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$100 PC Pledges Fail To Meet Minimum 419

Posted by kdawson
from the limits-of-generosity dept.
bobthemuse writes, "Nicholas Negroponte's $100 laptop PC was demonstrated back in May, and a PledgeBank was set up: the goal was to get 100,000 people to purchase an OLPC for $300, allowing the project to send two of the devices to the proposed users. Today the pledge ended and only 3,678 people had signed up." It looks like a mention in Slashback a few weeks ago gave a boost to the effort, but not a big enough one.
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$100 PC Pledges Fail To Meet Minimum

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  • Why I didn't (Score:2, Insightful)

    by LiquidCoooled (634315)
    I saw this when it was announced and tbh was put off by this:

    "I will purchase the $100 laptop at $300 but only if 100,000 other will too."

    I would gladly sign up for a $100 laptop if it cost $100.
    I realise everything about starting up and getting the ball rolling but I cannot waste an additional $200.

    Its that simple.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by nachmore (922129)
      I did - because I think that the cause is justified.

      The extra money would have (hopefully) meant an extra two computers distributed, not to mention the fact that I would have become the proud owner of one of the first of these little gadgets. Of course, my personal gain is secondary...

      Maybe the target was set a little too high - are there really that many people out there that care?

    • I don't see why they didn't make it $200 instead of $300 to start. $200 is still cheaper than just about any PC available. Sure you only get 1 donated OLPC, but if you get over twice as many people to do it, you end up with more OLPCs donated overall. I could be wrong though. Maybe people wouldn't even do it in great numbers at that price.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Salvance (1014001) *
        $200 for a tiny laptop with a crank for charging still isn't a very good deal. Look on ebay and you get can far more powerful used laptops for the same price, or you can get $50 desktops (again, used of course) that would run circles around this odd device.

        If not a single industrialized or developing nation would support creating the devices, why should we? The concept was pretty decent, but laptops are not going to solve third world problems. Depending on the African nation, they need teachers who wo
        • Look on ebay...

          That's not the point. Used notebooks aren't a sustainable plan in large volumes. It's not very maintainable, either, with replacement parts also being over seas. If you do this, you get an unsupportable mess of different notebook models, the steps to repairing each one is different, with different replacement parts needed to fix different models.

          The point that is often missed is that the education could have significantly reduced the social ills you described. In fact, in my area, there
          • Re:Why I didn't (Score:4, Insightful)

            by Shadowmist (57488) on Wednesday November 01, 2006 @08:52AM (#16671955)
            And a kid who's starving won't be taking the time to read. Even Bill Gates Sr. figured this out when some time ago he took a trip to Africa and was shown a poor village's proudest posession, a single workstation hooked up to the village's sole electrical outlet. He realised that what village needed most at that time was not a computer, but a refrigerator.

            Tech toys like these have theire place and moment can help but the basick foundation of the pyramid must be built first. You need decent health, places to sleep, and a dependable food supply before cranking laptops become not only a luxury but a dangerous drain on time and energy that must be spent on survival.

            Africa and the Third World aren't just poorer versions of your hometown, they're places in deep distress with a profound lack of the basic neccessities of life, and sweeping plagues which are taking an enormous toll. These are the problems that must be solved FIRST and foremost before the higher goals can be tackled.
        • by 1u3hr (530656)
          $200 for a tiny laptop with a crank for charging ... Spending 6 month's salary on a windup laptop

          It DOESN'T HAVE A FUCKING CRANK.

          See OLPC hardware [laptop.org]. The crank was one suggestion long ago; and it would only have been a backup when there wasn't any mains power.

          Think of another excuse.

          • by joshetc (955226)
            The crank would be a bonus anyway.. the lack of a crank makes me barely willing to spend $100 for one, forget $200 or $300.
          • they need teachers who won't get shot, kids who won't go hungry, parents who won't die from AIDS, and/or textbooks that won't be burned for fuel

            The GP's point wasn't that the laptop wasn't cost effective, or that the hardware is inferior to other mass market items. He alluded to that, sure, but that wasn't his main point at all.

