More on Ubuntu's NetBook release

Submitted by Jon on Tue, 06/10/2008 - 11:16

Project HA-T1093

Submitted by Jon on Thu, 05/22/2008 - 06:53

No, it's not some early George Lucas film, it's the IADB project title for the "Pilot of the One Laptop per Child Model" in Haiti that Wayan gave a great overview of at OLPCNews.com:

MS on XO: It's so bad you have to laugh

Submitted by Jon on Fri, 05/16/2008 - 10:49

Check out this video of James Utzschneider from Microsoft's Unlimited Potential team walking us through Windows XP on the OLPC XO (Video via OLPCNews.com


OLPC Now Microsoft-only

Submitted by Jon on Thu, 05/15/2008 - 22:46

I hope it goes just as well as the Intel partnership. What a disaster. OLPCNews and the NYTimes have more information on the story.

Pots, kettles and OLPC fanaticism

Submitted by Jon on Wed, 05/14/2008 - 10:30

Like most in the OLPC community, Ivan Krstić's discussion on the OLPC yesterday left me (almost) speechless, and even Wayan at OLPCNews left it mostly as a repost of Ivan's essay, and slashdot is, well, talking about Australian government issues it seems.

Negroponte on the future of OLPC and Sugar

Submitted by Jon on Wed, 04/23/2008 - 16:19

The Big NN sent out an email, reposted at OLPCNews.com, with the current status of OLPC and Sugar, it's UI, to address the issues finding their way out of the woodwork after the recent staff turnover:

The Opposite of Schadenfreude

Submitted by Jon on Wed, 04/23/2008 - 10:48

OLPCNews has been ripe with the continuing disintegration of OLPC, from Mary Lou Jepsen who got out just in time, then with Ivan's departure due to differences, and now as the search for a new CEO goes on so that Negroponte can "step aside",

Updating the XO

Submitted by Jon on Mon, 04/14/2008 - 13:50

I updated my OLPC from the shipped build 656 to the release candidate for the muh-anticipated Update.1, here's what I did and what happened:

  • from a root terminal, olpc-update candidate-703

How low-cost portables can compete

Submitted by Jon on Thu, 04/10/2008 - 11:03

Wayan at OLPCNews.com has an article up on what he's terming "3P computing" (Power, Price, Performance). Some of the commentators and myself would also add "Portability" to the list.

More on Low Cost Laptops

Submitted by Jon on Wed, 04/09/2008 - 20:09

Slashdot's wading in to the discussion on what is a low-cost laptop and what features should it have. At least this time no one's calling me a child hater.

Innovation is not adding more of the same

Submitted by Jon on Mon, 04/07/2008 - 16:51

You might say that I've at times been critical of the OLPC project, but rarely do I have anything bad to say about their actual technology. Intel has a new hardware revision out for their Classmate, and it reveals that while they get the implementation angle, they continue to miss the innovation needs:

Intel Corp. unveiled new features for its line of low-cost laptops for schools Wednesday, adding bigger screens and more data storage capacity as the chip maker ratchets up its rivalry with the One Laptop per Child organization, which sells a competing machine.

Well, admittedly, the new screen is nice, since their old screen was really tiny, but where are the much more relevant features of dust and dampness resistance, being able to read the screen in full sunlight, and rugged construction designed to get past the challenges of the developing world? Competing on screen size and harddrive space is what got us to the current state of bloated, heavy, overheating computers today, and it'd be a great thing if we competed on innovation instead of agglomeration in the low-cost laptop market. I, at least, want to see the market for ultra-portable, low-cost, low-power, reasonably-high-function laptops expand, and not merge into merely an ultra-portable market.

TurnYourWorldAround's Connect-a-Kid and the OLPC

Submitted by Jon on Sat, 03/29/2008 - 03:13

Disclosure: I work at Youth Service America, where Tara Suri is a member of the National Youth Council, a collection of amazing young people who make the likes of most of us tired with just seeing the amount of good they get done on a daily basis.

I have to ask...

Submitted by Jon on Wed, 03/26/2008 - 13:36

To reveal the fathomless depths of my geek depravity, one Friday a month I get together with fellow alumni and current students of my International Science and Technology program and we have a journal club, where we've read some papers on a specific topic (last month was science policy and the presidential candidates, this month is genetically-modified food). It's a fun way to spend a Friday night, as it naturally ends up at a bar or restaurant for continued discussion.

Using the OLPC - Day 2

Submitted by Jon on Sun, 03/23/2008 - 15:52

Installing xo activities is a snap, up there with OSX's .dmg install process. Installing anything else can be a bit of a pain, as it's command line installation using RedHat's yum system (which at least has fixed dependency checking since last I used it (I started with RH5.2, then left Linux, then got back into it with Debian and have been a Debian/ubuntu user mostly ever since).

LiveBlogging my OLPC

Submitted by Jon on Sat, 03/22/2008 - 12:00

So I got my OLPC around 11am Saturday morning. Finally. Note: the FedEx AltRefTracking never registered that it was on its way, and I never go to the LaptopGiving Status that indicated that the laptop had been shipped.

