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OLPC Announces Buy-2-Get-1 XO Laptop Sale

Zonk posted more than 7 years ago | from the seems-like-a-fair-deal-to-me dept.

Education 360

theodp writes "Starting November 12, The One Laptop Per Child Project will sell its affordable XO laptop to Americans for a brief period of time, but there's a slight catch: U.S. buyers must purchase two computers — one for their own child and one for a child in the developing world — for a total cost of $399. 'Staff members of the laptop project were concerned that American children might try the pared-down machines and find them lacking compared to their Apple, Hewlett-Packard or Dell laptops. Then, in this era of immediate global communications, they might post their criticisms on Web sites and blogs read around the world, damaging the reputation of the XO Laptop, the project staff worried. So the laptop project sponsored focus-group research with American children, ages 7 to 11, at the end of August. The results were reassuringly positive.'"

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$100+$100 = $399? (5, Funny)

skinfitz (564041) | more than 7 years ago | (#20726417)

I thought this was the $100 laptop?

If so, how is it buying two costs $399?

Or are they Canadian dollars?

Re:$100+$100 = $399? (3, Informative)

RuBLed (995686) | more than 7 years ago | (#20726439)

You we're a little late [slashdot.org] .

Although it is still off by around $23.

Does the World Really Need OLPC? (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20726499)

Friends, I have a modest proposal. I contend that OLPC is a massive waste of resources [shelleytherepublican.com] . It goes further than the usual liberal scourge of "good intentions" - it may actually be a covert Russian weapon [shelleytherepublican.com] designed to weaken the fabric of our society by introducing socialized medicin [shelleytherepublican.com] , together with all the moral turpitude [wordpress.com] this will induce.

Re:Does the World Really Need OLPC? (0, Offtopic)

flows (1075083) | more than 7 years ago | (#20726681)

Im actually laughing out loud. some of the comments are scary tho.

No it doesn't. Remember the White man's burden? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20726987)

Do you remember the concept of the White man's burden? These are well-meaning thoughts, but they are patronizing since we are pushing on second and third world nations that our Western views are the only way to go. This is false.

Re:$100+$100 = $399? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20726573)

You we're a little late.
You we are?

Re:$100+$100 = $399? (5, Funny)

Poromenos1 (830658) | more than 7 years ago | (#20726443)

Didn't you hear? The "Canadian dollar" jokes were switched for "American dollar" jokes recently.

Canadian Coins Too (0, Offtopic)

Nymz (905908) | more than 7 years ago | (#20726555)

In California, I recently recieved a Canadian nickel and penny, and passed them both on. There were both the same size and color (copper color for penny) as an American nickel and penny. If one country isn't copying the others currency, then it appears that both countries are working together to create a common currency standard.

Re:Canadian Coins Too (2, Informative)

sayfawa (1099071) | more than 7 years ago | (#20726731)

Canadian and American coins have been of a similar size and colour for generations. In the 80's in Michigan they were pretty much interchangeable until the Canadian dollar's value dropped. Even vending machines and video games took Canadian coins back then.

Re:Canadian Coins Too (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20726921)

...so it's not just the current US president's financial incompetence, it's all part of a cunning plan to create "an American EMU".

(mod -2, offtopic AND flamebait)

Re:Canadian Coins Too (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20727403)

>>> a cunning plan to create "an American EMU"

Good plan seeing as the force behind the European EMU [wikipedia.org] hasn't done too well [bbc.co.uk]

Re:Canadian Coins Too (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20727117)

It's a fairly common thing for neighbouring countries to use similar templates. Down here in Australia, most of the New Zealand and Fiji coins are the same size, shape and weight as their Australian counterparts.

Re:Canadian Coins Too (0, Offtopic)

vorpal22 (114901) | more than 7 years ago | (#20727179)

All the Canadian coins, including, IIRC, the 50c piece, are the same size and shape as their USD equivalents. Of course, we have more coins, notably our $1 loonie and our $2 toonie coins, which have replaced our $1 and $2 bills completely.

In Canada, it's not uncommon to receive American coins in your change, and I've never met a store that didn't accept them (taking them at the same value as the equivalent Canadian coin). Even vending machines have no troubles with them up here. I wonder if that will change now that the CAD is passing the USD?

And the dollar is STILL dropping. (0, Offtopic)

Colin Smith (2679) | more than 7 years ago | (#20726729)

http://finance.yahoo.com/currency/convert?from=USD&to=EUR&amt=1&t=5d [yahoo.com]
http://finance.yahoo.com/currency/convert?from=USD&to=GBP&amt=1&t=5d [yahoo.com]

I'm just wondering how much faith the Japanese, Chinese and Saudis have left. The Saudis have just unpegged their interest rates...

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/money/main.jhtml?xml=/money/2007/09/19/bcnsaudi119.xml [telegraph.co.uk]

Is Bernanke really, truly going to make the US pay it's debts? It's like watching train wreck in slow motion. Fascinating and horrifying at the same time.
 

Re:And the dollar is STILL dropping. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20727191)

Nice try at hijacking the thread....a**hat...