            The point is that the target audience for this item, ie: the impoverished people of third world countries, have much bigger problems that the 1st world could help them solve,
            • by 1u3hr (530656)
              The GP's point wasn't that the laptop wasn't cost effective, or that the hardware is inferior to other mass market items. He alluded to that, sure, but that wasn't his main point at all.

              Whether it was minor or major, he started out with the same sneering attitude to the concept that gets parroted here every time it comes up. That's what I responded to, not his "main point". If you introduce your argument with a fallacy, it's hard to take it seriously.

              As for the general utility of a laptop, I have mixed f

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by jotok (728554)
          For about the billionth time...the $100 laptop isn't intended to let kids in a war zone check their gmail. It's intended for areas where a little cheap, portable, and durable computing power would go a long way. Think of it not as an attempt to solve the worst problems, but maybe the fifth-worst problem.

          That said, I'm not wholly convinced about the new device for the reasons you stated. I run a charity wherein I refurbish castoffs and give them to high school kids in poor neighborhoods--in about a month
        • by cthrall (19889)
          Depending on the African nation, they need teachers who won't get shot, kids who won't go hungry, parents who won't die from AIDS, and/or textbooks that won't be burned for fuel.


          The scary thing is, you just described many urban environments in America...
    • by vondo (303621) *
      It sounds to me like the extra $200 is to buy laptops for two deserving third world children. I.e., it's charity.

      I'm still not going to do it though. For that $200 I can (and do) pay for the schooling for a child or two for a year. I didn't think Clinton's initiative of one computer per classroom was the solution to America's education problems and I sure don't think OLPC is a good use of resources for the third world. As far as I can tell, it's just a stunt that will truly benefit very few people.
      • by walt-sjc (145127)
        Back in the Clinton era, computers were still quite expensive. Now you can get a nice business-class desktop for about $500 instead of $2000.

        IMHO, the problem with schools is that they are a (very poorly run) government monopoly. Vouchers would solve this, creating an educational industry that is responsive to parents and the needs of students. Due to the cost of private education now, most private schools are run by churches. A voucher system would change that.
    • But it's not a waste, is it, doesn't it buy two extras for children that need notebook computers?
    • by alienw (585907)
      Not to mention, you can get a much, much better Dell laptop for not much more than that. I got one for like $500, and that was with a gig of RAM and a 1.8GHz Pentium M. While I might have gotten the laptop if it was $100, I don't really care for the cause. I think Negroponte should think about fixing the fucked-up US education system before he starts screwing with those of other countries. Almost every school in the US has tons of computers, but somehow the quality of education has gone down rather than
      • by jotok (728554)
        I think Negroponte should think about fixing the fucked-up US education system before he starts screwing with those of other countries. I've read his bio and there is nothing in there that suggests he is any good at anything but designing computer stuff and sometimes donating money to a cause...what makes you think he should devote any attention to fixing our educational system?
    • This is not really a $100 laptop. If any normal company designed it, got financing, marketed it etc., they would have to charge at least $200, probably a bit more.

      And it's not really a normal laptop. It could be used in situations where a normal laptop would be useless (i.e. no power).

      The fact is that you could get one for just a little more than it's worth and at the same time help out two third world children.

  • Given that there were only a couple of hundred more subscribers after the article and the whole thing fell disasterously short of its target quota.

    While the project has its merits I wonder if the lack of interest shown by the public at large and quite importantly by the slashdot audience is an indicator of a project doomed to failure by apathy.
    • indicator of a project doomed to failure by apathy.

      Well, I don't think it's been advertised terribly well.
      Two points are

      • The tax writeoff aspect needs to be emphasized. While we can all get a warm fuzzy in the midriff about the kids, it's that pleasure jolt in the wallet from getting mugged by the taxman that affects behavior.
      • The driver issue bears review. http://lwn.net/Articles/203562/#Comments [lwn.net] explores some of the issues in better detail than anywhere else I've seen. Let's see a contribution bount
      • by elrous0 (869638) *
        The problem isn't just poor advertising, it's also wishful thinking.

