Wayan Vota, ex-Editor of OLPC News

   
   
   
   
   

Today marks a transition for the OLPC community, separate from the XP on the XO drama. I am stepping down as the editor of One Laptop Per Child News, and passing the editorial role to new community leaders.

Over the past two years, I invested incalculable personal and professional capital to build OLPC News and Forums into the premier independent source for news, information, commentary, and discussion on the One Laptop Per Child program. The effort was rewarding beyond any expectation - for OLPC News and the entire OLPC community.

olpc wayan
Wayan Vota of OLPC News

OLPC News Success

What I hoped would be read by a handful of thought leaders, is now a recognized voice in the OLPC community, even by Nicholas Negroponte himself. The OLPC News blog commands 5,000 readers a day, each spending an average of 4 minutes on the site, and the OLPC News Forum has almost 3,000 members and 22,000 posts on every OLPC-related topic imaginable.

But it's really the OLPC community that has reaped the rewards of OLPC News, especially through comments, contributions, and Guest Posts from anyone who can produce readable copy, regardless of opinion or background. With frank and open debate about OLPC, even when it was actively discouraged by the organization, we've made a stronger, more committed one laptop per child movement.

And now its time for OLPC News to follow the movement and go beyond OLPC as an organization, to engage a wider community that thinks outside of the "1CC" bubble. It's also time for new leadership at OLPC News, to reflect this change in person as well as in spirit.

OLPC News Transition

Over the next week, OLPC News will transition to Bryan Berry of OLE Nepal and Christoph Derndorfer of OLPC Austria. Both are long-time contributors to the site and come to think of it, friends of mine from before One Laptop Per Child. They'll introduce themselves and their post-1CC goals for the site in upcoming posts.

Before you think of missing me I will still keep the mantle of Publisher, but my role will be more in guidance than daily commentary. I'd like to interact more with the OLPC News Forum, bringing forth the best in G1G1 action on a North American scale, highlighting ways in which XO User Groups are taking their laptops into new areas of educational discovery.

As I exit this stage, I'd like to thank you for your attention. I've treasured every moment of it, from every one of you.

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33 Comments

Hi Wayan,

first I was a bit intimidated when you criticised the lack of an implementation plan. It turns out you were right.

Good luck,
Rob

I'm in the process of moving away myself.

Even though I have been perceived by many as the enemy, I'm very happy that my contribution helped someone, somewhere, avoid the damage to be suffered by poor kids in Peru and Uruguay, the only two countries who actually committed money to this orphaned project. I sincerely hope I'm wrong and OLPC goes on to fullfil all of the promises made to these economically challegended countries.

I'll read and post with far less frequency than before, so I'm sure a few people will be happy |;-), and most will not even notice.

My job (telling everyone for the last 3 years that the king is naked) is done. Time has proven me absolutely right in every one of my critiques of Negroponte's continued lies and smokescreens. I take full credit for having accurately pointed out the many inconsistencies, flaws and outright lies by Negroponte, Krstic (yes, he was reciting Negroponte's mantra until it became obvious there was no money or glory in the horizon), Jepsen, Bender et al.

I did the right thing. I care about the children and my voice protected them. At least in my mini-pocket sized unimportant book...

OLPC is dead. And rightfully so. With the advent of cloud computing, the future lies in web-based educational software (that was Negroponte's terrible mistake: to think that he could actually fool people into believing that education can take place without educational content), perhaps matched by thin-client technologies. That's perhaps the most obvious and cheapest way to effectively bring technology and education to the classroom (and even this idea needs extensive testing before anyone should spend significant amounts of money on it).

Good luck to every one!


:-)

This is a sad day. You will be missed.

Will you still contribute to the blog?

Jonna,

Oh yes, I shall still be here and posting on OLPC-related news as well as Forum ideas. It will just be a bit less, with Bryan and Christoph taking the lead.

Thanks for the constant news stream on OLPC Wayan; and I think the new direction you, Chris and Bryan are taking it is possibly the best possible contribution to the OLPC community that can be made. We've seen where the organization is going, and if we want any real alternative to XP on the XO; we're going to have to fight the same uphill battle against the MS monopoly that the rest of the world faces.

That being said; we have some powerful opportunities to leverage the worldwide community and their on-the-ground implementation and education experience in creating Sugar-specific mesh-required collaborative educational tools. Like Ivan said in his last OLPC entry, the hardware was the easy part; deployment and content/integration are the real interesting challenges.

(and I'll continue to contribute as much as I can; so don't fear!)

Okay, I'll bite.

If both you and Irvin are stepping down at the same time, is it possible that you are in fact the same person? :-)

Of course, we'll see if Irvin can keep his fingers off the trollboard, I'll believe it when I (don't) see it.

Alex,

Ha! I've been called many things in my OLPC News capacity, but a troll on my own site? Surely you jest with that comment. Next up, someone calling me Bill Gates in pseudonym?

If only I had .00001% of his cash...

Wayan - thanks for all the hard work, and I'm glad that you've got as much out of it as we have from reading it.

