Laptop Mag's OLPC XO vs Asus Eee PC Bake Off

   
   
   
   
   

Do you remember Nicholas Negroponte's arrogant resistance to low-cost laptop competition in the WSJ OLPC smackdown?

At a meeting this month in Cambridge, Mass., with representatives of Macedonia's government, Mr. Negroponte balked at authorizing a pilot project there after learning that officials also were considering testing the Classmate. He told them he didn't want to participate in a "bake-off."
laptop bake off
Low cost computing bake off
Well not everyone is so averse to pilot testing. The kids over at Laptop Mag took matters into their own hands with a OLPC XO vs. Asus Eee PC 701 bake off of their very own. Here's the crib sheet results:
  1. Design: The XO's durability more than makes up for its extra weight. Its swivel screen, antennas, and keyboard also make it one of the more visually appealing notebook designs since Apple's PowerBook line.
  2. User Interface: While not earth-shattering, the Eee PC's simple and well-organized UI beats out the higher-concept, but less practical, XO interface.
  3. Learning Curve: Maybe it was because of our familiarity with traditional PCs that we found the Eee PC easier to use, but even in the hands of children, the XO was still tricky.
  4. Applications: The XO has some great games and learning tools for kids, while the Eee PC's apps are more compatible with the ubiquitous Microsoft Office suite. Ultimately, the Eee PC's browser is faster than the pokey one on the XO, which is why Asus gets the nod in this round.
  5. Connectivity: The XO's mesh networking capability is one of the coolest things around. It's one of the best social-networking and productivity tools we've ever seen implemented.
  6. Specs & Performance: Although both machines have modest specs, the Eee PC offers performance more on a par with a traditional laptop.
  7. Pricing: It's not just the social-entrepreneur factor of the XO's Give 1, Get 1 program; it's also one of the more intriguing approaches to using technology to educate children in developing nations that makes it the winner in this category. Plus, for the next year, you can surf the net in Starbucks to your heart's content.

Laptop Mag loves Asus Eee PC
  • The Winner:This contest was fairly close, but we feel that even though its goals are much more limited in scope, the Eee PC 701 accomplishes them more fully than the XO, as its interface and applications are much more intuitive. Of course, the Eee PC 701 also costs about $200 more, but it's well worth the premium.
While I am disappointed with their result, I think the Laptop Mag review did expose a glaring flaw in the OLPC methodology. Despite Negroponte's insistence to the contrary, Laptop Mag's in-Africa reviewerSalimata Fandjalan says:
"All children who get an [XO] WILL NEED TRAINING!!!!!" Even kids--and adults--who have used laptops before will have to poke their way around the XO to figure it out.
And that to me, is what cost OLPC this contest, and maybe a few more in national capitols too.

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40 Comments

So OLPC loses because of Sugar.

The "bake-off" ignores (1) some of the more innovative hardware features, like the dual mode screen and the ability to change the screen orientation to better read books (2) the OLPC doesn't want to be a regular laptop or UMPC, but a learning tool for kids all over the world.

But poking around the XO is part of the learning, right? These critiques seem to come from the idea that the laptop is delivered to the child, who can then get down to business and be productive. Instead, I am hopeful that the process of exploring the machine itself will lead to a particularly deep understanding.

This is a good example of why "bake-offs" are useless. The OLPC has a specific purpose in mind, and that is education. The hardware design and default image reflects that. I'm not going to pretend that it will make a perfect web browser because the browser is over-simplified and some components are missing. I'm not going to pretend that it will make a great desktop publishing system for the same reason.

The Eee PC has a different purpose in mind, which seems to be some sort of portable browser appliance. The hardware design and default software reflects that. Converting it to an education machine would be non-trivial at that. Want eToys: install Squeak. Want kig? Install kig and its dependencies. How easy is it to replace the image if a kid buggers something up.

But of course most bake-offs won't notice that because the reviewer is only interested in their particular needs.

Bastian,

Sadly, Laptop Mag does take the screen into account:

"The XO's 7.5-inch LCD screen is a bit of genius engineering, as it operates in color and in black and white. In color mode, the 1200 x 900-pixel resolution gives it a nice bright look. In black and white mode, the screen becomes more like an eBook reader which not only makes it easier to see in bright sunlight, but uses far less power--1 watt, to be exact. Also, the screen can rotate so the device can be used as a tablet. Its keyboard is rather novel, too:"

-Overall comparison:
how about comparing battery, display and the rest instead of just overall Design, making 3 categories out of one? who will win then? it seems like the comparison like this can be skewed in any direction you'd want. the only thing it can't be is neutral.

