Jeremy pointed me to this article: The Walrus Blogs » The Failure of One Laptop Per Child » World Fast Forward. I disagree with a number of the ‘failures’ as I noted in my comment on the site. But the XO did change our notions of computing, and was a valid attempt to bring constructionism into a wider world.
This new device is both transparent and flexible, while still producing a bright display that can be viewed at almost any angle. Its response time is up to ten times faster than traditional LEDs, making for smooth, smooth video. The engineers of the future could have a field day with this material, creating ultra-light laptops, rollable televisions and digital newspapers.
But why should this product delight an Ecogeek more than any old geek? Most importantly, all LEDs consume less energy and are therefore more efficient. That’s a plus for us on the consumption end. But OLEDs also offer an advantage on the production end – they can be printed onto a wide variety of substrates. Obviously, the environmental friendliness of the OLED ultimately depends on the substrates chosen and the production requirements for that substrate. But it means that manufacturers aren’t working with heavy metals like mercury, which go into many fluorescent lights.
“The government of Peru will run the first ever trial of the One Laptop Per Child association’s XO laptop running Windows XP. This puts the nation at the heart of a software controversy that has been raging for years between those who advocate making software and its source code free, such as Linux OS developers, and those who charge for software and keep the development recipes secret, such as Microsoft.”
And to think, the OLPC people passed up on a free version of the Apple OS. I feel sad for Peruvians, missing the option to develop an autonomous technological position through localizing their own computing future and going with a colonialized approach.
They ditched x86 compatibility and switched to a MIPS architecture to further reduce production costs. HiVision has managed to create a UMPC that sells right now for $120.00. They say they have refined the manufacturing process and have learned from building this laptop how to mass produce a laptop that will sell for $98.00.”
It runs linux, which will make AlexB happy. As I’ve mentioned, I’ve never worried about OLPC per se, but the concept of zero cost computing was always an interest. This gets the price point down, but is otherwise as lame as most puters in terms of being culturally/pedagogically appropriate.
OLPC News: Windows XO: A Detailed Microsoft XP Video Dissection… of course as we talked about in class this week, people want the windows experience on their XOs because that’s what everyone else has. This post on olpc news is really saddening. Taking the not perfect but really interesting XO and adding XP to it and you get… just another windows product that doesn’t do much. Well, it does get people around the world to buy into it…
What I can’t figure out, and help me here people, is that on one hand the XO is part of the colonialist hegemony of western technology, on another it is the hegemony of constructivism/constructionism. On the third side (and coins do have three sides if you look right, if not more), if you don’t run XP but rather run Linux/Sugar you’re part of the post-colonialist post-modernist (non)hegemony of the techno-counter-insurgency. The only thing I think it is safe to say is that if you suggest people just don’t buy computers at all, unless they’re locally made and sustainable, a la Schumacher’s Small is Beautiful, you are restricting access and participation in the global marketplace.
So, what have we learned from this? Sugar/Linux is the way to go… not cause there’s a real reason that can be defended, but because I feel like it.
LEGO has announced a low-end, tethered robotics system called “WeDO” designed to be used in classrooms of elementary-aged children. It won’t replace Mindstorms, but instead serve as an intermediate step between the more fully featured robotics platform and regular, non-robotic LEGO.
The WeDo system will be available at the first of the year. Prices have not yet been announced. I wonder if we could get together with LEGO and sponsor a few kits for some Brooklyn schools.
From their press release:
The complete LEGO WeDo package includes:
• 158 brightly colored LEGO elements, including gears, and levers
• One LEGO USB Hub connects directly to a Mac/PC laptop, desktop, OLPC XO or Intel Classmate
computer to allow control of hardware input (tilt and motion sensors) and output (motor),
thereby bringing models to life
• One motor, one motion sensor and one tilt sensor
• Drag‐and‐drop icon‐based software that provides an intuitive and easy‐to‐use programming
environment suitable for beginners and experienced users alike, developed by a leading
provider of engineering hardware and software, National Instruments
• Activity pack CD‐Rom provides up to 24 hours of instruction and includes 12 activities based on
four themes: Amazing Mechanisms, Wild Animals, Play Soccer and Adventure Stories. Running
alongside programming software, activities are introduced via animations. Teacher notes and
glossary are also included.
Obviously I want one. It will work with the olpc as well.
OLPC keyboards literally being ripped apart – Engadget ends with “if the OLPC can’t handle the abuse of some ungrateful little yuppie larvae, how is this thing supposed to hold up in the developing world” which I read just as I was thinking “I wonder if kids these were developed for are actually treating them like that?” We’ll have to see if there’s a problem with the keyboard, or just that the computer should come with a warning “avoid use by violently destructive consumers”. Hmmm…