OLPC News has shed a lot of the light that has helped me to find ideas, people and solutions for the way I am to take for the next chapter.
Thus I am personally very grateful for all your effort, the success it has in bringing together so many people around this idea, and wish well to the new editorial team.

Hello!

Thanks for telling those folks at Opera about their need to get a version for the XO using my video. Maybe one day they will get it fully Sugarized and available like other Activities in the XO-Get Activity?

Wow Wayan. Now I know for sure that OLPC is sinking. (As if I didn't before... thanks largely to reading this site). I thought for sure we'd see Negroponte confirm his final exit before you, but oh well. Good thing I didn't place a bet on it.

Thanks for putting this site together for us. You have given us voice. Voice which will hopefully carry on until the last G1G1 bites the dust.

Best Wishes,

Clevergirl.

.

Wayan,
You did everything you could, OLPC is dead -- Long Live OLPC!

It is over, as Engaget says:
"OLPC XO has completed its transition from revolutionary education project to just another tiny Windows laptop with a useless keyboard -- albeit one with a pleasantly whimsical design."

I think that the mistake was to build a new user interface (AKA Sugar), when they just needed versions on user files and local-network-aware (Avahi) application mods.

.

This will be bad PR for Linux and Open Source. Most people don't understand the difference between the window manager code and the underlying operating system.


.

@alex: I have to admit, that immediately crossed my mind too, as silly as it sounds. ;)

Wayan, thank you for the hard work during this time. You will be missed!

Greetings from Chile,

Luis

Nathan,

I don't have such a pessimistic view of OLPC - i think it will be bolder and brighter as one laptop per child, the movement. And I intend to be a part of it, just not as OLPC News editor.

Thanks for all your work on this site. You've done some huge work posting all these long posts. I hope someone was paying you for all this work all this time.. (Intel?) (nah.. just joking.. hehe)

I hope you are entering the OLPC market somehow (some people call it the weird ULCPC acronym) and that it's an upcoming conflict of interest making you step down from your olpc news world dominator role.

Unrelated to this, I think it's kind of pathetic the way some people react to the Windows XP on XO developments. We've all known for 3 years that Microsoft was going to provide Windows XP for the laptop, why are so many making it into a change in OLPC strategy or into a news story. Is it because news outlets need to sell papers and thus they write stuff making it always sound like they have scoups without thinking about it even for a second?

I think OLPC should take the initiative to hire a bunch of video-bloggers and bloggers, or at least support them somehow, cause spending time writing meaningful discussions about the OLPC project takes time, I don't think bloggers should work for free. And no, Adsense is not a way to make a living, not even Gizmodo and Engadget bloggers get much out of Adsense (they are owned by large coorporations who take all the advertisment revenue and sometimes even underpay their teenage bloggers on staff).

I'm going to fix the bug I have at my http://olpc.tv and I will try to automatically post the videos on the site, and have anyone signing up being able to directly contribute in a way that safely filters spam and rates the quality of the content collaboratively.

Wayan, You've done a Hell of a job. I hope Christoph and I can keep OLPC News up to the standard you have set, particularly in keeping it up-to-date on the latest happenings in the OLPC movement.

Charbax,

I am entering the 4P Computing market, and I'll be getting paid to develop an online community around it, both great outcomes of my OLPC News efforts. But its not so much a conflict of interest as a bandwidth issue. I only have so much, and I'll soon have two jobs, in addition to a wife, all of which demand attention, the latter the most (and the most rewarding, of course).

That and I really think that OLPC has reached a level of maturity that requires a change in focus by OLPC News - more from the field and less from me, pontificating from DC. Your efforts opening up OLPC.TV is along the same lines.

good luck with your next endeavors, thanks very much for what you have done here.

Good luck Wayan. It's been an interesting ride but it's clearly coming to an end with Microsoft's intrusion into the project. They've never been much of an innovator and their record outside the operating system and office suite market doesn't inspire much confidence.

But the die, in the form of the XO, has been cast and it's now clear that the technology's advanced sufficiently to make the world's poor a viable market for properly-designed and marketed computer. I don't think it'll be the XO but I don't think it'll matter.

Wayan,

You are a pioneer.

Good luck with your next venture.

Thanks for providing not only a great independent site for OLPC news, but also a useful place for G1G1ers to gather to exchange useful information and to opine. I'm glad we can look forward to your continued participation as publisher and forum participant.

Wayan,

When I posted my first blog entry criticizing OLPC in November 2005 I felt it to be a quixotic effort that would be ignored by all but a few. After all, Negroponte had the media connections and the political connections that attract media attention, so what chance did I have that it could make any difference? It seemed as if Negroponte's Soviet-style totemization of the laptop would sweep all before it, given that technology is the secular religion of our society and that dogma proclaimed in its name cannot be questioned.

While Lena Diethelm's strenuous efforts on my behalf spread notice of the blog posts, it seemed to me that my writings would fill the niche of "...other comments" without much effect. Then I discovered OLPC News.

