Edward Cherlin's One Laptop Per Child Book Proposal

   
   
   
   
   
Edward cherlin olpc
Edward Cherlin's OLPC XO

I am Edward Cherlin and I have a fairly extensive draft for a book with the tentative title "The MIT $100 Laptop: 101 Uses for a Computer You Can't Get", or possibly "Ending Poverty for Fun and Profit", and I have been talking to a possible publisher.

There are actually a few more than 101 sections, but we can deal with that. I plan to put the profits from the book into my non-profit, Earth Treasury, and use them to support further anti-poverty initiatives.

You don't have to read the book to get the main point: Anybody can join in the OLPC project, whether by contributing to the development of the Children's Machine XO laptop and its content, or by working on the consequences of the project, such as teaching e-commerce skills to the children who will shortly be online, connecting with them via e-mail, chat, VoIP or whatever, or just watching the videos they will soon be uploading to YouTube and telling your friends about the good ones. It's up to you how much you get involved.

You do have to promise to read the book to get it published. I have started a pledge at PledgeBank asking for 5,000 people to commit to reading my book so that I can write it and get it published. If you pledged to buy an XO laptop, which they won't sell to you yet, come on over to my page and pledge for something that can actually happen.

olpc ebook
Will it be a OLPC ebook?

You don't have to promise to buy a copy, so if you are willing to convince your library to get it, or you have a group of friends who would want to buy one and share it, that's fine.

You can only pledge once per person, but if you want to buy more than one copy of the book to give to friends and family, or assign it to a class to read, or get an NGO to distribute copies, put an estimate of the number in a comment, and see if you can get some of your target readers to sign up.

When you pledge, please tell me what you think I should put into the book, or ask any question you want answered. I already plan to have a section on the kinds of objections and obstacles Wayan writes about and invites on OLPC News, but I'm collecting more, which I will publish here with refutations or at least suggestions for further research.

Tell me how much I should say about poverty in general, about existing programs that should or should not be taken worldwide, about the laptop innards, about Free Software, or about anything else you think should or shouldn't be in the book.

You can suggest better titles, too. After all, it isn't the MIT laptop any more, and it doesn't sell for $100 yet. Then we can discuss both the good ideas you contribute and the objections you bring up right here on OLPC News, and I'll give credit in the book.

Your name in print! May I quote you?

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7 Comments

hi ed.. found you a while back on the great laptop v. education debate, then signed your pledge.. if xo is describable as a *multilingual* education project, please consider including http://wiki.laptop.org/go/WiXi in your book.. thanks! (btw, a wayan-requested wixi intro for olpcnews is written, but awaiting a few more puzzle pieces:)

kids are creative.. kids are great language learners.. xo kids are gonna communicate like never before possible.. how are they gonna learn each others languages? what's gonna happen to languages?

I don't want to sound negative. However, there are plenty of books out there that are published online as e-books, for... free, maybe covered by Creative Commons licenses. We are talking about a product (the OLPC) which is supposed to be as open as possible, and free (in both senses) too, at least as far as the content is concerned. By the OLPC people admission, almost everything in the laptop should be hackable. So I don't really get the sense of the pledge. Why such a useful book should go through the traditional roads of publishing? Why don't instead open a forum (through the laptop Wiki) and discuss the content issues there?

Other FOSS projects (notably Firefox) were successful to engage grassroots involvement, through innovative form of engagement and advertisement. Is there something similar that can be done here for your book?

Speaking of olpc and the developing world, take a look at this:

http://news.com.com/2300-1041_3-6175025-1.html?tag=ne.gall.pg

I doubt more each day that OLPC News can be described as an "independent source for news, information, commentary, and discussion of One Laptop Per Child's computer". At first I thought the AdWords were strange, now after researching a bit on Mr Vota affiliations, I'm finding the "WON'T SOMEBODY THINK OF THE PRIVATE ENTERPISE!?" angle rather dull, esp. since it is not actually stated up-front. I think I'll look elsewhere for information on the OLPC project.

I wonder how many people realised Ed Cherlin had his tongue firmly planted in his cheek.
There is quite an art in writing so that everyone thinks you are serious. Well done Ed.

Send me an autographed copy. I have a space on my bookshelf beside my copy of 'The Secret Diary of Bill Gates'.

As you can see, I got hold of an XO, loaned by Google so I can do demonstrations to interested groups. Please sign up at http://wiki.laptop.org/go/Laptop_Demonstrations if you want me or somebody else to give a talk and let you try out the XO.

Note that the production system will have more memory, more storage, and a faster processor than this prototype. I'll have more to tell you about all that in another article.

This is very sounding and l have liked the way Edward is doing this to work in helping the LDC's ( third world countries attain some level of IT computer skills this is making the children get access to many areas
when you cross to Uganda we can only get IT skills among the people of the city but in the rural areas its is like there are not human being Why? Edward thanks a trillion times

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