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Author Topic: One Laptop Per Child  (Read 353 times)

Ian Absentia

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One Laptop Per Child
« on: November 18, 2008, 05:53:34 PM »
I know this is going to be a tight holiday season, but I figured this is a fine thing to remind people in a position to take advantage of it:  One Laptop Per Child.  The "Give One, Get One" program is fantastic.

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Engine

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« Reply #1 on: November 19, 2008, 12:23:54 PM »
I think this is going to be a case of "too little, too late." I found the XO quite fascinating in its early theoretical stages, but now it's rather pricey, and while pairing with Amazon to distribute them is better than the old system, I think most people are going to look at the XO and say, "Fuck the starving children, I'm buying a EEE." My suggestion? Buy a EEE for yourself, and donate the cost of the XO. While it's a neat, neat, neat idea, its true value won't be for those in the first world, but those in the third.

Still makes an OK laptop for kids, though.
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Ian Absentia

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« Reply #2 on: November 19, 2008, 02:29:26 PM »
Quote from: Engine;267940
...I think most people are going to look at the XO and say, "Fuck the starving children, I'm buying a EEE."
The price of the EEE has come down to where it is, arguably, because the XO proved that a laptop can be produced for $187 instead of $1,000, and the manufacturers had to respond.  Be sure to thank the OLPC group when you're buying a laptop for less than half of what it would've cost two years ago.
Quote
My suggestion? Buy a EEE for yourself, and donate the cost of the XO.
You realise that you can skip the whole "Buy One, Give One" business and just "Give One", right?
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While it's a neat, neat, neat idea, its true value won't be for those in the first world, but those in the third.
Which is explicitly what it was made to do.  It's durable, and componentised to promote service by the layman.  Actually, it's intended as an educational computer, and would be great in first world schools, too. Think of it as a general curriculum textbook rather than a work or game platform.

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Engine

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« Reply #3 on: November 19, 2008, 02:50:24 PM »
Quote from: Ian Absentia;267963
The price of the EEE has come down to where it is, arguably, because the XO proved that a laptop can be produced for $187 instead of $1,000, and the manufacturers had to respond.

And not just the EEE; the entire netbook phenomenon was arguably caused by the XO. People were so excited by the "$100 laptop" that other companies started recognizing a market for an inexpensive, low-power, small, portable machine. Oh, things like that had been around for a while, but the XO helped gel the space between ultraportable laptops and palmtop machines.

Quote from: Ian Absentia;267963
You realise that you can skip the whole "Buy One, Give One" business and just "Give One", right?

Yes, that's what I meant when I said, "donate the cost of the XO." Sorry if that wasn't clear.

Quote from: Ian Absentia;267963
Which is explicitly what it was made to do.

Yes, absolutely, which is why it's not that useful for adults in the first world, most of whom would be better satisfied with a EEE or an MSI Wind, although there will always be exceptions; the XO can do many things those machines cannot.

I'm sorry if it comes off like I'm shitting on your encouragement of charity; I truly think the XO is an astonishing machine. But I've been following its history since day 1, and have been frustrated by delays, organizational restructuring, and an end cost almost twice what had been planned. While I think its potential in the third world is boundless, I don't find it that useful for first world adults, who would likely be better served by other machines. Which is why I advocate donating an XO, and buying a EEE.
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Ian Absentia

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« Reply #4 on: November 19, 2008, 03:34:22 PM »
I came off pissier than I'd intended, too.  And I wasn't particularly clear in my original post that I intended to draw attention to the humanitarian aspect of the OLPC program, rather than the appeal of the XO for use by, say, any of us here on this site. I have to say, though, that I'm tempted to get one for my two kids, as its robustness is better suited to their stage in life, but I'm concerned they'd grow out of it's age and cultural relevancy quickly.

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Engine

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« Reply #5 on: November 19, 2008, 03:43:04 PM »
I think only time will tell if it ages well with children, in other words, if it remains useful to them as they get older. I think Sugar's a decent OS, and the latest update - which unfortunately costs you any data on the machine - increases its useability a great deal. I still think about getting one - or two, or three; wireless mesh gets better as you increase it - as an ultraportable around the house and on the road. Ultimately, I need to sit down with one for a few days, which is also what's stopped me - well, besides capital - from buying a EEE.

I've been trying to convince my mother - whose laptop is probably less capable than the XO - to Give One, Get One, just so I can use it [and so some child in a remote area can benefit from the technology of the first world] and decide, but thus far, no bites. Stupid economy.
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Ian Absentia

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« Reply #6 on: November 19, 2008, 04:09:42 PM »
As I mentioned above, part of the appeal to me is the robustness of the physical machine itself.  Kids should have real, working devices that remove the worry of casual, calamitous accident as much as possible.  The XO rather fits into that old "My First Sony" line of ultra-durable electronics accessories in that regard.  It would be nice to put one through the rigors, though, to see if holds up to contemporary performance expectations.

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Engine

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« Reply #7 on: November 19, 2008, 04:27:30 PM »
Well, 256 MB of RAM and a 433 mhz processor...you get about what you'd expect. Still, I have a Pentium 200 laptop I still use from time to time, and it can't be worse. And the software selection - like, say, SynthLab - is really cool for kids, giving them tools beyond even what they'd find - useably - under Windows on dad's machine.

The durability is definitely one of the selling points for kids. And rather than be some kind of fake Fisher Price toy laptop, it's a real computer, that can do real things, and is expandable, and has regular OS updates. And ultimately, whatever I might thing of the performance today, the computer that started me down the path to the facility I have with computers today was a Commodore 128, with 1/20th the RAM of the XO. [XO-1, I should say; XO-2 will be out next year, or the year after.] So it's not like they can't learn from it.

Damn it, why can't we get a review model in? Do you suppose we could convince the OLPC people that theRPGsite is a computer review site?
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JongWK

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« Reply #8 on: November 20, 2008, 08:25:09 AM »
A few weeks ago, I took some pictures on Heritage Day. This is a day when people can freely tour public offices (Parliament, the President's house), museums (well, they are free anyway, but it's a good excuse to visit them), historical buildings, etc. It's BIG.

I met a family from Cerro Largo, which is near the border with Brazil and more than 300 km (200 miles) away from Montevideo. This was the kids' first visit to the capital, and the teacher at their rural school had asked them to take some pictures and notes of what they saw--which they did (just how many kids willingly do homework while on vacations?).




















I met them again later in the day, while walking the Rambla.




The kids loved their machines, and I also saw their mother trying it. The best line of the day? "When I grow up, I want to be someone like the owner of this house."
"I give the gift of endless imagination."
~~Gary Gygax (1938 - 2008)


Aos

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« Reply #9 on: November 20, 2008, 06:22:44 PM »
I will probably do this next year, actually. The get one will go to my kids.
You are posting in a troll thread.

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droog

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« Reply #10 on: November 20, 2008, 07:09:32 PM »
Anybody know if you can get these shipped to Australia?
The past lives on in your front room
The poor still weak the rich still rule
History lives in the books at home
The books at home

Gang of Four
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Hackmastergeneral

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« Reply #11 on: November 24, 2008, 04:59:02 AM »
I keep thinking if I can get more permanency with my board,, about buying one and then donating it to an inner city youth here in my city.