One Laptop Per Child

Comments 1 to 25 of 54

koola 19th June 2006, 12:02 Quote
Wow, that's a great thing to do!

I bet Google got to choose the colour :)
ralph.pickering 19th June 2006, 12:09 Quote
The hardened cynic in me says it's not long till we see a bunch of these on ebay* as folk discover that immediate cash has more appeal than the longer term gains offered by knowledge. Maybe they should block ebay at kernel level on these things :)

* And yes, I do realise they're not out yet, but come 2007 baby; I'll be handing over the readies to some kid in Africa (only kidding... it'll probably be the local drug baron)
Stickeh 19th June 2006, 12:14 Quote
can we not solve\help the other problems that they might be facing.
yes education and knowledge are important but what about food, shelter and fair trade?(to name just a few)

i can see these being more popular with parents buying a computer for each of their children, so there is no arguements to who gets to go on msn and such.
one laptop per child, will work out as being one for each laptop for each western(ised) child.

good idea, but i dont see them pulling it off.
Ramble 19th June 2006, 13:06 Quote
I want a few, they'd make a good cluster of servers.
HandMadeAndroid 19th June 2006, 13:13 Quote
Give a man some fish and he will eat for one day, give a man a laptop and he will play doom :D
Marquee 19th June 2006, 13:33 Quote
Its nice to see a rich company still looks out for the poor people in the world that are to poor to buy a computer. The idea of a cheap PC is good but people wont buy it. I think the laptop is not a good idea, I dont see it being used in the future.
dragon-fly 19th June 2006, 13:35 Quote
there is no doubt on who will want the laptops, us technology geeks obviously will want some as the price is extremely appealing as well as all the stuff included. heck, infinite power (thanks to the crank), integrated wifi, low power consumption, even a colour screen. dooohh!!!! i want one.... oh yeah and its robust on top of it all (except maybe the antenaes that look like they could easily be snapped off if one drops the laptop correctly, or the crank...)

i wonder how the people over there are going to get internet though, as well as new batteries when theirs die....

but i agee that the problem of food water and whatever else is more important than technology for people over there.....

but hey, i wouldnt mind having one for 100$ :) (i seriously dont even have a laptop yet. ive never owned one and have barely touched one. lol.)
Jordanis3r 19th June 2006, 16:08 Quote
hmmm food for thought, first off I was shocked at the router density picture, not seen it before, basically looks like europe, US and a bit of the far east - WWW really does not stand up to its name ...

aside from that - what's the point? they need food, shelter and a whole lot of western g'ment help years before they need a pc ... focus on the issues and sort them out before marketing a "gimic", as some have said above - cash rules and corrupt african g'ments rule more ... it won't be long before they are on eBay (try and buy a laptop from a nigerian in nigeria? - shipping nightmare?).
On the plus side - it is an ideal that somebody is keen to deliver, in the real world will it make that much difference?

just my opinion ...
oasked 19th June 2006, 16:26 Quote
There are so many problems in Africa (for example). Handing out free food isn't the answer, neither is handing out free medicine. Both have been tried before and little has changed.

Education really is vital to helping out those in need. With education they can get better work for themselves and start to improve the country as a whole, with education they are better informed about the causes and dangers of diseases like AIDS.

Many children in Africa are desperate to learn if they get the opportunity to, if this scheme can help them out then things can only get better.

Whilst food and aid is desperately needed (and should be provided) for those in desperate need (i.e. refugees, drought-stricken areas, etc), it is not needed in the long-term as it merely undermines local producers.

I hope this scheme is successful, I really do, its about time that things improved across Africa. :)
specofdust 19th June 2006, 16:45 Quote
I really agree with oasked here. It really seems like handing out food is pointless. If Africa cannot support 850M people, keeping 850M alive artificially by moving food over there is not the thing to be doing. What we need to do is give those 850M people the best chance they can to make things work, one huge attempt, to get the continent up to at least 2nd world standards.

