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Give One Get One Redux, OLPC XO-1 Now On Amazon 168

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the because-you-can dept.
404 Clue Not Found writes "The One Laptop Per Child project's XO-1 laptop is once again available to the general public via its Give One Get One promotion, where $400 will buy two laptops, one for the purchaser and one for 'a child in the emerging world.' Having learned from their delivery and fulfillment headaches the first time around, this time they partnered with Amazon.com to handle shipping. But a year after its initial release, the market has become saturated with Eee-wannabe netbooks from every major manufacturer. Can the XO-1's charitable appeal, unique chassis and dual-mode screen compete with the superior performance and standard operating systems of its newer peers?"
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Give One Get One Redux, OLPC XO-1 Now On Amazon

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  • Of course it can't compete, the question is whether you want to make a charitable donation and get a lower quality machine, or make a decent contribution to a charity and get a decent machine.

    OLPC is a reasonable charity, but personally I'll get a netbook and put the money towards research on malaria.

    • by EmbeddedJanitor (597831) on Monday November 17, 2008 @02:45PM (#25789339)
      You are not limited to donating to OLPC through their GOGO deal.

      Buy yourself an EeePC through regular channels and send a donation cheque/check to OLPC.

      Or just send them a cheque...

    • by bl8n8r (649187)

      Maybe if you donate a laptop, the kids getting the XOs will figure out how to cluster them and model more than just a malaria cure.

      • by arth1 (260657)

        Maybe if you donate a laptop, the kids getting the XOs will figure out how to cluster them and model more than just a malaria cure.

        And perhaps the person who would have discovered how to stop malaria for good dies of malaria, due to lack of medicines now.

        Speculation like this doesn't do much good. I can only make a decision for myself, but I prefer to make a donation to a cause where there is a measurable benefit, and not a for profit [texyt.com] scheme that hasn't been able to show any benefits for the recipients so

    • Of course it can compete. It's something that targets a partly intersecting market and utilizes different soft technologies. I'd worry a lot more about someone who is arrriving with their new line of $400 Windows machines.
  • Maybe Amazon should have been involved last year guys.
  • by glindsey (73730) on Monday November 17, 2008 @02:19PM (#25788939)

    Last year I couldn't afford to do this despite the good economy.

    This year I can't afford to do this due to the lousy economy.

    Maybe next year.

  • by FileNotFound (85933) on Monday November 17, 2008 @02:22PM (#25788989) Homepage Journal

    If you want to donate a PC you can always just buy a single PC for $199 and not bother with getting one for yourself.

    They never wanted to make a machine that can compete with the other laptops. They wanted to make one that'd be good for kids in a 3rd world countries. Not one that'd be great in your living room. The only reason to get one has always been the uniqueness of it, not it's specs.

  • How many pads of paper, pencils and books does $199 get? Maybe be of more use than a computer?

    • Re:Give one? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Duradin (1261418) on Monday November 17, 2008 @02:31PM (#25789131)

      Paper and pencils are one thing. Books are an entirely different beast.

      Sure, you could get a lot of physical supplies for the cost of an XO and in that light it isn't a good deal.

      The number of e-books and online information the xo can access versus dead tree books is the kicker. Size and weight matter for shipping, transport and delivery. A collection of bits is a lot easier to move around and copy than ink on paper.

      • Plenty of books on entry level courses of Algebra, English, Physics, etc. that should be free because their copyright should have expired. How much has changed with basic algebra over the past 50 years that we need to pay a publisher $50+ every year for an updated text?

        I think your argument is more for instead of giving a laptop to every child, to just give a high quality, internet enabled laser printer to every teacher. I think we could pay for the toner for all the books they will print cheaper than we ca

        • by Obfuscant (592200)
          Plenty of books on entry level courses of Algebra, English, Physics, etc. that should be free because their copyright should have expired.

          As the new owner of a blue, shiny Sony PRS-505 ereader with 4Gb of flash storage, I've been on the prowl for anything like this free in pdf or text form. I'm a member of two professional societies that advertise free access to books as part of their membership. I have Project Gutenberg's URL burned on my forehead. The Internet archive is on my speed dial, figuratively.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by AoT (107216)

      And how many pads of paper, pencils and books does it take to download up to date information from the internet?

      This way the children in question aren't stuck with crappy out-of-date textbooks three, four, however many years down the line.

