A New Year's Resolution: Write for OLPC News


Do you follow the One Laptop Per Child program daily? Did you review the Sugar UI or dream about Chidlren's Machine XO educational content? Better yet, might you be current on Nicholas Negroponte's talks or live in an implementation country?

And can you express your learned opinions and ideas blog-style? In on-topic posts of 200-400 words, complete with quotes, links, and photos. Delving into OLPC community use cases or financial donors with unique insight and first-person knowledge.

Best of all, can you defend your conclusions in the comments sections of your posts and whole other websites without falling prey to comment trolls?

Then its time you made your New Year's Resolution: Add your voice to One Laptop Per Child News!

Everyone from the OLPC leadership to national news media reads OLPC News. Leading websites regularly republish our scoops. Controversial posts have altered the conversation around the OLPC program and ideas and memes from the site have entered the vocabulary of other OLPC followers.

In fact, the site is so insightful and so influential, that key players can't believe that it's just the humble work of Jon, David, and I.

And we are looking for new voices, new views, new optimism about the Children's Machine XO to join our successful enterprise. Writers who can add to the commentary and discussion of One Laptop Per Child with clear, concise posts that need not agree with OLPC, Jon, David, or me.

Better yet, don't agree with our love of the technology yet skepticism about the implemention. Have your own views, logic, emotion, and when needed, controversy. Bring diversity to OLPC News.

And bring your writing to the forefront of the international OLPC debate. Email a starter post and being the conversation.

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Umm. Well, how many times would I have to question whether $100 million of investment in laptops is worth the tradeoff in infrastructure for some countries? After all, the state of California is spending $460 million on infrastructure for *broadband*...

In the long term, the best that the OLPC could do is create brain drain as youth leave to find a place where they can use the skills that they have gained... since their country never invested in infrastructure, instead investing in silver bullets to kill... vampires. ;-)

I understand the goal of providing children with a new way to learn and collaborate without falling into the contraints of commercial software such as MS Word, etc, and I applaud that, however I have two questions in this vein. First, what is the future to hold for students that learn on your laptops to hold, when they are forced to just relearn the basics of the commercial computer unless your themes and methods are also matured to fit into the adult world. Eventually, they will need to know how to interact with the rest of the world, and unless you do something about it, that is going to require some PC-type skill acquisition.
Second, since you are pushing for a completely new way of teaching children that is not limited by current MS-type shackles, why have you given in to the antiquated idea of the QWERTY keyboard? The reasoning behind that is decades older than the other ideals you are doing away with, so why stick to a medieval format when there are surely several much more advanced ways of addressing the input question.

Finnaly an intelligent lines from Wayan ;)

GUIs aren't carved in stone, and are constantly being reinvented and improved. However, QUERTY keyboards are pretty standardized. Conflating the two, I feel, is to mix up apples and oranges.

What interactivity actually is has changed so much in just the past few years, who's to say that children are ill-served by not being exposed to applications that dominate today?Meanwhile, if these kids gain access to the internet while learning how to use a computer as a tool -- no matter what the GUI -- they are learning important skills in the "new economy."

So what are "the basics of the commercial computer"? My punch-card skills are pretty worthless. My DOS skills are pretty worthless. 12 years ago, I was a top expert in WordPerfect. A lot of good that skill is today!

One might as well pooh pooh Speak 'n Spell because it's not like the MS Word spellcheck.

What part of 'Write articles for OLPCNews' did you people not understand?

Unfortunately I dont have the time to give to OLPCNews.
Sorry Wayan,Jon,David.


They are responding to the Sugar UI article I am quoted in. Here's the CNN version: http://www.cnn.com/2006/EDUCATION/12/31/hundreddollarlaptop.ap/index.html

Comments on Sugar would be best left on the posts directly related to Sugar, like your Sugar UI review:

or the Sugar UI usability post:

This site is getting better all the time. The writing is improving and its great to have the interviews with the big guys. I would venture to say that the 3 original writers all deserve an XO of their own as a reward for their efforts. It would be very interesting to read their views on the machine in action: a sort of XO diary. . .

