OLPC News Conspiracy Theories - Debunked


SlashDot wanted to ruin this?!

SlashDot is jealous of me! SlashDot hates OLPC News because I, not they, lead in One Laptop Per Child information and influence. And so CmdrTaco dredged up a stale conspiracy theory from January 2006 and gave it a big twist on my wedding night, just to screw me when I wasn't looking. It was a personal attack!

Crazy talk, eh? A fanciful conspiracy theory with just a touch enough logic to sound legit. But total crap when you give it a good think. Well so are the OLPC News conspiracy theories.

Back January 2006, those jealous of OLPC News' growing influence got the wild idea that there is no way it could just be a loose association of writers and commenters myopically focused on the One Laptop Per Child program. That it was impossible for a simple blog to jump into the forefront of the international debate all by itself.

There had to be a puppet master!

So they went looking for a good conspiracy theory to soothe their egos, and like all good theories, there seemed to be just enough facts to make their fantasies reality.

Then, I was Director of Geekcorps, a NGO focused on bringing technology to the developing world. In fall 2005 Intel had convened a NGO Advisory Board - a grandiose name for a one day workshop with a dozen NGO technology leaders on Intel's product roadmap for the developing world.

No help from Intel here

Ah Ha! An Intel Link!

With that smoking gun, the conspiracy theories started, but they were so misinformed, I took them as a compliment. Why?

Because of what we told Intel in their one and only Advisory Board meeting. And kept telling them till they stopped calling and forgot the idea of a NGO Advisory Board:

  1. The Intel Community PC was a dog.
  2. The Classmate PC only a cheapened laptop.
  3. Neither was a quality product anyone would buy.
  4. Intel needed a low-power, high-durability laptop.
In essence, we told them Intel needed the clocking-stopping hot XO laptop from OLPC. And every time I've talked to Intel staffers since - at public meetings, not smoky back rooms - I've told them the same thing again: $5 Billion in Intel R&D and we get the Classmate PC?

Which is why I find the whole Intel conspiracy theory so outlandish it has to be a compliment. I've never personally got a dime from Intel. Or Microsoft. Or any other technology vendor. Not even a Classmate PC demo unit! To top it off, I don't work for Geekcorps anymore.

And yet conspiracy theorists are so amazed at OLPC News' success, they have come to the conclusion yet again that OLPC News cannot be the humble work of just yours truly.

Real OLPC News masters

I have to admit it. They are right.

OLPC News is your independent source for news, information, commentary, and discussion of One Laptop Per Child because of its impressive readership. Because of people like you, reading this sentence right now.

It's the 5,000+ daily readers of OLPC News, the dozen+ writers, and too many Guest Posters to count that drive this site. They are the ones I answer to every day. They are my boss, my drive, and if they ever actually clicked on a Google ads, my beer money funders.

So for CmdrTaco to insinuate that OLPC News is a front for anyone but them, insults you, dear reader, and every OLPC News contributor, commenter, and supporter personally. To do so with out of date and inaccurate information offends SlashDot itself.

And to do so on my wedding day? Worthy of a conspiracy theory all its own.

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OLPC: The reality tv drama event supplying poor children with affordable laptops.

I'd watch it. In fact, I already do. Yessss.

Now if only Wayan would proof read his posts we'd all be happy...

'OLPC News is your independent source for news, information, commentary, and discussion of One Laptop Per Child because of its impressive readership.'

Thats supposed to read '...impressive leadership.'

Get it right Wayan!

I must have missed the primer. Who are you? Is this website someone's blog? I got the feeling more than one person was writing all these musings, not just one person. Getting married huh? Which one are you, the bride or the groom? I'm guessing bride, as you seem to be doing a lot of whining about people ruining your big day. Here's a tip: this isn't myspace, no-one cares about your personal life.

Anyone who takes anything written in Slashdot as fact is an idiot, so don't worry about it. If you're especially lucky, The Register will do a piece about you and you can have a big cry about how mean English tabloids can be.

Wow, did you even read the Slashdot article posted?

It links to a post from Silicon Valley Sleuth from last January. Which I know you've read and commented on.

Which in turn links to a post from Christopher Blizzard:

Which I know you also read.

Blaming Taco for an anonymous post, voted up by readers is ridiculous.

If you didn't post so many Backhanded Compliments of the XO this story wouldn't be believable. That is it's name. You can stop calling it the $100 laptop any year now. If you weren't affiliated with intel, if Intel or you didn't purchase google ads for your personal site it wouldn't be believable. I'd like to believe you, really I would. Unfortunately long before yesterday's slashdot article, I had written olpcnews off as a bad place for olpc news. My reccomendation to my readers is get their news from the olpc wiki. If your news is accurate, it'll be posted there just like all the rest.

Oh, Congrats on the nuptials.

Honestly, Wayan, you should be busy doing something else on your wedding day. Much more worthed...

Hearty congratulations for you wedding!


Anyone can submit a Slashdot article, this one was done by "an anonymous reader" CmdrTaco failed to check the date on the article and realise it was from Jauary 2007 rather than January 2008. This was an editorial error worthy of a front page apology in my view. The article itself was low journalism, sensationalism and speculation without any investigative element to it. Posting it to Slashdot on your wedding day was a very low blow (but possibly inadvertent - when it could be conspiracy or cock-up I tend to be generous and presume cock-up). Don't let it spoil the honeymoon.