-The more intuitive user Interface: i remember back in 1996 i've read some readers letter to PC-Professional (somewhat pro-microsoft magazine) about how OS/2 was half-baked and he's back to windows after trying it out.

Little did he know about both systems.
But I believe he was honest. In fact adults hate to learn - they want to DO instead. Everything that does not work straight away (the way you used to do it) is not intuitive. It costs time and effort to learn -so nobody does. Thats the reason why just few people are using styles in MS Word -not because the concept of styles is half-baked.
For the same reason i use windows. But it is really different with children. The children are not stuck in the mud of their habits, their minds are the way more flexible.
So PLEASE! LET THE (unspoiled) CHILDREN JUDGE WHICH INTERFACE IS BETTER
Peter

I think this is the main reason Negroponte doesn't want to participate in bake-offs. Of course the more expensive alternatives will have better specs...But the philosophy behind the XO is completely different. It's like comparing books to magazines..depending on the qualities you apply to your evaluation you'll have different results, and different winners.

The OLPCs are designed to be rugged, low cost, and free from IP/DRM...somewhat freeing the intended country from being introduced to technologies via direct capitalism. It is in part, a gift, from an organization that is not in it for the money...and operates with that fact in mind. No one is getting rich off of the XO...

So why even have this comparison? Why not compare the XO to an ultra portable VAIO, or a ToughBook? As the article states, the extra money was well worth it for the Eee...as if the XO was up for grabs by consumers outside of G1G1...it misses the point entirely of what this non-profit organization is trying to do.

When it comes to capitalism, some paradigms are tough to shake I suppose...the only true comparison will be in the classroom, at at the homes of children as they participate in networked learning...

Here are some the reasons why the Asus Eee is very inferior to the OLPC XO laptop in terms of being usable for education:

* Software, interfaces, design of Eee not suited for kids.
* Power consumption watts/hour 5-10 times higher then the OLPC XO
* Battery recharge cycles 4 times less than OLPC XO
* Wireless is much less usables since it is not Meshed and does not function independantly from the main processor
* Screen is unusuable in sunlight thus more than half of the worlds school kids the Eee is useless cause they do not use indoor lighting but work and study in sunlight
* Screen is unusuable for reading ebooks
* Screen is smaller and much more expensive to manufacture
* Screen backlight is expensive and difficult to repair, while XO backlight is cheap and can be changed by a kid if it breaks
* OLPC XO uses a much more optimized and simplified hardware platform which is half the price of Eee
* DCON chip which means that the XO laptop can function without the need of using the main CPU when nothing is happening on the screen
* XO has much better wireless range which is crucial for more than half the worlds population if they want to have Internet at home.

Laptopmag's bake off is obviously completely skewed, Laptopmag probably doesn't know what it takes to be a laptop that can be used to improve education. And Capitols that vote for Eee are much more likely to have been corrupted by Craig Barret and others briberies, un-fair anti-competitive price dumping, intimidation through threat of removing other ICT investments and lying lobbying papers and presentations.

5 of your reasons are screen related. olpc screen in eee + sugar = where are you then?

The kids in Nigeria interviewed by the BBC didn't seem to need a lot of training....
"I like to draw and I like to play games and to type"
"I like to write and I like to draw"
"I like my laptop becasue it is very useful to me"

I'm so sick of this "they'll need training" thing. I've been using computers my entire adult life (and even a bit during my child life) and the only time I ever needed to be taught what to do with them was in that delicate post-Apple IIe/pre-Windows 3.1 era where everything was text-run. I used my first Windows PC in 1994 and was able to intuit almost everything, despite never having formal training. I've since built a couple PCs, repaired a couple of laptops (including a PowerBook--twice) and the most help I've ever gotten was talking with friends and hitting up hardware forums on the web. I've never taken a formal computer class in my life.

I messed around with SugarOS for a bit and it very much reminds me of my first few days on a Windows machine. I didn't know where everything was, but that was part of the fun. So, I really wish people would just relax about this stuff. Kids, especially, are good at working things like this out.

Regarding the eee/XO bake-off? It's complete crap since the two machines are virtually un-comparable. You might as well compare a Dell to a MacBook. For starters, the eee costs twice as much. Sure, we in the NA get charged the same for either machine, but the XO actually costs $200. Then there's the fact that the eee is designed to run Windows and be a traditional PC in a much smaller form--the XO is trying to be something new and based on what I've read, I think it is.

