Monday, November 12, 2007

One Laptop Per Child - Give one, Get One program

About 10 or 12 years ago I read Nicholas Negroponte's book "Being Digital". It formed a perfect trilogy with two other books I had read at about the same time Freeman Dyson's "The Sun, The Genome and the Internet." and George Dyson's "Darwin Among the Machines". These three tomes had a huge impact on my appreciation for where current technologies had come from and where they are headed. Which lead in a round about way to my current company, Aderra Inc.

Since writing "Being Digital" Negroponte, Founder of MIT's Media Lab, has spearheaded a campaign to create a low cost durable laptop to be distributed to children in developing nations. The initial goal of One Laptop Per Child was to build each machine for $100 (a seemingly laughable feat when the project was announced...). The project has been maligned by bloggers and the press who ask if there isn't a more practical way to help children throughout the world (medicine, food?).

In the end the OLPC machines ended up costing $200 (double the original goal but still pretty amazing). The machines are not only low cost but include open source software, all flash based memory and storage, the ability to charge via rip cord, crank or solar power (someone read "The sun, The Internet and the Genome...) and a screen that is visible in direct sunlight and also bright enough to provide simple lighting at night in homes with our electricity.

This month the OLPC program is has a unique oportunity. For $399 you can purchase a laptop for you own child (or yourself...) and they will donate one machine to a child overseas.

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