouse around and maybe type incorrectly. The same sense of adventure and creativity could be done for less than $50 with a set of paints, paper, and a few books.

You have to remember, these are for humble homes. So I highly doubt these kids are getting internet with their OLPC. So it's not like they have the knowledge of the internet at their fingertips when they're handed this $100 brick.

Re:"guided" disassembly (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20222529)

But this is also an OEPC. Just install an offline Wikipedia on the laptops.

That is what I really think they are aiming at providing books and information
very cheap to kids. And at the same time learn them computers.

Re:"guided" disassembly (2, Interesting)

sych (526355) | more than 7 years ago | (#20221675)

I built my own white-box PC when I was only 11 using parts I ordered myself.

The only thing any adult provided me with was the money for the parts and a good amount of faith in my ability (thanks, Dad).

Kids can actually do quite a lot. The only instruction I had was from a book [amazon.com] . If these kids can't read, they can probably get enough instruction from a video.

Junk (1, Insightful)

ipooptoomuch (808091) | more than 7 years ago | (#20221421)

If these laptops need to have their mobos replaced and it didn't involve an angry wife throwing it into a pool then they are not durable enough for children in obscure African countries. I don't think there's a computer shop with spare motherboards in stock in Ethiopia.

Re:Junk (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20221759)

Attention Slashdotter. You are completely full of shit. You have crapped all over something in a Slashdot article, oblivious to the fact that what you are crapping on exists only in your mind. In this case, there is no "need" for the motherboard to be replaced. It's just cool that it's so doable. But no, you're a Slashdotter, and you need to crap on it. You're full of shit.

Re:Junk (1)

1u3hr (530656) | more than 7 years ago | (#20221925)

I don't think there's a computer shop with spare motherboards in stock in Ethiopia.

If and when they have OLPCs there, there will be.

Re:Junk (1)

vidarh (309115) | more than 7 years ago | (#20222405)

You know, someone will be supplying the OLPC's. That same someone could just as easily be supplying spare parts if one breaks. If they can supply spare parts rather than have to supply complete replacements, thats a cost saving measure.

Re:Junk (1)

mike2R (721965) | more than 7 years ago | (#20222531)

I don't think there's a computer shop with spare motherboards in stock in Ethiopia.

Er, why would you think that? I doubt your average Ethiopian computer user buys a brand new machine everytime a component fails, so logically they'll be a lot of dealers in components.

missing the point? (4, Interesting)

Uksi (68751) | more than 7 years ago | (#20221541)

What is the point of the kids being able to replace the motherboard? That's about as bad of a metric of usefulness of a computer as you can get. What if they couldn't at all figure out how to do it? Would that make for a bad OLPC?

What I want to know is whether kids can actually do anything useful/interesting on these laptops.

Re:missing the point? (3, Insightful)

ozbird (127571) | more than 7 years ago | (#20221633)

Kids are going to pull the thing apart, whether it was intended to be done or not.
Kids being able to put the thing back together again in a working state shows that thought has been given to the design to make it kid-proof (or at least kid-resistant.)

The whole OLPC project misses the point... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20223465)

There's plenty of kids right here in America that have yet to touch a computer. The whole mentality of this project is like that of Brangelina or Madonna: run off to Africa to snatch a little black baby away from his family under the pretense of "saving" them, but be sure to drag plenty of press with you. The whole fucking thing smacks of self-righteousness. Why do you think Negroponte was so pissed when Intel kicked OLPC's ass with the Classmate? If his goals were so altruistic, then Negroponte should have been celebrating someone building a better computer at an equivalent price point.

spare mobo's (1)

theheadlessrabbit (1022587) | more than 7 years ago | (#20221577)

I wonder if the boards in these laptops will succumb to capacitor plague? how long until this becomes the 6LPC project?

Re:spare mobo's (4, Informative)

gradedcheese (173758) | more than 7 years ago | (#20221827)

That 'plague' has to do with electrolytic capacitors. Please take a look at this image:

http://wiki.laptop.org/images/1/10/Proto-a-front.j pg [laptop.org]

Note the near-absence of electrolytic caps, especially the junky through-hole ones you find on your typical motherboard.

Worst music ever (2, Insightful)

dubbreak (623656) | more than 7 years ago | (#20221683)

Who chose the soundtrack on that video? It reminds me of a bad cover of a sonic the hedgehog 2 background track.

Soft jazz: neither soft nor jazz.

The kids (0, Offtopic)

CopaceticOpus (965603) | more than 7 years ago | (#20221713)

This is all well and good, but won't someone PLEASE think of the... oh! Nevermind.

Re:The kids (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20222157)

Eight-year-olds, Dude.

Child labor (5, Funny)

Zero Degrez (1039938) | more than 7 years ago | (#20221903)

Apparently Mitch Bradley even believes that a 10-year old could replace an XO motherboard.
I don't see why not; 10-year olds have been replacing motherboards in China for years.

Think Back.. (3, Insightful)

DoctorDyna (828525) | more than 7 years ago | (#20222661)

You know, when I think back to my very first tinkerings with electronic devices, I can remember things just like this, disassembling things and re-assembling just for fun.

If I hadn't had occasion to do things like this as a child, my mechanical and computer aptitude would probably be nothing like what it is now. I commend these folks for what they are doing. The fact that there is an adult in the video "helping" doesn't mean anything to me, as I can see the value in this that goes beyond our "television reality challenges" expectations when we read something about a challenge with kids.

The real challenge is that they got two kids to sit still in one place long enough to even take instructions like this and still manage to accomplish the task.

On another note, I'm tempted to buy one of these things for myself, looks like a great platform for DamnSmallLinux.

Did they browse porn with it? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20223547)

HAHAHAHAHA!
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