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Big Delays, Small Laptops: OLPC XO Recipients Mad 165

Posted by Soulskill
from the give-one-get-one-if-you-are-lucky dept.
PCWMike writes to tell us about the growing concern over the failure of OLPC to deliver laptops to some of its customers. PC World editor-in-chief Harry McCracken notes that record-keeping was poor for some of the people who paid via PayPal. A report on LinuxJournal also suggests that customer information was lost due to errors in the database software used by OLPC. Quoting PC World: "OLPC spokesperson Jackie Lustig acknowledges problems with the ordering and the fulfillment process, but says the biggest challenges are a short supply of XO laptops and the organization's ability to meet consumer demand for the XO laptop. Some also wonder whether chronic delivery problems for Give One, Get One donors may bode poorly for the 15 countries slated to receive nearly 500,000 XO notebooks. Lustig says delivering in bulk to just over a dozen countries is infinitely simpler than processing and delivering 80,000 individual laptops."
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Big Delays, Small Laptops: OLPC XO Recipients Mad

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  • by Malevolent Tester (1201209) * on Friday January 25, 2008 @09:18AM (#22180270) Journal
    They're really getting the hang of foreign aid. I applaud OLPC for their quick adaption.
  • by mi (197448) <slashdot-2012@virtual-estates.net> on Friday January 25, 2008 @09:19AM (#22180278) Homepage

    Starry-eyed desire to save the world is a good drive, but fulfilling the orders and delivering on the promises requires a lot of mundane work. One needs to get "all corporationy" to provide consistently good service...

    • by rtb61 (674572) on Friday January 25, 2008 @09:48AM (#22180516) Homepage
      Actually not true, in fact getting 'all corporationy' really means how far can you minimise service, support and the cost savings achieved do not exceed the number of customers lost, including the customary PR=B$ snow jobs, which attempt to convince the customer they are the only one with a problem and it was their fault anyhow and even so the corporation still cares about their problem and it will be completely resolved in two weeks, two more weeks, yet two more weeks, just two more weeks, honest just two more weeks, 'er', two weeks after a likely to be successful class action law suit is initiated.

      All OLPC needs to do is ensure they are able to focus upon delivery or subcontract those services out to a logistics company that can achieve those goals at a reasonable price. The logistics route is often simpler as those companies can readily handle break down packaging from bulk to individual orders as well as final delivery to the recipient and if required keep the recipient advised if there are any delivery delays.

      • by mi (197448) <slashdot-2012@virtual-estates.net> on Friday January 25, 2008 @09:55AM (#22180576) Homepage

        Actually not true, in fact getting 'all corporationy' really means how far can you minimise ...

        And the answer is not far at all... Just wait for these orders to finally arrive and people try to get support for them... Dell got a lot of flaming over outsourcing support to India — OLPC outsourced it to the even worse-trained rural teachers, etc. There'll be more horror-stories — watch this place.

        All OLPC needs to do is ... subcontract those services out to a logistics company

        Yes, I agree, that's one way to get "corporationy" — unless you can name a logistics co-op/commune, that is...

    • by elrous0 (869638) *
      Does this mean that Mr. Negroponte is going to stop letting me wear my "Legalize it!" t-shirt to meetings? Oh, man...he used to be SO cool too.
    • Vista delayed by MS for years.

      Nintendo running out of Wii stock.

      Waiting list for Asuss EEE PC? At least one month.

      Those corps, so organized and ready to make business.

      • Waiting list for Asuss EEE PC? At least one month.

        I bought mine a couple of days ago from a discount electronics place. There was a bit of a rush before christmas but that happens with a lot of new products.

  • It *is* simpler (Score:5, Insightful)

    by BlackHawk (15529) on Friday January 25, 2008 @09:19AM (#22180286) Journal
    He is absolutely correct; a half-million units shipped to just 12 to 15 destinations *IS* simple by comparison. Just look at the complexities of UPS' operations in moving 80000 packages within the boundaries of the US, and that becomes apparent.
    • Re:It *is* simpler (Score:5, Interesting)

      by morgan_greywolf (835522) on Friday January 25, 2008 @09:38AM (#22180432) Homepage Journal

      He is absolutely correct; a half-million units shipped to just 12 to 15 destinations *IS* simple by comparison. Just look at the complexities of UPS' operations in moving 80000 packages within the boundaries of the US, and that becomes apparent.
      Yep. This is why any company that does significant amounts of shipping has an entire department and sometimes more than one department devoted to it. Some companies even have entire shipping divisions. Moving a large number of packages quickly is a significant undertaking and that's why there's an entire industry called the logistics industry devoted to it. A friend of mine works in the logistics industry and her job is to coordinate the shipping of packages and crates to various places around the world. It's a big job.
      • by Rich0 (548339)
        That's why most sane manufacturers don't do direct retail unless they want to make it a core competency.