        The idea that a bunch of third-world countries were going to leap at the opportunity to provide their citizens with computers was deluded. Sure, the corrupt leaders of these countries will be happy to SAY they want to give all their citizens computers. But when the time comes to actually pony up some money out of their palace-and-mercedes budgets, these leaders will baulk.

        And, as for charitable givers from the U.S. and other countries,

      • The tax writeoff aspect needs to be emphasized. While we can all get a warm fuzzy in the midriff about the kids, it's that pleasure jolt in the wallet from getting mugged by the taxman that affects behavior.

        This was my big question. How do you write the $300 off as a "donation" when you're getting a laptop out of it? It seems like you wouldn't be able to do it. I'm not sure how the IRS would feel about a quasi-sale like that. I suspect that, just like buying a Newman's Own can of salsa (or other product whe
    • I feel like I was really out of the loop on this. I don't always have my finger and thumb on the pulse of technological issues, but I make an earnest attempt to. I knew about the $100 laptops from a long time ago, but this is the first I've heard of the $300 charity versions. But you know, I'm not some kind of Everyman here, just one man. Maybe my neighbors knew all about this and each bought two (although after looking at the final pledge numbers, that seems unlikely). So whatever kind of advertising
      • by hey! (33014)
        I feel like I was really out of the loop on this. I don't always have my finger and thumb on the pulse of technological issues, but I make an earnest attempt to. I knew about the $100 laptops from a long time ago, but this is the first I've heard of the $300 charity versions.

        Me too.

        I wish I had heard about this earlier. I would definitely have pledged.
    • Why could it not just be doomed to failure because it was a really silly and poorly-conceived plan by an ivory-tower egghead obsessed with "being digital" to the exclusion of all else including common sense? No one has convinced me of the value of a PC in the education of American and European grade school children, let alone in the third world. Buy them books, pencils, and notepads, and be sure they are fed and loved. Small out-of-pocket cost, huge and time-honored return on investment.
      • by jotok (728554)
        Are you a teacher? My old man just retired after 30 years of teaching in some of Chicago's worst ghettos. It was a huge boost to his classrooms when they got computers, because for instance when it came time to teach the kids math he had a huge repository of free content, lessons, all kinds of stuff that he could just pull down from the web...Mathematica alone was worth the cost of installation and training, in his opinion.
        • by 0racle (667029)
          And this made what difference? No I'm not a teacher, but I was a student when they started bringing computers into the classroom. They did nothing. No one knew how to use them, the teachers didn't know how to teach with them and in the end, because they were such an expense for the school, NO ONE was allowed to touch them. Everyone thought they would be the best thing in the world and the school would start churning out Einstein's, but the novelty wore off pretty soon.

          Computers in the schools of developed
    • by walt-sjc (145127)
      I don't see it that way. IMHO, this fundraising effort is failing due to the lack of corporate sponsorship. You can't go after individuals at this level. You need corporations who will say, "I'll buy 5000." The slashdot crowd is the wrong crowd to spend much marketing effort. It doesn't take many corporations to achieve your goals, but it takes a Huge number of individuals.

      Is the organization a 501c(3) tax deductable charity?
  • by biocute (936687) on Wednesday November 01, 2006 @07:07AM (#16671131) Homepage
    I wonder if there is a special reason that requires 100,000 participants (that is, 200,000 OLPC, 300,000 altogether).

    Does that mean they can't produce and sell these laptop if there were only 5,000 orders?
  • I'd say that this is fairly conclusive proof of a doomed project. Buy a $100 for $300, who on earth would sign up for that ?
    • If they can actually make an OLPC with the specs of the most recent prototypes, it'd still be a good deal at $300.

      It's a significantly more capable machine than an AlphaSmart Dana [alphasmart.com], and those sell for more than $400. There's a definite niche for rugged PC-companion machines with full-sized keyboards. The OLPC beats every previous entrant in that category by having a much better screen - everything else has a "mail slot" black and white screen with pretty miserable resolution.

