Saturday, March 15, 2008


An evening update on something I've been waiting for: my XO laptop from One Laptop Per Child. The organization encountered some setbacks after I'd ordered/contributed (see here). Early donors who expected to receive their laptops by Christmas did not all get them on time. As a last minute donor, I had nothing to complain about, and still have not lost faith in the idea behind the program. I can be woefully under aware of how inhumane large corporations can be: while Negroponte never intended to make a profit, other companies were happy to begin creating versions of low cost laptops once they realized that developing nations impoverished countries were actually interested in OLPC's vision. I could ramble on about that aspect, but you've probably read it: suddenly, Intel, for example ---with other hyenas not far behind--- is pushing inexpensive Windows driven machines, the better, they argue to prepare children for the operating system of the first world (no metaphors there, right ?). XO is Linux based, its software open-sourced, and the whole project sustained by volunteers who have contributed an amazing amount of know how and ingenuity. Negroponte was formerly associated with MIT and OLPC has, I should clearly note, people on salary, but the difference in models of humanity is striking: OLPC has tried to operate on a model of cooperation, a philosophy that even seems to be embedded in the ways the laptop allows users to link and communicate, whereas, well, whereas the now profferred alternatives do not model this sort of thing. Tonight, for the first time when I had typed my reference number into FedEx tracking, I found that my XO is due to arrive early next week. Apparently it has really shipped ! I look forward to receiving it, playing with it, telling you all about it. I wish there were a way that OLPC could have matched the laptop that went to a child to the donor: I've no wish to violate anyone's privacy, but since I understand that the laptops went out to the children some time ago, I wonder about the child who received "mine." How's it going out there, whoever you are ? I wonder what world it has opened up, what questions you have, if it has changed what you can learn, if you're having fun ?

1 comment:

Two Dishes said...

That would be cool if it came all Africanized with built in links to Ghambian newspapers, Nigerian airlines, and microfinance orgs.

Your page re-design is easier to read on a small screen like mine (12"). Peter, likewise, went plainer this year. His almost harkens to Google aesthetics. Although I see his radically skinny photos persist, as do now his radically narrow quoted poems!