The $100 laptop: What went wrong – MSN Money

November 19, 2006

The $100 laptop: What went wrong – MSN Money is an interesting article. Though JuliaD and I have talked for years about the notion of ZeroCostComputing, and we ever had a blog on this topic for a while (follow that link!), we have never been mindless technopositivistic ethusiasts. Access to safe drinking water and basic global education for women were the two things the OECD cited as first steps in dealing with the digital divide, back when we were allowed to use the term digitial divide (see OECD. 2000. Learning to Bridge the Digital Divide, Schooling for Tomorrow. Paris: OECD Publications). Here’s my review of it in ET&S [4(1)] Unpacking Transnational Policy: Learning to Bridge the Digital Divide. Anyway, in general a free computer to everyone on the planet it interesting. The tool is cool. And there are many massively problematic issues involved. But that’s interesting is that this article is publishe din MSN Money. MSN isn’t part of this. I’ve read the M$ does not like open source. I wonder how much big computing, like big oil and big tobacco is willing to thumb the nose at doing something good (Gate’s work on aids in africa is not part of this debate of course) useful when it might get in the way of a little well planned out hegemony. But that’s just my personal opinion on it.

2 Responses to “The $100 laptop: What went wrong – MSN Money”

  1. Jason, thanks so much for finding this article and posting it. 🙂 The one angle they haven’t covered is that it’s really easy to meet youth who don’t have electricity or self-sustainable economic livelihoods who want to learn computers. Even, as I’ve written about in my own work, refugee children who do not have real legal rights nor do they exist in the same kind of “legitimate” social space as the rest of us. Yet, computers (& soccer uniforms) are among their requests. It’s a tough call. I think if the use of the hardware is there to solve a real viable community problem — teacher support, curriculum support, medical worker support, small business development — then there is something to these projects which is real and tangible. The problem IMHO is that this was barely thought out with the “$100” laptop or other similar devices. Engineers — who design hardware — don’t think enough about “useability”.

    And yeah, on wonders too about any “vested interest” on the part of MSN-wallahs in the construction and publishing of this article, in spite of their truly excellent points.

    I’m going to re-post in CleverGirl, so that I don’t lose this article. Thanks again!

    J.

  2. […] The $100 laptop: What went wrong – MSN Money: Anyway, in general a free computer to everyone on the planet it interesting. The tool is cool. And there are many massively problematic issues involved. But that’s interesting is that this article is publishe din MSN Money. MSN isn’t part of this. I’ve read the M$ does not like open source. I wonder how much big computing, like big oil and big tobacco is willing to thumb the nose at doing something good (Gate’s work on aids in africa is not part of this debate of course) useful when it might get in the way of a little well planned out hegemony. But that’s just my personal opinion on it. —— […]