Forgot your password?
typodupeerror

OLPC Gets a New Name, New Features 226

Posted by Zonk
from the go-little-laptops-go-and-spread-the-word dept.
pickyouupatnine writes "According to a story on Ars Technica, the $100 MIT Laptop is now going to cost $140. It has a new name — it'll now be called the Children's Machine 1 (CM1). The added price comes with new features! The laptop will now come with a 400 MHz AMD processor, 512 Megs of Flash storage, an SD card slot, mic and headphone jacks, a built in camera, built-in wireless, and an 8-inch LCD at a 1280x900 resolution." From the article: "Tremendous progress has been made this summer on the Sugar user interface system that will be shipped with the CM1. Funded by Google through the Summer of Code (SoC) initiative, intrepid college student Erik Pukinskis has collaborated with the GNOME development community to adapt AbiWord for use with the portable Linux system. Although still experimental, AbiWord has successfully been integrated into the Sugar environment. Artists and developers continue to work on the evolving Sugar interface, and the fruits of their labor can be seen in demoes, mockups, and design reviews."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

OLPC Gets a New Name, New Features

Comments Filter:
  • I can see they finally put some marketing behind the project, "Children's Machine 1" doesn't sound old-fashion and too technical at all...
    • Re:No, try again (Score:5, Interesting)

      by zenhkim (962487) on Friday August 25, 2006 @10:19PM (#15983342) Journal
      > I can see they finally put some marketing behind the project, "Children's Machine 1" doesn't sound old-fashion and too technical at all...

      Actually, I suspect that the new designation is a nod to project member Seymour Papert, who wrote the book "The Children's Machine: Rethinking School in The Age of The Computer" -- in which he argued (back in 1992) that access to computers and online information networks would be crucial in improving our education systems and preparing our younger generations for dealing with a new and rapidly evolving world.
      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by kfg (145172) *
        . . . Seymour Papert, who wrote the book "The Children's Machine: Rethinking School in The Age of The Computer"

        Counter argued by Cliff Stoll in "Silicon Snake Oil."

        KFG
        • Re:No, try again (Score:4, Interesting)

          by Ruff_ilb (769396) on Friday August 25, 2006 @11:12PM (#15983532) Homepage
          Given the serious lack of information in the PP, I thought I'd do some research.

          Clearly, Stoll is FAR behind the times - his book was written more than a decade ago, and he argued that the concept of e-commerce was "baloney." Clearly, our children need to make good use of the internet today, and e-commerce is thriving more than ever (he's apparently abandoned his original stance in favor of selling Klein Bottles on the internet (http://www.kleinbottle.com/)).

          I don't see how it's possible today to argue that our children don't need exposure to computing to succeed.
          • Re:No, try again (Score:5, Interesting)

            by nido (102070) <nido56.yahoo@com> on Saturday August 26, 2006 @12:15AM (#15983744) Homepage
            I don't see how it's possible today to argue that our children don't need exposure to computing to succeed.

            Tacking "computers" onto the existing public school system will certainly prevent most children from ever becoming an expert in the field.

            *ding* "okay class, time to put down your english books. We're going 'learn computers' now."
            50 minutes later:
            *ding* "enough computers, time for History! Let's all get excited about History!"

            (This is Gatto's third lesson [hackvan.com]: indifference. "Nothing important is ever finished in my class, nor in any other class I know of. Students never have a complete experience except on the installment plan.")

            When you say that children need "exposure" to computers, that seems to indicate to me that you think they some kind of formal introduction. My computer learning experiences were a process of discovery; all the computer "lessons" and "classes" I had in the government's schools were mostly worthless. If all they did was "here's a computer, look what I can do with it, have fun" that'd be one thing. But that's NOT how the government "exposes" topics in their child-prisons. First there are lessons, and then there are tests to grade the student's intake of the material. Then the kids who don't care about the topic are put in remedial classes, and thus begins the downward spiral...

            Computers are snake oil, offered by politicians as a fix to the structural problems in their schools. The only fix needed is to restore freedom to the educational process. Let the children pick what they want to learn about, and how they want to learn it.