        Most major manufacturers just ship a million units to a distributor, who adds a markup and then handles the mess of putting items in stores/homes/etc.

        I'm not quite sure why the OLPC initiative doesn't just retail its laptops via a distributor. It would be less fuss for them, and more revenue which means lower laptop prices which means more laptops in the hands of kids. All they need to do is sell 10k la
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      He is absolutely correct; a half-million units shipped to just 12 to 15 destinations *IS* simple by comparison. Just look at the complexities of UPS' operations in moving 80000 packages within the boundaries of the US, and that becomes apparent.

      Sure, but they're not hand delivering the things themselves. All they needed was some decent software to keep track of orders, print labels, slap the labels on boxes, and ship the boxes via UPS. This, it seems, is what they FUBAR'ed.

      • Re: (Score:1, Troll)

        by CastrTroy (595695)
        Yeah, go with UPS. The $100 laptop which now costs $200, is actually going to cost $300 once you account for shipping costs.
        • Yeah, go with UPS. The $100 laptop which now costs $200, is actually going to cost $300 once you account for shipping costs.

          Cheaper than FedEx. OK, so ship it priority mail. The actual carrier doesn't matter, the point is they are using one, and they're not hand-delivering the things with their own trucks.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by LWATCDR (28044)
        Shipping out five or ten is simple. 80,000 is hard.
        You have to hire and train the people to do it. They have to get paid, taxes collected, schelde, deliveries must be timed shipping bills must be paid, boxes bought. Then you must make sure that the people do the work correctly and that they don't steal the notebooks.
        It really isn't as simple as you think it is. Let's face it these people are note stupid but they are having problems with this. It only seems simple from the view point of arrogance and ignora
    • Re:It *is* simpler (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Red Flayer (890720) on Friday January 25, 2008 @09:48AM (#22180514) Journal
      Shipping one unit to one location is simple.

      Shipping 100 units to 100 locations is simple.

      Shipping 80,000 units to 80,000 locations is also simple, though the volume is orders of magnitude higher.

      The problem is that they did not appropriately plan and acquire/devote resources to distribution. Maybe they didn't think about the extra cost associated with tracking and distributing those orders.

      There is no reason why distribution of pre-orders should present any kind of challenge to a company. This is not on-demand shipping, or just-in-time delivery. This is simply basic distribution scaled up.

      Maybe I'm a bit harsh, but there is simply no excuse for someone to promise deliverables without a plan to deliver them. Did they not expect so many orders?
      • "Did they not expect so many orders?"

        More likely they were more concerned with marketing and getting orders, and then simply forgot about the complexities behind the scaling of something usually so simple a PBH could do it. It's an easy mistake for a new business.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by SkyDude (919251)

      He is absolutely correct; a half-million units shipped to just 12 to 15 destinations *IS* simple by comparison. Just look at the complexities of UPS' operations in moving 80000 packages within the boundaries of the US, and that becomes apparent.

      Tue, but UPS manages to do it effectively. So does Fedex.

      By the way, UPS moves approximately 10,000,000 parcels per day, not 80,000. Fedex does around 7,000,000 per day. What's needed is professional logistics management, and that may end up costing more than this product will support.

      • He is absolutely correct; a half-million units shipped to just 12 to 15 destinations *IS* simple by comparison. Just look at the complexities of UPS' operations in moving 80000 packages within the boundaries of the US, and that becomes apparent.

        Tue, but UPS manages to do it effectively. So does Fedex.

        But shipping things to people is what these guys do.
        Getting me a laptop is not what OLPC does, this is just a one-off stunt, and the demand has overwhelmed them.

        I'm not bothered by this much. So I have to wait a few weeks for my toy... so long as they keep doing what they do (large-scale high-tech charity), and doing it well, I will not fault them for sucking at what they don't normally do.

