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Open Source

OLPC Wins Popular Science Award 74

Posted by Zonk
from the little-puter-that-could dept.
paulmac84 writes "Popular Science has released their Best of What's New 2006 awards. In the computing section the One Laptop Per Child project took home the Grand Prize. From the article: 'The goal of the XO is simple and noble: to give every child a laptop, especially in developing countries, where the machines will be sold in bulk for about $130 apiece. But the One Laptop Per Child nonprofit, formed at MIT, didn't just create a cheap computer. In addition to cutting costs — by designing lower-priced circuitry and using an open-source operating system, among other things — it also improved on the standard laptop by slashing the machine's energy use by 90 percent, ideal for a device that could be charged by hand-cranked power in rural villages.' The Innovation of The Year Award went to 'the alpha nail that makes your home twice as tough'. Sometimes the simple ideas really are the best."
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OLPC Wins Popular Science Award

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  • It'd be nice to see some of the cost cutting ideas carry over to computers sold over here; I'm by no means poor enough or remote enough (or young enough for that matter) to qualify for olpc, but at the same time, the idea of sufficiently upgrading my current system has been well outside my grasp for some time now.
    • the idea of sufficiently upgrading my current system has been well outside my grasp for some time now.

      The OLPC are very low end laptops, not remotely like a full featured one.

      They serve a minimal purpose, they are just a first step.

      You might read the specs and find the PC your using is better than a OLPC unit.

      http://wiki.laptop.org/go/Hardware_specification [laptop.org]

      On another note to get PC parts cheap, you might hit Ebay.com and www.pricewatch.com
  • ... looks a lot like that (c) [maxbahr.de] Colornagel.

    CC.
    • by FatAlb3rt (533682)
      You mean a ring shank nail? You're right, nothing new there. RTFA to see the other features (max dia middle, twisted top, larger head) and why they're important.
  • .. writes a furious letter to Popular Science, complaining that this is giving children access to violent video games and that he's personally go round to each child's house and stomp on their laptops?
    • Sounds like something he'd do, not bothering to do enough research to see that Linux doesn't support "games"
  • Are these laptops edible? Do they come with anti-theft protection?
    • by int19h (156487)
      If you keep feeding a person, do you really help that person and yourself in the long run?
      OLPC is a great supplement to helping developing nations. They are not edible, but over time they might be helpful in putting food on a few tables.
  • by Kuciwalker (891651) on Saturday November 11, 2006 @04:45AM (#16803598)
    I understand and agree with the point that many of the places where these are going already have fresh water, food, etc. and investments in education are absolutely critical to their growth. But how are laptops really going to help at all? Computers are magical educational devices. You need good teachers for computers to be effective at all in the classroom. I don't know how much training teachers in these countries have using computers as educational tools. And then, why not just have a few shared computers? I don't think there's a single Western country that even approaches one laptop per child, and that's because they aren't the alpha and omega of education like some think them to be.
    • by MichaelSmith (789609) on Saturday November 11, 2006 @06:08AM (#16803826) Homepage Journal
      Computers are magical educational devices. You need good teachers for computers to be effective at all in the classroom. I don't know how much training teachers in these countries have using computers as educational tools

      Firstly young kids are amazingly tech savvy. Secondly the most important use case for this laptop is as an electronic book reader. In an environment where paper text books the ability to share electronic copies of reference material is very valuable.

      In any event, we will know how this went in a year or two. I can't wait to find out how it goes.

    • by Miseph (979059)
      I would imagine that it takes them about as long to be useful for all those things as it took the industrialized nations. Possibly less.

      As it currently stands, there are already people who have used and know computers, just very few of them, and their job opportunities are limited by their general lack. Once these start coming into use, the population segment that is most tech savvy (many children, some adults, pretty much anyone who is already familiar with computers) will start developing its own inf
    • But how are laptops really going to help at all?

      Have you ever sat down in front of your computer by yourself
      and gone online and learned something ?

      I think the best lesson is teaching ppl to teach themselves,
      until recently that required shipping tons of books all
      over the planet and cutting down entire forests.

      Also understand this is not the final version/incarnation of OLPC,
      better things are to come, this is in truth just phase 1.

      Wifi via stratosphere based solar powered balloon platforms may be next, etc et
  • From second TFA: finally, a tape that no hooker can break!

    Sorry, I saw Borat tonight, I'm a little punchy.
  • Funny how these 100$ systems don't seem like the type to take tons of time loading. I remember 13 years ago watching Doom II install on a mac and take an hour and half more or less. With what a person who has never done computing might do it'd seem blazing fast and like a movie.
  • Yes, Children need housing, food, water, medical care, parenting, etc.

    Nobody has ever argued against this.

    But children also need an education.

    They need it, their communities need for them to be educated, as a global society we need them to be educated.

    Furthermore, not all developing nation children are starving refugees in camps. Many are rural children living in stable housing, going to school part of the time. Or urban children in comparable circumstances, with water & food but facing little up

    • by Anonymous Coward
      The children of Massachusetts need food, clean water, and shelter before they need $100 laptops! Many children on the mean streets of Wellesley, MA die of starvation or exposure every day, or join local warlords as child soldiers so they can get a few scraps to feed themselves. How are these laptops going to help them?

      -A MA resident
  • The Innovation of The Year Award went to 'the alpha nail that makes your home twice as tough'. Sometimes the simple ideas really are the best."

    Yes, simple ideas are best... LIKE USING SCREWS INSTEAD OF NAILS.

    You'd think for hundreds of thousands of dollars, construction companies would spend one second longer to actually make your house hold together... But no.

    Tell all the libertarians, this is their system (no goverment forcing them to improve safety/quality), at it's best.

  • http://wiki.laptop.org/go/Image:EToys_-_new_displa y.jpg

    Logging in and running X (or equivalent) as root.

  • Obviously if they have electricity to charge and use the laptops they are gonna have Water. Most of you people think most 3rd world countries dont have food/water. Well they do, or they would be dead. You got this image in your head from what they feed you on TV. Donate to X chartiy to save Y kids from dying due to lack of water. Im not saying that everyone does have access to clean water. But im sure if they have televisions and microwave ovens then they got water. The next step is to boost these kids

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