            • Actually, I learned quite a lot in school, compared to what I manage to learn now. I've been trying for ages to establish a regular routine of learning sessions in my free time (not ALL my free time) again. For stuff like learning languages (or, yes, becoming comfortable with computers), there's nothing like repeated small doses.
              • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

                by Ruff_ilb (769396)
                What the GPP fails to realize, I think, is that MOST people can't intuitively grasp the concepts of computing automatically, like many people on /. can. I've seen many, many people (I volunteer at a nonprofit that gives computers to children who can't afford them, and then teaches them how to use them) who don't understand the most simple of tasks, and thus need education.

                Sure, computer education might be useless for many people, but it is necessary for some.

                Now, I'm not advocating a "Lets all go and learn
            • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

              by Aladrin (926209)
              "Tacking "computers" onto the existing public school system will certainly prevent most children from ever becoming an expert in the field."

              How has additional 'exposure' to something ever prevented someone from learning it? Without computer exposure in schools, children only learn learn what they manage to gather in the little free time they have left after doing their chores and homework. With schooltime exposure, they have that same amount of time plus 50 minutes (your number) in school each day as well
              • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

                by The_Wilschon (782534)

                How has additional 'exposure' to something ever prevented someone from learning it?

                If the "exposure" is poorly done, it can set up a negative reaction to the topic, so that anytime it is mentioned, the person becomes afraid. A whole lot of people react that way to math, and the more math they see, the more they get a mental block set up against it. And I don't trust public schools to manage this "exposure" well. My little sister's high school geometry teacher (in an honors class, too) told them that pro

        • Counter argued by Cliff Stoll in "Silicon Snake Oil."

          Stolls claim to fame was his skill at hooking up DEC line printers to monitor the activities of a german hacker. I didn't see anything in "The cuckoos egg" to suggest an ability to argue issues like this. I think he should stick to astronomy.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by hcob$ (766699)

        Actually, I suspect that the new designation is a nod to project member Seymour Papert, who wrote the book "The Children's Machine: Rethinking School in The Age of The Computer" -- in which he argued (back in 1992) that access to computers and online information networks would be crucial in improving our education systems and preparing our younger generations for dealing with a new and rapidly evolving world.

        Actually, children are better served by a teacher who cares about his/her work and genuinely chall

        • Re:No, try again (Score:5, Informative)

          by zenhkim (962487) on Saturday August 26, 2006 @01:29AM (#15983945) Journal
          > Actually, children are better served by a teacher who cares about his/her work and genuinely challanges them to actually exercise the mass of grey matter that is so devoid of thought in current times.

          Believe it or not, that's one of the important points Papert makes in his book! He decried the typical use of the classroom computer as a mere testtaking machine, or as a means to further solidify the status quo of the school lesson plan. Papert argued that, in addition to acquiring more computers and making them more available to students and teachers alike, schools need to find ways of using computers to *change the teaching process itself*.

          Sadly, Papert also pointed out that such an educational revolution would be met with resistance by none other than the education system itself. To paraphrase the book, the system must protect its own existence, and it seeks to maintain the state of that existence. It will fight any threat to either one until all avenues have been exhausted.

          After all these years, "The Children's Machine" has proven to be uncannily accurate.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Bombula (670389)
        crucial in improving our education systems and preparing our younger generations

        Sounds like he had it right: OUR education sustems and OUR younger generations. But as I understand it, the CM1 is targeting children in developing countries. While that's grand, I'm nevertheless a firm believer that when it comes to a child's development having access to food and water and not dying of diarrhea is more important than having access to a computer.

        I just wish all the big brains at MIT and elsewhere who've put s

  • by FreshMeat-BWG (541411) <bengoodwyn&me,com> on Friday August 25, 2006 @09:57PM (#15983273) Homepage
    With all of the talk of experimental software, college-student-style development efforts, and "evolving" software components that are reported with every story on this laptop, I can't help but imagine the number of security holes that are going to be embedded in these wirelessly connected devices. I don't want to knock any of the developers personally for being young, but I don't mind knocking young software as dangerous.

    Let's assume there is one nice security hole in these laptops... Is there an automatic update system? Is it centrally controlled like Windows Update or since there are supposed to be large numbers of segregated ad-hoc networks is the distribution of these updates going to be peer based?

    How do you prevent making one large botnet powered by a bunch of third-world children turning hand cranks?

    • by frdmfghtr (603968)

      How do you prevent making one large botnet powered by a bunch of third-world children turning hand cranks?

      For some reason, I think that given that particular operating environment, anybody contemplating trying to turn these machines into zombies is really wasting their time. They are likely not going to be turned on long enough at any given point in time where they would be useful.