        • by SkyDude (919251)

          But shipping things to people is what these guys do.

          In fact, they are just carriers. Their customers are shippers. There is a difference and that's where OLPC has hit a speed bump.

          Getting me a laptop is not what OLPC does, this is just a one-off stunt, and the demand has overwhelmed them.

          Certainly seems so. In my former life, I was a logistics manager (then we called it warehouse manager) and this is a familiar scenario to me. Marketing people come up with a hot idea and, for some reason, assume things just magically arrive at the customer's doorstep. Leaving the operations and logistics people out of the loop was SOP for many businesses large and small. But,

          • I'm not bothered by this much. So I have to wait a few weeks for my toy... so long as they keep doing what they do (large-scale high-tech charity), and doing it well, I will not fault them for sucking at what they don't normally do.

            Well sir, you are the exception. In my experience, products that didn't ship in a timely fashion usually resulted in hundreds of angry phone calls, and later, truckloads of angry e-mails. All of which could have been avoided if there had just been more detailed logistics planning.

            Well, it's a charity, and I waited 'till the last minute to finally give in, so I'm not reacting like I would if I was dealing with a business.
            Aside from that, well, thank you, I am exceptional! :-)

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Lugae (88858)
      You, sir, are correct. Consumer fulfillment can be done very effectively, but it takes a lot of setup time to fool-proof things. Since they're only doing one run of this consumer fulfillment business, they probably didn't do all of the setup necessary. I would think that their ability to deliver these to their target audience abroad will be much simpler by comparison, which is where the production issue comes up.
  • Please reconcile (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mccalli (323026) on Friday January 25, 2008 @09:20AM (#22180298) Homepage
    From the summary:

    "OLPC spokesperson Jackie Lustig acknowledges problems with the ordering and the fulfillment process, but says the biggest challenges are a short supply of XO laptops and the organization's ability to meet consumer demand for the XO laptop....Lustig says delivering in bulk to just over a dozen countries is infinitely simpler than processing and delivering 80,000 individual laptops."

    But how can that be, if the problem is short supply of the laptop?

    Cheers,
    Ian
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Captain Chaos (13688)
      The large shipments to developing nations take priority over G1G1 donor shipments. This was made clear while the program was running, but it appears some people must not have paid attention to that. I donated and I am still waiting on mine, but I'm not hopping mad like some people seem to be. I knew getting me my laptop wasn't the top priority, as was made clear on the site. I am anxious to get my hands on one, but I just got an update Wednesday, so it may not be too much longer since I am in the shippi
      • by Obfuscant (592200)
        I, too, am waiting for mine. I am almost at the point where I am going to dispute the charge and report the organization as a scam.

        "Delivered by the holidays". Nope. "Delivered by Jan 15." Nope. Went to the website. "You can track your order...". Nope. All I get for a "tracking" result is a statement that almost all of the US units have been shipped, and that I can track my order at ... an invalid link.

        I called them on the 18th. "Your address is invalid". Well, that address is valid enough that I get my c

  • Patience and Hope (Score:3, Insightful)

    by jbrohan (1102957) <jbrohan AT gmail DOT com> on Friday January 25, 2008 @09:21AM (#22180310)
    This OLPC is going to change the world. I've got mine now and it is wonderful exactly what is needed IMHO. They are trying to do something that is very very hard and they need all the encouragement and kind words that are to be found. I hope they solve their delivery problems smoothly soon. No lack of talent in this group of people.
    • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

      by legoman666 (1098377)
      Change the world? Hardly. It's just a laptop; it doesn't cure cancer, it doesn't feed hungry mouths, it doesn't provide shelter, it doesn't provide electricity, it doesn't cure AIDS, and it doesn't solve a whole other myriad of problems. It is a laptop. One would think that people in thrid world countries recieveing the OLPC would have more pressing matters than giving everyone a laptop, but I guess not. There are a million better things to spend money on.
      • The OLPC can (will?) vastly improve the eduction of third world children. It's better to teach a man how to fish than to just give him a fish. The OLPC is just taking this to a new level.
        • by nuzak (959558) on Friday January 25, 2008 @10:03AM (#22180650) Journal
          > It's better to teach a man how to fish than to just give him a fish.