Wayan, what's the policy about censorship here?

Wow, "Come On", the way you pose that question, and throw in the hot button "censorship" I can tell you're fishing for flame bait and I can't wait for your tirade to follow whatever I write here.

But I'll bite, and I'll let your froth be the proof that I don't censor. I encourage and treasure the discussion OLPC News invokes. Yet if you go offensive, obscene, or otherwise use language I wouldn't accept in my presence, I will junk your comments forthwith and without apology.

the upside wayan, is that maybe more people will come here and end up sticking. I will admit one thing: the first time the name OLPCNews really stuck on my mind - as oposed to being "that green site that I found on google" was when I first saw tha chris blizz article, the first time it came online...

Then I kept coming back for the news and commentaries.. Quality wins over disinformation.

I believe in Wayan and here is why:

I've been reading olpcnews for over a year, looking for some independent and critical views about the OLPC project. And this is what I always found. Don't get me wrong: I love olpc. I really do. But still, I believe that finding good counter-arguments and engaging in CRITICAL discussions is a healthy and much needed habit whenever you really need to understand the strengths and weaknesses of any given project.

I know that the idea of critizing a humanitarian effort may sound horrible to some of you but believe me, for those working on the field, in the context of developing nations, those criticisms are really helpful: I have learnt how to face some of the most unexpected questions and doubts about OLPC by reading olpcnews.

Besides, I believe I have sent five or more articles to be published here, and I can guarantee you this: I have never been asked to change anything to attack OLPC or boost the INTEL project by Wayan, I mean, NEVER.

Wayan's passion to keep this blog alive has led him to become a key player in terms of olpc related news (and obviously some people won't like that). His passion has also moved several people from different countries including some internationally reputed scholars such as Mark Warschauer and Robert Kozma to write here. And the same passion has moved me, a young university professor from Chile, to make my best effort to contribute here (obviously not in my own language!)

Wayan Congrats for your wedding and please don't waste too much time around olpcnews these days. Your passion is much more needed in a very different location!


Luis Ramirez

Too much in one post. Congrats on the wedding.

I bet they don't like you because your site almost never links out. I find it really frustrating to have all the links face other pages of the site, and not the site that sprung the news.

It is hit-whoring and it is not a service to the readers.

"To do so with out of date and inaccurate information offends SlashDot itself."

I wouldn't worry about it too much. Slashdot does an excellent job of offending itself every day. The place is about as accurate and relevant as the Fox Noise Channel.

Why worry about what an anti-MS hate speech site and has-been tech blog says? They are just bitter... VERY bitter... even since relevant sites like Digg and Del.icio.us started eating their lunch. And with services like Google News, you don't even need their shitty blog to find news articles which might interest you.

It's a big world out there... and Slashdot's still stuck in the dot-bomb era. Not hard to believe, since they worship at the altar of an OS which is still stuck in Windows 95's tail lights.

Oh My goodness.... I am amazed that the focus here has turned to the motives of the writer.

In my humble opinion-It is his blog-his website and therefore his right to post information he wishes to. I do enjoy coming here and reading the information on this site. It is however, not the only site I visit to gather information and listen to opinions.

My suggession would be as follows: Read on topics you are interested in from different perspectives and form your own opinions. Be respectful of those who disagree with you, and keep in mind that everyone brings their own set of perspectives to each issue. That is why reading a from a variety of sources us always a good idea. (I apologize if this sounds preachy. Sometimes it's hard to turn off the teacher inside of me :)

I am still waiting for my XO to be delivered and after I have it in my hands, and have my students use it, I will be in a better position to give my opinion on the laptop itself. Until then I will continue to read what all of you have to say and form my own opinions.

"Besides, I believe I have sent five or more articles to be published here, and I can guarantee you this: I have never been asked to change anything to attack OLPC or boost the INTEL project by Wayan, I mean, NEVER."

Here the same. I have posted a few articles and never have seen even the slightest suggestion to change anything.

Some people I respect and they share my opinions. Some people I respect even more and they don't.


Congratulations Wayan. My best wishes for the future.

Don't be so quick to write off conspiracy theories by the way. It may just be that finding yourself involved in a devious conspiracy of which you have no knowledge is just a step on the stairway of fame and fortune.

After all, if you're important enough to warrant inclusion in a semi-coherently described, laughably unlikely conspiracy then you just might be a player.

"Wayan Congrats for your wedding and please don't waste too much time around olpcnews these days. Your passion is much more needed in a very different location!" Luis Ramirez

My sentiments exactly.
By the way, I love the "human validation test." It is so reaffirming when I pass it.


Hey Wayan

--- well you've arrived, yes?

Nobody can really say they done whatever they said they wuz setting out to do until they've been accused of conspiracy.

I suspected from the very first that Osama Bin Laden was in there somewhere, or possibly the US Military-Industrial Complex, that's a fave of mine especially now it's known to be headed by Roger Rabbit, yeah?

So congratulations on all fronts,