      • by Obfuscant (592200)
        This way the children in question aren't stuck with crappy out-of-date textbooks three, four, however many years down the line.

        Elementary school textbooks rarely become obsolete other than they don't cover the latest discoveries -- and the latest discoveries are rarely important to the basic material. Three, four, five, ten years is not too old for the basics of reading, writing and arithmetic. I've got texts from the fifties that are easier to understand than modern ones, and just as relevant to the bas

    • Re:Give one? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by necro81 (917438) on Monday November 17, 2008 @02:39PM (#25789245) Journal

      Paper and pencils - a whole lot of both.

      Books - now there's the clincher. With a internet-enabled XO (or any other computer), you can theoretically access any and all knowledge that's out there, including a whole lot of books (textbooks or other kinds). Now, if you had $199 to spend, could you buy enough books to give you the same variety of knowledge? Could you carry it with you as easily?

      Ok, maybe you and your neighbor in the next hut get together - you buy some books, and he buys some others, and now you have access to both collections. But what if, one day you are interested in 19th century literature, and the next day introductory computer programming? Shall we ask a third neighbor to step in? What if you want to know what the latest commodity prices are, to figure out whether to sell your crop now or hold it for another week - what printed book would tell you that? Do you have access to today's newspaper in your village? Now, $199 dollars doesn't seem to go as far.

      Scale it up to an entire country, where millions of dollars are available, and you can have a pretty good library that captures a good portion of human knowledge in books. But, now you have the problem of distribution - everyone from around the country has to come and get the books. There's also the problem that you only have or two copies of everything, so only one or two people at a time can access it.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Lumpy (12016)

        "you can theoretically access any and all knowledge that's out there, including a whole lot of books (textbooks or other kinds)."

        If you have internet access. and if those books are not protected and kept away from evil you for not buying them.

        Finally, IF those books are in the language you can read.

        using the magical, Billions and billions of books, are in fact not a reality for a third world kid sitting on a dirt floor 1200 miles away from the nearest starbucks and free wifi.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 17, 2008 @02:56PM (#25789559)

      For that matter, how many third-world children can you get for $199? These bobbins aren't going to thread themselves.

    • Re:Give one? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by fermion (181285) on Monday November 17, 2008 @03:11PM (#25789855) Homepage Journal
      I hear this a lot in the US. Why buy computers when we can use paper and pencil cheaper. Why use calculators when pencil and paper calculation are superior.

      The issue is access

      How many of us would have jobs if we were not computer literate, and how many of us started our computer literacy before we reached out teens years? Be it a teletype, a dumb terminal, or a microcomputer, how many of us were able to do significant things with computer because we had years to play with them? How would our lives be different if people had thought 'they are just playing with computers' and 'it isn't worth paying for such technology.' For myself, I grew up with seven segments displays, so I know how they work.

      Like a tuppence for paper and string, a small amount for a computer and an occasional internet access can open up a world. Sure some will sell the machine. Most will just play games. But many will use it to learn. Download GIMP and draw. Download Maxima and calculate. Download qucs and build circuits. Download eclipse and program. Download novels and read. Download LaTex and write. Sure most of this can be done with paper and pencil, but where are the transferrable skills?

      I am clearly talking about the above average student, but, talking to people from developing countries, these are the students that attend and succeed in many of the village schools. I can't imagine these students not using the tools to help them succeed. From the stories I hear they do not destroy books as first world students do. They do not throw away food knowing the government will supply them with more. And overall, they are not forced to waste their time at school sleeping when a field needs plowing.

    • by pembo13 (770295)
      How long does $199 worth of paper and pencils last? How many times can you use it?
    • Re:Give one? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by grcumb (781340) on Monday November 17, 2008 @04:13PM (#25790907) Homepage Journal

      How many pads of paper, pencils and books does $199 get? Maybe be of more use than a computer?

      False equivalency. You can't video conference with a pencil. Or make (decent) music with a piece of paper. The OLPC's capacity for re-use is also somewhat superior.

      I live and work in the South Pacific. Let me assure you that, while paper and pencils are in short supply, it's mostly because paper doesn't last very long in any useful state in a tropical climate.

      The OLPC, on the other hand, is standing up quite well to the elements in the pilot project we're running here.

      • by TheSync (5291)

        I live and work in the South Pacific. Let me assure you that, while paper and pencils are in short supply, it's mostly because paper doesn't last very long in any useful state in a tropical climate.