          And better yet to let a man fish [thp.org]. Or a woman, as the case may be (kind of insane to not allow the majority of your farm workforce to own property).
          • Say what? Let me look at what that's saying: there's sufficient food around, but people can't get it. If that were the case, then increasing crop yields via genetic manipulation is a solution to the wrong problem. In turn, that would mean that Monsanto et al are a bunch of money grubbing bastards.

            I must be a luddite or a communist.
          • I do believe that the OLPC and the Internet is a step towards that. Figure that article alone would have to have an impact on these people, right?
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by poetmatt (793785)
        Bringing a drastic improvement in education to poor countries in a very economical fashion is indeed a world changing thing. Doing it without locking someone into a corporation's interest just makes it that much more important to the rest of us who hate Microsoft/IBM.
        There are better things to spend on, but long-term improving education is one of the best things to spend on for any nation including our own.
      • Change the world? Hardly. It's just a laptop; it doesn't cure cancer, it doesn't feed hungry mouths, it doesn't provide shelter, it doesn't provide electricity, it doesn't cure AIDS, and it doesn't solve a whole other myriad of problems. It is a laptop.

        Change the world? quite possibly. It's just an education. It can help cure cancer, it can help feed hungry mouths, it can help provide shelter, it can help provide electricity, it can help cure AIDS, and it can help solve a whole other myriad of problems. It is an education.

        "This is not a laptop project; it's an education project," - Negroponte

  • by emj (15659) on Friday January 25, 2008 @09:22AM (#22180312) Homepage Journal
    They don't want to do distribution, shipping tens of thousands of things all around a continent isn't that easy.. Just getting payments information from paypal can be a hard thing to do.

    Saying this will happen to governments orders as well is very strange, and uncalled for.
    • They don't want to do distribution, shipping tens of thousands of things all around a continent isn't that easy.. Just getting payments information from paypal can be a hard thing to do.

      Horseshit. If you've put the systems in place and have an infrastructure even half thought out - it's pretty simple.

      Saying this will happen to governments orders as well is very strange, and uncalled for.

      Why? The existing evidence implies that they haven't put much thought into their logistics pipeline.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 25, 2008 @09:24AM (#22180328)
    ...but PC World, questioning OLPC's ability to deliver? And goodness me, look here: Intel and Microsoft with their alternative. No doubt Classmate sales-pitches will involve a lot of paraphrasing from articles of this type.

    It seems that a lot of recent OLPC stories are being drummed up to try and discredit them, and it is a bit sickening.
    • by gorim (700913) on Friday January 25, 2008 @09:34AM (#22180406)
      And I can't even track my order in their online tracking database. First email went unanswered and second one got a response, but was missing any indication of when they would ship, just that they were overwhelmed with the response.
    • Get real dude.

      Sorry but the majority of the OLPC bad press is because THEY DESERVE IT.

      Did you ever think that some of their foolery needs an evil Microsoft just to dodge the issue? In other words - imply something that is not true but sounds good?

      IOW - Political speech 101.

      Talk about FUD.
    • by Gordo_1 (256312) on Friday January 25, 2008 @01:20PM (#22183322)
      All I want is for OLPC to survive and make a positive impact worldwide -- and that's why I participated in G1G1. But let me tell you, it's amateur hour as far as logistics go. They naively thought that because the laptop hardware was ready, everything else would magically fall into place, so they rushed all starry-eyed into shipping laptops before Christmas. As it turns out, their completely untested shipping and support infrastructure was inadequate given the load.

      I've received a total of 3 different tracking numbers for my single laptop over the past 2 months. All 3 are invalid according to Fedex. I've called, verified that they have my correct address and been told my laptop was in the queue to ship a month ago. I was subsequently promised a delivery by the end of the year, then by January 15th, both of which have come and gone. Then they promised to reveal the shipping date by this Wednesday in an email sent on Monday. On Thursday they backed off of that claim, and said that hardware supply issues were at fault and assured me that I would receive another email at some point in the future with a shipping date. And so the saga continues...

      Look, I'm cutting them a lot of slack because they're a non-profit trying to get off the ground and the primary goal here is to get laptops into the hands of needy children... but the problem is that they've been a model of evasive, unhelpful and secretive with regard to logistics problems from the start. If they had said, "hey we'll do our best to get you a laptop by March 2008" from the beginning, I think we all would have gone on with our lives, but for a not insignificant number of us, it's been one story after another -- all of which leads some of us to wonder whether the organization is hiding something with regard to our charitable donations.

