Linked by Thom Holwerda on Sat 15th Sep 2007 19:57 UTC, submitted by Bobthearch
Hardware, Embedded Systems The vaunted 'USD 100 laptop' that Massachusetts Institute of Technology researchers dreamed up for international schoolchildren is becoming a slightly more distant concept. The USD 100 laptop has many innovative features including a pull cord for recharging by hand. Leaders of the nonprofit One Laptop Per Child that was spun out of MIT acknowledged Friday that the devices are now slated to cost USD 188 when mass production begins this fall. The last price the nonprofit announced was USD 176; it described USD 100 as a long-term goal.
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RE: It doesn't matter....
by sbergman27 on Sun 16th Sep 2007 01:49 UTC in reply to "It doesn't matter...."
sbergman27
Member since:
2005-07-24

"""
Like schoolkids should have laptops anyway. The ubiquitous cell phone is bad enough,
"""

*sigh*

I would agree if we were talking about 1st world kids and 1st world schools. If I could round up every cell phone in the U.S. and have them all melted down and recycled into something *useful* I would do it.

But the XO is not a luxury item. It is a lifeline. It is a more cost-effective way to get *books* to the children who need them. It has other benefits as well. But primarily it is a *substitute* for resources which their schools could otherwise not afford.

Paper books are expensive to produce. PDF's are cheap.

$188 would buy you about 3 paper textbooks here in the U.S.

Reply Parent Score: 10

RE[2]: It doesn't matter....
by zombie process on Sun 16th Sep 2007 02:58 in reply to "RE: It doesn't matter...."
zombie process Member since:
2005-07-08

$188 would buy you about 3 paper textbooks here in the U.S.


On half dot com, maybe.

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE[3]: It doesn't matter....
by sbergman27 on Sun 16th Sep 2007 03:09 in reply to "RE[2]: It doesn't matter...."
sbergman27 Member since:
2005-07-24

I went to high school in the 1970's and college in the 1980's. I'm sure the book store at my alma mater would give me a nasty case of sticker shock today! ;-)

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[2]: It doesn't matter....
by Phloptical on Sun 16th Sep 2007 18:13 in reply to "RE: It doesn't matter...."
Phloptical Member since:
2006-10-10

Ok, let's go on for a minute and believe that the 3rd world actually *needs* cheap computers....I'll then ask this, "So what?" To what end will result from our apparent "supreme benevolence" as the most powerful nation giving away virtually-free computers?

For arguements sake, let's forget that the only reason the 1st world can obtain cheap goods is because the vastly ignorant and poor 3rd world produce our garbage for less than slave wages. Let's also forget that we (as a "civilized" society) can hardly keep our PCs in check from viruses, malware and the like. Now you've got literally hundreds of millions of people, who can hardly afford basic necessesities, expected to now maintain an OS, let alone actually know how to use apps that are loaded on it. And don't give me "these things are running the Yippy-Skip Linux distro which is the raddest thing known to men and baby cows...no viruses ever!" We all know that's crap.

This cheap laptop thing tailor targetted to less-fortunate countries is probably the most dumb idea, in a long list of dumb ideas from the computer industry. This can serve no purpose, other than to add to the bottom line of the companies that make these devices.

Reply Parent Score: 1

RE[3]: It doesn't matter....
by Morin on Sun 16th Sep 2007 21:27 in reply to "RE[2]: It doesn't matter...."
Morin Member since:
2005-12-31

> Let's also forget that we (as a "civilized" society) can hardly keep our
> PCs in check from viruses, malware and the like. Now you've got
> literally hundreds of millions of people, who can hardly afford basic
> necessesities, expected to now maintain an OS, let alone actually know
> how to use apps that are loaded on it.

These people are _poor_, not _stupid_. At least no more than people in the first world are (although that gives rise to concerns too).

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE[3]: It doesn't matter....
by stestagg on Sun 16th Sep 2007 21:33 in reply to "RE[2]: It doesn't matter...."
stestagg Member since:
2006-06-03

"virtually-free computers".

I don't consider $188 virtually free, that is about what the average citizen of Malawi makes in a year. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_GDP_%28nomina... + inflation).

You also forget that these laptops are going to children, who tend to be really very competent when it comes to figuring out how to work things. In societies where people have to still do most things by themselves, not rely on welfare, councils, professionals or expensive technicians.

We all know that's crap

Actually, it isn't crap. There is almost no malware for desktop Linux software on the internet. And while I'm sure that there will be interest from virus developers in entering the OLPC system, most OLPCs won't be connected to the internet, just some ad-hoc wireless network, so infection rates should be low, and containable. Also, as mentioned above, these people are usually, by necessity, pretty resourcefull as a group.

99% of modern malware is marketing related. Spam and spyware are used to generate revenue for malware writers. Targeting people whose average annual earnings are around $1000 will not be such a profitable venture. I'm sure that people will try, but they should loose interest pretty early.

Now try to look at the positive side of this. We will be placing enormous computing power into the hands of millions of potential geniuses around the world, the number of man-hours (well, child-hours) spend tinkering and playing with these systems will be phenomenal. Imagine some of the advances that could be made in computer science, and software development if this project goes through.

Reply Parent Score: 4

RE[2]: It doesn't matter....
by Soulbender on Mon 17th Sep 2007 12:09 in reply to "RE: It doesn't matter...."
Soulbender Member since:
2005-08-18

I would agree if we were talking about 1st world kids and 1st world schools.


Oh how I wish that was only the case but alas...
I see people here who lives in shanty towns and can hardly support their families yet they have at least one cellphone. People of all ages, genders and classes are text messaging like there's no damn tomorrow.
Lets not even get started on the curse that is Internet cafes (or CounterStrike/MMO cafes, as it would be).

But primarily it is a *substitute* for resources which their schools could otherwise not afford.


Presuming these laptop even reach the schools, that is. If the target countries are anything like here corruption will run pretty rampant and I somehow doubt they would reach their intended schools. Seeing the abysmal conditions that schools in the poor provinces here are in I doubt a laptop is much help anyway. How about paying teachers a salary they can actually live on? School improvement projects where 50% of the budget doesn't go to someones pocket? Seriously, I see the budget of projects here, school and otherwise, and think "Holy shit, that would be way over budget in Sweden for this kind of project. Even if you convert from pesos to dollars. And Sweden is an expensive high-salary country!".
No doubt there are, at least some, noble intention behind this but there are just SO many other things urgently in need of fixing in these places.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[3]: It doesn't matter....
by dagw on Mon 17th Sep 2007 16:31 in reply to "RE[2]: It doesn't matter...."
dagw Member since:
2005-07-06

I see people here who lives in shanty towns and can hardly support their families yet they have at least one cellphone.

I see homeless people who beg on the stree who have cellphones. And personally I think it's a good thing. Cell phones cost almost nothing and are vital if you hope to pull yourself out of the gutter. How to you expect to apply for a job for example if your prospective employer cannot contact you, to take a simple example. It is also easier to look for work and housing by making phone calls rather than walking all over town from place to place.

Most people who say that mobile phones are useless generally have a land line and internet connection both at home and at work as well as an address which one can send mail to. If you had non of those things you'd probably start seeing more value in a mobile phone.

Reply Parent Score: 2