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Re: [WWWEDU] distribution of $100 laptops

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  • Taran Rampersad
    ... I got one, used it in Guyana, wrote about it, used it to edit the Wikipedia entry on it, and so on. It was called a failure the same week Negroponte s
    Message 1 of 54 , Feb 4, 2006
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      Janice Friesen wrote:
      > Taran,
      >
      > This may not be the place to continue this particular discussion. I am sure
      > Andy will let us know!
      >
      > (Hi Janice - I don't mind if we discuss this for a little bit, but let's try to wrap it up in a day or two. -andy)
      >
      > However, I spent sometime looking at the Simputer
      > site and it seems to me like it is a very different device than the $100
      > laptop. Also, most of the dates of articles about it were from 2000 and
      > 2001, so I think it has been in production for a long time. Is there
      > progress being made. What is happening in 2005-2006?
      >
      I got one, used it in Guyana, wrote about it, used it to edit the
      Wikipedia entry on it, and so on. It was called a failure the same week
      Negroponte's marketing scheme made itself something that is still being
      *talked* about, but doesn't exist except for the one that Koffi Annan
      broke while using. Yup, you don't hear much about Koffi not knowing his
      own strength, but people are still buzzing about the $100 million laptop.

      More happened, but since most people don't read what is going on in
      India, they don't know that police are using it, that it's being used
      for inventory control, etc. I imagine that there is probably more that
      isn't in English.
      > It is interesting that it is being developed by internationals rather than
      > Americans.
      ?! Don't tell Michelle Malkin.
      > That makes sense to me. Also, there seem to actually be several
      > other initiatives also to do something similar that I have never heard of.
      > Can you give us more background?
      >
      I've written about it. To keep this short -
      http://www.knowprose.com/search/node/Simputer covers some of the stuff
      I've seen. It's an amazing little machine, and the people who have
      spoken strongest against it seem to also support the $100 million laptop
      initiative blindly.

      What can I say? You can download the schematics and build one yourself.
      Power on it lasts over 12 hours in the configuration I have. It's a full
      computer in and of itself, and integration with a GSM phone would make
      it perfect. This can be done by anyone because the hardware schematics
      are published under an open content license; therefore the Simputer is
      open hardware. Or you can buy one or more. The prices are high when you
      compare the price to a laptop you can purchase for $100 or so - if you
      can afford to buy a few million laptops. The Indian government and NGOs
      who praised the Simputer so highly decided not to buy it from
      manufacturers, and thus production is low and the price is high. A pity.
      > Does it have Internet capabilities?
      >
      That's how I edited the Wikipedia entry on it.

      --
      Taran Rampersad
      Presently in: San Fernando, Trinidad and Tobago
      cnd@...

      Looking for contracts/work!
      http://www.knowprose.com/node/9786

      New!: http://www.OpenDepth.com
      http://www.knowprose.com
      http://www.digitaldivide.net/profile/Taran

      "Criticize by creating." — Michelangelo
    • Taran Rampersad
      ... No, Patrick, I didn t change my story. I ve been consistent despite attempts by people to sideline the message that finally is seeping through. ... Well,
      Message 54 of 54 , Feb 9, 2006
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        Greene, Dr. Patrick wrote:
        > Cool, I'd take that bet, but I don't want to provoke wallet shock in
        > anyone. I was kidding anyway, because personally I don't think
        > Negroponte, Papert, Kay, and Resnick would have made the anouncement
        > that they did if it wasn't going to happen. Now that you have changed
        > your story, though, we have other things to talk about.
        >
        No, Patrick, I didn't change my story. I've been consistent despite
        attempts by people to sideline the message that finally is seeping through.

        > The first is your concept of useless (read below, you did say useless).
        > In my admittedly limited experience, new machines with greater
        > capabilities do not make older machines useless. Witness Moore's law, it
        > has been chugging along here for 20 years. In the 80s and 90s we all had
        > to go buy new computers every 3 years because they were capable of new
        > things that we had to do. Fast forward to 2006, Moore's law is still
        > chugging, but we aren't buying new computers because the old ones are
        > still performing the same tasks, and there are no longer new tasks that
        > the old machines can't accomplish.
        >
        Well, you better give a definition of 'we'. Are you talking on a global
        perspective, or in your own experience? I'd say that the two are separate.
        > And yes, my $1000 machine will be worth about 100 Guyanese in 3 years,
        > but it will still do the same things that it is doing today.
        You must be confused. You were discussing a $100 laptop, and betting on
        that. Why are you dragging the $1000 machine I suggested in another
        aspect of this discussion to seep in here? It's not 'your' $1000
        computer. It's your $1000 US bet.

        And as far as what your money does today and will do in 3 years - well,
        I wish that the global economy shared your confidence in the U.S. dollar.
        > I am happy
        > that you bought up this issue, because it is one of my pet peeves. I
        > often buy 3 - 4 year old laptops from an auction site, then resell them
        > mostly to faculty members here on campus. They get a laptop that can
        > hold modern software and do all the things that any computer can do, for
        > $400 - $500. I've gone through around 50 laptops this way, and nobody is
        > complaining that the machines are useless. These are 400 to 650 MHz
        > machines. The $100 laptop is going to have a 1.3GHz chip in it. I
        > believe that will be much more than needed by K-12 students. They may
        > only get to have 3 Internet sites open simultaneously, but I'm sure they
        > will learn to cope with that restriction.
        Aha. OK, you're caught up in a snapshot of what K12 students will need.
        I don't know about K12 students. I deal in developing nation issues. I
        suppose, based on what I have read, we could call K12 a 'developing
        micronation'. In fact, that may please some people, because it seems to
        be quite separate from all other educational discussion.

        Now, in 3 years, what will be bleeding edge technology? The divide - the
        differential between what is new and what the K12 students have - may
        actually increase, and the abilities of the new machines in 3 years will
        still be the envy of the people who don't have them. So - where's the
        progress?

        When the differential is reduced, quality is increased and held to a
        high standard, and the infrastructure of a developing nation (and a
        developing micronation) can sustain a reduced differential, you actually
        have progress. Otherwise, as we say in Trinidad - 'yuh spinnin top in mud'.


        --
        Taran Rampersad
        Presently in: San Fernando, Trinidad and Tobago
        cnd@...

        Looking for contracts/work!
        http://www.knowprose.com/node/9786

        New!: http://www.OpenDepth.com
        http://www.knowprose.com
        http://www.digitaldivide.net/profile/Taran

        "Criticize by creating." — Michelangelo
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