Is Nicholas Negroponte Afraid of Child Bloggers?!

   
   
   
   
   

Child bloggers scare Negroponte?!

Did you read about One Laptop Per Child's Give One Get One (G1G1) program to sell XO-1 laptops to North Americans in the New York Times? If so, did you catch this insightful paragraph:

"Staff members of the laptop project were concerned that American children might try the pared-down machines and find them lacking compared to their Apple, Hewlett-Packard or Dell laptops.

Then, in this era of immediate global communications, they might post their criticisms on Web sites and blogs read around the world, damaging the reputation of the XO Laptop, the project staff worried."

Now let's think about that a minute. Do you mean to tell me that OLPC was afraid of initial childrens' reviews of XO technology? That their award-winning design, which Nicholas Negroponte believes would create an implementation miracle, might be panned by children bloggers? Isn't open communication, a crowd sourced CNN, the very goal of One Laptop Per Child?


Nicholas Jr. ♥ OLPC XO technology

Before One Laptop Per Child starts to fear the effects of child bloggers, I'd like to take this opportunity to reassure Professor Negroponte and the entire OLPC development team that in fact, the XO laptop is a revolution in computing.

Every needy Canadian and American child and geeky parent will want a green and white laptop this Christmas. If you don't believe me, just ask Nicholas Jr:

When given the choice between the XO and his current PC, Nicholas naturally chose the latter. When asked whether he would rather use the XO or his Leapster handheld learning system, he chose the Leapster.

But when given the choice between the XO and nothing, he was okay with the XO. And since that's the choice facing the potential recipients of the XO, that may be enough of a victory.

So Negroponte and his team should choose to worry more about savvy adult bloggers than children, who will be victorious no matter the XO laptop press.

Related Entries

5 Comments

Wayan, I think the OLPC crew is right.
It may be actually problematic for the goals of the foundation to get mixed reviews at this stage. Let me tell you why. Part of the impact XO causes in the developing world has to do with the fact that our kids (mainly those in rural areas) have not seen or worked with a laptop at all. That is not the case in Canada/America, and as I said in a previous comment two days ago, one of the XO's main strenghts is the result of 'networked learning' among a group of kids. Besides, compared with some of the laptops your kids find at home (let's say a MacBook), OLPC is obviously not powerfull enough, so I'm sure the reviews by 'digital native Americans' can be a bit hard on the XO.

On the other hand, let's remember that OLPC is right now a dangerous creature for many big corporations. OLPC represents serious dangers for some people in the IT industry, so I wouldn't be surprised to get some 'Soprano' kind of 'intervention' to damage the reputation of the XO. Yeh, it sounds conspirative, but we all know this kind of things happen some time.

To summ up: I love the idea of future American XO owners blogging about it, but I think I'll love it even more if that happens once two or three countries are actually BUYING this little wonder!

Luis Ramirez wrote:
"I love the idea of future American XO owners blogging about it, but I think I'll love it even more if that happens once two or three countries are actually BUYING this little wonder!"

As long as they tell the truth, there is nothing to fear. Why not let potential buyers know about the reality on the ground?

I think Luis is not fully confident that the XO will perform as well as he anticipates. That's the only explanation for his desire to keep feedback hidden until after "two or three countries are actually BUYING this little wonder!".

Ever heard of "transparency"?

Transparency indeed!

[And Wayan, Nice catch on that paragraph from the NY Times.]

To me, this is further evidence of the insular nature of the way this product is being developed and rolled out. Is the government of Nigeria *really* going to care what 'child bloggers' say about the product? Even if these comments are amplified by adult bloggers, tech pundits, etc.?

