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Education Hardware Technology

Kids Review the OLPC 193

Posted by kdawson
from the mouths-of-babes dept.
A. N. Onymous sends us to OLPCNews for an account of kids' reactions to the OLPC XO, and comments: "My first impression is, it's just like when you give a kid a box of Lego." The video of a 10-year-old and his younger sister replacing a mobo is pretty cool.
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Kids Review the OLPC

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  • Neato! (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 14, 2007 @12:29AM (#20221199)
    My first impression is, it's just like when you give a kid a box of Lego

    "These computers sure make a cool fort!"
    • You rich kids must have recieved HUGE lego boxes!
    • by tonsofpcs (687961)
      No, it's "Dude, check out the box" with the parents going: "oh, cool, check this out, this toy really is cool"

      PS: I want one :(
    • by raddan (519638)
      No, it's more like, "WTF? AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAGH!!!" when you step on a stray piece, barefoot, first thing in the morning. My parents must have been angels to have given my brother and I so many tiny, sharp toys.
    • > A. N. Onymous sends us to OLPCNews for an account of kids' reactions to the OLPC XO

      Do I really have to RTFA to figure out WTF this is trying to tell me? IIRC, the OP should actively RTFA and make decoding TLAs a little more fun than being on the receiving end of a DVDA.
  • Amazing concept (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Lord Artemis (1141381) on Tuesday August 14, 2007 @12:35AM (#20221243)
    Just the fact that a couple of young kids can change a mobo in a laptop, something that most adults (or even many of the computer literate) are either unable to do or shy away from doing, is something to be said for this project.
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by psychicsword (1036852) *
      When I was 10 all I could do is take apart my remote control car, get shocked by and old TV that I took apart, and wish I had a computer to mess with. I can't wait to see how this changes the world.
      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by Hal_Porter (817932)
        Can't you die from the voltages inside a colour TV?

        I remember reading a long time ago that contact with the back of a colour TV tube was "invariably fatal". Mind you from your experience and a bit of Googling maybe they were just being overly cautious -

        http://www.repairfaq.org/REPAIR/F_safety.html [repairfaq.org]
        "TVs and monitors may have up to 35 KV on the CRT but the current is low - a couple of milliamps. However, the CRT capacitance can hold a painful charge for a long time. "

        Elsewhere they mention that if you add a c
        • If you add a capacitor? The tube itself is the capacitor - that's what the DAG coating (the black stuff on the outside) is for. That's why the tube holds a charge - because it's essentially a big leyden jar.

        • by SgtXaos (157101)

          I remember reading a long time ago that contact with the back of a colour TV tube was "invariably fatal". Mind you from your experience and a bit of Googling maybe they were just being overly cautious -


          I can tell you that is false. It could be fatal, I suppose, but having had my share of second-anode contact, I dispute the "invariability" of that consequence. :)

          It invariably isn't much fun, most certainly!
        • by kestasjk (933987)
          The CRT is like one big capacitor in itself. Those "Danger, high voltage, etc" signs aren't there to make it look cool.

          I've taken apart an old computer monitor (I was ~16), and stupidly took the CRT out and cut the flyback's wires from the CRT (without discharging it, luckily it had been off for a long timeand I was using an insulating knife) and plugged it back in. If you put the flyback's main wire anywhere near its other wires you'd get a continuous arc over a few centimeters, and in the dark you coul
    • Re:Amazing concept (Score:4, Insightful)

      by DogDude (805747) on Tuesday August 14, 2007 @12:54AM (#20221379) Homepage
      I don't see how replacing a motherboard is in any way, shape, or form a useful skill for anybody who is not a screwdriver monkey in a local PC shop. Now, if this thing taught kids to repair two-stroke engines, or basic agriculture, that would be impressive (and useful).
      • Re:Amazing concept (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Relic of the Future (118669) <dales@NOsPaM.digitalfreaks.org> on Tuesday August 14, 2007 @01:00AM (#20221407)
        How is two-stroke engine repair any more usefull than electronics repair? Sorry grampa; we'll try to keep the kids off your lawn.
        • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

          by Anonymous Coward
          Are you ignorant or just stupid?
          How about to pump water, the basic necessity of life? Or running a generator for electricity? Without electricity your day is basically over as soon as the sun sets. How about for a small tractor to aid in farming the land? Etc, etc, etc...........
          • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

            by LingNoi (1066278)
            Wow you must be a rich, big fat American idiot.