        The OLPC, on the other hand, is standing up quite well to the elements in the pilot project we're running here.

        Do you have a URL for this project?

        • by grcumb (781340)

          Do you have a URL for this project?

          Not to put on slashdot. 8^)

          We're starved enough for bandwidth here that I could push the whole country offline if the site got slashdotted. See my homepage and follow the OLPC tag if you want further details.

      • by Tetsujin (103070)

        You can't video conference with a pencil.

        Let's just take a moment to appreciate that sentence. In how many circumstances would a sentence like this be useful? How frequently can you imagine someone needing this point cleared up? It seems a delightful absurdity, and the fact that it developed out of the natural course of this discussion is highly enjoyable.

  • by Animats (122034) on Monday November 17, 2008 @02:23PM (#25789005) Homepage

    If they just sold the thing for $200, they might get enough volume to get down to the $100 laptop.

    The real problem with the OLPC, though, is that it's now a 3 year old design. The OLPC is being overtaken by commercial products.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by crush (19364)

      Really? There's something out there with the same LCD technology and an OS written specifically for the hardware by Red Hat in order to maximize battery life? What's it called?

      • by tgd (2822) on Monday November 17, 2008 @02:57PM (#25789577)

        Except the battery life isn't very good, and the screen sucks to look at for any length of time.

        I have one. Haven't touched it in nine months. Its an interesting (if overpriced) toy.

        The GP is absolutely right -- the gimmicks with it aren't really all that compelling to 99% of the people who would possibly spend $200 (or $400) for one, and in every other way there are far better products on the market now.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by grumbel (592662)

        The LCD in a normal room-lit situation with backlight on isn't really all that pretty, the resolution is ok, but its heavily depended on the viewing angle, which can annoy quite a bit, due to the pixel layout it also has a diagonal grid all over it, which can irritate. In sunlight its a different thing of course, resolution is great and its very readable, not quite ePaper-like, but close enough, the viewing angle problem and the diagonal grid disappear when not backlit.

        The OS on the other side isn't really

        • You don't even have a normal file system unless you go to the Terminal and bypass all the UI.

          You're making the presumption that a hierarchal is the best way to organize data. Of course, you would think that, because you're used to using one, but that doesn't mean that there aren't better systems out there for people learning for the first time.

          All that said, its still a great little machine, but $400 its quite a bit of money and you can get better hardware for that.

          It would be foolish for someone to buy from the G1G1 program and expect the most productive machine out there. In the end, the person entering the program should be doing this either for charity or to satisfy their curiosity.

          • by grumbel (592662)

            You're making the presumption that a hierarchal is the best way to organize data.

            My point is that if you want to exchange data with another computer you have quite a problem with the OLPC, because its whole interface is build pretty much ignoring what the rest of the world does, so you don't have much backward compatibility build in and you can also not just install a random Linux application and use it properly with the interface. The good old Terminal is still there and thus you can work around lots of issues, but interoperability with other non-OLPC machines is certainly not the OLPC

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by poot_rootbeer (188613)

        There's something out there with the same LCD technology

        Not that I'm aware of, although former OLPC CTO Mary Lou Jepsen has been planning to commercialize the LCD technology she developed.

        And it's worth pointing out that it's not so much that the display has amazing quality, but rather that the display has amazing quality given the low manufacturing cost -- in backlit mode, i.e. all the time except in direct sunlight, the XO-1's 1200x900 (sub)pixel display is noticeably more artifacty than a similarly-sized

    • Your XBOX 360 is 3 years old too. Does that mean its no good anymore? The real uniqueness in the OLPC is its extremely tight integration with hardware. A screen that can be read in full sun as black and white, and a system that recharges with the sun, or a small handcrank? The ad-hoc networking alone is quite ahead of its time.

  • by SuperBanana (662181) on Monday November 17, 2008 @02:25PM (#25789021)

    Having learned from their delivery and fulfillment headaches the first time around, this time they partnered with Amazon.com to handle shipping.

    You mean the cases like one of my clients, who ordered two, and received none?

    When he called and asked WTF was going on, they couldn't "find" his order, and refused to refund his credit card, despite proof they'd charged him. He ended up having to do a chargeback.

    If OLPC couldn't ship 'em to donors, what makes anyone think they're shipping them to kids in the '2nd world'?