If the New York Times article is accurate (and given that it says that commitments have already been made by Peru and Italy-Ethiopia, I do have some reservations on this count), I actually find it a little condescending of the OLPC crowd to think that the only way that the purchasing decisionmakers in so-called Third World government ministries will make comparisons between the Green machine and Acer, Dell, HP laptops is if a child blogger writing in English in New Jersey etc. makes the comparison for them. More likely is that these governments are asking: If this product is so good, why don't you sell it in America and Europe? Is it not good enough for them, but good enough for us? It is this perception that OLPC has to to address. If they got out of Cambridge and met with the people who actually make decisions in governments in this area, not heads of state who pose for handshakes and pictures, and not technology proponents already converted to the cause, or carefully chosen 'pilot schools' that won't give negative feedback, for fear of jeopardizing their participation in the program, this might be more apparent.

Luis, I respect your opinion, but I really disagree with it. Not even the much fawned over iPhone has had the type of consistently uncritically positive press that the OLPC has received these past few years. and the iPhone is at least a real product in the market, something that the XO still is not!

Yes, corporate dirty tricks campaigns happen, and the blogosphere is rife with this stuff. But I really don't think that this is a threat to OLPC, with its heavyweight board, legions of open source advocates who have rallied to their cause, and edtech advocates who eagerly advocate for computer use in schools. If anything, I would think that 'negative reviews', even if by 14 year olds, would galvanize these communities in ways productive to the OLPC cause. And don't forget that OLPC has its own PR advocates on the job as well (can't remember who, but this fact has been referenced on this website before). Search technorati for OLPC or $100 laptop, or browse through the database of articles that InfoDev keep on their web site -- it's pretty astounding how positive and uncritical coverage of this project has been, in the press and the blogosphere (this web site being a notable exception).

I have actually tested the XO, and like it, even if the mesh networking didn't work, but it is a worrisome sign that OLPC management, if this New York Times reporter is to be believed correct, is afraid of user feedback and transparency. I thought this was an open source crowd!

"Staff members of the laptop project were concerned that American children might try the pared-down machines and find them lacking compared to their Apple, Hewlett-Packard or Dell laptops."

They're right to be concerned - because of their surcharge, OLPC are now competing directly with laptops in the $400 bracket so of course they're going to suffer by comparison. The next generation of low price
laptops will clean up the OLPC machine market within 12 months.

"Staff members of the laptop project were concerned that American children might try the pared-down machines and find them lacking compared to their Apple, Hewlett-Packard or Dell laptops."

Unfortunately this sounds like OLPC makers consider their own baby inferior to standard Mac/Windows laptops. Do they?
The problem with American/European children reviewing the OLPC is that they may be accustomed to Windows machines already and feel uncomfortable with the OLPC because it is DIFFERENT, conceptually and UI-wise. They would have to learn a different language. In so far, computer illiterates may be more receptive to it than those who think and speak Windows already.
What is surprising though is that the people behind the OLPC -- who want children to use connected laptops, shared activities, thus be public by default -- fear this same connectedness of the real world.

P.S. the news of competing laptops: Seems it was a mistake to put such an emphasis on the '$100 laptop'. Others can manufacture inexpensive laptops too -- and label them tools for education/learning. But only the OLPC actually questions current software standards and offers an alternative. That's what OLPC should advertise. Not the price.

XO Tablets for Sale

Buy Your XO Tablet on Amazon.com
OLPC is selling the new XO Tablets on Amazon.com for just $149. Buy yours today!

xo-tablet-amazon.jpg

Discussions


    Warning: Use of undefined constant title - assumed 'title' (this will throw an Error in a future version of PHP) in /nfs/c03/h03/mnt/54379/domains/olpcnews.com/html/includes_c/sidebar.html on line 1473

    Warning: Use of undefined constant link - assumed 'link' (this will throw an Error in a future version of PHP) in /nfs/c03/h03/mnt/54379/domains/olpcnews.com/html/includes_c/sidebar.html on line 1474

    Warning: Use of undefined constant description - assumed 'description' (this will throw an Error in a future version of PHP) in /nfs/c03/h03/mnt/54379/domains/olpcnews.com/html/includes_c/sidebar.html on line 1475
  • Oh, come on Michael. Do you really think anything that was said on OLPC News would have had much …