It's Late March, where's my G1G1 OLPC Laptop?

Submitted by Jon on Thu, 03/20/2008 - 11:44

One month ago today was the last time I heard anything from OLPC about my laptop, ordered back in December:

Rethinking the OLPC Distribution: A "Base of the Pyramid" approach?

Submitted by Jon on Mon, 03/10/2008 - 10:49

What would a "bottom of the pyramid" approach for the OLPC look like? While the OLPC vision is bottom-up and child-focused, their actual deployment has been top-heavy. There's occasional discussion about releasing the One Laptop Per Child XO laptop into the market to achieve a more bottom-up development, and the OLPC's original selling point to its manufacturers was that even though the profit margins would be slim, the market would be the next billion users (WSJ). So why not go all-in and focus on this record of success in the technology creation/diffusion realm, and apply it in the international development context?


Submitted by Jon on Fri, 03/07/2008 - 10:05

Disclaimer: If you take this post seriously, you need to relax.

UPDATE:There are some LOLPCs hiding away at lolnptech!

Negroponte stepping away from the OLPC helm

Submitted by Jon on Thu, 03/06/2008 - 10:27

Naturally, it failed. Nothing is that independent, especially an organization [...] staffed by highly individualistic industry visionaries from around the world. Besides, altruism has a credibility problem in an industry that thrives on intense commercial competition.

By the end of the Center's first year, Papert had quit, so had American experts Nicholas Negroponte and Bob Lawler. It had become a battlefield, scarred by clashes of management style, personality, and political conviction. It never really recovered.

Martin Langhoff and the XS-ive OLPC School Server

Submitted by Jon on Tue, 03/04/2008 - 03:50

The XS School Server list has been a hotbed of activity the past few weeks with management changes as well as some disgruntled people seem to realize that the XS Server is not quite what they were hoping for in terms of functionality, ease-of-use, or ruggedness; despite some goals in these areas.

Fujitsu joins the tiny laptop market

Submitted by Jon on Sun, 02/17/2008 - 10:37

The new Fujitsu LifeBook u810 looks, frankly, a lot like the OLPC.

The OLPC's Stone Soup

Submitted by Jon on Fri, 02/01/2008 - 07:58

Birmingham, Alabama has had possibly the first of many rude awakenings worldwide as they realize that the XOs don't come with an Internet connection included in the price tag:

OLPC Learning Club DC: Tonight!

Submitted by Jon on Thu, 01/31/2008 - 10:51

Provided I can sneak out of work early enough to hit the gym and make it over; I'll be at Greater DC Cares tonight as they host an OLPC Learning Club event, including topics of OLPC laptops for social change, developing content for the OLPC XO and power options and accessories for the XO, as well as (mesh) networking.

I only wish I had my own XO to bring and play with!

Rubber, meet Road...

Submitted by Jon on Thu, 01/31/2008 - 09:01

The original goal for the G1G1 project was hoped to be around 40 million dollars, making for almost 200,000 "get one" laptops -- and they set that goal well; with a final count of $35M and 162,000 laptops donated (and another 162k sent to donors).

Inside the XO-1 Laptop with Bunnie Studios

Submitted by Jon on Thu, 01/17/2008 - 05:32

Bunnie Studios (e.g. Andrew Shane Huang), who just finished his Ph.D at MIT's Project Ares group, has published an insightful review of the hardware design of the XO

A Review of One-to-One Laptop Programs in the USA

Submitted by Jon on Sun, 01/13/2008 - 11:29

Being the geek that I am, I got a copy of Mark Warschauer's latest book, Laptops and Literacy, having been a huge fan of his insightful commentary on the "digital divide" in Technology and Social Inclusion.

You might remember Mark from his New York Times article which he clarified here at OLPCNews, as well as his recent posting of a case study-like look at the Intel Classmate at the Newport Heights Elementary in Newport Beach, California.

Laptops and Literacy Overview

More on Intel and OLPC

Submitted by Jon on Sun, 01/13/2008 - 11:09

Even NextBillion.net has weighed in on the Intel/OLPC divorce and included the full interview with Negroponte, even as Slashdot dredges up last year's "scandal" when some other bloggers found out that Wayan's (former) organization had Intel as a partner, calling OLPCNews an astroturf, Intel-backed anti-OLPC blog.

News Update: Competitors have a hard time partnering

Submitted by Jon on Wed, 01/09/2008 - 16:39

The GeekCulture comic mashes up the OLPC/Intel spat with the well-worn, "heartfelt" Chris Crocker - LEAVE BRITNEY ALONE! video that made the rounds a few months back.

A Halloween Horror Story: Nigeria Buys Replaces Linux with Windows XP on Classmate PCs

Submitted by Jon on Fri, 11/02/2007 - 12:33

Originally published at OLPCNews.com, check there for the comment thread.

Unintended Consequences of the OLPC Give-one-Get-One

Submitted by Jon on Tue, 10/23/2007 - 11:01

Originally published on OLPCNews.