    • by Obfuscant (592200)
      I had almost exactly the same problem with OLPC G1G1. They kept claiming my address was invalid because they'd keep dropping the street address, but didn't bother sending an email telling me this, I had to call them, and then they started making promises of delivery they knew they could not keep, all after charging me for something they hadn't shipped.

      The last straw was when the new promised delivery date was just past the six month limit for disputing a charge -- if I "stayed with the program" and waited

    • by spage (73271)

      If OLPC couldn't ship 'em to donors, what makes anyone think they're shipping them to kids in the '2nd world'?

      The deployment map [laptop.org] and deployments wiki page giving the status of the deployments is pretty convincing.

  • Plenty of Room (Score:2, Insightful)

    by AskFirefly (757114) *
    "Can the XO-1's charitable appeal, unique chassis and dual-mode screen compete with the superior performance and standard operating systems of its newer peers?" Would there be Eee wanabees without the XO? The world is a big place, and products (hopefully) evolve with demand. XO is still a good idea and has served a useful purpose. I'm sure that if someone wants to send a competitor oversees to an underprivileged child, that's ok, too.
  • Keyboard (Score:5, Informative)

    by blitzkrieg3 (995849) on Monday November 17, 2008 @02:27PM (#25789065)
    The number 1 problem with the XO-1 is the keyboard. The machine just wasn't made to fit adult hands. For a child, I'm sure everything is perfect, but don't expect to do any large amount of work on it without an external keyboard, which kind of defeats the purpose.

    Other than that it's a perfectly comparable to other sub-notebooks. Obviously twice the price of what it should be, but it's extremely light and rugged. It's the ideal machine for anyone wanting to run linux, since the entire machine is completely open, including the BIOS. The dual-mode screen could really be useful for if you want to work outside one day, which is pretty much impossible with my T60.
  • Culture shock. (Score:2, Insightful)

    In a word, No.

    People are charitable in small ways; A few dollars to a beggar. Copies of Windows XP for libraries. Buying a friend who's broke lunch. That kind of thing. But would you, say, pay 20% more at Best Buy to send a second iPod to a poor starving child in Africa? No. You'd go across the street to Super Electrono Mart and buy it there without the "charity tariff", and maybe use the extra money to buy that broke friend of yours some Burger King. You know, if you were feeling charitable. -_-

    Charity

    • by maeka (518272)

      [Charity]'s not a business model that would survive free market forces.

      I know. I remember back in the day when these cute girls would come to my door and try to sell overpriced cookies.

      • by girlintraining (1395911) on Monday November 17, 2008 @02:58PM (#25789595)

        > I remember back in the day when these cute girls would come to my door and try to sell overpriced cookies.

        I remember back in the day selling cookies to fat, middle-aged men who'd answer wearing nothing but boxers and a stained sports t-shirt while my mother waited impatiently in the car. If you ask me, they didn't charge enough.

        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by Sponge Bath (413667)

          ...boxers and a stained sports t-shirt

          Classic casual wear!
          Mix and match with tighty whities and a Cheetos
          encrusted Hawaiian shirt for a variety of stylish looks.

        • by couchslug (175151)

          "I remember back in the day selling cookies to fat, middle-aged men who'd answer wearing nothing but boxers and a stained sports t-shirt while my mother waited impatiently in the car."

          Thanks for the memories! I sure do miss those cookies.

    • Charity isn't a selling point. Cost, reliability, performance -- those are selling points.

      I think that's an awfully narrow view.

      Fundraising for PBS is heavily dependent on charity as a selling point. Matching donations by corporate donors are known to encourage people to "buy" the PBS product. Who'd a thunk it?

      Then, you've got any number of corporations who promote their services or products explicitly using charity a selling point. That would probably include all the Fortune 500, along with the likes

  • What charitable appeal? It's turned into a vehicle for spreading Microsoft's hegemony.

    • by Nursie (632944)

      Definitely worth pointing out. I'd like precisely 0 dollars of any charity I partake in to go either straight to MS's coffers, or towards propagating worldwide dependence on their single OS.

      OLPC, and the other netbook companies, climbing down and making most stuff XP is slightly sickening.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Alex Belits (437) *

      Microsoft has some of hot air and one pilot project in Peru vs. plenty of XO deployments with Sugar (including the same Peru where main government-backed deployment uses Sugar).