    Comment on Goodbye One Laptop per Child

  • Warning: Use of undefined constant title - assumed 'title' (this will throw an Error in a future version of PHP) in /nfs/c03/h03/mnt/54379/domains/olpcnews.com/html/includes_c/sidebar.html on line 1473

    Warning: Use of undefined constant link - assumed 'link' (this will throw an Error in a future version of PHP) in /nfs/c03/h03/mnt/54379/domains/olpcnews.com/html/includes_c/sidebar.html on line 1474

    Warning: Use of undefined constant description - assumed 'description' (this will throw an Error in a future version of PHP) in /nfs/c03/h03/mnt/54379/domains/olpcnews.com/html/includes_c/sidebar.html on line 1475
  • Hi!

    I bought 2 "Tablets OLPC." I had to return because the two did not work. O …

    Comment on The XO Tablet - A First Impression in 750 Words

  • Warning: Use of undefined constant title - assumed 'title' (this will throw an Error in a future version of PHP) in /nfs/c03/h03/mnt/54379/domains/olpcnews.com/html/includes_c/sidebar.html on line 1473

    Warning: Use of undefined constant link - assumed 'link' (this will throw an Error in a future version of PHP) in /nfs/c03/h03/mnt/54379/domains/olpcnews.com/html/includes_c/sidebar.html on line 1474

    Warning: Use of undefined constant description - assumed 'description' (this will throw an Error in a future version of PHP) in /nfs/c03/h03/mnt/54379/domains/olpcnews.com/html/includes_c/sidebar.html on line 1475
  • Dear sir
    I have one question to sir?

    -1 why XO Tablet children play OK but when h …

    Comment on The XO Tablet - A First Impression in 750 Words

  • Warning: Use of undefined constant title - assumed 'title' (this will throw an Error in a future version of PHP) in /nfs/c03/h03/mnt/54379/domains/olpcnews.com/html/includes_c/sidebar.html on line 1473

    Warning: Use of undefined constant link - assumed 'link' (this will throw an Error in a future version of PHP) in /nfs/c03/h03/mnt/54379/domains/olpcnews.com/html/includes_c/sidebar.html on line 1474

    Warning: Use of undefined constant description - assumed 'description' (this will throw an Error in a future version of PHP) in /nfs/c03/h03/mnt/54379/domains/olpcnews.com/html/includes_c/sidebar.html on line 1475
  • Dear sir
    I have one question to sir?

    -1 why XO Tablet children play OK but when h …

    Comment on The XO Tablet - A First Impression in 750 Words

  • Warning: Use of undefined constant title - assumed 'title' (this will throw an Error in a future version of PHP) in /nfs/c03/h03/mnt/54379/domains/olpcnews.com/html/includes_c/sidebar.html on line 1473

    Warning: Use of undefined constant link - assumed 'link' (this will throw an Error in a future version of PHP) in /nfs/c03/h03/mnt/54379/domains/olpcnews.com/html/includes_c/sidebar.html on line 1474

    Warning: Use of undefined constant description - assumed 'description' (this will throw an Error in a future version of PHP) in /nfs/c03/h03/mnt/54379/domains/olpcnews.com/html/includes_c/sidebar.html on line 1475
  • Dear sir
    I have one question to sir?

    -1 why XO Tablet children play OK but when h …

    Comment on Guest Post: My XO Tablet Technical Review and First Impressions

  • Warning: Use of undefined constant title - assumed 'title' (this will throw an Error in a future version of PHP) in /nfs/c03/h03/mnt/54379/domains/olpcnews.com/html/includes_c/sidebar.html on line 1473

    Warning: Use of undefined constant link - assumed 'link' (this will throw an Error in a future version of PHP) in /nfs/c03/h03/mnt/54379/domains/olpcnews.com/html/includes_c/sidebar.html on line 1474