      Mind you I'm not a network/botnet/zombie guru and I don't pretned to be, this is a gut feeling. I'd be more concerned about

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by 1u3hr (530656)
      How do you prevent making one large botnet powered by a bunch of third-world children turning hand cranks?

      If you'd read any of the stories about the OLPC you'd know the crank was dropped from the design months ago. People keep using that image to stigmatise it. Your "third world" qualification only adds to that odour.

      But to your actual point: I hardly think the laptops will be a threat to you in your first world home. Internet connectivity between the third and first worlds is poor and likely to remain s

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by legoburner (702695)

      How do you prevent making one large botnet powered by a bunch of third-world children turning hand cranks?

      This makes me wonder how the various third-world countries will start treating the various physical problems that come from computers. I bet most people in the target areas are not used to sitting hunched over a screen and there will be bad backs, bad legs (from the foot pedal), bad hands from the mouse and small keyboard, bad eyes from late night computing. Should be interesting in few years after l

    • Debian would have been a much better choice in that regard. Also, it would have been nice to see the kids using systems without a commercial organisation's adverts plastered all over the screen. That said, I'd much prefer to see redhat/fedora on these things to seeing Microsoft stuff on them.
    • How do you prevent making one large botnet powered by a bunch of third-world children turning hand cranks?

      You can do that by using well know software that has yet to power bot nets.

      Let's assume there is one nice security hole in these laptops... Is there an automatic update system? Is it centrally controlled like Windows Update or since there are supposed to be large numbers of segregated ad-hoc networks is the distribution of these updates going to be peer based?

      It will be as easy to update these ma

  • Feature Creep... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by patrixmyth (167599) on Friday August 25, 2006 @09:58PM (#15983278)
    Imagine all you could add for another $50! The rise in price is a terrible idea. There was a lot of symbolic significance to being the $100 laptop. Now, with that barrier broken, it will lose that cachet. If they'd simply followed through on the $100 laptop, they could have added all that and more over time.
    • I thought about that too, but will the BIG AND ROUND number translate over to africa (where the customers are?) 100 bucks can translate to anything from 65,000 click-pops to half a million chits or even 3 hippo skins and a used coke can.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by patrixmyth (167599)
        The reason it translates to Africa is because Africa wasn't likely to be the folks getting the bill. The round number is intended for the Buffetts and Gates who have the big money to spend to invest in Africa.
        • by rolfwind (528248)
          I believe Bill Gates would not support a Linux/*nix oriented laptop and has already derided this project. Warren Buffet is "invested" in Gates' foundation, thus that money would not go there either. It still is 7 laptops for $1000 donation. Where else can you get that deal?

          And this is also having good features now (the 640x480 screen is too small in todays world - websurfing for info) and can go down in price over time.

          Too bad it lost the hand crank in favor of a foot pedal though (handcrank would be 1 w
          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by Firehed (942385)
            But why the hell add in a camera? The only time I use the webcam built into my laptop is with Delicious Library, to scan in barcodes of books and movies I've purchased. It raises the cost, and more likely than not will open up a huge can of worms as far as child porn goes - poor kids with webcams will probably do whatever the hell some creepy rich guy wants if it'll put a month's worth of food on the table.
    • by grozzie2 (698656)
      The reality is the price of the machine isn't really going up, but, the value of the us dollar has taken a beating. In most any other currency, the price remains fixed relative to 2 or 3 years ago, it's only in $US it appears to be rising. This is what happens to the currency of debtor nations, and it turns into an endless spiral, till eventually, no americans can afford the '$100 laptop', simply because thier peso's are worthless.
      • This is what happens to the currency of debtor nations, and it turns into an endless spiral, till eventually, no americans can afford the '$100 laptop', simply because thier peso's are worthless.

        Yes, it's so sad how the people of the US suffer compared to the good ol' days of... of... umm... before the US existed. There has always been a national debt [treas.gov], it is not necessarily a bad thing.