From the frozen North..... (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20726807)

Good to see that Bush has finally stuffed your country economically, like he's done with your internal legislation and Foreign Policy....

When you come begging to us, don't expect to get any favors! Maybe we'll come down and set fire to your White House again?

Mod Parent Down (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20727103)

Unpatriotic troll

Re:$100+$100 = $399? (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 7 years ago | (#20726445)

Or are they Canadian dollars?

Isn't that the same?

Re:$100+$100 = $399? (3, Informative)

malaire (248775) | more than 7 years ago | (#20726465)

The "$100 laptop" costs currently $188 USD (http://hardware.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=07/09/15/0332225 [slashdot.org] ). And according to the XO Giving FAQ (http://www.xogiving.org/faq.html [xogiving.org] ) "$200 dollars is the bundled price to donate an XO laptop computer. This price includes the shipping cost."

Re:$100+$100 = $399? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20726605)

I wish you could mod someone 'Karma Whore'.

A certain irony... (1, Insightful)

EdZep (114198) | more than 7 years ago | (#20727041)

Yes, yes, I understand the good intentions of buying the extra one to help people in underdeveloped nations...

But, given the stated concern, paying for the extra unit effectively increases the price, so lowers the value of the unit for the US buyer. While $188 might seem acceptable for a modest travel machine (even though the upcoming Asus products look more attractive), $399 for the same machine doesn't look so good.

US teens are not particularly good at assessing value, but a few of those expected blog posts might venture into this area.

Staff members of the laptop project were concerned that American children might try the pared-down machines and find them lacking compared to their Apple, Hewlett-Packard or Dell laptops. Then, in this era of immediate global communications, they might post their criticisms on Web sites and blogs read around the world, damaging the reputation of the XO Laptop, the project staff worried.

Re:A certain irony... (5, Informative)

walt-sjc (145127) | more than 7 years ago | (#20727159)

Despite your first comment, you really do miss the point.

You are not buying a $399 laptop. You are buying a $188 laptop and donating $211 to a charitable cause.

Re:$100+$100 = $399? (1)

miketheanimal (914328) | more than 7 years ago | (#20726469)

Can someone post the USD v. whoever-is-making-is exchange rates comparing now and when the original target price was announced. I'd guess that might account for some of the $100->$200.

Re:$100+$100 = $399? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20726485)

http://www.google.ca/search?hl=en&q=CAD [google.ca]

Yeah, Canadian dollar is nearly equal to the USD at the moment.

Re:$100+$100 = $399? (5, Informative)

this great guy (922511) | more than 7 years ago | (#20726617)

I thought this was the $100 laptop?

You thought wrong. The laptop is now known as the XO-1 laptop (they have not been able to maintain the price within the original estimation, it is today priced at $188).

As a side note, IMHO the software development and integration efforts that are happening on the OLPC project are fantastic. All the companies involved in this project are providing their best engineers: Marvell (who made the wireless chip) have their guys developing the firmware often directly according to the feedback they get from the kernel developers, Red Hat is providing plenty of sw engineers (including Marcelo Tosati, who was the 2.4 kernel maintainer!), AMD and Quanta are working on the hardware platform (recently they made efforts to track the power consumption of every single chip in the laptop), etc. This is just incredible how fast the teams are able to progress in such a cooperative environment. This is a sharp contrast with what happens too often in the ordinary Linux world where cooperation is sometimes difficult or inexistent (e.g. kernel developers unable to obtain hardware specs, or hardware vendors attempting to provide some crappy binary drivers without involving the kernel community, etc).

I certainly expect a very high quality product to come out of this project, both on the hardware level and software level. Every single piece of chip or software has been optimized and fine-tuned to make the whole platform work as best as it can. This is going to be one of the best Linux laptop ever made. Just read their weekly updated news page to get a brief understanding of the technical achievements made possible in such an ultra-cooperative environment: http://wiki.laptop.org/go/News [laptop.org]

Re:$100+$100 = $399? (1)

rbanffy (584143) | more than 7 years ago | (#20727105)

"This is just incredible how fast the teams are able to progress in such a cooperative environment"

Not only that, but, since it's open source, other projects can also benefit from what is being developed and invented for it. Also, several of the enhancements made to the kernel also stand to benefit current laptop users, making them faster and their batteries last longer.

Hopefully, it will also point the way for other hardware makers to work in closer cooperation instead of giving in to Microsoft's threats ("nice open source driver you are working on... it would be a shame if your hardware wouldn't be supported in our next release").

Re:$100+$100 = $399? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20726733)

Shipping and handling costs. For just $899, they will ship two additional units to the third world!

Re:$100+$100 = $399? (4, Funny)

ultranova (717540) | more than 7 years ago | (#20726961)

I thought this was the $100 laptop?

If so, how is it buying two costs $399?

Because they are built around old Pentium processors. It's just a little rounding error, nothing to be upset about.

In other news, several telecom companies have offered to by old Pentiums for their billing systems.

Re:$100+$100 = $399? (1)

bl8n8r (649187) | more than 7 years ago | (#20726975)

Feature creep and inflation. The product has been in the works for several years since the $100 target was originally sought after. They hope the price will go down when volume sales go up.