Failing that we should minimise our involvement in the continent. Unfortunately we won't, because the Eu and China are loving being able to make lots of money shipping small arms and mechanised stuff over there.
vengeance 19th June 2006, 17:00 Quote
What Does This Mean For Us?

more money in our pockets?
specofdust 19th June 2006, 17:07 Quote
Vengeance, I hardly think a $100 computer system can be described as a money maker. There will be millions of USD put into researching each one of those contenders. What looks like the best one, the google box, would almost certainly sell for only a tiny bit over what it costs to make(if that, they're putting an LCD screen, and laptop sized computer components into the thing, it looks expensive) the thing, and I highly doubt any company will end up making more money then they spend on this.
Herbicide 19th June 2006, 17:22 Quote
Well, if it flops, there'll be lots of cheap kit floating around.

Personally, I'd like to see an amalgam of the PDA and the OLPC - cheap, rugged, frugal PDAs that don't need to be tethered to a mains socket.

- H.
adidas 19th June 2006, 17:23 Quote
I'm sorry, but this whole concept of 'cheap pc for the developing world' is complete pants. I speak from experience having lived there for a few years.

There's basically 2 kinds of places in the 'developing world': urban and rural. Urban already has computers, banks of them in cybercafe with kids playing counterstrike all day long. You'd be surprised; those kids sure as hell don't want a hand crank and no video games. They got computers in school and so on, but thinking that giving them even more computers is going to fill the education gap is silly. I didn't have a computer at school when I was a kid yet I'm a computer programmer today. And my wife didn't grow up to be a moron because she didn't have a computer at all until she was 23 or so.

As for the 'Rural' section, it doesn't need computers. You go there and unlike 'urban', you got little naked kids in the streets and no food or shelter. It's dirty, it's dangerous, and what they need is food, education and help, not flashy colored computers. A computer will bring nothing to those people. What do they need one for? Excel spreadsheets of how's the starvation going? Didn't think so. I'll tell you what they'll do though, they go and straight sell it to the 'urban' section of the population, that's what, in order to put some food on the table for another week.

:( The simputer made me mad when it came out, the other ones are making me mad today. Obviously all those suited and booted corporate clones never spent a second of their lives in the 'developing world' they seem to love so much all of a sudden.

EDIT: oh and another thing: the computers have cranks for power right? But then, where does the wifi connects to? A router with a crank, connected to a server with a crank? And how do you get the wifi signal in that 'desolated rural area' in the first place? Yet another proof this is a technology /marketing ploy, and nothing else. They havent' even thought about the problem at hand for even one second.
specofdust 19th June 2006, 17:34 Quote
Adidas, you raise some important points. Where abouts in the developing world were you though? I don't know if you're just using that term out of politeness, but the developing world doesn't need western help, they're developing.

What we need to help are the parts of the world that aren't developing, and one of the main ways we can do that is by education, as you say. Giving books to every child costs lots of money though. Even working at $5 a book, that means for the same price as this lappy a kid can have 20 books. That's not much, is it? If the same kids have lappies, they could theoretically have every book ever written, in practise at least, they could have thousands of books available to them.

I think you're equating having computers to learning programming and such. That wouldn't be the primary use for these things, a large part of what they'd get used for would be writing and reading, two functions that the googleputer(or whatever its called) could perform very well. When we're talking about $100, it really does start to become viable to use one instead of books.
Firehed 19th June 2006, 19:00 Quote
adidas - I agree for the most part. About the wi-fi, it'll be an ad-hoc network, not an access point-based system. Though in theory, if the density is high enough, each laptop could act as a repeater for an actual router to have it serving a quite large area, although it would get clogged with traffic beyond belief. About them selling to the urban areas - without a doubt. When families can't afford the extra fraction of a cent to get iodized salt (which would prevent a HUGE set of diseases), they don't give a flying f*** about having a laptop. It's one giant stupid marketing ploy IMO - though as the $100+ they could sell them for on eBay through that one router could replace about three years worth of work, it could fix some problems however indirectly (double your income for three years, not actually replace the work).