      The Dana is, I think, the bes

    • Buy a $100 for $300, who on earth would sign up for that ?

      You missed one subtle point:

      buy one at three times the cost and thus contribute to supplying two to the proposed users.

      Basically it's a donation to help serve the intentions of the OLPC initiative.
  • Slashdot effect?! (Score:4, Interesting)

    by SpaghettiPattern (609814) on Wednesday November 01, 2006 @07:12AM (#16671151)
    You'd say PledgeBank would run into a problem in handling all the applications by all them righteous slashdotters. You know, the geeks that get bullied, kicked and bashed because they read books, are proficient with computers, value educated discussion and surely would want to give poorer people a shot at being educated.

    ... But they didn't ...

    There must a whole bunch of cheapskates here on slashdot.

    FYI, I pledged for three. Then, for a short time, I contemplated to let them keep the third PC as well. But that is betrayal because you shouldn't dump second grade stuff onto the 3rd world. I decided to actually use the third one seriously and to contribute at least with bug reports.

    Hell, I even convinced my not-so-techie brother to pledge and he did. And also consider that we're not from the USA. We're from a part of the world where USD 300 is a higher percentage of our nett income.
    • I don't like where you're coming from at all. Hey, congratulations, you are morally superior to us in every way. And don't forget, it is only when you lord news of your own charity over us that we can be shamed by it.
    • by arth1 (260657)

      You'd say PledgeBank would run into a problem in handling all the applications by all them righteous slashdotters. You know, the geeks that get bullied, kicked and bashed because they read books, are proficient with computers, value educated discussion and surely would want to give poorer people a shot at being educated. ... But they didn't ...

      There must a whole bunch of cheapskates here on slashdot.

      Well, how can I put this politely? Hmmm... Fuck you!

      Instead of paying $300 for having two (2) substandard $1

      • Nor do I believe that dumping things that we wouldn't use on the 3rd world is going to make the [technology] gap disappear -- au contraire. I'd rather see them receive one $1000 laptop than ten $100 ones that aren't similar to what the rest of the world use. "Better than what they have" isn't a valid argument, as it serves to keep the gap.

        Developing countries cannot maintain a "fleet" of up-to-date computers, as every PC is rendered obsolete by "progress" within 3 years. "what the rest of the world uses"

      • by joshetc (955226)
        Sort of like how these are far superior speed wise than the ones we DID use in our schools 10 years ago? I know it is anecdotal but if I could go to my local Best Buy and pick one of these up for $100 I would. As would most of my friends. Its basically an oversided PDA that runs desktop software..for cheap.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by pla (258480)
      There must a whole bunch of cheapskates here on slashdot.

      If by "cheap" you mean "not stupid enough to pay $300 for a $100 product", then yeah, you can count me as one of the cheapskates.

      Now, I really wouldn't mind getting one of these. I'd even pay a reasonable premium to send some to the actual target market (like perhaps 20-50% extra. But NOT 200% over list just because someone combines the magical phrases "for kids/charity/third world".


      Perhaps most importantly, computers don't actually help kid
      • Perhaps most importantly, computers don't actually help kids learn.

        They do not do that by themselves (no magic there... duh), but they can be great tools to help the teacher when used properly. What you described in your post is their improper use. Also, let me address at least some points you've raised.

        Computers make kids poor spellers ...

        I seriously doubt there is an integrated spellchecker available in those laptops (or otherwise) for the language the target audience uses, if that's what you're refer

      • As far as I understood the 300 dollars would go towards two computers for them, and one for yourself: Seems like a fair deal to me.

        I am really amazed though that this pledge only got 3678 people from their 100k goal: I'd rather give to this (although, admittedly, at the moment I am not in the position to actually be able to contribute), as the billions spend on food the previous years didn't quite help to get people over there back on their feet: Ok, it probably saved alot of lives, but I'd rather teach t
      • by enjahova (812395)
        You can spend your money however you want, but I find it hard to believe that you think "computers don't actually help kids learn."