    • by iabervon (1971)
      The target price is $100. It's just more because they don't have all the volume discounts at the production level they're starting with. It's using a number of parts that aren't in current consumer devices; once they've got the volume up, the price of the system will be below $100. They've gone over this with their suppliers already.
    • Re:Feature Creep... (Score:5, Interesting)

      by MBCook (132727) <foobarsoft@foobarsoft.com> on Friday August 25, 2006 @10:50PM (#15983452) Homepage

      Sounds like a good idea to me. While having a headphone jack would be very useful (listen to language lessons without disturbing others, including learning to read software), the microphone jack too (VOIP idea the article posits) is good, and the display upgrade is VERY good (especially on the 'net at large where most websites assume a minimum screen of 1024x768), I think the SD card is the killer feature.

      Before this change, the storage on the machine was fixed. If you wanted to get more storage you would have to plug in an external USB drive (flash, hard drive, CD-RW, whatever). Now with SD cards you can expand the storage in unit, without having a USB key hang off the side of the machine. You can add up to 2 GB (4+ with newer standards) this way. While a 2 GB card is expensive now, it won't always be that way, and smaller cards (say 128 MB) are cheap (if I can get one at a drug store for $17, then people out to be able to get them pretty cheap, especially used). 128MB would be a 25% increase in the system's storage.

      Even 64 MB will hold a TON of text, especially if you compress it.

      I see this as a good thing. Let's not forget that the OLPC was to be sold at a loss (initially). So for all we know the new features increased the cost $100. They may not have increased costs at all and they just want to lose less so they can make more of 'em.

      Hopefully, not only will this help people, some of the ideas will get used in mainstream laptops. If they can do that for $200-$250 (guessing on true cost), then they should be able to make me a nice 1600:900 (or so) LCD that I can view outside, inside, and won't kill a battery really fast. Considering how much power LCDs use (and how unviewable many are in direct sunlight) even a little improvement would go a long way.

      And none of this counts the effecting giving tons of kids something as accessible and hackable as a C64 with the power to surf the 'net, be portable, and have an absolute ton of processing power. Considering what came out of C64 hackers (who had a vastly slower chip, vastly less memory, and no internet to get help from) I bet we will see some amazingly talented people as a result of this program.

      • Hmm... good points. I suspect the SD card though, is for photo transfer, unless someone company managed to worm their add-on products into the system, so they can sell masses of SD cards to schools or something.
      • Let's not forget that the OLPC was to be sold at a loss (initially). So for all we know the new features increased the cost $100.

        It's sold at cost; I doubt MIT or Quanta can afford to lose over $60M on this project. So when they say the price is $140, my understanding is that the parts+manufacturing cost is $140.
    • by kitzilla (266382)
      Don't dispair. By the time CM! finally hits the streets $140 USD will be worth ... well ... about a hundred bucks.
    • by smchris (464899)
      I agree. Another $40 might be a deal breaker for countries like Mali and Chad where $100 is already a lot of money. So it becomes the Asian "Children's Machine". Could be a considerable geo-economic compromise that still leaves most of africa in particular out of the game.
  • by sohp (22984)
    Thinking Machines' CM-1 [wikipedia.org] also came out of MIT. You think they could do better than re-use historic designations.
  • by macshit (157376) <.miles. .at. .gnu.org.> on Friday August 25, 2006 @10:13PM (#15983323) Homepage
    Why on earth is the user interface predominantly neon green (and not just neon green highlights, but vast solid areas of neon green)?!?

    I guess if it's for kids you want a somewhat cheerful and happy looking interface, but it seems a bit excessive. If you're simply going to blind them, why bother including an LCD in the first place?
    • Indeed, that's probably going rather too far, although I like that they are removing decorations.

      Another problems is that LCDs often have problems with colour at high brightness, so those neon-green on white scrollbars might be practically invisible in many situations, e.g. off angle viewing.
  • by Rekolitus (899752) on Friday August 25, 2006 @10:17PM (#15983334)
    Seriously. I have a 14" laptop, and it goes up to 1024x768 (in fact, I've never used anything higher), and they're stuffing 1280x900 on an 8-inch screen?
    • by Doppler00 (534739)
      Since the computer will be running a custom operating system, everything will be scalled to the higher resolution screen. Believe me, this is a GoodThing.
    • by Phroggy (441) *
      This is absolutely the direction we need to be going. More dots per inch = clearer image, if your software isn't too dumb to handle it properly. It's only when your software insists on drawing fonts that are 12 pixels tall that you have a problem.