            Not all poor people are dumb farmers that live in mud huts located in the middle of no where.

            Bangkok has many poor people and they have power and food but no education. Even in the country side people don't live in mud huts with no electricity. Only first world morons like yourself think and talk about this crap with no idea what they're blabbering on about. KEEP THE POOR, POOR. Well, sorry asshole I beg to differ.

            I have personally donated money numerous time t
        • Re:Amazing concept (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Short Circuit (52384) <mikemol@gmail.com> on Tuesday August 14, 2007 @01:37AM (#20221575) Homepage Journal

          How is two-stroke engine repair any more usefull than electronics repair?
          In an agrarian culture, a two-stroke engine can perform useful work.

          Frankly, though, I like OLPC. While I'm not sure it will benefit poor African children much more than giving laptops to middle-schoolers in Seattle, it will still provide some benefits to its target demographic.

          Better still, for me, it's inspired tech companies to design similar devices for rich countries, meaning I might have a competent, cheap mobile platform in my future.

          • Re:Amazing concept (Score:5, Informative)

            by mrvan (973822) on Tuesday August 14, 2007 @03:56AM (#20222195)
            Hey, and at least they can now look up on the internet how to repair a two stroke engine!
          • "In an agrarian culture, a two-stroke engine can perform useful work."

            So, I guess obtaining the two-stroke engine's manual isn't usefull.

          • by Moraelin (679338) on Tuesday August 14, 2007 @11:23AM (#20225239) Journal
            Please don't take this as an offense, but you seem to have a rather inaccurate idea of how the third world works. Especially if you think you need to teach them basic agriculture, or how a two-stroke engine works. They know that. What they lack is, in no particular order:

            1. Money. In the modern world, everything costs money, including getting water for irrigation, spare parts for those tractors, etc. And this is the root of all the evil that follows in this list.

            2. An industry to support that agriculture. Just knowing how an internal combustion engine works, doesn't mean that you can just get a hammer and an anvil and make a tractor in a village smithy. Until this problem is solved, their agriculture is a case of either (A) inefficiently doing it by hand, or (B) importing expensive foreign tractors and spare parts, and see #1: that's money they just don't have.

            3. A market where they can get that much needed money for their produce. And not just "market" as in selling it in the next city, but some kind of _export_ market, because you can't import much without exporting the equivalent. If you want to import something that costs US Dollars or Euro, you have to first sell something for US Dollars or Euro. Or you can take a loan, but then you're soon back to square one: you have to export something for US Dollars or Euro to pay it back.

            But there they compete with the _massively_ subsidized EU and USA agricultural exports. And they lose.

            It's as simple as that: if you and I make the same product, but the government subsidizes more than half the price of mine, you _will_ lose. That is their problem.

            4. Some source of credit without all sorts of strings attached. A lot of "foreign aid" or "loans" actually come with strings attached, like "you must use that money to buy grain from the USA" or "you must use that money to buy trucks from Germany." (But when they break down, heh, you better have your own money to buy spare parts with.) Unfortunately while that may relieve a famine in the short run, in the long run it also just does even more to bankrupt the local farms and industry respectively.

            5. An infrastructure. You can't have a modern agriculture without water pumps for irrigation, roads, silos, fuel pumps for the trucks and tractors, electricity, etc. And that's just infrastructure they don't have. In some cases they don't even have clean water for drinking, much less water for irrigation. And don't have the money to build an infrastructure.

            6. In some cases, they don't have competent or honest politicians either. A lot of economies are run into the ground not because they don't know what an engine is, but because they're run by an incompetent, corrupt, kleptocratic clique.

            Basically their main problem is that they're too poor, not that some white man has to come and teach them basic agriculture.

            It's damn near impossible to start from zero and industrialize by your own efforts any more. It's a vicious circle: as long as you don't have high-tech stuff to export for the big bucks, you can't buy the machine tools and know-how to get even your basic industry started. Raw material and agricultural products are so damn cheap that you simply can't export enough of them to get some serious industrialization going.

            Stalin did industrialize the USSR in the 30's... by starving a few million peasants (a lot of them Ukrainians) to death. Literally to death. That was the only way to export enough grain to be able to buy all the machine tools and blueprints he needed to start a serious industry.

            Not only that kind of a solution isn't practicable in most countries, the problem just got much worse in the meantime too.