  • by CaptainPatent (1087643) on Monday November 17, 2008 @02:37PM (#25789205) Journal
    You know, while this project is truly a great idea and a very noble cause, they're really bogging themselves down with the way it's being marketed.

    On one hand it's good that each sale for the OLPC project sells two laptops, but at the same time they're not in any way shape or form selling to the lower-class and even a lot of the middle class demographics that may need it in more developed countries it's being marketed to. Of course you're going to get sales from wealthy individuals, but think about everyone living paycheck to paycheck that probably doesn't have $200 to just blow on some random "toy" for their kid. Even in the middle-class where they may have the money to spend, but not a huge amount extra... are they really going to spend $400 bucks on an OLPC, or are they going to look at an Eee PC at almost half the cost for some models, or the MSI Wind at just a smidgen more?

    Plus there is now a plethora of ultra low-power, low-cost, ultra mobile computers on the market. Again, I love the nobility of the project, but I think it's time to open it up to $200 per computer with optional monetary donation towards another computer. I bet with the extra sales made it will get about the same number of donated PC's abroad while keeping the production numbers up and the project alive. After all, there's no help at all without this project so why not do the best to keep it afloat.
  • by Dzimas (547818) on Monday November 17, 2008 @02:46PM (#25789351)

    We have the OLPC to thank for this year's Netbook explosion, as manufacturers discovered that there was a real market for modestly spec'd machines in a tiny form factor. Unfortunately, the OLPC looks lame in comparison. It's a great example of how academic projects have difficulty competing in a commercial environment. And, no matter what idealists might proclaim, any time you get into large-scale manufacturing you are forced to operate in a commercial environment. Producing millions of machines "for academic use" requires the same skills as running a for-profit company. You need a sales staff to convince countries to buy the machines by the millions. You need financing for R&D and production. You need hardware and software engineers, and you need a clear roadmap.

    Doing this stuff is tougher in academia, and OLPC was hamstrung by a heavy dose of ideology (we've gotta design really clever custom software, make it cute and bleeding-edge, etc.) that commercial manufacturers could side-step. As a result, the OLPC crew futzed around with a very ambitious software framework. They futzed about endlessly tweaking the hardware design. In comparison, Asus actually built a cheap little machine and threw it into the marketplace as a crude first try. It ignited the imagination of manufacturers and consumers alike. Asus is now on their third generation (I think... I've lost track) of netbooks in a little over a year, and others jumped into the fray as soon as they could get their hands on Intel's Atom processor. There is no way that OLPC could keep up with such an aggressive hardware program. The result is that their once revolutionary device now seems quaint.

  • $89 laptop (Score:3, Interesting)

    by lobiusmoop (305328) on Monday November 17, 2008 @02:46PM (#25789353) Homepage

    Spotted on Engadget a few months ago:
    $89 laptop [engadget.com]

    It is extremely basic, but it is at least interesting to see what is possible at the low-end of the laptop market these days. Looks like it would be fine for very basic wifi browsing (wikipedia etc) email and document creation at least.

  • by Darundal (891860) on Monday November 17, 2008 @02:49PM (#25789429) Journal
    ...promotion's sales being hurt by netbooks. It seems to me that the majority of OLPC G1G1 sales are going to be to geeks who buy it as a curiosity more than as a machine they will be using every day, or for their kids because it is able to withstand more abuse than a netbook. The OLPC isn't quite being targeted at the same users that netbooks are, and a lot of the netbook market probably will never hear about the OLPC anyway.
  • by quadelirus (694946) on Monday November 17, 2008 @03:18PM (#25789969)
    I'm typing this from Kagando Village, Uganda. I've been touring the local primary and secondary schools here and I can tell you that these children don't need laptops. Forget about the fact that the adults would probably use them instead of the kids if they were brought here. The reason they don't need laptops is because they much more desperately need good textbooks for every year of school. No amount of educational software is going to make up for the fact that the kids don't have good (or usually even enough) textbooks. $200 a kid could EASILY buy every kid here textbooks for every year of their schooling and would be money MUCH better spent. Maybe this isn't the case in other developing countries but here I really don't think that laptops are the answer. It's a nice gimmick and a nice thought but not the right answer.
    • by Cornwallis (1188489) on Monday November 17, 2008 @03:24PM (#25790075)
      Just curious... How do you think it would go over if those textbooks were digitized then put on the laptop?
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by MickLinux (579158)

        Oh, those textbooks are already digitized, believe me. They are typically in Word at least (due to requests by professors and teachers), and then in addition are in something like Quark, Pagemaker, or the

        The problem is that the publishers aren't going to want them digiti

        Of course, one could always digitize stuff over a hundred years old, for things like language arts and elementary school math.