      Anyway, I fully comprehend that G1G1 logistics issues do not imply that they'll have problems fulfilling orders overseas. And in fact, the G1G1 program was for the most part an afterthought with regard to OLPC's primary mission. However, I think they've hurt themselves a great deal by not getting their act together with G1G1. Third-world purchase estimates have been cut by orders of magnitude since the heady days when Dr. Negroponte went around boasting that they wouldn't even talk to countries who weren't willing to buy a million laptops. The G1G1 program has become an instrumental tool in seeding laptop programs in places where reluctant national governments have backed off of early purchase promises. By pissing off G1G1 donors, they've essentially bit the hand that feeds them, and this will make it that much more difficult to realize Dr. Negroponte's original vision of one laptop per child.
      • I just contacted OLPC for the "give many" [laptopfoundation.org] option, since i'm looking for 120 laptops for the school that i run [puntodepartida.org] located in Latin America. I got a response from someone from brightstarcorp.com the same day indicating the price and asking for a shiping address so he could send me the official quote. So once i get the quote our school will be wiring 36'000 usd plus shipping... should i be worried?
        • by Gordo_1 (256312)
          I don't think you're going to lose your money or anything, but I don't have great confidence that they can deliver those computers in the near-term (next 4-6 weeks) based on what I've seen so far. Ask them to clearly define a delivery window for your laptops and ask whether the ongoing G1G1 inventory backlog will have any effect on your laptops. Who knows, your donation may get the proper attention it deserves since it's for a large number.
      • by schwaang (667808)
        It's too bad they didn't partner with an operation like Dell or Amazon, at least for orders in north america, which is probably the bulk. They would have had to convince some company to do it out of good will, (perhaps as a tax-deductible donation of service with PR bragging rights).

        But as you and others have pointed out, OLPC isn't in the retail business, so I don't take their troubles with G1G1 fulfillment too seriously.
  • McCrackin!? Hahaha... OK, so I'm immature.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 25, 2008 @09:32AM (#22180386)
    But but but....The database sotfware is open source...It couldn't have screwed up since there are so many eyeballs looking at the code.
    • I know you're just being snarky, but really, the database itself is probably not the problem. Apart from the fact that they can't seem to decide if it's an order management screw-up or short supply (or both), any "database" error was more likely in the application used to track the orders. Even if that's an OSS application, the number of eyeballs will probably be much lower than your average OSS database.
  • by mspohr (589790) on Friday January 25, 2008 @09:35AM (#22180412)
    It looks like this eager and well intentioned group of people is trying to do it all but perhaps is best at developing the software and hardware. Perhaps they should focus on that and leave sales and distribution to people who are experts with these much different skills.
  • by Obstin8 (827030) on Friday January 25, 2008 @09:42AM (#22180468)
    This article, and others like it that I've read, seem a little bit mean-spirited. OLPC is, after all, a charity organization - a noble one at that -, and not some high-volume order fulfillment logistics operation. All these articles suggest a crass, inflated-expectation, instant-gratification, "I WANT IT NOW!", type of consumerism to me.

    I'm in Canada, and waited 7 weeks for my XO to arrive. No biggie. I've waited almost as long for Dell to ship correctly configured servers on occasion. Those were biggies. Were my expectations appropriate for each company? I think so.

    I'm sure that OLPC will honor all their commitments and get these orders out as soon as they can. Sometime s**t happens, and things falls through the cracks. People should just take a deep breath, and ask themselves if they'd rather have their XO right now, or have the one they donated delivered first.

    G1G1 doesn't stand for "Get one, give one".

    • by gorim (700913) on Friday January 25, 2008 @09:50AM (#22180534)
      If the online tracking database worked. As of now you type in your email address or order number and it can't find you. This leads one to believe that the order was lost even though payment was already extracted. At least with your Dell shipment, Dell could tell you the order was in the system and will ship in X time.
    • by apathy maybe (922212) on Friday January 25, 2008 @09:51AM (#22180544) Homepage Journal
      Exactly. OLPC project is not a fucking business.

      Their core job is not to make and sell laptops to individuals. What would be great here (and if the free market really actually worked...), would be for a dedicated company to step in and sell the things directly to people in over-developed countries. That way the project can get on with developing and distributing to governments, and someone else can distribute to individuals.