It was the missing link we needed - constant journalism and analysis from an expanding group of interested and intelligent (most, at least) readers. Attention integrated over time, with an active audience. I shifted most of my blogging effort over to OLPC, somewhat to the detriment of my own blog but much to the enhancement of my

While I never did get used to the phrase "clock-stopping hot technology" (mostly because as a hardware designer, I knew that stopping the clock on a synchronous device will render it useless), I could give Wayan that much and still find great benefit in the dynamic forum built through his hard work.

The OLPC landscape has changed - we are no longer minor voices clamoring against a seemingly unstoppable force. We in fact collectively hold the key to the future of low-cost hands-on computer use in developing countries. Due to the G1G1 initiative there are enough XOs in our hands to allow a serious development effort independent of the OLPC project.

If we do not waste energy complaining about Negroponte's decisions and actions we can flow around him like water and render him irrelevant. OLPC News' blog and forums can serve as the communications environment within which we coordinate our development efforts with each other and with the projects int he field.

Thank you, Wayan, for your hard work, and for giving us the tools to carry on!

We've had a lot of disagreements over the last two years, Wayan, but I still think you have made a tremendous contribution. I am glad to hear you be leaving olpcnews in such competent hands.

To those who say XP on the XO means olpc is dead: that is certainly not how Microsoft sees it. Why would they devote time and labor to porting XP to a platform they thought was about to expire?

To those who think this means Sugar is dead, I would reply that it is almost going to do much better now that it is on its own.

Hey Wayan,

Sorry I dropped out from posting a while back (yikes - more than a 14 months ago, I guess) - the search and then finding of work kind of got in the way. Not that I haven't been paying attention here from time to time - your drunken XO "wash" and the subsequent rebuild videos were some of the more amusing things I've watched online for quite a while.

I wish you good luck in your next venture. This has been a hell of a ride for you, I'm sure and good fun for the rest of us too.

Maybe the new editors will spell check the new articles.

Seriously Wayan, You kept up a fine tradition of misswritten articles.

All the best

Wayan--

I'm not going to try to be "Bad Saint Nick"...but he really owes you a considerable debt. You have served as an important counterpoint, for a while the only thoughtful critic of the execution--but never at the expense of the goals--of the program.

As the critics came out of the woodwork of late, your tone could change somewhat; you could see the bright side of Walter Bender's later roles at OLPC, sadly too brief though they were...

You've helped make even a three month delivery cycle more bearable, if not quite fun. Good luck in your subsequent endeavors; many of us will watch for them.

Wayan,

I'm very happy to see you make this change after the insane amount of effort you've put into sustaining this blog. I guess I'll have to watch your other blog http://www.bellybuttonwindow.com/ to see where you will be channeling your energy in the "olpc" world. And no "goodbye" from me because I know where you live.

Mike

Wowo this is probably beating the olpcnews number of comments record. Except for those interminable windows vs open source articles which were sure to draw attention.

Wayan, thanks for bringing together this community. I d believe there is a future in OLPC (there has to be, at least for the countries that already bought it) and maybe the change in direction will change the focus of discussion of this blog from being "what is being done wrong in cambridge" to "what's being done right in the schools"

good luck foward

Everyone,

Before you thank me, please thank yourselves. Like Lee, I thought OLPC News would be a minor hobby, a site I only hoped a handful of peers would read on occasion. With your support, input, and readership, its grown well beyond my humble voice to be part of a larger community.

I'll be able to talk more about my next role in that larger community as the role develops, and I expect y'all will be quite active in my future endeavors. The idea of 4P Computing, a direct result of OLPC, is here to stay and I intend to help make it grow in importance and impact.

0.000001 of Billy G's cash is only around $30,000 or so.

"OLPC news" is ANYTHING but a news site. This website says it is an unbiased forum for good and bad news but it is mostly filled with negative spin on real OLPC news stories. I have NO connection to OLPC except as an observer. All over this site I see misleading, consistently negative, and downright false representations. The staff wasn't 'fired', they were laid off, despite the constant comedy graphics I find on this site making desperate attempts at funny representations of 'fired' OLPC workers.

Also, the OLPC staff salaries aren't "low" as characterized here, which was proven after someone bothered to post them in response to this website's accusations of such. What are you trying to do?...discourage people from applying for positions with OLPC or convince potential investors that it isn't worth investing because OLPC is a 'sinking ship'?

OLPC is characterized as a 'sinking ship' on OLPC news. It is NOT a sinking ship by all means. It simply has fewer donations, as all nonprofits have now, and still has half of its well paid developers after successfully getting its product into the hands of a half million kids. A reduction of half of the staff during a recession is expected. The XO-2 is coming online, and naturally it will take a little longer because of the economic climate, NOT because the idea isn't successful.

'OLPC news' is simply an awful website that simply jabs at OLPC, all the while confusing the readers that it IS connected to OLPC through its color scheme, name, and style. Why not just post the news links here without the doom and gloom editorial comments always attached to spin the story into a bad light? This website seems simply a conduit for some interest to derail the OLPC program.

Thanks for your insightful input, we'll take it into consideration in all our actions.

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