    Warning: Use of undefined constant description - assumed 'description' (this will throw an Error in a future version of PHP) in /nfs/c03/h03/mnt/54379/domains/olpcnews.com/html/includes_c/sidebar.html on line 1475
  • Bonjour Mokifisi!
    Je suis bien d'accord avec vous. Je travaille depuis 4 ans dans un petit …

    Comment on The XO Tablet - A First Impression in 750 Words

  • Warning: Use of undefined constant title - assumed 'title' (this will throw an Error in a future version of PHP) in /nfs/c03/h03/mnt/54379/domains/olpcnews.com/html/includes_c/sidebar.html on line 1473

    Warning: Use of undefined constant link - assumed 'link' (this will throw an Error in a future version of PHP) in /nfs/c03/h03/mnt/54379/domains/olpcnews.com/html/includes_c/sidebar.html on line 1474

    Warning: Use of undefined constant description - assumed 'description' (this will throw an Error in a future version of PHP) in /nfs/c03/h03/mnt/54379/domains/olpcnews.com/html/includes_c/sidebar.html on line 1475
  • You just follow the same route upstream how you got the 2XO Tablets? How did you get them? Bring …

    Comment on The XO Tablet - A First Impression in 750 Words

  • Warning: Use of undefined constant title - assumed 'title' (this will throw an Error in a future version of PHP) in /nfs/c03/h03/mnt/54379/domains/olpcnews.com/html/includes_c/sidebar.html on line 1473

    Warning: Use of undefined constant link - assumed 'link' (this will throw an Error in a future version of PHP) in /nfs/c03/h03/mnt/54379/domains/olpcnews.com/html/includes_c/sidebar.html on line 1474

    Warning: Use of undefined constant description - assumed 'description' (this will throw an Error in a future version of PHP) in /nfs/c03/h03/mnt/54379/domains/olpcnews.com/html/includes_c/sidebar.html on line 1475
  • └ quelle adresse envoyer mes deux XOTablet qui ne fonctionnent pas?

    At what address to s …

    Comment on The XO Tablet - A First Impression in 750 Words

  • Warning: Use of undefined constant title - assumed 'title' (this will throw an Error in a future version of PHP) in /nfs/c03/h03/mnt/54379/domains/olpcnews.com/html/includes_c/sidebar.html on line 1473

    Warning: Use of undefined constant link - assumed 'link' (this will throw an Error in a future version of PHP) in /nfs/c03/h03/mnt/54379/domains/olpcnews.com/html/includes_c/sidebar.html on line 1474

    Warning: Use of undefined constant description - assumed 'description' (this will throw an Error in a future version of PHP) in /nfs/c03/h03/mnt/54379/domains/olpcnews.com/html/includes_c/sidebar.html on line 1475
  • That's called "Death on arrivals". They happen. That's why there's always some additio …

    Comment on The XO Tablet - A First Impression in 750 Words

  • Warning: Use of undefined constant title - assumed 'title' (this will throw an Error in a future version of PHP) in /nfs/c03/h03/mnt/54379/domains/olpcnews.com/html/includes_c/sidebar.html on line 1473

    Warning: Use of undefined constant link - assumed 'link' (this will throw an Error in a future version of PHP) in /nfs/c03/h03/mnt/54379/domains/olpcnews.com/html/includes_c/sidebar.html on line 1474

    Warning: Use of undefined constant description - assumed 'description' (this will throw an Error in a future version of PHP) in /nfs/c03/h03/mnt/54379/domains/olpcnews.com/html/includes_c/sidebar.html on line 1475
  • What is a shelf XO? If you tell me what did you buy and from whom, perhaps I will have a suggest …

    Comment on Goodbye One Laptop per Child

  • Warning: Use of undefined constant title - assumed 'title' (this will throw an Error in a future version of PHP) in /nfs/c03/h03/mnt/54379/domains/olpcnews.com/html/includes_c/sidebar.html on line 1473

    Warning: Use of undefined constant link - assumed 'link' (this will throw an Error in a future version of PHP) in /nfs/c03/h03/mnt/54379/domains/olpcnews.com/html/includes_c/sidebar.html on line 1474

    Warning: Use of undefined constant description - assumed 'description' (this will throw an Error in a future version of PHP) in /nfs/c03/h03/mnt/54379/domains/olpcnews.com/html/includes_c/sidebar.html on line 1475
  • Voici mon message en franšais...

