Tuesday, November 27, 2007


Over the past couple of years you may have heard about the One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) initiative. An effort to put low-cost computers in the hands of third world children. Instead of taking an existing laptop and loading it up with educational software, an entirely new type of computer was designed from the ground up. Rugged, simple to use, a long battery life, inexpensive (relatively speaking), networked-enabled, and able to be powered by alternate energy sources. Production of this innovative computer, called the XO, started earlier in the month. Originally it was only going to be available to governments in large quantities, but until the end of the year you can purchase one in a unique program. It works like this. For $399 (excluding shipping) you buy two XOs. You're sent one, and the other is donated to a child through the OLPC Foundation (the second one counts as a charitable donation on your taxes if you're in the U.S.). Full details on the program, and the laptop, are here or take a look at the video review below.

Why am I excited about a cute little, lime green computer that doesn't run Windows software? For starters, the technology is amazing as is the potential (check out a couple of videos of XOs in use in Peru, India, and Nigeria). I also like the fact this computer fits in more with the spirit of the humanitarian community compared to most other commercial IT products. And finally, from a security standpoint, this just might be the perfect laptop for taking out into the field. Stay tuned for more, when mine shows up.



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