      Windows and Mac OS X both fail pretty badly. Windows actually tries to work properly, but it's buggy as hell, looks absolutely terrible, and the applications don't support it consistently. The Mac doesn't even try (although it does at least support scaling high
      • by MP3Chuck (652277)
        For whatever it's worth, I think the Windows Presentation Foundation [wikipedia.org] in Vista is supposed to solve that problem.
      • The Mac doesn't even try (although it does at least support scaling high-res icons).


        Quartz has supported resolution-independence since the beginning, and OS X Tiger does scaling through Quartz Debug.
        • but not currently at the level that the users will see and appreciate.

          This *should* have been in Tiger (experimental support for it was, and has been functional, although you're nuts to use it in a production application). It's on track to be included with Leopard, which is a very good thing. I certainly don't mind Microsoft or Apple copying each other on this. We really need higher-resolution screens.

          To those of you who say that small fonts are useless because they're impossible to read, I urge you to g
      • by nxtw (866177)
        as of Vista build 5472, Windows has much improved DPI handling... sort of. The default action for any random app is to simply scale the program to size, which doesn't look too great. I assume it's just a quick flag or attribute change to get Windows to render the program as it wants to. Both Opera and Gaim were scaled, but after turning off DPI scaling in the Compatibility settings for both, they rendered at the higher DPIs just fine. The OS itself looks great at high DPI.
    • It might be for the same reason I've got my 17" CRT at its max resolution of 1400x1050: font DPI. Instead of having the fonts at 75 or 96 DPI, I've got it all at my monitor's EDID-specified optimum of 111 DPI, which means that there are more pixels per length which can be used for better anti-aliasing etc.
  • by virchull (963203) on Friday August 25, 2006 @10:20PM (#15983345)
    Whenever a posting about the "$100 laptop" goes up, there is a flood of techno-elitist criticism on this board - like the CPU can't be overclocked. Who cares? The culture of these comments is elitism and xenophobia at its worst. Who cares if there is some waste / inefficiency / lack of elegance in the program. If it changes the lives of a few thousand kids, it is worth it. Take a look at programs where governments (pick your favorite, or not so favorite one) spend billions of dollars a day and have little chance of positive impact on poor kids in remote locations.

    Get up out of your server log, or your WOW game and take a look at real life in remote places. If you don't like what you see in the "$100 laptop" program, stop whining and start doing something about it. They have a website. Go contact them to help.
    • Calm down. Wanting to overclock the CPU isn't "elitism" or "xenophobia." It's people wanting even more options for those who are buying these machines.
  • by gklinger (571901) on Friday August 25, 2006 @10:21PM (#15983348)
    I think the CM1 is pretty cool and I wouldn't mind having one to fool around with and I suspect I'm not the only one. What they should do is sell individual units for $200 to people in developed countries. The could put the extra $60 towads subsidizing the cost of a unit sold to developing nations so the price will remain $100 and the extra $20 could go to the One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) program to help cover administrative costs and development of future equipment. While more advanced computers are available, often for very little money, I would buy one to give to my young niece (think baby's first computer). I suppose the OLPC could sell quite a few to developed nations for use with very young children. Having their own computer would be a source of pride and would teach responsibility and the educational possibilities are as wide open in the developed world as they are in the third world. This project is wonderful and I applaud everyone involved.
    • People have been saying this since this project was announced and yet these clowns still haven't gotten the picture. I'd love to have one of these things to fuck around with, and like you I'd be willing to pay a little extra to subsidize the whole thing since it seems like a good cause. And yet the OLPC people keep saying "not fucking happening". You've got to wonder if there is something wrong with these people.
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Aqws (932918)
      Here's a quote from their wiki: "Will OLPC spin-off a commercial subsidiary? The idea is that a commercial subsidiary could manufacture and sell a variation of the OLPC in the developed world. These units would be marked up so that there would be a significant profit which can be plowed into providing more units in countries who cannot afford the full cost of one million machines. The discussions around this have talked about a retail price of 3× the cost price of the units. "
    • by DrXym (126579)
      Exactly, except I'd buy two. One for the kid, and one for me. The CM1 / OLPC would be a sweet, sweet machine for anyone who needs mobile computing but not the inconvenience of lugging around cables, laptops, cases, cds etc. This thing is so small and rugged that you could toss it into a backback, use it on the beach, take it to the coffee shop etc. A touchpad, keyboard, speakers, mic, USB, screen make it far more useful than a pocket pc for wireless internet but its nowhere near as expensive or fragile as a
  • So my kids would love for me to get one or two, knowing that we would also be buying them for kids in underpriveledged nations. But, I am not buying my kids in this country a computer with a built-in webcam. [nytimes.com]
  • by rm999 (775449) on Friday August 25, 2006 @10:23PM (#15983355)
    "8-inch LCD at a 1280x900 resolution."

