While it may surprise some, there are Give One Get One participants who feel that the XO laptop from One Laptop Per Child isn't right for them.
They could be parents who bought the XO for kids who wanted something else. Or adults who thought the XO would be a good business laptop replacement. And last but not least, people who believe in the OLPC mission but found the XO not suitable for their computer use case.
Recently I had the privilege of interviewing Boomer, a G1G1 donor who is sending me his XO laptop to re-gift it to a deserving OLPC developer group. I have the great honor of sending Boomer's laptop to OLE Nepal, one of the most innovative and organized local OLPC groups.
While Boomer's XO is on its way to them, let's hear why he would voluntarily give up clock-stopping hot technology for free:
OLPC News: Why did you decide to "regift" the XO you received in the G1G1 program?
Boomer: I am the president of the KISS (Keep it Simple Stupid) chapter in my house. I was looking for an inexpensive way to check my e-mail while traveling.
The literature about the XO made me believe it would meet my needs perfectly. I also strongly support the goals of OLPC and thought that it was a Win-Win situation. My donation would provide a machine to a child and I would get a machine also.
The XO is small, rugged, and has built-in WIFI, making it a perfect candidate for traveling and checking e-mail. Plus, it would completely baffle the TSA folks at the airport. What is this balding 60 year old guy doing with a lime green flattened lunch box he claims is a laptop computer.
OLPC News: When did you realize that the XO might not meet your needs?
Boomer: I think the first clue was when I tried for fifteen minutes to open it before reading the instructions. The second clue was when I couldn't get it to work with my home WIFI system.
I joined the OLPC News Forum and read about connecting to WIFI and still had no luck. I then realized that the XO is a work in progress and clearly required someone with slightly more personal RAM than me.
I did take a Fortran programming course in 1967, but the field of computing has developed a bit since then.
OLPC News: Some donors to the G1G1 program have not yet received their laptops and you are giving yours away. What do you say to those who bought XO's as Christmas presents?
Boomer: I am still waiting for a number of presents I asked for between the ages of 3 and 10. And somehow I don't think they are arriving. At least the participants in the G1G1 program are assured that they will receive their machines. I know they are disappointed with the timing, but the since OLPC is staffed by volunteers, mistakes can happen.
I was a Day one Donor, and received my machine before Christmas, even though it would still be in the snow bank outside my garage door if I hadn't gone out to do some shoveling. I'm just happy I wasn't using my snowblower. I would have had to buy a new snowblower.
OLPC News: Can we get back to the first question. Why did you decide to "regift" your machine to a developer?
Boomer: I put a thread on the forum under other XO topics entitled "regifting" where I asked for suggestions about to whom I should send my XO. I received a number of excellent replies.
One I didn't receive from the thread was the idea of sending it to a forum moderator who would make sure that it went to a developer who could use it to help with the project. That one made the most sense to me. Someone who is willing to donate their time to improve the XO can help benefit everyone. I hope the OLPC program is a great success.
The other suggestion I didn't get was to sell it on eBay. While that might be the answer for some people, I believe my solution better serves the goals of OLPC, which is why I participated originally.