Thanks for setting me straight Wayan.
I couldnt work out why people were commenting on everything but 'Writing for OLPC News'.

I guess I'm used to comments being about the topic of discussion. Nice CNN article. Add that one to the trophy bag ;)

Ok, on topic: I think it's good that you look for new writers. There will be tons to write about OLPC stuff in the future.

"One Laptop per Child" is yet one more ridiculous project by do-gooders foisted on the third world. Thank God these people have someplace to work off their excess energy, otherwise they might do some real damage.

To begin, nothing on this computer is compatible with the vast majority of other computers in the world. Not much about windows and file folders might be "intuitive", but yet another incompatible user interface is not helping anyone.

Second, a fast internet connection is far more important than exactly what computer hardware is used for access. I would rather have one good broadband internet connection shared per classroom, than a whole classroom of "One Laptop per Child".

But software and software compatibility is really hard, and the hardware types just don't have any interest or appeciation of just how important this is.

Negroponte might hate Word and Excel and other aspects of his culture, but when these kids try to get work they will be asked if they know Word and Excel and Windows, not a stick figure interface.

And make no mistake, it is the hardware types driving this project. Anytime you still fumble around with software this late in a project just means it is in trouble.

Just for the record, any of these do-gooders have any intention of replacing their current computer hardware/software/internet with one of these creations?

Any chance they will "eat their own dog food"?

Didn't think so.


Actually, as far as I can tell, everyone involved in the OLPC project would love to have an OLPC XO for themselves and their children.

And I'll settle for the very subtle: I want one first!!! And I'll back it up with cold, hard, cash on the barrel head

Hey, I'd be happy to write for OLPCnews! Just send me an XO! I'm a student, pursuing my degree in Human Factors Psychology, so I have experience and training in Usability. I'm also the father of a 3 year old, so she can help test the interface!
Seriously, I am VERY interested in this project, so if you need my help, please email me.

On another note, these laptops are so inexpensive that MANY people in the world could afford one. That might mean that WINDOWS would have to change not OLPC. In many respects trying to introduce computing systems to children means trying to predict what computers might be like in 10 to fifteen years.

To make the statement that 'this system isn't windows, so it won't teach kids about computing' is short-sighted at best. I learned to program using Pascal, but I was able to leverage that knowledge to more quickly learn VB6, which in turn made me a better Pascal programmer (not that I'm that great, even now).

So, ANY knowledge of computing is better that NO knowledge of computing, and, like any language, the sooner you learn the easier it is to be fluent.

So, I say this is a GREAT project.
I do have one question: does this come with a programming IDE? I think it would be good for kids to program their own utilities, so their skills can increase as their needs increase.

William really has his dogfood by the wrong end of the can. Rather than seeing these laptops as a piece of hardware and software he should be seeing them as an education tool.

This is not about 'learning to use computers'. Its about accessing information and using that information. Its about 'learning to learn' as Papert would put it.

If you think that a world full of kids that can use MS Word or even find their way around Windows XP is the answer to education then you must be eating dog food.

"I would venture to say that the 3 original writers all deserve an XO of their own as a reward for their efforts."

I concur. This is a wonderful idea!

Could anyone tell me that how i can get this laptop for my kids, they are keen to use it, but as i live in Karachi, Pakistan, how i can get it. Please, someone help me to find the way to get it.

Farrukh Ansari

Mr Farrukh Ansari,
This laptop is 100% useless for your children sitting at the home. Unless there is a complete software developed specifically meant for your child's use, i am sure you would not be able to do much with that.

My XO arrived 2 days ago so I am still learning how to use it. The wifi was tricky, took many attempts to connect...i am typing this on the XO now. I am really looking forward to adding to my XO - Moz Firefox, XP Lite via SD card, etc. More on that later.

can the OLPC handle music like itunes or anything like that.