      Of course, they might cost slightly more because of the profit motive, but heck, most of them are seemingly being bought by geeks who already have 3 computers and can afford an extra $50 or so.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by DMoylan (65079)
        but why even use a company when there are organisations like the red cross who are global could handle the shipping to major cities for collection and make a nice profit from the sale of each unit. just a random thought.

        on a personal note, living in ireland meant that i couldn't order one of these unforunately. so i went for an asus eee. the demand for those this side of the pond was incredible. ordered december 4 arrived jan 22. i had to get mine from the uk as our company hardware supplier gave up af
      • So maybe the whole problem is that it's not for profit. Maybe non-profit is the way to go when you are coming up with a vision and getting donors.

        But maybe you should ask PC manufacturers like Asus (manufacturer of the OLPC), people that, oh, I dunno, know a little something about logistics, cost management, customer service to put up bids when you actually want to get it done instead of running everything yourself.

        Like what is the problem here. It seems that they had no idea or experience in doing logist
    • by elrous0 (869638) *
      Noble intentions do not excuse incompetence. Poor kids would be better served by someone with not-so-noble intentions that could actually deliver. An incompetent paladin is not the best man to have in your party, no matter how good his farts smell.
      • elrous0 wrote:

        Noble intentions do not excuse incompetence. Poor kids would be better served by someone with not-so-noble intentions that could actually deliver. An incompetent paladin is not the best man to have in your party, no matter how good his farts smell.

        Thanks for providing a good example of the "mean spiritedness" that the previous poster referred to.

        I (and all but one of my friends) got our OLPC laptops before Xmas without any delay or problems. My children (8 & 11) have been hacking at them ever since Xmas morning. My sample indicates that the OLPC project does a decent job of delivery - certainly better than most first-time-events in the field of international aid. Why are you criticizing, did somebody deliver your OLPC XO to an u

    • by westlake (615356)
      This article, and others like it that I've read, seem a little bit mean-spirited. OLPC is, after all, a charity organization.

      We provide sheltered work programs and services for the disabled.

      But we are in the business of bulk mailing, corporate promotions, fulfillment - and that is how we are judged by our customers. That is how we survive.

    • by wrecked (681366)
      As a fellow Canuck XO-donor, thank you for your breath of fresh air. We received our XO for our kid, last week as well. She, a grade-schooler, did not expect the XO until Feb/Mar (the original Canadian shipping estimate), and has shown more patience than all of the complainers on the forums. You're absolutely right; the complainers seem to share a loathsome consumerist mindset and seem to have forgotten caveat emptor.

      OLPC initially insisted that they did not want to go into retail ("we're an education
    • I didn't contribute to G1G1 to buy a laptop. Getting an XO was the bonus. The reason I contributed was because it's a charity, it was x-mas and I was feeling charitable.

      If the story was that OLPC lost all of their money backing a player in Texas Hold 'Em, I'd be pissed off. Instead, they're focusing on delivering laptops to the third-world and giving the gift laptop to the first world ran into some troubles.

      Yep, I got several e-mails. First a few in December telling me I wouldn't get my laptop by x-mas.
  • They don't have the funds to act like a real serious company. That would take millions of dollars of investment.

    Oh, wait a second...

    80,000 G1G1, at $400 per unit = $32,000,000. Since the "Give One" money really just goes into their general coffers, that's $16 million clear profit up front. A real startup would sacrifice its directors' children to be turn $16 million clear profit in 6 weeks.

    [Some OLPC hippy] says that the OLPC made a decision that getting laptops to developing nations was more importa

    • by wall0159 (881759)
      "You. Do. Not. Fuck over your strongest advocates."

      Err.. surely their "strongest advocates" would be keen to get the laptops to the children, which (after all) is the whole friggin point of the exercise!

      For some reason, the term "fair weather friends" is coming into my mind...
      • by Rogerborg (306625)
        So... did those advocates just give OLPC $400?
  • by Robwiz (864947)
    Doesn't "Big Delays, Small Laptops: OLPC XO Recipients Mad" imply that some XO Recipients are mad because the laptop is small?

    The actual article is "Big Delays for Small Laptops", it's some of the people who haven't received them yet who are upset.
    I was expecting mine (in Canada) some time in February based on the initial delays in shipping to Canada. So I was quite pleased when it showed up last week.

