Ethan Zuckerman Is Back, Negroponte Please Take Note


Ethan Zuckerman

Back in the day, Ethan Zuckerman took his winnings from Tripod and was one of the first to apply cash, sweat and tears to try and bridge the economic digital divide between Africa and America, using appropriate yet cutting edge information and communication technologies.

His dream became Geekcorps, which a few years and many, often painful, changes later is now IESC Geekcorps. I may be the Director of Geekcorps and Ethan no longer officially involved, but his presence is still felt daily.

When I started OLPC News (which, as the About page clearly states, is not related to my day job), I noticed that way too many people were blind fanboys of One Laptop Per Child, and I wanted to have a more objective discussion about OLPC's goals and methods. Now OLPC News is so insightful and so influential, I have my own conspiracy theorists followers.

But just when I think I may be in the blogging big leagues with our OLPC News coverage, Ethan steps back into the OLPC debate and I feel like I am walking in Ethan's shadow yet again.

Why? Check out his 6,000+ word tour de force on OLPC: Child’s Play - How One Laptop Per Child plans to bring computers to a billion schoolchildren… and a revolution to the computer industry. There you will find intriguing gems of Children's Machine XO knowledge and analysis that Ethan has gleamed from his easy and in-depth access to the OLPC team.

An education revolution tool?

Or better yet, his post, One Laptop Per Child: Just what sort of content do you load onto these puppies? where he distills my entire rational for OLPC News, and why I sometimes go hyperbole intense with posts, into one concise paragraph:

I’ve flippantly offered an observation: there’s been roughly ten times as much thought about the hardware as about the software, and roughly ten times as much thought about software as about the challenges of rolling this device out to schools around the world.

(There may well be a fourth tier - disposal and recycling of these machines - and I’m open to the argument that that’s received only a tenth as much thought as the third tier.)

Like may a thing Ethan says, his observations are quite keen, even if he may think they are flippant at the time. He and I may sometimes disagree in the three emails a year we exchange, but I for one, am comforted that he's up in the OLPC leadership's grill.

Here's to hoping he stays there. It will take more than OLPC News to keep Nicholas Negroponte's ego from sinking his $150 Billion dollar OLPC XO "boat" on the shoals of implementation magic.

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I've gotta ask: where did you get that picture of Ethan? I didn't know he was a member of the Mamas and the Papas. :-)

Meanwhile, on another front:

Wish I could have been there.

It really feels like you are going to war.
Anyway, thanks to the linkage to Blizzard's entry i finally found out that olpcnews is not in anyway connected to the OLPC project itself and is more like opinions of a single man.
Couldn't you really state it somewhere more clearly? I totally feel misguided now.


You might wanna try the About page - there you'll find that OLPC News is actually the work of five writers and many guest contributors, all independent of OLPC.

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