            So, anyway, ironically giving them some computer skills may actually do them a hell of a lot more good than trying to teach them basic agriculture (which they already know.) If they can at least work offshore tech support, or assemble computers in a sweatshop, they and their country might even get _some_ dollars out of that. And, who knows, maybe get at least started on building the industry and infrastructure. The agriculture will follow.
            • I'm widely travelled (for an American :-> ) having spent a good deal of time in Europe, Africa, and Central America. My take (of course, this is just from my personal experience) is that government corruption and an inability to implement the rule of law is behind a lot of the problems non-industrial countries face.

              The economic friction caused by having to bribe the city police, the port inspector, and the cargo handlers can make small-scale export unprofitable. Or, if you look at the example of Zimbabwe
              • I'll largely agree with your assessment of the situation in the kleptocracies. It is that bad, and worse. Very insightful indeed.

                I don't really know if it's just culture, or just the same humans in very different circumstances, though. I'd like to be able to chest-thump and say "we're richer because our culture had better values", but looking around me, I think humans are humans everywhere.

                Largely any country's or human group' actions, I think, are dictated by what works well. Whether it's camping in video
              • A few counterpoints. First, corruption in many African countries is on par with that of many of the Middle East states we consider allies. China (our biggest trading partner) is only incrementally better. Transparency International [transparency.org] has some interesting statistics.

                It's also important to remember that corruption is often as much a product of a poor economy as it is a cause. Your country needs a police force, but your government doesn't have the money to pay them. It may make sense to look the other way w
          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            In an agrarian culture, a two-stroke engine can perform useful work.

            Suppose you live in an agrarian culture. You probably can't afford a two stroke engine, but even assuming you have one and can keep it running, you can't make much of a living. You see, the US subsidizes their farmers to produce a surplus, and they do so pretty cheaply since they have the money to invest in technology to start with, decreasing the overall cost. That American (and other first world) is too cheap for you to compete with so you, like most of your neighbors, are forced to give up farming and

      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward
        You shouldn't look at taking a motherboard apart as a skill that can be utilized in the future, but rather something that gives a child inspiration to do what they love, and learn exciting new things without any type of fear or hesitation.
      • Re:Amazing concept (Score:5, Insightful)

        by i_b_don (1049110) on Tuesday August 14, 2007 @02:10AM (#20221737)
        I think this is really a "teach a person to fish" type of thing. Sure it's a computer... how useful is a computer in an agriculture society... now add an internet connection and wow, how fucken useful is that!? I bet there are plenty of good websites that show you how to repair a two-stroke engine... I even bet the "internets" are pretty good darn good and educating you on many more basic and extremely useful things.

        Of course we all know it'll probably be mostly used for pr0n, but that's just a good hook to get kids online and techno-literate. And it's not like you coculdn't say the same thing about us when we were kids....

        d
        • by sqrt(2) (786011)

          And it's not like you coculdn't say the same thing about us when we were kids....
          You can probably still say that about a lot of us now.
        • There is some nice research showing that easy access to pornography reduces the incidence of rape and violence, so that is also a blessing in any rural society.
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by SolitaryMan (538416)

        I don't see how replacing a motherboard is in any way, shape, or form a useful skill for anybody who is not a screwdriver monkey in a local PC shop.

        You can't do this, can you?

        • I can and have done so a few times. And I agree with GP. Did you have a point to make (other than insulting GP)?
      • Re:Amazing concept (Score:5, Insightful)

        by localman (111171) on Tuesday August 14, 2007 @04:24AM (#20222289) Homepage
        Having just spent some time working with computers in a third world country, here's my take: if you buy into the idea that the computers are good things, then self repair is good. In these environments I've seen that component breakdowns are very common. I sure replaced a lot of motherboards at the schools I was working in. The biggest problem that I saw was not getting computers to the people, it was educating them on how to use them and keep them running.

        From another angle, when the kids saw me replacing motherboards, several of them were fascinated. One of the older kids learned how to do it just because he wanted to, and helped us out for several weeks. Now, I'll admit that it is seems a useless skill, but that's only if you consider learning and enjoyment for its own sake to be useless. No, he won't likely be able to monetize the skill, but honestly he'll be lucky if he can monetize anything. So why not enjoy life in the meantime? And any brain exercise is good for these kids, as it sharpens the mind. There are geeks over there too -- they just don't have access to the stuff we do.