        How short sighted can you be? A computer is a powerful tool, it can be used to make many processes more efficient. Some of the most useful processes it benefits are the search for information, communication and yes, even gaming. I don't understand why the improvements of two peoples opportunities is not worth it because 8 people "squander" theirs. Don't you see that if there are
    • America averages 30B in private donations per year for foreign concerns. That was in 2002, by 2004 the numbers may have doubled.

      The key issue he is, how many people actually know about this program and how many of those are already comitted elsewhere?

      Me, I don't care for the project. I already donate to specific local charities as I can see the effects of my donations. I don't have to worry about bleed off by the local governments (overseas ones where this money and possibly the laptops would go)

      The land
    • by suv4x4 (956391)
      There must a whole bunch of cheapskates here on slashdot

      You have doubts that you wasted that much money on a failed project, and now all you're left with is to play with the "omg I'm so moral" card and be pissed at us, cheapskates.

      It's hard to admit it that maybe the problem lies within the project itself.

      Normal people don't throw money at everything that is labeled "good for the poor children". When you give money for something, you need more arguments than this, or you'll fall for thousands of scams that
    • by Shadow99_1 (86250)
      "Hell, I even convinced my not-so-techie brother to pledge and he did. And also consider that we're not from the USA. We're from a part of the world where USD 300 is a higher percentage of our nett income."

      Um... Well here is some news for you... I live in the US and make more than minimum wage (I make ~$10/hr, which is considered good where I live) and $300 is just slightly less than 1/3rd my total monthly income... We all don't earn 6 figure salaries just because we live in the US. To put it in perspective
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by bohemian72 (898284)
        I can back most of that up, living in the United States but, (Yowzers!) where do you live that ground beef costs $10/lb.? In my little corner of the country it's more like $3.00.
        • by Neoprofin (871029)
          That struck me too, but I figure Wisconsin is a land of lardasses and we probably bring our beef prices down through large volume buying.

          That said, $300 is close to my rent for the month, and given the choice to send a nerfed laptop or have a place to sleep at night, you can call me one selfish sonofabitch.
  • by Zouden (232738) on Wednesday November 01, 2006 @07:22AM (#16671215)
    Rather, an unrealistic expectation. It's difficult to sell 100,000 of anything, let alone through a grassroots campaign like this.
    • Let me be the first to say: if you are going to go have people share the computer, get a broadband connection and have somebody there who can help support the user, geez, get a decent computer where you can actually read the text and you're not sitting there cranking the thing while you're trying to type
  • ...and look out for the stampede.
    • by hey! (33014)
      Actually, change it to $299. You might not get the whole stampede, but if you got more than 2/3 of a stampede, you'd get get more gross revenue than

      Probably you wouldn't get 2/3 of a stampede; you might need to price it at $249 to do that. However, you have to look at net, not gross. Suppose it currently costs you $100 to make the device; you make twice as much per unit at $299 as you do at $200. So you only need more than half a stampeded to get ahead.

      This doesn't count the non-tangible but very real
      • I think the poor man's $250 ($249) is about the practical limit for what I would spend on one of these but at $200 I might actually be tempted to buy one for myself and one for a FOSS developer that would be likely to make a real dent in the challenges Linux will face porting over to this platform.
  • In other words, the "One $100 dollar laptop per nerd" prgoram is a failure, because the laptop actually costs $300. Because of this failure, the kids in Africa will now be forced to learn with books, paper, and pencils.
  • Pledging? (Score:4, Informative)

    by ronanbear (924575) on Wednesday November 01, 2006 @07:35AM (#16671321)
    Pledging really isn't something that most people like doing. Outside of the wider public this project has been remarkably quiet. I don't even remember seeing the Pledgebank.

    Sign up to buy a computer and then a few months later find out later whether you'll be able to buy one. It's really inconvenient. Such a project requires wider grassroots adoption and the support of a lot of people. The amount of money pledged was huge.

    100,000 computers at $300 a pop is $30m. Making the effort part of telethon's and charity drives might have been much more effective than just having a website where you can't even buy one.

