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[4]: It doesn't matter....
by zombie process on Sun 16th Sep 2007 05:04 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: It doesn't matter...."
zombie process
Member since:

I'm only a decade behind you. I'm taking night classes right now, and am just freaking amazed at how expensive my books are. PDFs would kick serious ass - the search function on paper and ink kind of sucks, even with a good index. Of course, DRMed "ebooks" would be the option, not just a standard pdf...

While I still have some trouble with the idea that 3rd world nations need lappys more than they need practical skills or food ($188 would buy a shitload of grains/seeds), so far other approaches don't seem to be working. Maybe this one will.

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE[5]: It doesn't matter....
by sbergman27 on Sun 16th Sep 2007 18:30 in reply to "RE[4]: It doesn't matter...."
sbergman27 Member since:

While I still have some trouble with the idea that 3rd world nations need lappys more than they need practical skills or food

These devices are targeted at nations which have the food problem more or less nailed down. (Of course, that's in a relative sense. The U.S. doesn't have the food problem completely nailed down.)

But it is really a classic case of "Give a man a fish/Teach a man to fish".

Except it really goes further than that. You see, if you give a fish to a poor, destitute, uneducated man who has never had real opportunities to better himself, he will eat that fish, continue to need supplies, and will have more children than otherwise, who will be in the same bad situation, adding to the problem.

I hope that it does not seem too callous to draw this analogy, but this has something very real in common with the feral cat problems we have in our cities. People who feed the cats, without doing anything about the root causes of the problem, are doing more harm than good. The overall amount of suffering *increases* due to that person's action of feeding the feral cats.

XO is designed to try to do something about the root causes. It is designed to give people, who are at a disadvantage in the area of improving themselves, a foothold... a way to do so... or at least show them that there *is* a way.

It really does not matter if most of the kids fail to see their value... or abuse them. (Though I suspect we will see a higher level of value put on them by 3rd world kids than by would be put on them by U.S. kids.) If only a few percent of the kids recognize the opportunity availed them, maybe some of them will find a way to make things better in their country... for everyone.

XO is very much a seeding mission. And evaluating the results is going to require patience. (Which may be a problem.) The full bounty of the harvest may take decades to appreciate. Hopefully, the advance indicators will be clear enough that we won't give up on this strategy due to any perceived lack of immediate results. I hope that we focus on the benefits rather than the inevitable abuses.

Poverty and ignorance have roots which are many thousands of years old... extending, one presumes, well past the dawn of history.

Nothing is going to solve the problem in a day, or a year.

Everyone deserves a chance. If they take it, they benefit; We all do. If they don't, they do not benefit... and neither do we.

Edited 2007-09-16 18:36

Reply Parent Score: 6

RE[5]: It doesn't matter....
by stestagg on Sun 16th Sep 2007 21:19 in reply to "RE[4]: It doesn't matter...."
stestagg Member since:

Check out:

Entries between roughly 64 - 128 would benefit hugely from this scheme, most people in these countries can afford to eat 'grains/seeds' or whatever. But good education will allow the country to develop economically over the next few generations.

Reply Parent Score: 3

jabbotts Member since:

While I still have some trouble with the idea that 3rd world nations need lappys more than they need practical skills or food

The OLPC is for places where food, water and basic sanitation are available. Education is the next thing they need to develop a self sustained existance and that's what OLPC is targeting from what I read. The places that don't have food and water have bigger issues to resolve than education though knowledge also helps those situations.

As for skills, there was a big trend in international development a while back where humanitarian programs would come into a village, build wells, build sewage, provide farming tools; then leave. With no one having the skills to maintain the wells, sewage systems and such, they all just rotted. When the tractor brakes an no one can fix it; it just sits off to the side and rusts. One of the ideas behind OLPC is that the kids who make use of the machines now become the next generation of engineers. There's more value in them learning the basic technologies to maintain plumbing and waste management than simply installing a system that none of the locals understands.

It still comes down to education. Some kids will fall in love with the technology and explore the open source to understand how it works and extend it as they wish. Other kids will use the machine only as a window too other information such as engineering, world politics, farming markets.. whatever interest the non-techie kids fall in love with. Heck, even being able to look up fair market value for grains would benefit the farmers.

Reply Parent Score: 2