        Cheers.
        • Re:Amazing concept (Score:4, Insightful)

          by myvirtualid (851756) <pwwnow.gmail@com> on Tuesday August 14, 2007 @08:28AM (#20223317) Journal

          One of the older kids learned how to do it just because he wanted to.... Now, I'll admit that it is seems a useless skill....

          In the long run, possibly about as useless as writing a 386 kernel just for the fun of it.

          Nope, nothing good ever came of doing tech for the sake of loving tech.

          Mod parent up,

          pww

        • Re:Amazing concept (Score:4, Insightful)

          by pimpimpim (811140) on Tuesday August 14, 2007 @08:40AM (#20223421)
          Keeping a computer running is an impossibility for almost all people. A friend of mine had a driver for a laptop that stopped working in XP. To exactly find out what the problem was and where to get the driver, I needed about an hour. And windows XP is one of the most serviceable OS-es around (high availability of drivers, many forums with help, etc.). Actually I am fed up with it. I've been looking at the asus EEE-PC which comes with a linux OS that seems to interact like a PDA. In the view movies available you can see that there are buttons for 'write' 'e-mail' 'internet' and that the likes. Well, for 99% of what I am doing, I just want that. For 100% of what my mother would do, that would be enough. I am looking forward to get one, if it is as simple as it looks, I'll get one for my mother too.

          Why? Because at the moment my mother will not use a computer, because almost every other action you do you will get a pop-up, asking you to decide on a technical question, with lots of choices. If you are not computer literate, this is a HUGE barrier to start. And what's up with the clicking. Sometimes you right-click, sometimes you left-click, sometimes you have to double click, sometimes you have to hold the button pressed. My mother asked me when you have to double-click and when not. Say, in the start menu, one click will be enough to start an application. But on the desktop, you'll have to double-click.

          I hope the OPLC will be a bit like that, removing the non-obvious computer behavior that has settled itself into almost every desktop GUI around. As for your example about the kid, he was doing something technical, working with foreigners, getting used to the kind of work that is done with computers. Those skills start you up and get you somewhere. As a 16 year old I brought the newspaper around, how is that for a useless skill? But you learn how to deal with angry costumers, get responsibility (early starts!), and lots of things you add to your the luggage that make you who you are.

          • by CastrTroy (595695)
            Actually, the only things that require double click, as far as i'm aware, are the file icons on your desktop/explorer. I think everything else is double click. I think there's an option somewhere that lets you enable opening files with a single click. Once that's enabled, there should be no double clicking required. Also, if unsure, you can just single click, and when nothing happens, then double click.
          • Why? Because at the moment my mother will not use a computer, because almost every other action you do you will get a pop-up, asking you to decide on a technical question, with lots of choices. If you are not computer literate, this is a HUGE barrier to start. And what's up with the clicking. Sometimes you right-click, sometimes you left-click, sometimes you have to double click, sometimes you have to hold the button pressed. My mother asked me when you have to double-click and when not. Say, in the start m

            • by pimpimpim (811140)
              I use linux at work. At some point one mount partition was changed by the admins (not even the $HOME), which rendered openoffice and many other programs (amarok) unusable. I can not even play a cd on the dual core intel machine now!!! Probably I have to put on nolock in the /etc/fstab or whatever to get it working again. How is this easy to configure??? And why should it happen in the first place. Sorry, I really like Linux, I use it every day, and it's much better now than it was before, but it's still a h
        • And this doesn't just go for computer equipment either, there is a british motorbike charity that raises money and volunteers to go out to Africa and train people to use, ride and maintain motorbikes as they had noticed that many aid organisations provide motorbikes to the third world, but without any training they soon end up on the scrap heap when they break.
      • Re:Amazing concept (Score:5, Insightful)

        by pimpimpim (811140) on Tuesday August 14, 2007 @05:49AM (#20222591)
        Do you have any clue how things happen in 90% of the world? You don't pay someone $100 per hour to repair for you, you do it yourself. Why are the still so many 80's versions of the Toyota Landcruiser around? Because you can repair them without high-tech equipment. Ideally the OPLC will be around a lot, and if there is one with a broken screen, and one with a broken motherboard, you can make one working laptop out of these two without having to send it somewhere or ask a repair shop. That is one laptop saved, a lot of money saved, and one family more that can write letters, have access to all the information on the internet, etc. This are small steps with huge implications, and that is what makes the world go round.
        • by CastrTroy (595695)
          However, just as counterexample, my father visits Greece often to visit his wife's family. They are amazed at how well he knows how to fix things. According to him, the people there have no idea how to fix anything by themselves. Even finding anybody with tools is often difficult. When they see him doing plumbing or electrical work, it's like watching David Blaine perform magic tricks. It's not just North Americans (I'm from Canada) who take everything in for a repair. Many people in other countries d
        • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

          by wvmarle (1070040)

          Do you have any clue how things happen in 90% of the world? You don't pay someone $100 per hour to repair for you, you do it yourself.