    Bonjour,
    Je viens d'acheter 2 tablettes XO. Les d …

    Comment on The XO Tablet - A First Impression in 750 Words

  • Warning: Use of undefined constant title - assumed 'title' (this will throw an Error in a future version of PHP) in /nfs/c03/h03/mnt/54379/domains/olpcnews.com/html/includes_c/sidebar.html on line 1473

    Warning: Use of undefined constant link - assumed 'link' (this will throw an Error in a future version of PHP) in /nfs/c03/h03/mnt/54379/domains/olpcnews.com/html/includes_c/sidebar.html on line 1474

    Warning: Use of undefined constant description - assumed 'description' (this will throw an Error in a future version of PHP) in /nfs/c03/h03/mnt/54379/domains/olpcnews.com/html/includes_c/sidebar.html on line 1475
  • I just bought 2 shelves XO. Both tablets are not working. One does not start and the other touch …

    Comment on The XO Tablet - A First Impression in 750 Words

  • Warning: Use of undefined constant title - assumed 'title' (this will throw an Error in a future version of PHP) in /nfs/c03/h03/mnt/54379/domains/olpcnews.com/html/includes_c/sidebar.html on line 1473

    Warning: Use of undefined constant link - assumed 'link' (this will throw an Error in a future version of PHP) in /nfs/c03/h03/mnt/54379/domains/olpcnews.com/html/includes_c/sidebar.html on line 1474

    Warning: Use of undefined constant description - assumed 'description' (this will throw an Error in a future version of PHP) in /nfs/c03/h03/mnt/54379/domains/olpcnews.com/html/includes_c/sidebar.html on line 1475
  • I just bought 2 shelves XO. Both tablets are not working. One does not start and the other touch …

    Comment on Goodbye One Laptop per Child

  • Warning: Use of undefined constant title - assumed 'title' (this will throw an Error in a future version of PHP) in /nfs/c03/h03/mnt/54379/domains/olpcnews.com/html/includes_c/sidebar.html on line 1473

    Warning: Use of undefined constant link - assumed 'link' (this will throw an Error in a future version of PHP) in /nfs/c03/h03/mnt/54379/domains/olpcnews.com/html/includes_c/sidebar.html on line 1474

    Warning: Use of undefined constant description - assumed 'description' (this will throw an Error in a future version of PHP) in /nfs/c03/h03/mnt/54379/domains/olpcnews.com/html/includes_c/sidebar.html on line 1475
  • I just bought 2 shelves XO. Both tablets are not working. One does not start and the other touch …

    Comment on Goodbye One Laptop per Child

  • Warning: Use of undefined constant title - assumed 'title' (this will throw an Error in a future version of PHP) in /nfs/c03/h03/mnt/54379/domains/olpcnews.com/html/includes_c/sidebar.html on line 1473

    Warning: Use of undefined constant link - assumed 'link' (this will throw an Error in a future version of PHP) in /nfs/c03/h03/mnt/54379/domains/olpcnews.com/html/includes_c/sidebar.html on line 1474

    Warning: Use of undefined constant description - assumed 'description' (this will throw an Error in a future version of PHP) in /nfs/c03/h03/mnt/54379/domains/olpcnews.com/html/includes_c/sidebar.html on line 1475
  • OLPC is not death; eg. this One Laptop per Child San Francisco (OLPC-SF) June 21, 2014 Meeting a …

    Comment on Goodbye One Laptop per Child

Recent Comments

Community Forum

Close