People who compare the two are just trying to stir something up--much like journalists used to do when they'd compare Macs to PCs. It gets attention. The reality is, as with Macs and Windows boxes, the user needs to sit down and determine which machine is better for them, individually. Personally, for $400 I'd rather have a slower, but ultimately more versatile, machine that also supports a non-profit and a 3rd World kid. To me, buying an eee is kind of selfish. But hey, that's what we Americans are best at, it would seem. :)

(ie, using feature-set alone to determine why you buy a laptop--the consumerist equivalent to "What have you done for me lately?")

If the pictures reflect the machines that were actually tested then they might want to take a look at the performance of a newer version of the XO. The BTest-2 shown (see the LEDs above the keyboard) is slower than any model after that and runs very a old (not in months, but in releases) version of the software.

The kids in Nigeria interviewed by the BBC didn't seem to need a lot of training....
"I like to draw and I like to play games and to type"
"I like to write and I like to draw"
"I like my laptop because it is very useful to me"

There's the problem, they can do all that with pencil and paper. Why does Nigeria have to redesign their entire educational system and spend a big chunk of the GDP on this particular item? Answer that and you'll sell machines.

So easy a six-year old can fix it? Try to sell your boss on that idea.

Also, laptop magazine is coming for the perspective of someone who is thinking of buying one as a mobile pc. They don't care about the educational aspects. They want to know if you can take it out of the box and use it.

to ThePete,

if you're trying to sell something and your customers keep asking about training, you have two options
1. tell them that they don't need training. Then watch them buy from someone with a training program.
2. put together a training program.

The ultimate bake off: give the Asus Eee PC to some kids in the third world. When they lose interest in it in 2 hours, when the batteries go dead, and don't even bother recharging it, you lose.

And I believe it is training for the teachers that is the real concern. To which I say, here's your training: show and tell. Ask the kids to share with the class what they have done with their laptop. Get the other children to try it.

I just got an EeePC today and I am waiting to get the XO from G1G1. I have to chose computers for a school in India. I am very impressed by the EeePC so far. As Jecel wrote, I don't see the point of making children do on the computer what they can do with a pencil. The EeePC interface is nice and with the linux system it is preparing the children for higher level. XO looks more like a toy to me, since it is so solid I feel it could be good for children from 2 to 6, after that they need something like the EeePC. I don't see the interest of this collaborative network thing for children below 12.

Trent, are we talking about education here or entertainment ? Do you really think the XO is there to catch the interest of the children ?
"Ask the kids to share with the class", come on. In a class of 50 children, how can you expect to do that ? Also what knowledge, the children get doing this ? Better to know the geography of their country than knowing what is happening when you press "that" button.

I think LaptopMag understands that the XO and the EEEPC were made for different markets. It says it in the lede of the article. The XO, hands down, works better than other laptops in the developing world, in a countries like Guinea or Mali http://laptopmag.com/Features/OLPC-XO-We-Gave-1-Got-1-to-Africa.htm However, what happens when you can't send 100 laptops to Mali because of OLPC's restrictions and barriers. For example one like Bill Singer at E-Learning Vietnam Project faces. What if you want a school in Mali to have laptops for its kids but you don't want to spend money for them to be directed some place else? You have to go with other alternatives and the EEEPC could very well be a good one.

So are the EEE laptops going to come with hand crank chargers or solar chargers?

Screen Name wrote: "5 of your reasons are screen related. olpc screen in eee + sugar = where are you then?"

Well that is exactly what Asus should do, join OLPC and offer to make an Asus version of the XO and participate in the mass production.

The Eee lacks many things to be usable for education, not only the screen, also the processor is all wrong. Intel ULV consumes much too much power. So Asus should focus to integrate the Geode or wait for Intel's upcomming ULV processor (I have a feeling Asus only builds computers with Intel chips because of somekind of aggreement).

Not only the processor should use less power like the XO, but also it should have DCON chip to totally turn off the main processor for example in ebook mode or in any mode where the mouse is not moving. DCON is a buffer that keeps the screen image in memory instead of having the main CPU always processing the image on the screen no matter what the situation is.