          Remember that 90% of the world is NOT the US of A. I live in one of the most developed countries in Asia, Hong Kong, and we commonly pay people to fix things. From changing lamps (not the bulb, but the fitting) to doing the wallpaper and fixing your toilet and hinges in your kitchen door. DIY is barely heard of. And we pay roughly HK$50 per hour (about US$5). Computers I do myself of course but then that's my hobby.

          About half of the world (India 1 bln, China 1 bln, and half a bln or so in the rest of Asi

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Moraelin (679338)

        I don't see how replacing a motherboard is in any way, shape, or form a useful skill for anybody who is not a screwdriver monkey in a local PC shop.

        Technically true, but developping a love for computers will help them in other ways.

        I mean, by old skills with ZX-81 BASIC or (one year later) converting assembly to hex by hand because you couldn't fit even an assembler in 1K RAM, are technically worthless today too. Noone would pay you to convert to hex by hand, unless it's as a drunken dare. But the fact that

        • by saskboy (600063)
          "monkeys who think that efficiency is measured in lines of code."

          If you stopped at that point, you'd have had a good post. The rest is -1 Flamebait because it's generally from a very narrow view of politics, and not very helpful in a thread about how our capitalist economy has destroyed the Third World.
          • by nuzak (959558)
            > a thread about how our capitalist economy has destroyed the Third World.

            Actually, it's the Third World that's trying to be capitalist, but they can't compete with the government-subsidized agriculture of the First.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by hey! (33014)
        You are proposing a false dichotomy. EITHER: (1) You create a device that can teach kids skills like repairing two stroke engines... OR (2) You create a device that kids can repair themselves. That's like saying either a two stroke engine can do useful work like pumping water, or it can repaired by users. The only thing they have to do with each other is that if you are poor, repairable means that the tool can continue to do useful work.

        In the late eighties and nineties, at least here in the US, you hear
        • Re:Amazing concept (Score:5, Insightful)

          by CastrTroy (595695) on Tuesday August 14, 2007 @09:24AM (#20223863) Homepage

          In the late eighties and nineties, at least here in the US, you heard the term "computer literacy" used a lot in connection with education. The thing was, it was a crock. The "computer skills" kids learned in the late 80s have very little direct relevance in 2010.
          It depends on whether you were learning actual skills, or whether you were learning to press certain buttons. The skills I learned using MS-DOS in 1990 are still skills that I use today in my everyday life. Just the concepts of files, folders, move, rename, copy are some very simple skills that haven't changed much in the last 20 years. Same with word processing. Sure they've added a bunch of functionality to MS Word, but the simples function, bold, italics, font size, spell check, indent, tables, alignment, justify, table of contents, and other things haven't changed in the last 15 years.
      • by multisync (218450)

        Now, if this thing taught kids to repair two-stroke engines, or basic agriculture, that would be impressive (and useful).


        What makes you think it can't? In fact, that is exactly the point of OLPC: to be used as an educational tool. What you can teach a person with a general purpose device like a networked, self-powered, open source computer platform is pretty much limitless.
      • by Ardeaem (625311)
        Learning to do something doesn't need to directly teach a skill to be useful. Teaching a child to replace a motherboard does more than just give them the skill to replace a motherboard. It also teaches them to think about technology in a less magical way by showing them the electronics on the inside of the computer. In addition, it causes them to be less afraid of using technology; sometimes kids are afraid of doing things because they are intimidated by complexity or afraid that they'll break something. I
    • Video footage showed an adult pointing out aspects of the computer as the kids were working on it - so offering some sort of guidance. Not to take away from the fact that the kids did indeed work on the computer, but I think it should be noted.