Re:$100+$100 = $399? (1)

Yvanhoe (564877) | more than 7 years ago | (#20727227)

In a few weeks they will rename the project "The One Hundred Euros Laptop"

Just wait till they find out... (2, Insightful)

Aranykai (1053846) | more than 7 years ago | (#20726421)

...they cant play world of borecraft on it. Then they'll really be moaning on the web.

Emulator to try first? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20726437)

Is there a Live CD of the XO's distro for people to try before they buy (and not regret)?

Does it run linux? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20727069)

Can we drop the stupid Surag interface and install DamnSmallLinux on it?

*then* it might worth it. The hw rocks (and esp. the power generator to take to OLPC in the caves when the economy will collapse, together with rifles and gold). But the sw has been a failuer.

I like the XO, but I am tired of the fleecing .... (3, Funny)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 7 years ago | (#20726453)

that Americans take. They will sell the systems here, but only at a double price. And yet, these systems will soon be in other countries at the low prices.

In addition, we buy these systems, and one will be sent to a developing nation. Well, I have been watching American education heading backwards. While I have defended our Education, it was more based on what I recall as a child. IOW, my generation KNEW the geography that we are accused of not knowing. But I talk to kids today and it is obvious that their core knowledge is degrading (as well as their desire to work). I worry about my kids (1 and 3.5) future. I would like to see at least some of these computers go to American schools. Do not get me wrong. I like donating to developing countries, but we also need to take care of home. Our inner cities need help. Even rural schools could use these.

Re:I like the XO, but I am tired of the fleecing . (5, Funny)

onion2k (203094) | more than 7 years ago | (#20726511)

I worry about my kids (1 and 3.5) future.

Is your next kid going to be named '95'?

Re:I like the XO, but I am tired of the fleecing . (1)

ultrasound (472511) | more than 7 years ago | (#20726629)

Is your next kid going to be named '95'

Surely 'NT 4.0'

Re:I like the XO, but I am tired of the fleecing . (1)

Wite_Noiz (887188) | more than 7 years ago | (#20727381)

In fairness, he's been promising his next kid for ages.
He says it's going to be a world political figurehead /and/ sport champion... seriously.
Apparently it's only 9 months away still.

(hehe - captcha is "restart")

Re:I like the XO, but I am tired of the fleecing . (4, Interesting)

nacturation (646836) | more than 7 years ago | (#20726545)

I would like to see at least some of these computers go to American schools. Do not get me wrong. I like donating to developing countries, but we also need to take care of home. Our inner cities need help. Even rural schools could use these.
This is an honest question: why do kids need laptops? Is there some fundamental problem in teaching today that can only be solved with computers?
 

Re:I like the XO, but I am tired of the fleecing . (4, Insightful)

Pantero Blanco (792776) | more than 7 years ago | (#20726657)

This is an honest question: why do kids need laptops? Is there some fundamental problem in teaching today that can only be solved with computers?

Yes. Specifically, they need to know how to use computers. Most of the teachers don't really know how, and worse, most of them are certain that they do. The best way to teach them is to give them a simple one that isn't (readily) capable of playing flashy video games, music, and movies, but can be programmed.

This has to be done before they're thrown the high school "Computer 101" class where they're put through every circle of MS Office Hell. With very few exceptions, you can't start teaching someone to code in college; either they've already been doing it, or they'll never know how. The kids who took the Office classes in high school and think it made them computer savvy don't normally last past the first year in CS.

Re:I like the XO, but I am tired of the fleecing . (2, Insightful)

MrCrassic (994046) | more than 7 years ago | (#20726873)

Strongly disagree.

Maybe I'm one of the very few in your definition, but on a personal note I've never done any sort of computer programming until my freshman year of college, and even then the course was taught in a manner too liberal for anyone to learn anything. I started doing real code last year, and it is now fairly easy for me to pick up any language with the right amount of learning time.

It's not so much the age of exposure that's important, but the level of interest that is. If someone wants to learn how to program, they will with enough guidance. Unfortunately, this is a declining trend in the United States...

Re:I like the XO, but I am tired of the fleecing . (1)

bentcd (690786) | more than 7 years ago | (#20726953)

Maybe I'm one of the very few in your definition (...)
Seeing that you're posting on slashdot, this seems rather likely :-)

Moreover, the people who might otherwise have pointed out that "yeah, he's right, I tried learning computers at college and I failed miserably" aren't likely to be around these parts of the net.

Re:I like the XO, but I am tired of the fleecing . (5, Interesting)

djfake (977121) | more than 7 years ago | (#20727145)

Okay, I'm playing devil's advocate here. If in fact what you say is true - that programming can't be taught in high school, then how do we have programmers over the age of forty? I graduated from high school in 1981; there were _zero_ pc computers in most high schools back then.

Why do children need to code anyway? And why do they need to use a computer? Isn't it better to teach them to think, and other basics such as reading, writing, and maths?