    I guess that make me somewhat ineligible to advocate patience if you're still waiting for yours, but I

  • Fish bowl (Score:1, Flamebait)

    by WindBourne (631190)
    there are probably less hassles with this group than is seen in a normal business, but since they are being attacked by MS and Intel, they are in a small fish bowl. I wonder if and how many of the orders were purposely done incorrect to make sure that there were issues? It is the perfect form of an attack and certainly within the scope of how either company operates.
  • by argmanah (616458) * <{moc.oohay} {ta} {hanamgra}> on Friday January 25, 2008 @10:06AM (#22180698)
    I donated the very first day they opened up the Give One Get One program and got my XO Laptop the Friday before Christmas (they sent an e-mail November 28th saying they were prioritizing first day donors and was trying to make delivery by Christmas).

    The machine itself is really neat. The battery life and outdoors readability is much better than my personal laptop and it covers 90% of what I use my laptop for when I'm on the go anyways (Web browsing and using ssh to connect to boxes at work/home). If it weren't for the fact that the keyboard is too small for an adult for long periods of use, I might have replaced my laptop with an OLPC one.
    • Not all first day donors have received theirs yet according to postings at the forums on olpcnews.com. Many of them are probably among the 5,000 orders that had problems. I'm still waiting for mine, but I held off ordering until 12/30 due to overspending on Christmas.

      I'm really looking forward to the battery life and the outdoor readability myself. I've got a MacBook Pro right now and both of those are rather lacking. The outdoor readability is more due to my selection of the matte screen since I found
  • ... sold them through 3 or 4 hand picked online retailers, such as Amazon and Newegg and others. That way they could have bulk shipped them to those retailers and let the retailers handle the details like they are well experienced in doing.

  • They listened to all the market begging to release it to individuals. They do, and now it sucks. They should have maybe just kept to plan.
  • A bit off topic, I know, but I'm sure I'm not the only one interested in knowing:

    Does anybody know if there is a chance for the G1G1 thing to happen in Europe too?

    I could have gotten one of my inlaws in the US (yes, my wife is from the USofA) to get one for me, but then the issue had been getting it over here... Norwegian Customs would likely have slapped a big fat import tax on it :(
  • go to the source (Score:2, Informative)

    by KatTran (122906)
    The actually source of all these stories might be interesting to people, instead of articles about the source. Since when did people stop being able to read primary sources and start being able to only read "news" articles.

    http://wiki.laptop.org/go/How_laptop_delivery_breaks [laptop.org]
  • by Hobart (32767) on Friday January 25, 2008 @11:01AM (#22181390) Homepage Journal
    I've shelled out $423.95 x 2 and am still waiting. And it's a shame that it's taking so long. But I'm happier that working-class kids in Mongolia [laptop.org] (no, not "starving to death" people) have laptops, and I can wait. (I'm posting about it on THE INTERNET so clearly I'm not exactly struggling for 'net access.)

    They had pro-bono donation of services from three (or more) different companies to handle ordering and distribution. Not having a logistics manager or dealing with the process openly *is* a shame. Lots of individuals unaffiliated have been volunteering their time, trying to help, but have been powerless to actually *do* anything, since the volunteers don't have access to all of the data sets.

    Hopefully the next time they offer G1G1 they'll manage the order/delivery status themselves, they *should* be able to track each laptop from Quanta, to the shipping carrier, to the port, to FedEx.
    • I don't see what I would call "working class" kids in any of those photos that you claim shows them. What I see and is demonstrated by the photographs is the children of nomadic farmers attending school in uniforms. I don't know how you could even infer that they are "working class". Given the GDP of Mongolia and the per capita income along with the nomadic lifestyle I fail to see how you could even apply that term to any students from the nation in question even when applying racism and infering that becau
  • My XO developed a crack on the LCD after less than a day of normal use. I've been trying to get it replaced under warranty, but have yet to actually talk to a human. At this point, I would be happy to just go and buy the replacement LCD and put it in myself, but I've searched extensively and you just can't get spare parts for this thing....
  • delivering in bulk to just over a dozen countries is infinitely simpler than processing and delivering 80,000 individual laptops

    That's because individuals want what they paid for.

    When a few pallet loads go missing, containing units that don't belong to any specific person, that's just another bureaucratic "meh"?