    That is in monochrome, specifically for displaying ebooks. The color LCD is supposedly a quarter of this resolution (according to wikipedia), likely because each color pixel is made up of 4 color components (according to wikipedia it may be a RG-GB config). So, in monochrome mode, the color filter is somehow removed and each of those 4 components can create their own monochrome pixel.
  • by voss (52565) on Friday August 25, 2006 @10:24PM (#15983359)
    Seriously,

    In trying to make a laptop for the third world, they might have stumbled
    upon an amazing breakthrough product. Is it possible they might have
    accidentally stumbled on the Commodore 64 of laptops? Even at $199
    Id buy my nephew one.
  • an SD card slot, mic and headphone jacks, a built in camera, built-in wireless, and an 8-inch LCD at a 1280x900 resolution."

    I feel sad. My box not only lacks the former, my resolution is lower than the latter :/
  • Otherwise they might end making and distributing a bunch of them only to leave kids and teachers wondering exactly how they're supposed to use them.
  • ... childhood obesity, couldn't they come up with a better idea than giving kids 'Sugar'?
  • by Millenniumman (924859) on Friday August 25, 2006 @11:20PM (#15983558)
    This computer has a very low power processor (although it is good enough for what it is for), and poor storage (512MB is insufficient, even for this computers purposes), and yet it has a camera (How do you store the pictures?), and a high resolution screen (1280x900, 8 inches). Why not put on a cheap screen and add a reasonable amount of storage, and probably still end up lower priced?
    • by Abcd1234 (188840)
      Umm, these things aren't supposed to be used to play WoW or download MP3s. They're supposed to be used as a learning and communications tool. You know, browsing the web, chatting, writing documents, that sort of thing. WTF do they need a multi-ghz processor and a tonne of storage for?

    • by Vellmont (569020)

      (512MB is insufficient, even for this computers purposes)

      Why? I think you can very easily fit enough into 512MB of flash ram to have a web-browser, word processor, chat, e-book reader, and several e-books. What's the purpose you envision where 512MB of storage isn't enough?

      Why not put on a cheap screen and add a reasonable amount of storage, and probably still end up lower priced?

      Because it's supposed to be mostly for reading text, and it's also supposed to be cheap. The high resolution is only in monoch
  • by pair-a-noyd (594371) on Friday August 25, 2006 @11:23PM (#15983568)
    CRM 114 instead
  • I would like to call Slashdot's attention to several design elements of this laptop which most coverage has overlooked:

    1. The laptop will carry Esperanto teaching utilities [laptop.org] .
    2. The laptop will include an Office Assistant [laptop.org] sort of creature which was, quote, "inspired by the Tamagotchi toys, and its purpose is to allow kids to interact with the control of the computer in a simple and fun way". The assistant is named "Amiko" because that is Esperanto for "friend".
    3. The laptop will have its own UI, unlike a
    • by westlake (615356)
      The laptop will carry Esperanto teaching utilities

      Tell me how Esperanto, insignificant in world trade and commerce, the arts and sciences, gives third-world kids a leg-up in a world where English is the first or second language of two billion people.

  • my laptop's screen isn't this good:

    "has higher resolution than 95 percent of the laptop displays on the market today, approximately one-seventh of the power consumption, one-third of the price, sunlight readability, and room-light readability with the backlight off."
  • ...and if you pay $400, you can get a dell with a 15" screen, and decent storage.

    Seriously, 1280x1024 on an 8-inch screen? And a web-cam? What the hell are these guys trying to do? Scare people away from computers? Or, I'm sorry, "children's machines'"?
    • Yes, for three times the price you can get a Dell that's entirely USELESS when it only lasts for 2 hours per charge and you only have access to electricity once a week or so (not to mention the fact that a Dell is not even slightly rugged)...

      • by gnu-sucks (561404)
        Or you could get a computer powered by hand-crank that is also entirely useless.

        The same technology that is going into these laptops, likely nothing more than low-voltage input inverters, could be applied to any situation.

        I just don't see anything so great about a 400mhz cpu and how much storage?