Re:I like the XO, but I am tired of the fleecing . (1)

arivanov (12034) | more than 7 years ago | (#20727235)

The best way to teach them is to give them a simple one that isn't (readily) capable of playing flashy video games, music, and movies, but can be programmed.

I would agree that as far as the third world is concerned this may in fact be the XO-1. As far as kids in the USA, UK or anywhere else in the developed world an X-term off the family server does the job equally well. I have a few of them booting diskless and can add in a new one in about 5 mins. As a result the kid can sit down and use any of the computers in the house if he needs to (and so can I). Granted, the price together with a monitor is more than a XO-1 http://www.conciseit.co.uk/thin-client.htm?gclid=CI-anKeK3I4CFQESEgodv0pvAA [conciseit.co.uk] . It is much better hardware from a HS perspective. One thing you would not like your kids to get is RSI from a tiny laptop keyboard further complicated by an eye problem from staring at a tiny 10' screen.

Re:I like the XO, but I am tired of the fleecing . (0)

Xiaran (836924) | more than 7 years ago | (#20726687)

I think today it is similar to asking why kids of yesteryear require pencil and paper when they could use chalk and slate. Use of a computer, while I would agree is not a necessity for a good education, is certainly something required to seek most types of employment.

Yes and No. (1)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 7 years ago | (#20726699)

Books are too high priced and as such, schools do not change them. In particular, consider geography. I learned all about USSR when I was kid (which came into play in the early 80's, when I was doing research on their biological weapons). Yet, there are literally schools here in USA that still have maps with the same USSR. The laptop allows for a change of instruction material so that teachers and kids can keep current at a fraction of the price. The XO is the ideal system for this. Even instructional material changes as we figure out what makes a student tick with regard to the approach. In the future, The computer will even even alter how it is presented to the student allowing them to learn the lessons via what ever approach is best.

No doubt about it, computers with GOOD software is needed (enough of this reader rabbit crap; that is just private enterprise doing what will sell the most for themselves).

Re:I like the XO, but I am tired of the fleecing . (1)

timeOday (582209) | more than 7 years ago | (#20727205)

This is an honest question: why do kids need laptops? Is there some fundamental problem in teaching today that can only be solved with computers?
Why did you just use a computer to ask that question?

Re:I like the XO, but I am tired of the fleecing . (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20726621)

Umm? America has been living on credit paid for by the rest of the world for the last thirty years!

That makes US fleecing THEM. And now our chickens are coming home to roost. The bottom is dropping out of the dollar at a rapid rate, and all the countries who were proping up the dollar are looking for a way out.

Oil will soon be sold in Euros. A Euro was worth a dollar - it is now worth about $1.50.

I don't give it long before the US will need world charity. And what have we done? Really pissed off the rest of the world with an agressive and murderous foreign policy. What are our chances?

Re:I like the XO, but I am tired of the fleecing . (3, Funny)

pimpimpim (811140) | more than 7 years ago | (#20726631)

Don't get me wrong, but I personally believe that US Americans are unable to get good education, because Osama people in the nation, and I believe that the education over here in the US should help countries such as everywhere like the Iraq and South Africa such as, to be able to get a good future.

Re:I like the XO, but I am tired of the fleecing . (3, Interesting)

hey! (33014) | more than 7 years ago | (#20726641)

It has nothing to do with fleecing Americans. It's about getting the biggest bang for the buck. The limiting factor is US education is not access to computers or to the Internet; US schools already of technology programs. Therefore there is no reason for a charity to try to get these in US hands; they just want adult gadget hounds to underwrite getting these into the hands of kids who don't have technology.

US education has more to fear from ill considered education reforms than a lack of technology. That said, my experience is different with respect to "today's kids". In my state (ed reform is state based) they are much better educated even than kids of my post-Sputnik days, particularly in mathematics.

Re:I like the XO, but I am tired of the fleecing . (3, Insightful)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 7 years ago | (#20726749)

Actually, many schools do not have tech. Here in the Denver region, I see loads of 486s still in use. That is a sign that things are really wrong. The XO can ultimately be used for good material presentation i.e. replace, not supplement, a book. What is needed is for a decent education framework to be in place which allows for ease of use. As I said elsewhere, skip the reader rabbit approach.

BTW, the 2 places that I described as needing these kinds of computers (inner city and rural), really are behind times. As I pointed out elsewhere, they have limited 486's and still use maps with USSR. And as to kids being better at mathematics, I trust that you are kidding. In freshman high school, I was doing calc, along with other kids. While we were a little bit advanced, nearly all the kids came out of school with decent algebra under their belts. Now, American kids can not even return correct change from a buck without the use of a cash register. Algebra? Please.

Re:I like the XO, but I am tired of the fleecing . (5, Insightful)

hey! (33014) | more than 7 years ago | (#20727229)

It may be a sign things are wrong, or it may be a sign of different educational philosophies. Goethe, Descartes and Einstein all were educated, after all, with no computers at all.

And as to kids being better at mathematics, I trust that you are kidding. In freshman high school, I was doing calc, along with other kids.