Celebrate LOGO's 40th Birthday

Submitted by Jon on Sat, 10/20/2007 - 11:08

Originally published on OLPCNews

The Logo programming language is 40 years old, writes WIRED. A Logo spiral

The OLPC and the Internet

Submitted by Jon on Wed, 07/18/2007 - 17:42

Michael Bletsas stands ready to defend the OLPC

The bitfrost specification indicates that perhaps some countries may not believe that the unique green branding will protect the laptop from theft: 971 The OLPC project has received very strong requests from certain countries972 considering joining the program to provide a powerful anti-theft service that973 would act as a theft deterrent against most thieves.

Blasts from the Past

Submitted by Jon on Fri, 07/06/2007 - 13:44

Remember our discovery over at OLPCNews.com of the proto-OLPC project in Senegal? Our insightful readers dug even deeper and found some more news articles from the project. To quote the Bard, "What's past is prologue" - there are frighteningly strong parallels between this failed early-80s project and today's OLPC project. I've taken the liberty to do some not-very-creative search and replacing on the article to update it to modern circumstances. You can hover over any text that I've modified to see the original (Firefox users - check out the Long Titles Addon to see the longer pieces of text). Some paragraphs I've dropped for the sake of brevity, but please feel free to read the unadulterated original article, Seymour Papert's 'Microworld': An Educational Utopia, by Charles Euchner. All the emphases are mine, but the text is relatively unadulterated. The majority of the changes were:

  • LOGO becomes Squeak
  • microcomputers and Apple IIs become OLPC laptops
  • French / French companies become Taiwan/Quanta
  • Paris-based World Center for Microprocessors and Human Resources and Microworld become OLPC Project

Let's take the first half of the article, which parallels much of the progress to date with OLPC (emphasis mine):

Seymour Papert's One Laptop Per Child:
An Educational Utopia

Modified by Jon Camfield, original by Charles Euchner
July 18, 2007

OLPC History: Senegalese Failure in Implementation

Submitted by Jon on Fri, 06/08/2007 - 04:00

What does a Senegalese technology implementation project from 1982 have to do with One Laptop Per Child? Well, you might be surprised. At the same time that the French government was launching their successful (but quickly overshadowed by the Internet) Minitel project, they were also supporting a constructivist-based computer-learning project, using Apple II computers with the LOGO programming language/learning tool.

Let's try this again

Submitted by Jon on Thu, 12/28/2006 - 22:07

Here's a scenario. My company, who you'be never heard of before, has just created a revolutionary new car. It will run almost as well as a new "normal" car on just peddle power, it's amazingly cheap, and is a paradigm shift in transit. Even better, you can maintain it yourself, and they won't be stolen because they have a distinctive look to them (kinda like mail trucks).

The true cost of the OLPC

Submitted by Jon on Sat, 12/09/2006 - 13:52

A while back I wrote on the real cost of the OLPC laptop for OLPCNews:

Library Grants, Laptop Gambles

Submitted by Jon on Sat, 11/18/2006 - 11:16

James Surowiecki, author of The Wisdom of Crowds asks the simple question of the OLPC: "Will this laptop save the world?" in MIT's Technology Review.

OLPC Implementation Costs

Submitted by Jon on Tue, 11/14/2006 - 15:43

I'm now writing some OLPC posts for OLPCNews.com; my first post is uncovering some of the hidden costs in OLPC implementation - it turns out that the $100 laptop costs almost 10 times that over the first five years of its implementation once you look at training costs, maintenance, and Internet costs!

A Million Laptop Hangover

Submitted by Jon on Thu, 11/09/2006 - 11:26

Over the next few years, ministers of education worldwide will be waking up from their celebratory launch parties announcing the agreements for the OLPC laptop -- with a hangover of a million laptops sitting on a wharf. What can you do with a million laptops? Hype aside, is there any plan for distribution of the physical boxes, or, more importantly, diffusion of their usage?

OLPC now XO?

Submitted by Jon on Tue, 10/24/2006 - 13:21

There's a developing thread at Engadget about the branding efforts on the OLPC, as well as some argument to its utility. I of course jumped in, responding to someone talking about the value of laptops as a self-help style tool:

...just sending them supplies doesn't solve anything...

"Launch At" ?

Submitted by Jon on Wed, 07/12/2006 - 11:27

Techsoup has a good interview with the Chief Connectivity Officer, Michael Bletsas, of OLPC. Unfortunately, it does nothing to quell my concerns about their deployment strategy. Once I get comments back from my paper exploring the OLPC project from a diffusion theory standpoint, I'll post at least the abstract online, but until then, Bletsas condenses my main point of contention into one paragraph:

OLPC is Linux, after all

Submitted by Jon on Tue, 05/23/2006 - 14:34

1st working model (OLPC)

OLPC redux

Submitted by Jon on Sun, 04/23/2006 - 18:03

The OLPC laptop
is fading for me. Not only is it being a bit vaporware-y, they've dropped the hand-crank, and are planning on running it on WinCE, because Linux is "too bloated".

Excuse me?