    I suspect you will see plenty available on eBay once the bulk shipments get going in earnest.

  • Not mad at all (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Gruuk (18480)
    I'm a December 14th donor; while I'm a little disappointed that it hasn't reached me yet, I've no problem cutting OLPC quite a bit of slack, as what matters most is the "GIVE 1" part of the G1G1 program. There are plenty of articles showing that kids in less fortunate areas have started using them and they are a hit. Because OLPC is fulfilling that part of the promise, I will be patient and forgive them those delays, although I am somewhat less forgiving of the subcontractors (but not terribly so).

    I can wai
    • I'm a December 14th donor; while I'm a little disappointed that it hasn't reached me yet, I've no problem cutting OLPC quite a bit of slack, as what matters most is the "GIVE 1" part of the G1G1 program. There are plenty of articles showing that kids in less fortunate areas have started using them and they are a hit. Because OLPC is fulfilling that part of the promise, I will be patient and forgive them those delays, although I am somewhat less forgiving of the subcontractors (but not terribly so).

      I can wait a couple more weeks; the only thing that bugs me is that I can't play with it right now, as I've seen and handled an XO and it is so neat :)

      Amen, brother. But this article got me following links, one of them gave a very basic hint I should have thought about before: Check your spam bin.
      Turns out OLPC had been sending me status updates about the delays and whatnot, I was just not seeing them.

  • by xeno (2667) on Friday January 25, 2008 @12:42PM (#22182688)
    I ordered two -- in the first hour of the first day of the promotion -- to be shipped to my house in the US. As of today, I have nothing. No laptops, no email, no nuthin.' I phoned and confirmed that my order number does exist and indeed I have been charged for both the laptops (in November) and $50 for shipping (the day after Christmas).

    But it's not the lack of laptops that's turning me from an interested and cheerful donor, to mild annoyance when it didn't show up before Christmas, to contemplating reversing the charges. It's the lack of information. Sure, there are delays. Sure, there are priorities for getting big shipments out to major educational recipients. But I gave these folks $850, and I don't even get the courtesy of a *status* message?

    According to the schedule, mine should have showed up a month ago -- at the absolute latest. Before Christmas. I made the mistake of telling my kids about it, thinking I would teach them something about partnerships and donations, etc etc, and that's my own fault. But *still* even after phone calls and tracing and corrections... when I check the laptopgiving.org page, it tells me the order number is invalid, and that my email address is not found.

    The kicker is that I work for a UN agency that manages large refugee aid programs, and I had to borrow an OLPC from a friend to show it to the Education & IT department directors. They're very interested in the OLPC, as it fits some of the educational needs pretty nicely. What am I going to tell these guys when they ask whether the project is well-run, has decent governance, and can deliver?

    Sheesh.

    -Jon

  • I placed a G1G1 order near the end of 2007, and the only confirmation I ever received was a PayPal payment confirmation. Can anyone tell me if I should have received some sort of confirmation email from the OLPC Foundation itself?

    I consider my G1G1 order to mostly be a charitable contribution, so I'm fine if it takes them quite a while to ship my laptop. But I'd like to have some sort of confirmation from OLPC to let me know that they even realize I placed one. Did other folks receiving any other sort of
    • I placed a G1G1 order near the end of 2007, and the only confirmation I ever received was a PayPal payment confirmation. Can anyone tell me if I should have received some sort of confirmation email from the OLPC Foundation itself?

      I consider my G1G1 order to mostly be a charitable contribution, so I'm fine if it takes them quite a while to ship my laptop. But I'd like to have some sort of confirmation from OLPC to let me know that they even realize I placed one. Did other folks receiving any other sort of confirmation before being told that their laptop was supposed to ship at X date? I've tried contacting the OLPC folks, but I have never been able to reach anyone.

      I had the same problem, turns out my confirmation email was in my gmail spam folder, I just found it there.

  • I did get my OLPC XO. I bought it the first day the you can order via the buy-one-get-one program. I received it some time back in late December. I showed it around the office, to some friends, and gave it a good shake down test. It was impressive and I thought was fairly well designed.

    Then, I gave it away;

    http://lists.laptop.org/pipermail/devel/2008-January/009361.html [laptop.org]

    I would encourage others who have received XOs and don't know what to do with them to do similar. Find a developer or someone who can r

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