I am not kidding. Look, I happen to know that learning calculus as a ninth grader is no big deal. I taught myself Calculus, because it wasn't even offered by my school. It was not typical then for kids in the ninth grade to be ready for Calculus then, any more it is now. More importantly, it is not a particularly impressive or important accomplishment to learn calculus in the ninth grade. Any sufficiently motivated parent can transform a moderately talented child into a "prodigy" capable of doing all kinds of mathematical parlor tricks above his age level. I've seen it happen, and by in large these "prodigies" don't grow into a population of adults that contribute more to society than others of their general talent level.

It is not so important that kids learn things early so much as they learn them well.

The Achilles' heel of ed reform in math is that it often addresses the wrong question. The most important question is not how much math kids can do, so much as the amount of math they understand. It's one thing to be able to perform in an integration bee, it's another thing to be able to think in terms of applied math. In my state, kids in middle school are way ahead of where most high schoolers were in my day in being able to translate everyday problems into mathematical terms. Of course, your state may be different than mine. Remember: ed reform is state based. The Republican educational reform model is broken: it demands "tough standards" but it's quasi "states rights" ideology means those standards cannot have any Federally mandated (or apparently even recommended) content. Thus "education reform" might mean teaching creationism in Kansas or keeping maps of the Soviet Union in place in Colorado (so far as I know).

With respect to 486s -- I'd rather have kids with 486s, the Logo language, and a good teacher than the latest quad core processor, electronic flash cards and an apathetic teacher. Of course this is a false dichotomy, but the point I'm making is that of all the factors involved, the quality of the curriculum and its implementation far outweigh the level of tech.

Re:I like the XO, but I am tired of the fleecing . (1)

clickclickdrone (964164) | more than 7 years ago | (#20726697)

>that Americans take.
Pah, you guys get everything dirt cheap compare to other countries - welcome to our pain. It's not for nothing that it's always joked that when companies sell in the UK they use a 1:1 GBP/USD exchange rate effectively doubling the cost of everything. As an e.g.
Vista Ultimate $400 (US)/$555 (UK)
PS3 $500/$600
Photoshop $650/$852
iMac 20inch $1200/$1500
OK, not doubled but you get the idea...

Goes both ways (1)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 7 years ago | (#20726775)

America pretty much funds the medical world. In particular, we pay top dollars for drugs (and with our fairly recent handout, we pay even higher prices). The same drug in Canada costs 1/10 what is does here. And in europe it is also cheaper.

But if companies are charging the same price, that is silly. You can easily buy from dollars based store off the net and pay half the price.

Re:Goes both ways (1)

clickclickdrone (964164) | more than 7 years ago | (#20726891)

>You can easily buy from dollars based store off the net and pay half the price
Sometimes but then you need to add import duty, VAT, processing charges etc which bumps it up again unless your parcel manages to slip through. Certainly back in the day I used to buy most of my laserdiscs and DVDs from the US & Canada. Some firms kindly used to take off the wrappers, seals etc and mark the goods as second hand which reduced this a lot but good old Customs & Excise got wise to that.
The most annoying thing is firms that sell their software as a download - it's the same product, it's a download so costs are the same yet the UK price is much higher. They use IP mapping to stop you downloading from the .com as opposed to the .co.uk sites.

Re:I like the XO, but I am tired of the fleecing . (1)

ArieKremen (733795) | more than 7 years ago | (#20727279)

Does you limited example consider UK VAT of 17.5%? Were you to deduct the tax and THEN compare prices you'd find that the premium you pay on s/w (Vista, Photoshop) is 19-12%, respectively, while the premium on h/w is 3% and 7% (PS3 iMac). Seems to me that most of the incremental cost in adopting s/w goes toward language adoption and metrification.

Re:I like the XO, but I am tired of the fleecing . (2, Insightful)

stranger_to_himself (1132241) | more than 7 years ago | (#20726739)

I don't think the problems with Western education systems are caused by a lack of computers, or even a lack of any kind of resource.

The problems we have are caused by the attitudes of many of the parents and students and the lack of a stable and sound education policy and curriculum. Politicians and voters in the West are easily fooled by the money + good intentions = results equation, which is consistently failing to work. In the developing world, on the other hand, where the bottleneck is a lack of resources, a laptop can make a huge difference.

Re:I like the XO, but I am tired of the fleecing . (1)

zoney_ie (740061) | more than 7 years ago | (#20726843)

Hah! Just about any consumer products I look to buy here in Ireland are cheaper in the US than anywhere in the EU. Far from getting fleeced, you get rock-bottom prices cause that's all the US consumer is prepared (or able) to pay (this has been the truthful response I received from at least one customer service dept - others try the Steve Job's "cost of doing business" line or cite tax differences). Oftentimes the numerical prices in dollars is less than the numerical price in euro, even now with such a disparity in exchange rates! Tax doesn't remotely account for the difference, as at most, generally there's 10% extra to the price due to tax differences. Whereas the price difference can be 50% or more!