    It's a cheap simple computer. It might have found a good audience in non geeks interested in trading up from old Windows 98 boxes. It's the one laptop per child project. For selling it in the 1st world it was marketed wrong. It might have done very well if sold as something to get your kid for Christmas instead of an Xbox 360 or an iPod where most of the money goes to charity. Meanwhile the iPod nano Red will sell in huge numbers with a lower (but very decent) amount going to charity.
  • Frivolity (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Dachannien (617929) on Wednesday November 01, 2006 @07:38AM (#16671339)
    I think one reason why there's not much enthusiasm about this program is a difference of philosophies in how to educate the world's children. Generally speaking, people would rather spend $100 to buy books for a bunch of underprivileged children rather than spend it to buy one computer for one child. The applications of computers in grade school education in the US are kind of fuzzy, which makes it difficult to see how useful they would be in a less industrialized society.

    Besides all that, there are numerous other costs associated with making these laptops useful. For example, there's maintenance, theft replacement, training for teachers, and development of a standard computer-based curriculum. Many of these costs are recurring, which means that in the long run, these kids could be worse off from having so much money being tossed onto the bonfire trying to maintain a computer-based education program.

    • by GauteL (29207)
      "Generally speaking, people would rather spend $100 to buy books for a bunch of underprivileged children rather than spend it to buy one computer for one child."

      I hope you realise that the idea is to actually use these laptops as eBook-readers for cheap and updated school books, including lots of free material from sources such as Wikipedia.

      Also, the political and economical situation in Africa is much more complex than the image of starving children. There are many countries in Africa where most people are
  • At $300 a pop in a first world country where computers are nearly ubiquitous, their failure to sell isn't really anything of note. It's a failed gadget launch (and a highly underpublicised one, this is the first I've heard of the $300 offer, not that I've got 3 C-notes kicking around)

    This doesn't say anything about whether or not the $100 laptops are a good way of spending money to benefit the third world. Just look at how successful cellphones have been at connecting communities in Africa. That's been a
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by colmore (56499)
      Ahhh, wait a minute, before everyone starts harping on this, notice:

      This pledgebank wasn't started by the project and isn't connected to them at all. This is nothing more than a well-intentioned and failed internet petition.

      Really, nothing to see here.
  • ... a tax deduction for the $200 difference would have been a help, at least in the U.S.
    • Yeah, 'cause what we really nead here in the US, with an effective deficit of 450-800B/yr (depending on how you count SS), is a way for people who can afford a $300 toy to pay less tax.

      Thanks.

      (BTW - I want a tax deduction, too. But I'd rather see the spending drop first.)
      • Now wait a minute. Since the rich pay most of the taxes in this country, that would be a way to get the rich to underwrite this program. Trust me, if it's the "rich" folks who "can afford a $300 toy" that you are counting on, you won't get anywhere near your 100,000 goal. You need the masses to participate, and for them writing off the expense as a deduction makes it more affordable.

        BTW, I agree that spending needs to be cut, but in a *substantive* way. 100,000*$200 in tax deductions is only $20M - which
        • I guess my point was that allowing a tax deduction for charity is just the US government saying they'll match every 3 of your dollars with one from the US treasury. I'd like to see that deduction eliminated entirely - if you're giving to charity, you give your dollars and I'll give mine (and, for the record, I do).
  • by CptnHarlock (136449) on Wednesday November 01, 2006 @07:50AM (#16671423) Homepage
    This is NOT a failiure of the project itself. It's a failet net-pledge only. The goal of which was pretty unrealistic anyway. I still signed up though... :) ... one can always hope I thought. Anyway:

    This is NOT a failiure of the "One Laptop Per Child" project.

    Cheers...
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      This is NOT a failiure of the "One Laptop Per Child" project.

      No the project itself will fail on its own. Why do people in 3rd world countries need laptops? Its not like that's going to feed them or make them learn how to read.