Also the WiFi Mesh is very important, not only for small kids but for anyone. WiFi Mesh is revolutionary, it potentially makes WiFi hotspots 10 times bigger in a totally automatic way, and the Sugar OS has tons of collaboration features which are in themselves going to revolutionnize how software is used. Software shouldn't be stuff that is executed separately on each laptop, software should naturally and automatically provide collaboration among all users, these features of the Sugar OS will improve productivity no matter the situation.

So Asus should annonce they want to join OLPC and that they immediately stop marketing Eee against the OLPC project (marketing Eee commercially is not a problem, just don't try and sell it to schools instead of the XO), instead that they work focused on making an Asus version of the XO laptop. All OLPC hardware is open source, so any company is welcomed to take and use any of the technologies they want.

why should asus not sell to schools? they have money. they can buy what they want.

xo suppliers make money. xo screen makes money. asus should make money too if schools buy it.

@Charbax: Are you sure that the OLPC hardware is completely open source? From my readings of the OLPC wiki, it doesn't seem like it. Yes, the overall spec is open, but I don't see any schematics posted there. In fact, I find this:

"Detailed schematics and board layouts of these high-volume designs are often considered proprietary to the ODM's [original device manufacturers], or jointly owned by both parties involved. They represent the competitive advantage one ODM may have with its rivals (who may have access to the same components as they do). Those design schematics are sometimes available to programmers after production starts under NDA agreements; for example, schematics of many of the iPAQ handhelds were made available to programmers in the open-source community under NDA, when insufficient written programming information was available. OLPC will try to document our designs sufficiently to avoid NDAs; we expect this will be less effort than the logistics of requiring NDAs in such a large and diverse community."

More here: http://wiki.laptop.org/go/Hardware_design

Pretty cool review just posted over at PC mag:

http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2704,2223940,00.asp

an adult said:
> "All children who get an [XO] WILL NEED TRAINING!!!!!"

i take it the point of all those exclamation points
is that he said this very emphatically.

which only makes sense, because it's wrong.

kids don't need "training" to figure out machines.
they bang around on them until they understand.

whether you hang a fancy label like "constructivism"
on this is beside the point, because experimentation
is how kids learn.

-bowerbird

I know it's called the $100 (or $200) laptop to imply it inexpensive but $200 is a significant amount of money in a developing country. I don't know if the education minister wants to explain why they should spend 10% of their GNP on something kids are going to "bang around until they understand."

Lillie,

More like 73% of their national income: http://www.olpcnews.com/countries/nigeria/olpc_in_nigeria_budget.html

Maddie: I disagree on the training program. What you do is actually let them have their pilot program. Once they let kids try it out, then they'll see that kids will get it after a couple weeks and if they don't, then maybe it's time to reconsider the OS. Maybe it isn't as intuitive for kids as the designers thought. To me this whole thing IS about the hardware since software is useless without the right hardware for your location.

Also, why use paper if you can just use your XO? Paper is something you need to buy more and more of. An XO you buy once and as long as you take care of it and keep it charged, you don't have any trouble with resources like paper or pencils.

Honestly, I'm not sure what everyone is arguing about here. This post is about the bake-off yet it seems like everyone is just arguing for argument's sake. What OLPCnews.com really needs is a discussion forum so these comment threads can be about the posts themselves.

Even then, however, I feel like most people are missing the point I tried to make earlier--it's not about which laptop is better--it's about which is best for a particular user. All we're dealing with here is Mac Vs. PC all over again.

What's good for some is not for others.

And thanks to con for the link to the PCMag.com article!

My take on this comparison:

A small car is always better than a bike. Except when you can't use or own a car.

The XO is not meant for children with ubiquous power and internet. Nor is it designed for children with ample computer experience.

The design choices will obviously show when these limitations are not active.

Winter

After all the expectations, does the XO really only have 3 hours and 20 minutes of battery life? "In our tests, the Eee PC's battery lasted 3 hours and 50 minutes, a half an hour longer than the XO (although the latter can be recharged by hand)."

That's the only thing I find disappointing.

Also, why use paper if you can just use your XO? Paper is something you need to buy more and more of. An XO you buy once and as long as you take care of it and keep it charged, you don't have any trouble with resources like paper or pencils.


How much paper can you buy for $200? Also, is it cheaper to buy more pencils or gasoline for the generator?

I don't think the education minister cares if kids 'like' the XO. He's wants to know that standardized test scores will be enough higher two years from now to justify the expense of buying these.

Unless the 'they' you are talking about is OLPC. They've run several pilots and should have measurable results by now.