Re:I like the XO, but I am tired of the fleecing . (1)

mikemikef (1161109) | more than 7 years ago | (#20727273)

We are fleeced by the medical industrial complex for drugs. Where is an administration to protect us from this unfair trade by a law that says we can not be charged any more than any other country. That would not stop any charity work. We have 3rd world country people here, and we are heading there by our own arrogance. We are fleeced by China, by having dollar exchange rates that are not allowed to gradually reach their real values, in the marketplace. Where is an administration with enough guts and wisdom to insist on fair trade gradually over time? Why not have a 10% charity tax on these MIT computers with an option to add funds with no limit? And, why not some of these MIT computers going to our kids, that are without computers? Very Respectfully, Michael @ http://recoverybydiscovery.com/ [recoverybydiscovery.com]

NO NO NO (1)

Colin Smith (2679) | more than 7 years ago | (#20726467)

Do a black (or silver) one for businesses. With OO installed.
 

Re:NO NO NO (1)

tomknight (190939) | more than 7 years ago | (#20726637)

Is that meant to be funny, or do you really just plain not understand anything about this scheme?

Re:NO NO NO (1)

Colin Smith (2679) | more than 7 years ago | (#20726661)

No, I just don't care about the scheme. It's ... economically insane ... I look forward to seeing the numbers of these things which hit eBay.

 

Re:NO NO NO (3, Insightful)

tomknight (190939) | more than 7 years ago | (#20726759)

Ah, a classic /. post then. You know nothing about the subject, you haven't read the article, you have nothing of value to say, yet you insist on posting your ill-informed opinion anyway. Why doesn't this surprise me any more?

Re:NO NO NO (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20727349)

He's probably ignorant, but the scheme is doomed to failure anyway.

Either this laptop will fail for some unknown reason, or it will be successful. If it is successful, all the laptops will end up shipped to the West, in short order. Either way, the Little African Children (LAC) won't have their hands on them for very long.

Of coyurse, the main technical driver behind this is to break the WinTel monopoly in the marketplace. And that will need agressive Western marketing. Again, the LAC get stuffed.

they just don't get it (1, Interesting)

TheSHAD0W (258774) | more than 7 years ago | (#20726579)

The more of these cheap laptops they can put in the hands of American teens, the more those teens will contribute to the available code base. By effectively pricing them so high, forcing donations like that, they're limiting the usefulness of the platform.

Re:they just don't get it (3, Insightful)

tomknight (190939) | more than 7 years ago | (#20726655)

Because American teens are the only ones who are able to benefit from / use /deveop with this platform? Recall that this system is intended for developing nations, it's only being made available to the US on the two for one offer as a way of getting more systems to other countries (and ramp up the publicity I guess).

Re:they just don't get it (1)

hey! (33014) | more than 7 years ago | (#20726693)

I'll explain it then: if you spend more money than you take in, you go out of business, even if you're a non-profit.

I know, I've worked many years in the non-profit sector. We'd have loved nothing better than to do our programs at zero cost, but the bottom line is that life in a non-profit enterprise is much like life in a for profit -- except much more consensus oriented (too many nice people in one place).

So, you must sell these things at higher than your cost.

Now it is time for the Accountant's Koan: When are fixed costs variable and variable costs fixed?

The answer: when you look at costs per unit. If you could sell the thing to millions of teenagers, you'd recover your fixed development costs on these things, and provide them to the third world at only the cost to crank the handle on the assembly line one time.

Re:they just don't get it (1)

Hal_Porter (817932) | more than 7 years ago | (#20726701)

Translation: I want one for $188.

Hahahahahaha! (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20726717)

Trust me, the last thing we need is shitty Python code written by inexperienced teen "developers".

Now, I'm sure you'll find a small handful of teens who can program worth a shit. But they're extremely rare. And really, if they're that good, they're already working part-time doing professional development. They're not wasting their time writing trinket software for some starving African kids to use.

biodegradable / recyclable when outdated? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20726593)

Since these cannot be upgraded and those countries will evolve to wanting far better computers in less than half a decade, is there going to be a landfill made of these or can they be recycled somehow?

Price positioning (2, Interesting)

91degrees (207121) | more than 7 years ago | (#20726595)

Surely they should set a price to maximise total profits and spend the profits on more laptops for the third world. A robust portable device like this would be ideal for a lot of people who travel a lot and don't want to worry about their computer breaking (It's tough and even if it does break most people could afford the loss). But $399 is a bit too much for that. I'm sure they'd get more than twice as many buyers at $299, and that result in more money to make computers for kids.

Donation? Feed the kids first... (1)

Call Me Black Cloud (616282) | more than 7 years ago | (#20726613)

Is the added cost tax-deductible?

Personally, I do my giving through an organization that provides food, medical care, education. There's far too much poverty in the world to go around handing out laptops. Malnourished and sick children are going to have a hard time concentrating in computer class.

For the price of these two computers a person can sponsor a child through World Vision [worldvision.org] for a year, and it's tax-deductible.

Re:Donation? Feed the kids first... (3, Insightful)

Pantero Blanco (792776) | more than 7 years ago | (#20726671)

Someone says this in every OLPC article.

The laptops aren't intended for places where there's a lack of food; they're intended to help build nations where roads, electricity, and food are taken care of.