        • I think you're missing my point. A $400 Dell with a 15" display is probably going to use about 20-50 watts of power, depending on load. The OLPC device is being designed to use something on the order of one (1) watt.

          Also, the OLPC device is designed to be rugged -- water resistant, shock resistant, etc. Dell doesn't even make rugged laptops AFAIK, and besides that making something equivalent in specs to your 15" Dell that would actually survive for more than a week in the dusty or wet outdoor environment t

  • This is going to be a standard by which a 3rd world nation sees computers. If any self respecting geek wants to make a difference in the impoverished 3rd world, he should write some free software for this machine. I myself may write code for this machine. They should do something like this in the United States, where kids get a laptop instead of books. It'd be a revolution. You could even gauge which software teaches best by the test scores.
  • by hcob$ (766699) on Saturday August 26, 2006 @12:16AM (#15983749)
    Simply put... Better Education != More Technology

    The solution to education is that we elevate it to status that it deserves. Talk to many successfull people, and I'd wager that they could point to less than five (5) teachers that made a difference in their life and learning. Our Education system has these major ERRORS in it's design.

    1.) Grade school is focused on churning out people who meet an arbitrary number on college entrance exams

    2.) College is focused on churning out as many BS students as possible.

    3.) It's too easy to get a teaching certificate

    3.) ALL CLASSROOM TEACHERS ARE PAID TOO LITTLE

    Solve problems 1, 2, and alter those to focus on critical thinking and you'll see a major difference in our children. Solve problem 3, 4, and we will never have to speak about teacher shortages again.
    • by miro f (944325)
      I don't recall the part of the plan where they send these laptops to college students in USA...
    • I don't know about you, but learning to use and program computers has greatly improved my critical thinking skills.

      Of course, by that I don't mean using computers to write reports and stuff, like they're typically used in schools in the US -- that's just a waste. I mean that the inherent process of discovery that's involved in learning (on your own) to use a computer is actually incredibly valuable.

      It might sound counter-intuitive, but I think the best success they could have with these laptops would be i

  • Er, am I the only one missing the distinction between "New Sugar Interface" and "GNOME Desktop" ????
    • Probably not the only one, but it's fairly easy to see if you make sure you are actually looking at Sugar screenshot (hint: it's all tabbed) instead of the picture of the prototype (which ran Fedora and GNOME last time I looked).
  • by aCC (10513) *
    According to a story on Ars Technica, the $100 MIT Laptop is now going to cost $140.

    This makes it sound like they will sell it for that price. I looked long and hard to find where it say that. It's still called 100$ laptop everywhere official. It turns out that estimates (!) put the production costs at 138$. They will still sell it for 100$.

    Man, and I hate these arrogant people of the "first" world who know how to improve the world so much better from watching tv or reading the internet. How come there are
  • I'm getting tired (Score:5, Insightful)

    by suv4x4 (956391) on Saturday August 26, 2006 @05:19AM (#15984252)
    I've been a hot fan of this project. But they keep changing it and delivering nothing in "real world" (i.e. actual production and selling it) and I'm getting tired of all the hype that proves wrong in the aftermath.

    will have crank to power it up!
    ok now it won't have crank
    will look like a normal laptop!
    ok now it'll look like a laptop-cross-lolipop.
    it'll be $100!
    ok now it won't be.

    I expect this to progress in future until it ends up as a perfect clone feature/price-wise of a Dell laptop.
    They should've discussed and tested all this stuff in private before thew blew the horns, again and again and again and again.
  • Can't they just use the standard Fedora GUI--why another GUI? Too much re-learning and too much time spent on redesigning something that is already and will continue to go under heavy development.

    Besides, does the video card support XGL? :)

    -m
    • This laptop is specifically for people who otherwise would not have access to a computer. I don't think many of them will have an issue learning "another GUI" because in all likelyhood this will be their first.
  • u can go to bestbuy/circuit/etc and buy a decent laptop for 3-400 bucks. idont know what the markup is, bu the implication is that a laptop costs ~ 200 dollars to make, with ms os
    so if some moderately wealthy person in india or korea or whatever actually gave a flying f*ck about anyone in the thrid world, they could order a years run of last years hardware, and ship a million pc at probably way under 100 bucks

    and we all know about new non standard stuff: it never works
    why shd the cm1 be anydifferent ?

    there

Swap read error. You lose your mind.

Working...