I know the post was about which laptop is better for a particular user, it's just I don't think the education ministers are convinced they need laptops at all, which probably is a whole other discussion. If that's the real reason why they are balking OLPC needs to find another market for these awesome green machines.

"does the XO really only have 3 hours and 20 minutes of battery life?"

I haven't tested it, but I'm quite sure the XO has much longer battery life, even for playing video in full screen and full backlight mode. In E-Book mode it is supposed to have over 10 hours maybe 20 hours of battery life, and in stand-by mode with the Wireless still forwarding packets in the mesh network it should last for days on a battery.

Though for sure someone should test this on a final version of the hardware.

Taken from the PCworld review: "I measured 18 watts of power usage while the battery was charging and 6W after the battery was fully charged [probably in full backlight mode and with a lot of CPU activity]. This is a far cry from the 60W to 100W usage of an energy-efficient value desktop. By comparison, the ASUS Eee PC 4G used over 23W while charging and 14W when charged."

So a few Watt in full backlight mode and supposedly below 1W in the black and white sunlight readable mode, especially when reading ebooks.

@maddie

You are absolutely right. I also have the feeling that the developing world is not quite ready for the XO. However, it may be a perfect tool for schools in the developed world. And, as you said there could be several use cases, the XO would be perfect for (as an ebook reader device for example).

The first commenter was right. The XO has a bunch of brilliant innovations, but the Sugar UI is the klunker among the gems. Collaboration? Great idea. Put it into a working, fully fleshed out, GUI. One that has thousands of "activities" ready to run with an "apt-get install".

What is this continuing, ridiculous discussion comparing pencil and paper to an XO laptop? That's as absurd as the bake-off comparison.

The original comment was the kids don't need a laptop to draw, write and play games, they could be using pencil and paper for that...which is true.

However, that's pretty much the beginning and end of pencil and paper, regardless of whether you have $2 worth or $200 worth. Easy example: a kid cannot immediately and simultaneously share their paper drawing with all children within 600m like they can with an image drawn on the XO.

So the XO does what pencil/paper can do, and additionally allows widespread sharing, as well as connecting the kids to a world (literally!) of information via the Web, among other things. Try getting that out of a #2 and an A4, eh?

To be sure, pencil and paper have their place, but their uses are limited, while the XO laptop has a limitlessness about it.

Enough bickering, I'm off to see about developing content for the kids...a much better use of my OLPC-interest methinks!

Crystal,

I'm glad you're developing content for the XO. I think that will be vital in countries with established infrastructure. My point was, the reason education ministers are not buying the XO is they don't see a need for every child to instantaneously share their pictures with neighboring villages, or to be on the net, 24-7.

I think there's a market for this in countries that can afford it. The people OLPC have targeted can't afford it and don't think they need it. They probably can't afford it at $100. Intel and Microsoft can be successful in that market because they're basically giving their machines away (for now) to get market share (later).

Price comparison, $200US -
$200/Nigeria GNP per capita $1500 = 13%
$200/Peru GNP per capita $6,600 = 3%
$200/USA GNP per capita $43800 = .5%

https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/index.html

Would you spend 13% of your income ($5700) on something that allows your child to send drawings across town and access the internet? That's what OLPC is asking Nigeria to do. That's why I think other use cases, or a redefinition of this usage, would make the XO more saleable in their target market.

Hi Maddie,

If I had children, my answer would be YES! I would spend 13% of our income to give them computer experience, access to the world's information and nearby children, and tools for learning and exploration——heck YES!

But I ~would~ say that...I use my computer 8-12 hours a day to manage and enrich my life. I use the Web to check traffic and weather, watch my diet, answer misc. questions, find recipes for dinner, connect with family/friends/colleagues, monitor and budget my finances, present and submit work, attend an accredited 100% online university (!), do research for my Masters degree...and discuss heatedly with strangers :)

If it was mine to give (and I did a little with G1G1) EVERY child would have access to the learning and communication tool that is the Web, and also the experience of operating a computer. I believe it's shortsighted and selfish to reserve computer literacy's advantages for children in the developed parts of developed nations who already have so (too?) much.

And I agree Negroponte would have a better go if he was selling results instead of ideas, selling advancement instead of games. From what I've read, his philosophy on collaborative, self-directed education is lost on officials with old-school (literally) philosophies. A huge challenge, that...but worth it. Better a hard sell to those who really need it than an easy sell to folks who have enough.