        But it is far more efficient to learn from a book, with a pencil and a piece of paper. As far as I can tell, comp

      • That might be a more helpful idea. I think the trick there is buying the rights to the textbooks to put them on the computer. Has OLPC done this (I honestly don't know, maybe).
    • Isnt' the idea of the laptop that even more books then just textbooks can be delivered to the kids via the laptop.
      • Yes, but how do you get them the textbooks?
        • eBooks
          • You misunderstand my question. My question is not, "how do we put a textbook on a computer?" I'm fully aware of eBooks. My question is, "how do you get an eBook onto an OLPC once the kid has it?" when nobody here (except the hospital, and only nominally) has internet access (because to buy a modem is 10 months salary here and to keep it running is 3 months salary).

            You could preload the OLPCs with eBooks, but they aren't doing that now so until then my question stands.

            Also, the problem is that you want
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by earlymon (1116185)

      I appreciate hearing your voice of experience - when theory and data disagree, go with the data.

      I'm curious to know your other opinions on this - putting economics aside - I'm wondering if textbooks are less intimidating than a computer in that regime? Our kids have had so much tech for so long, I wonder if this isn't overlooked - and I don't know what it's like to be around non-tech driven kids. I done a LOT of foreign travel, but never to such a technological extreme environment as the one you're descri

    • I've heard this complaint before. Have you ever considered that the OLPC XO laptop at $200 can hold significantly more than $200 worth of books?

      The XO has a built in webcam and microphone. I remember learning how cell phones in remote fishing villages in Peru allowed fisherman to check market prices before selling to the middle men. Imagine doing that while putting the Internet at their fingertips?

      The XO is an enabling technology. It won't solve the problems of poor children around the world. But it will en

    • by kriston (7886)

      A main goal of the OLPC was for digitized textbooks.
      The now-bankrupt WorldSpace Satellite Radio was to deliver those textbooks via its satellite radio platform. There's even a driver for the OLPC to read this data from a WorldSpace receiver.
      Search Slashdot for my old post concerning this matter and the relevant links.

  • I'm considering using the buy one, get one option and then donating the second laptop to a school in my area. I could donate two to third-world countries, but I believe in the "think globally, act locally" mantra. I want kids in my own neighborhood to have access to fun, interesting, educational technology too.

    • by ServerIrv (840609)

      I really don't want to be negative to rain on your parade, but... Buying one laptop for a school in your area could potentially be useless. The schools "IT Admin" will get it, poke around, and after a while will set it unused in the corner of the library or in their drawer. Instead, if you can get a group of people to buy one for each classroom, the admin could possibly find a use for a group of non-standard PCs. Just because we make a donation, it doesn't mean that they can use it.

      I did some work at a n

      • I'm a step ahead of you. I emailed their "technology" group this afternoon to see if they could make use of an XO. I'm actually hoping that they tell me that they can't use it. The school district in which I live is pretty well off already. If they can't use it, I'll call one of the less privileged school districts in the area.

        You make a good point, though, about finding a way to put more than one laptop in their hands. Even if I can't get enough support together to provide one XO for every classroom,

    • The focus is on kids that have never seen a PC before, not kids that go home and play on daddy's laptop. If you're going to donate to a local school, it'll probably have to be the "get 1" laptop that you donate. Of course I'm assuming that you're writing from somewhere in the western world, if you're posting from Peru, maybe you can see if the OLPC guys get you a deal.
      • Please ignore above post. After re-reading, I realize what I said is exactly what you're intending to do. I hope you find a good home for it somehwere ;)
  • In Guatemala... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by changos (105425)

    I truly believe that here in Guatemala we could benefit from the OLPC. I want to get 2, because the true benefits come from having at least 2. Al the fun about sugar is the neighborhood.

    Sure there is need for food, sure there is a need for infrastructure for many things. But being able to see the world, even from a small screen can definitely change your world view.

