[Edu-sig] OLPC on 60 Minutes

kirby urner kirby.urner at gmail.com
Mon May 21 20:55:39 CEST 2007

On 5/21/07, Jeff Rush <jeff at taupro.com> wrote:
> Yes, but Intel is, at this critical time (it couldn't be any worse),
> trying to
> suck the oxygen out of the project, suffocate it while vulnerable.  It's a
> common tactic with Intel.

I give credit to both Intel and AMD for helping us dig
out from under the pile of TIs we currently dump on
our kids, as poor excuses for real computers.

And I worry a bit about Negroponte's "dumping"
rhetoric as it applies to Free Geek which literally
intercepts what was headed to the landfill ("the dump")
as refuse, and makes decent Freekboxes out it,
bundled for schools, often using an LTSP
configuration (beefy server, thin clients).

These solutions are easily containerized and
shipped overseas, sometimes preconfigured as model
small ecommerce sites with a dedicated web server,
database server, and software to suit -- a setup
XO laptops don't easily duplicate.

So here we are "dumping" our non-XO solutions into
classrooms.  Are we "bad guys" for doing this?  And
more to the point, is what we're doing really hurting

I wouldn't think so.  A billion computers is a lot of
computers and it's not true that MIT needs a zero
competition zone in every context.

I was glad to see Geek Corps as part of the story
BTW, as that adds more of a CP4E dimension to the
OLPC piece, i.e. we're not just focusing on children.

That being said, Negroponte deserves to see the
realization of his vision in many schools.  The XO
is an exciting platform and needs to be given a
place in the sun.  I really hope he gets those
orders (sort of a global IQ test to see which school
systems are smarter than New York's (the ones
that failed to adapt to laptops)).

Plus I would guess he'll turn out to be really quite
flexible once the rollout is underway, and will have
no problem with some schools using his laptops
more as checkoutable library items (like at some
publics in Portland), with desktops (some of them
thin client) more dominant in classrooms and
homes (bigger screen, cheaper components if
allowed to be heavier -- like Dell has these new
Ubuntu boxes for cheap).

Given wireless, it's all server farms in the background
anyway, like the ones in The Dalles.

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