July 2010

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OLPC is one of the craziest ideas I've ever heard of. Luckily for us Negroponte is from the Media Lab; if he'd been from Ford he be pushing the $1000 SUV as a panacea.

Lee, Alan Kay left out the item at the top of the hierarchy - the objective. Surely that is to educate children. Yet you all seem to see it as an engineering problem. If you can figure out a way to distribute textbooks very cheaply, that would be of some use. Everything else is a criminal waste of money.

kevin lyda, co. galway

There comes a time when you put studying asiade and you just do. The folks at MIT have done loads of research on a whole host of ways people use computers.

I think it's great that they're putting that knowledge to a real world test.

Meanwhile you keep setting up strawmen. I highly doubt any person in this project thinks they know everything. From what I've read they feel they know enough to put their knowledge into physical reality.

Hopefully the tangible results of the research they've done will get in enough hands to get a real test. And hopefully it will be useful for many people. But likewise I hope that for those it fails to meet their needs one of two things will happen: a) they'll come up with software solutions and they pass them up to the rest of us or b) they'll give feedback that will allow the OLPC group to make a better version in the future (or some other group, whatever).

It's great that you have a lot of experience. I hope someday you'll put your research to the test like the Media Labs are putting their experiences to the test. And keep in mind that MIT pulls in students from around the globe. Believe it or not, their experiences are not exclusively "western" or part of the developed world.

However I think you're being a bit silly. There are hundreds of thousands of people with IT experience in the developing world. You're one of them. The MIT group didn't get to you. That's too bad. But eventually they have to stop reading about other's experiences and start doing things.

Louis Horvath

An interesting thing about computer power ... I once had an Atari 800, which by today's standards is hum ... just below some wristwatches ;)

But I did learn loads of stuff with it (most notably assembly language). So given the right set of circumstances, I am convinced at least SOME users will find it worthwhile.

But then I guess they'd rather be lodged and be fed first ...

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About Lee Felsenstein

  • Based in Silicon Valley, Lee currently does electronic product development, due diligence, expert witness assistance as well as speaking engagements and participation in conferences such as the O'Reilly Emerging Technology conferences. The most unusual places he has spoken were at the Waag in Amsterdam and a squat in Milan, Italy. He was named the 2007 "Editor's Choice" in the Awards for Creative Excellance made by EE Times magazine. He holds 12 patents to date.