    For me, nothing has shaped me, or my carreer that going abroad and studying in the US. Now I now that there is a better way for government t

  • by rthille (8526) <web-slashdot.rangat@org> on Monday November 17, 2008 @04:22PM (#25791037) Homepage Journal

    Given the 'bait-n-switch' move to Windows, the OLPC program has left a bad taste in my mouth. My OLPC sits unused in a pile of electronics gear that 'one of these days' I'll get around to offing on ebay or craigslist.

    I liked the idea of it, I liked the technology of it, I really hate the idea of using it to introduce so much of the developing world to Windows. Can you imagine the issues we'll have with the net once the spam/bots manage to hide in the always-on routing chip of an OLPC?

  • by giorgist (1208992) on Monday November 17, 2008 @04:32PM (#25791191)
    Hasn't it been hijacked by MS ?
    The whole point of openness will be undone in the next version and they simply will get a cut down XP so that the best they can do is look for hided excel Easter eggs
  • Can the XO-1's charitable appeal, unique chassis and dual-mode screen compete with the superior performance and standard operating systems of its newer peers?

    The intersection of charitable people and people designing good computers is not empty, but there are many more people in the second group. Capitalism will do things better, than any group of starry-eyed do-gooders.

    And if you say "market failure" — I'll pull out this very case of "$100 laptop" and beat you over the head with it. In the time it

    • That's not really a fair comparison. In this case, the capitalist starts out with billions of dollars more than the do-gooder, not to mention already existing product development, shipping, customer service, and research department. Comparing the two is like putting 9-year-old Michael Jordan on the court against 30-year-old Michael Jordan, and saying that the outcome proves that players perform better when given proper financial incentives.

      The product you deem superior is also less ambitious and ill-suite

      • by mi (197448)

        In this case, the capitalist starts out with billions of dollars more than the do-gooder, not to mention already existing product development, shipping, customer service, and research department.

        That's not at all, how start-ups start up (pun intended) — in the proverbial garages of their founders, lucky to get $20-80K of "seed financing". Michael Dell started his company with $1000 [wikipedia.org] in 1984. Hewlett and Packard founded theirs with $538 [wikipedia.org] (in 1939th money). On contrast, the OLPC [wikipedia.org] was sponsored by AMD, Brig

        • How is that in any way a pun?

          The point I was responding to was that mammoth companies like ASUS delivered "better" products in less time than the OLPC initiative, therefore for-profit trumps non-profit. I was arguing that profit vs. non-profit isn't nearly as relevant as the fact that ASUS has developed products before, ASUS has rolled out products before, and ASUS has shipped products before. In short, they've already made the sorts of mistakes that plagued the OLPC's launch, and learned from them.

          If you

          • by mi (197448)

            If you're trying to imply that we should have expected OLPC to overperform, given its funding.

            What I was saying, funding is not the deciding factor in an efficient economy such as America's (until very recently anyway).

            These companies could have been doing them before the turn of the century.

            No, not really. There is a large fixed cost of making a computer portable and light. Adding a feature here and there on top of that fixed cost is marginally more expensive. Cheap laptops existed for a while, but they we

            • Fixed costs? No such thing. We've had plastic since before personal computers, and for any given time since 1998, I can almost guarantee that you could come up with a spec sheet that could be mass-produced for $100-$200 per unit.

              Here's my reasoning: my mom bought her first laptop around 1986. It was a 286, with perhaps a 320x200 resolution, and cost about $2000. Given eight iterations of Moore's law, that same laptop should have cost about $250 by 1998. I would expect the cost of the screen to plummet

  • Just $60 more for a non-Kindle ebook (albeit with a smaller screen), and I get to make a charitable contribution at the same time? Very tempting.
  • Maybe... just maybe... the OLPC project would get more L's donated if they allowed donors to choose the country to which the donated machine would go.

    Is this provided, eg, by the Amazon interface?

    If not, does the OLPC project provide it in other ways?

    (Forget how it might look, to on-lookers... to maximize the number of kids who get computers, let donors have a bit more control as to destination.)

  • ...but you lost me at Windows.

    Sorry guys... I sooooo wanted an OLPC and was gung-ho on the mission but with with Negroponte selling out the original concept and Krstic having left the project - it's soul is gone.

    Don't get me wrong. I'm not some GNU zealot (I'd like to shoot some GNUs some time...), but I think so much of the educational mission is lost once the child who owns the machine hits that brick wall that is the closed OS. The whole idea is that you're supposed to be able to explore EVERYTHING about

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