Re:Donation? Feed the kids first... (1)

wjsteele (255130) | more than 7 years ago | (#20726851)

Sounds like the old saying about giving the kid a fish or teaching a kid to fish? Hmmm. I'd rather give the kid the tools they'll need to suceed/survive then just give them the food themselves.

IMO, these computers are the tools they will need to understand and work with the rest of the world. Maybe even give them directions on where to go and get food. (Hmmm... what a concept... food doesn't grow at my house either, but I do know how to go get it.)

Bill

Re:Donation? Feed the kids first... (1)

ThirdPrize (938147) | more than 7 years ago | (#20727111)

Seems a good place to mention Kiva [kiva.org] . Lend people money to start up their businesses and then when they have paid it back, lend it again.

Plenty of lies to go around.. (-1, Flamebait)

tjstork (137384) | more than 7 years ago | (#20726619)

The big concern that the managers of this project had, was that, they didn't want the third world to think they were getting a bad notebook because of bad reviews from Americans, so, in classic fascist fashion, they took steps to try and muzzle the Americans.

But THAT'S ok because its for a good cause...

what a bunch of crap.

give the gift of DOOM to developing nations... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20726659)

Just in time for the holidays too!
http://www.youtube.com/v/9MhQ5jIj5aw [youtube.com]

Very dissapointed. (1)

downix (84795) | more than 7 years ago | (#20726673)

I, for one, was looking forward to the XO for an x-mas gift for my son, and being able to tell him that the same kind of computer was found everywhere worldwide. But for that price, the EE-PC from Asus looks far more appealing. I hate sounding like I'm thinking with my wallet, but egads. I'm all for charitable giving and the such, but this feels like something arbitrary that wasn't necessary. If they'd gone for $299 so someone in Africa could buy it for $100, then sign me up! But just an arbitrary handout feels cheap.

Re:Very dissapointed. (5, Interesting)

torpor (458) | more than 7 years ago | (#20726715)

Look at it this way. You're buying one for your kid. And also for some strangers kid. Its a selfless act.

IMO, Americans could do with far more such selflessness these days.

What would be really great in my opinion is if the two laptops were somehow registered such that the kids can get to know each other .. this would be an astoundingly peaceful action. What modern child wouldn't want to communicate with another kid around the world using their new laptops?

Re:Very dissapointed. (1)

downix (84795) | more than 7 years ago | (#20726831)

Ok, that I'd go for. Too true, there's enough money-centric thinking out there. Perhaps a change of perspective is needed.

Re:Very dissapointed. (1)

YrWrstNtmr (564987) | more than 7 years ago | (#20727445)

What would be really great in my opinion is if the two laptops were somehow registered such that the kids can get to know each other .. this would be an astoundingly peaceful action. What modern child wouldn't want to communicate with another kid around the world using their new laptops?

I'd love that concept, except that there is little assurance that the laptop will end up on the desk of another kid. I know thats the intent, but we all know some of these things will find their way to eBay or elsewhere. Having the laptop pre-linked to some other random laptop may give pause to some parents on either end.

Re:Very dissapointed. (1)

mspohr (589790) | more than 7 years ago | (#20726769)

The Asus eee pc is much different than the OLPC. OLPC is designed for education, group work collaboration, low power operation, sunlight readable screen. These capabilities are not part of the Asus machine. In addition, it's looking more like the Asus will be closer to $400 than their original estimate of $200. If you're looking for an education computer, get the OLPC. If you're looking for a small cheap laptop, get the Asus.

Re:Very dissapointed. (1)

FunWithKnives (775464) | more than 7 years ago | (#20726799)

I think you may be missing the point. The only thing that is arbitrary and unecessary about it is the fact that they are offering to sell them to Americans in the first place.

I will be purchasing one for my son for Christmas, and I find it absolutely brilliant that I will be purchasing one for an impoverished child in the third-world as well. Is that not the entire gist behind the "Christmas Season?" Or is it simply crass materialism?

The only thing that I would like to see is a way to sort of "follow" the XO that is purchased, maybe learn about the child it goes to and have the chance for my son to communicate with him or her.

Re:Very dissapointed. (1)

gonzoxl5 (88685) | more than 7 years ago | (#20726941)

I wouldn't imagine they'd dare say it publicly but I suspect there may have been some pressure from the other domestic manufacturers (or possibly even from government) to create a price point that is more compatible with the rest of the market.

I'm especially suspicious as this sounds particularly like marketing 'fluff' to justify a price point as opposed to a real reason (I used to work in the marketing team for a large US software company so do have a little experience of similar 'fluffy' statements).

Asus EEE pc (1)

OeLeWaPpErKe (412765) | more than 7 years ago | (#20726805)

Better buy, better performance, bigger disk, lower price. Same small form factor.

Only real advantage the olpc still has imho is the swiveling screen.

http://event.asus.com/eeepc/ [asus.com]

Re:Asus EEE pc (1)

Slashamatic (553801) | more than 7 years ago | (#20727083)

Despite the shot of the blond on the beech, does this mean the Asus have sunlight readable screens? Also, I note that the ports aren't covered so easy ingress for sand. Lastly the OLPC also has mesh networking. Overall, a win for use outside. Personally, I think they will go down well for external use.