You guys did forget to mention a fairly important fact (or rumor?) - they intend to sell them in developed areas at $200-300, meaning you can have a cheap laptop and get to buy one (or two) for the OLPC program.
Nature 19th June 2006, 19:43 Quote
How Cool are those! I can see a dozen in ever classroom. Fantastic for Education!

No web cam though :D
The_Gimpy 19th June 2006, 20:06 Quote
What I'm left wondering is how many are really going to be shipped out. If so many are sent out that there is one for every child, I'm wondering if there would be any point in trying to sell these for food money. If the market is so saturated with these computers, they will virtually have no value to trade for food or whatever other needs are required. But I can only see that happening if there really are huge amounts of these shipped. If they make the mistake of shipping to little, I think we will see exactly that, people selling the so they can buy a shirt and supper.

Another problem as mentioned is the batteries. Assuming this takes off and every child has themself one of these, when does funding end? Three years down the road when these computers no longer hold a charge, are these companies prepaired to ship out replacement batteries? Or will all funding have been spent to get them out there in the first place? And will people care anymore by that point? Right now its coming off as a great idea, and if it does turn out to work out great, it will be a great accomplishment, but once we achieve that point, the public will get bored of the idea, and companies will lose support and media attention.
scq 19th June 2006, 20:33 Quote
I like the idea for a laptop for every child, but why not something like - education for every child, or food for every child?

You can't eat a laptop.
specofdust 19th June 2006, 20:46 Quote
What do people think these kids are going to use these lappies for? They're obviously going to be too weak to play video games, they're not for learning C++ on. They are the education, in a form that enables far more learning per dollar.

People are dying in Africa from starvation, but that isn't going to change, regardless of food aid, so long as the population are uneducated.
Kevo 19th June 2006, 20:47 Quote
Didn't they dump the hand crank idea? I thought they found out that a small malnourished child couldn’t crank enough power to be useful...
Cthippo 19th June 2006, 21:25 Quote
I'm going to agree with Spec and some others here. We've been sending food and medicine to Africa at least since WW2, and look how much better off they are now. Direct aid hasn't brought about any lasting change that I can see.

When I think of this I think of what's happened in India in the last 30 years. Once upon a time they were just as poor as Africa, and now they're a technological powerhouse. This kind of development can be done, but it takes education and opportunity.

This also reminds me of somthing else. Do you know why Nigerian scams come from Nigeria? Nigeria is one of the most connected countries in Africa, and as Adidas says, most people, at least in the cities, have access to an internet connected computer. Like it or not, they are using that access and skills to make money by fleecing stupid Americans (and others). While perhaps not the best example of the benfits of computers and education, it certainly is an example of people using this technology to improve their lives.

Final thought: The ones who need to be paying for this are the companies that extract resources from Africa for their own profit. That's companies like Shell and BP and DeBeers and Union Minere. If they were forced to put 1% of their profits from Africa into programs like this, then One Laptop Per Child would be feasible.
specofdust 19th June 2006, 21:34 Quote
I'd be inclined to agree Cthippo, but as liong as African governments are happy for the exploitation to continue by oil and resource companies, it'll continue. If someone stops the companies doing that, I doubt they'd last very long. Coup de tat's would be so attractive to rebel groups, and no doubt oil companies and mining companies would help them along. Anything to maintain profits.
Co2 19th June 2006, 22:15 Quote
Well that's a way to get some 'good' pr instead of letting those countries actually sell items in other countries instead of borrowing them money and keeping them on a leash :/
scq 19th June 2006, 22:29 Quote
Originally Posted by specofdust
What do people think these kids are going to use these lappies for? They're obviously going to be too weak to play video games, they're not for learning C++ on. They are the education, in a form that enables far more learning per dollar.

People are dying in Africa from starvation, but that isn't going to change, regardless of food aid, so long as the population are uneducated.

What's wrong with cheaper, traditional methods of education? I don't see how a laptop can surpass the teaching ability of books and an instructor.
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