      A cute video but not very scientific evidence that this is transferable to any two children anywhere in the world. For all we know the two kids are complete hackers and spend all their days messing around with lego, meccano, taking things apart and putting them back t
      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by shenki (215721)
        Guidance, and explaining what the parts do. I'm an EE student, interning at OLPC.

        They have used computers before, but they weren't geeks. I didn't ask them if they played with lego, etc. That would have been a good question.

        And yes, in the trials around the world there have been suitations where groups of students have learnt how to repair the XOs for others in their schools. They set up small XO "hospitals" to fix broken laptops. Also, it is worth noting that as the design has progressed through the 4 diff
    • by bl8n8r (649187)
      > Just the fact that a couple of young kids can change a mobo in a laptop

      Umm, actually I didn't see them pull the mainboard out. They pulled out a lot of screws while an adult supervised, and I didn't see them actually get it back together and functional. It looked like as much of a pain in the ass as disassembling a regular laptop. Taking it apart is the easy step, getting everything back in working order is a much larger one. I think the kids looked interested enough to do it though.

      I think it's a
    • The AT&T Star (? think that was the name, plastic case, deployed on lots of contracts) was designed for easy servicing. The product manager's young daughter was shown replacing the mobo in it. This was back in the early 90s.
  • by ktappe (747125) on Tuesday August 14, 2007 @12:40AM (#20221281)
    These appeared to be well-to-do kids who were very likely to have used computers before. That is not who OLPC is aimed at. It would be much more telling to see tests with kids in poorer nations for whom OLPC is their first PC.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by steveha (103154)
      These appeared to be well-to-do kids who were very likely to have used computers before. That is not who OLPC is aimed at.

      Once the OLPC is distributed, there will be a growing population of kids who have "used computers before".

      And I don't think the plan is to limit the maintenance teams to 8 and 10 year old kids. Even if your assumption is correct, and unprivileged kids in poor countries can't fix things as well as these Canadian kids can, do you think that maybe unprivileged 14 and 16 year olds might be
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        What I find telling is that the manual dexterity of a 10 year old is adequate to the task of disassembling the OLPC, pulling the motherboard, then putting it all back together again.

        Guided step by step by some hipster-looking amish geek dude in the background. If I stood behind someone and told them exactly how to disassemble something I'm sure they could take apart an iBook G3 and put it back together perfectly too even though it's very complicated. Honestly, to me, that OLPC seemed like a major nightma

      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        by yada21 (1042762)

        the manual dexterity of a 10 year old is adequate to the task of disassembling the OLPC, pulling the motherboard, then putting it all back together again.
        So employing kids to build them would be a good way of getting the cost down?
    • by mdielmann (514750)
      Congratulations on not reading the (very short) article. Also, congratulations on not even reading the URL. It's hosted on OLPC News - it's going to be positive. And they address every complaint/question you raised. Especially amusing since you went and looked at the pictures.
  • by prxp (1023979)
    From TFA:

    Then twelve year old "SG" made a surprisingly well-written literary statement about the $100 laptop" on Freedom to Tinker: My expectations for this computer were, I must admit, not very high. But it completely took me by surprise. It was cleverly designed, imaginative, straightforward, easy to understand (I was given no instructions on how to use it. It was just, "Here. Figure it out yourself."), useful and simple, entertaining, dependable, really a "stick to the basics" kind of computer. It's the perfect laptop for the job. Great for first time users, it sets the mood by offering a bunch of entertaining and easy games and a camera.

    Damn! I've gotta work harder on my posts from now on!

  • by Anonymous Coward
    Training third world assembly workers by the back door, eh? Sounds cool. Liberal academics hijacked by CIA sponsored hegemony. I love it! Where can I send a crate of these?
  • by nick_davison (217681) on Tuesday August 14, 2007 @12:51AM (#20221365)

    The video of a 10-year-old and his younger sister replacing a mobo is pretty cool.
    Correction: The muted video of a 10-year-old and his younger sister being blatantly directed on exactly what to do by the pair of adult hands that keep entering the video to catch things they do wrong (including almost dropping it at one point) and apparently updating the instructions for them that they're evidently not doing on their own implies OLPC has learned what Nike figured out twenty years ago: kids make the best slave labor.
    • Information Age (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Nymz (905908)

      OLPC has learned what Nike figured out twenty years ago: kids make the best slave labor.
      While I don't expect the days of child prostitution or child slave labor to end anytime soon, I do expect the need for technically able workers to continue increasing in this current Information Age.
    • by pembo13 (770295)
      You seem to be under the impression that the plan is to rely on the kids to maintain the items themselves. This seems to be more of an it is possible, than this is Plan A.
    • If you think about it, 1 first world kid building a laptop for 1 third world kid, in a way, is delicious, poetic, and ironic justice. At least the first world kids have their Wiis, their full powered PCs, their Playstation 2s 3s, and Xboxes. But they could learn about the kids who they're building OLPCs for, their countries, et al.

