[Marxism] Developing nations to test new $150 laptops

Mike Friedman mikedf at amnh.org
Mon Feb 12 14:58:36 MST 2007

Just from my experience with my own kid and my middle and high school
students: unless you give every child one of these, you're going to have a
bunch of kids getting beaten up and robbed!

Developing nations to test new $150 laptops

By Jason SzepMon Feb 12, 8:45 AM ET

>From Brazil to Pakistan, some of the world's poorest children will peer
across the digital divide this month -- reading electronic books, shooting
digital video, creating music and chatting with classmates online.

Founded by Massachusetts Institute of Technology academics, the non-profit
"One Laptop per Child" project will roll out nearly 2,500 of its
$150-laptops to eight nations in February.

The experiment is a prelude to mass production of the kid-friendly,
lime-green-and-white laptops scheduled to begin in July, when five million
will be built.

Its technological triumphs include a hand crank to charge its battery, a
keyboard that switches between languages, a digital video camera, wireless
connectivity and Linux open-source operating software tailored for remote

The project's operators say the price should fall to $100 apiece next
year, when they hope to produce 50 million of the so-called "XO" machines,
before dipping below $100 by 2010 when they aim to reach 150 million of
the world's poorest children.

"We're pledging to always drive the price down," Walter Bender, the
group's president of software and content, told Reuters. "Rather than
continuing to add features to keep the price inflated, we're keeping the
feature set stable and driving the price down."

A string pully, which Bender likens to a "salad spinner," is replacing the
handcrank. A minute of pulling generates 10 minutes of electricity. The
display switches from color to black and white for viewing in direct
sunlight -- a feature unavailable in laptops 10 times more expensive.

State educators in Brazil, Uruguay, Libya, Rwanda, Pakistan, Thailand and
possibly Ethiopia and the West Bank will receive the first of the machines
in February's pilot before a wider rollout to Indonesia and a handful of
other countries.


But not everyone is applauding. Some predict the project will be a
financial burden on countries that can least afford it with no guarantee
of success. Others say the money would be better spent on food, medicine,
libraries and schools.

Some Afri

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