Re:Asus EEE pc (1)

wes33 (698200) | more than 7 years ago | (#20727109)

what was the price again? When is it shipping? From the little I've heard the price is going to significantly higher than early hype indicated, and now the shipping is "sometime in October". You won't get two eee's for 399 that's for sure

Re:Asus EEE pc (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20727163)

..startup screen (Flash?) with no bypass that I saw.
Damn animation!

Just saw on ABC (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20726815)

I just saw a short segmetn on ABC news. It was a very good segment and was quite positive.

Wait! Wait! This is confusing! (5, Funny)

N3wsByt3 (758224) | more than 7 years ago | (#20726823)

"Buy a Laptop for a Child, Get Another Laptop Free"

We're getting a $100 laptop for free when we pay $399 for two?!

Luckily both weren't for free, or we would have to pay $799!

Re:Wait! Wait! This is confusing! (1)

gravos (912628) | more than 7 years ago | (#20727135)

Or would it be $798?

Re:Wait! Wait! This is confusing! (1)

N3wsByt3 (758224) | more than 7 years ago | (#20727199)

Nah. The default price is always with a 9 at end.

Lets say it's the marketing overhead for making them both free with a hefty price that gobbles up the extra buck. ;-)

EBay (3, Insightful)

zoward (188110) | more than 7 years ago | (#20726907)

I can't help wondering when the first round of these appears on eBay. I suspect an American gadget hound who doesn't want to be fleeced will be able to pick one up there on the cheap shortly after they arrive in the collective hands of the Third World.

Re:EBay (1)

Choad Namath (907723) | more than 7 years ago | (#20727303)

Good point. Those subsidized Asian-edition "Do not sell in the US" paperback textbooks are what got my cheap ass through college.

What about Europe? (4, Informative)

UnHolier than ever (803328) | more than 7 years ago | (#20726915)

Or the rest of the world for that matter. Are we not good enough to buy those? I can see the teen from a third world country who worked and saved his money for years to get one of those, only to be told "Sorry, you can't buy it! You need to be given it, and your government has chosen not to give one to you!"

Re:What about Europe? (1)

Danathar (267989) | more than 7 years ago | (#20727345)

These things are really not designed for "teens".

If you look at the interface its designed for the 7-9 year old. I like what they are doing with the interface. It's a radical departure from the standard GUI and I hope it works.

Scarcity (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20726949)

They're creating an artificial scarcity with this. If Americans want these laptops, 3rd world people will put them on e-bay and sell them.

The theory (2, Funny)

Hao Wu (652581) | more than 7 years ago | (#20727175)

That poor foreign kids should/need to/want to emulate little American dorks.

Each laptop should come with free samples of Lithium, Prozac, and Ritalin -- plus an instruction guide for developing ADD/ADHD and avoiding contact with girls.

Stop bitching about the price of the OLPC (2, Insightful)

skeptobot (1125355) | more than 7 years ago | (#20727219)

This is an inexpensive learning computer for children in developing countries, not a bargain-of-the-month consumer electronics product designed to be flung around wealthy consumer markets like the U.S. or the Eurozone. If the only thing you are concerned about is "why can't I buy this laptop for myself fo $199?" you probably don't understand the purpose of the project to begin with.

It's about their future, not the price ... (4, Insightful)

MacTO (1161105) | more than 7 years ago | (#20727255)

Why should you consider an OLPC over an Eee PC? Because the OLPC program is about giving kids an education and technology that will enable them to build a 1st world future for their 3rd world country. The machine itself has a very accessible user interface: it is highly simplified, and not does not expect the newcomer to be literate in any particular language. (The latter is important because there are many dialects out there, and because children may not be literate when they are initially given these machines.) It also makes learning IT accessible, since it involves two excellent programming tools for the learner: Squeak (via eToys, a.k.a. Squeak), and Python. In many ways, it is about teaching them "how to fish" rather than giving them the fish. If you think about this in dollars and cents, you are missing out on something great. If you think that they should be given food or the ability to grow it, you're missing out on something too. Not everyone is able to contribute to the welfare of others in the same way. Negroponte and his band of loyal academics, geeks, and so forth decided that their ability to contribute is through IT. After all, that's where their skills and aspirations lay. The food first angle also misses the point that the peoples of many nations don't want to be stuck in a subsistence or donor recipient situation. The want an education so that they can grow beyond the handouts of the 1st world. (Of course other peoples and other nations have other aspirations.) To some, the OLPC may step beyond the bounds. The OLPC is not perfect, and it isn't only about price. It's initial introductory mantra of the "$100 laptop" was mostly about making it accessible by making it inexpensive. And even though it is $400, I hope to snag one through this deal. I have seen the computer, and it is rugged and useful. As an educator, I also see that it may have more utility than the standard "made for the office" desktop/laptop PC. Perhaps I would also use it to contribute back to the project if I did get one.
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