Negroponte's having to educate the educators on their needs, and I don't envy him that challenge. I do, however, believe wholeheartedly in the value of the OLPC effort:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/in_depth/629/629/7113548.stm

http://www.greenstar.org/butterflies/Hole-in-the-Wall.htm

Crystal,
I spent about that much money to send my child to private school but I don't think I would have to give them exclusive, 24-7 access to the internet. Especially if it was their own private computer, not the family's computer.

Thanks for the links, especially the second one about India.

Since OLPC is making a lot of it's sales through G1G1 I guess now is the time for people who disagree with Negreponte to implement their own XO based poverty-prevention programs. Hopefully the sales will convince him to leave the Western market open.

Maddie: I'm thinking that if the kids have the XO, they won't need to waste time running down to their local Office Depot to buy more. Why would you need gasoline for a generator? To power the XO? What about the yo-yo or the solar panel options?

Crystal: This isn't bickering just because you don't understand what we're arguing about. The reason I believe the XO Vs. Pencil and Paper debate is valid is because Maddie, you, and others are right when you say the kids can use pencil and paper to do the things they like doing most on the XO. However, here's why the XO is better in performing the same functions as a pencil and paper:

An abundance of paper or pencils can't be guaranteed in the 3rd World (as I mentioned sarcastically above, you can't just run to the local Office Depot to buy another ream) and power from the sun is limitless, so a single XO can replace the need for paper and pencil permanently.

Maddie: And if education ministers aren't convinced their kids could benefit from computers they're fools. A laptop is an incredible tool for learning. If I had one with an Internet connection when I was a kid, I think I'd have been a thousand-times better prepared for adulthood than I was without one. I benefit from having a laptop every single day of my life, whether it's because it allows me to communicate more efficiently, do my job more efficiently or research more efficiently, a laptop is an undeniably useful tool and it's really kind of surprising to me to hear so many people naysay whether these kids in the 3rd World could find one useful.

I mean, it smacks of a kind of ethnocentrism that I didn't expect to find on a website like this one.

Maddie: Regarding your question, "Would you spend 13% of your income ($5700) on something that allows your child to send drawings across town and access the internet?"

Gee, I don't know--would you take out a 30 year loan so you could own something that you'd spend a minority of your conscious time in? Like, say, a house? Would you drop 6-times what you make in a month on a device whose sole purpose is to deliver you and some payload to another location? Like say, a car?

You are describing the kind of 1-dimensional short-sightedness that would have stopped this entire endeavor on day one if it was employed by Negroponte and Pals. You set up straw-man arguments and then knock them down, proudly, as though the XO was solely designed to replace pencil and paper and allow kids to share pictures over the Internet. Like Crystal said, the XO does a helluva lot more than just that and yet your argument is focussed so narrowly as to allow you to knock down that straw man again and again without addressing our points.

I don't think the XO is going to solve the world's problems, but it's a good start. But we'll never get anywhere if we just say "meh, 3rd Worlders aren't ready for the XO."

Aside from the subtle racism/classism that suggests (I'm not accusing you of being a racist/classist just suggesting your argument might be), what if Edison had thought "What good's a light bulb when no one has electricity for it?"

If Nikola Tesla had thought "Screw AC current! There's like TWO devices people need to plug in these days! Why bother??" we'd not have the very world we live in today.

It's one thing to point out legitimate concerns, it's entirely another to point at an apple on the tree and say "Yuck--that thing has seeds in it! I don't want to eat seeds! And the skin! It always gets stuck in my teeth! I hate that! Screw apples! Screw them!"

Sorry to sound upset--I'm really not--just frustrated. It *seems to me* like you're against the whole OLPC endeavor. At the very least, once again *it seems to me* like you want to scrap the XO and move on to the XO-2 right now or perhaps you want something entirely different? Maybe I'm not reading your comments thoroughly enough to fully understand what you're getting at.

Actually, I spent that much money sending my child to private school and I would not have spent it on a laptop for her. Fact is, the education ministers are not buying them by the millions. OLPC can tell them why they 'should' and how they're 'being idiots' for not doing it but the MOE is the one signing the check and they're not convinced. Why not?

Me, personally, I think the machine is fantastic and the software will be getting better every day. I separate the machine from the mission. I honestly don't know if it's needed in the 3rd world (especially 6-12 year olds), but they need to convince the MOEs, not me. I think OLPC would be better off making the XOs available to people who want to buy it and price it high enough to subsidize their mission (like G1G1 does).

And what if Edison had said you have to buy 1 million lightbulbs even if you don't have electricity?

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