      It'd be just like the stoopid UNICEF collections we used to do as kids, except we'd actually be doing something directly applicable, and learning something in the process, not jus
    • Sometimes you need small, small hands for that kind of delicate work.
  • uh oh (Score:4, Funny)

    by Carbon016 (1129067) on Tuesday August 14, 2007 @12:52AM (#20221369)
    Those kids didn't use proper anti-static safety protocols when replacing that motherboard! At this rate, it's going to be twenty laptops per child!
  • by strtj (1067246) on Tuesday August 14, 2007 @12:56AM (#20221385)
    A 10 year old and an 8 year old disassembling a laptop on their own would be quite an impressive feat. These kids, however, seem to need assistance from the "long arm of the law" every few steps. When will we learn that it's not how rapidly kids are able to do something, but whether or not they succeed in the end on their own?
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by sych (526355)
      I built my own white-box PC when I was only 11 using parts I ordered myself.

      The only thing any adult provided me with was the money for the parts and a good amount of faith in my ability (thanks, Dad).

      Kids can actually do quite a lot. The only instruction I had was from a book [amazon.com]. If these kids can't read, they can probably get enough instruction from a video.
    • by waveclaw (43274)

      These kids, however, seem to need assistance from the "long arm of the law" every few steps. When will we learn that it's not how rapidly kids are able to do something, but whether or not they succeed in the end on their own?

      Because we never ever have some kind of older person teach, help or guide children? I mean, if some adults were actively paying attention to these kids and helping them to learn they might be stifling them. These hypothetical long arms could be protecting them from harm or providing h

  • missing the point? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Uksi (68751) on Tuesday August 14, 2007 @01:30AM (#20221541) Homepage
    What is the point of the kids being able to replace the motherboard? That's about as bad of a metric of usefulness of a computer as you can get. What if they couldn't at all figure out how to do it? Would that make for a bad OLPC?

    What I want to know is whether kids can actually do anything useful/interesting on these laptops.
  • Worst music ever (Score:3, Insightful)

    by dubbreak (623656) on Tuesday August 14, 2007 @01:57AM (#20221683)
    Who chose the soundtrack on that video? It reminds me of a bad cover of a sonic the hedgehog 2 background track.

    Soft jazz: neither soft nor jazz.
  • Child labor (Score:5, Funny)

    by Zero Degrez (1039938) on Tuesday August 14, 2007 @02:53AM (#20221903)

    Apparently Mitch Bradley even believes that a 10-year old could replace an XO motherboard.
    I don't see why not; 10-year olds have been replacing motherboards in China for years.
  • Think Back.. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by DoctorDyna (828525) on Tuesday August 14, 2007 @06:08AM (#20222661)
    You know, when I think back to my very first tinkerings with electronic devices, I can remember things just like this, disassembling things and re-assembling just for fun.

    If I hadn't had occasion to do things like this as a child, my mechanical and computer aptitude would probably be nothing like what it is now. I commend these folks for what they are doing. The fact that there is an adult in the video "helping" doesn't mean anything to me, as I can see the value in this that goes beyond our "television reality challenges" expectations when we read something about a challenge with kids.

    The real challenge is that they got two kids to sit still in one place long enough to even take instructions like this and still manage to accomplish the task.

    On another note, I'm tempted to buy one of these things for myself, looks like a great platform for DamnSmallLinux.
    • You know, when I think back to my very first tinkerings with electronic devices, I can remember things just like this, disassembling things and re-assembling just for fun.
      I take my hat off to you, sir. I only remember disassembling things for fun ;)
  • you should start believing now that the commoditization of IT skills has now started to hit a high acceleration point. While the demand for brilliant, computer scientists and engineers will never diminish, simply being able to open a computer up to service it will no longer (if not already) be able to fetch the price it one did.

There is hardly a thing in the world that some man can not make a little worse and sell a little cheaper.

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