      What these children need are: a) stable democracies, b) stable food supply, c) stable housing, and d) stable learning environment. Selling them on this laptop idea is like offering plastic slip covers to squatters. It doesn't adress the problem at all.
  • $120 (Score:5, Interesting)

    by rlp (11898) on Wednesday November 01, 2006 @07:52AM (#16671439)
    Sell it to slashdot users for $120 (mfg makes a small profit). That way some of the buyers will end up using it to develop OSS educational SW for it. They should also color code the units; say green for students, blue for teachers, and red for developers (the $120 units). That way if you see a green unit for sale on E-bay - you (and E-bay) knows it's stolen property.
  • Why buy a crippled laptop when you can, for not much more, get one with a lot more power and compatiblity? The $300 price point was way too high. Even if you want a Linux laptop, it's a lot of money to pony up for a system with so little power and technical specs. Could I even run some of the standard Linux programs like MySql and Apache on it w/o choking? Don't get me wrong. It's an amazing machine, but it was designed for a world where power, money, and network infrastructure are rare and valuble commodit
    • I might like the $100 laptop project, and I may even want one myself, but I don't know if I support it so much to put down a few C notes just to show my solidarity. Maybe to show my support, I'll get one of those magnetic bumpersticker ribbons instead.

      So you "show" support. Like a pat on the back, you're willing to do that cause it doesn't take effort or resources from you (!support) but actual support is "just a bit too much". Who are you trying to appear supportive for? Your bumpersticker wont give thes

  • I was waiting to be told when I could buy one. If this was a big campaign, they sure fell short in getting the broader word out. I didn't even realize you could order them yet.

    I also didn't realize that, and don't understand why, it's a "limited time" thing. Why not just leave it open? I would have bought one. I'd do it right now if it was still available.
  • I emailed them when the OLPC first went public, suggesting a buy-two-get-one thing. I was ready to pledge, but I never heard about it. Nowhere, nowhen, nohow.

    If people don't know, they can't pledge.

    HAL

  • by TomSteinberg (1021177) on Wednesday November 01, 2006 @08:07AM (#16671555)
    I'm part of the team that runs PledgeBank. You might be interested in this experimental Pledge I just put up for people who still want to be involved with OLPC, but on a more realistic and local level. http://www.pledgebank.com/olpchackers [pledgebank.com] The Pledge is unique because it uses a new feature that isn't in general circulation on PledgeBank yet, cascading Pledges. These are global pledges which you sign up to locally, making a mini version of each pledge with a group of other people who live near you. Take a look, even if you don't sign up, and please give us feedback. This is very much an alpha feature, although the pledge is real.
  • This pledgebank was set up by someone who's not even affiliated with the OLPC project. The OLPC project never aimed to sell laptops to internet users for $300. It aims to sell laptops to developing countries in large batches for $100 each.
  • The OLPC has a handful of really great ideas. However, it was clear from the very beginning that it was designed specific enough that nobody else should want one.

    The half-sized keyboard and bright (orange) color will keep adults from using it, even if they really need the rest of the features of the OLPC.

    The small flash drive/lack of a hard drive, and limited ports, will make it of limited usefulness to kids in developed countries as well.

    It has a lot of features that would be great on, otherwise normal, n
  • Almost nobody gives a crap about the developing world.
  • 11th comment on the site:

    I see a small bug in this pledge. Where is the distribution mechanism? If we had some way to say, put our $300 in an escrow account and were able to pay for a super efficient distribution center (and where to put it is another issue) then perhaps interest on the sitting cash could pay to get these things distributed, but we still have no "market based" distro system. The developing nation machines will still end up getting "lost" and end up on e-bay.

    If the concept here is to sho
  • Why don't they just sell it commercially as a generic device with a healthy profit margin and a one month warranty?
    I can see numerous applications for these kind of low cost devices, you could use it as a navigational device, router/firewall, reading books etc.

    If they'd just make it look decent without the weird colours, drop the power handle and sell optional car power adapters etc..

    The good part for them is that the profit can be used to deliver them to the 3rd world countries. Also, a lot of additional s
  • by McFadden (809368) on Wednesday November 01, 2006 @08:31AM (#16671761)
    We in rich countries don't give laptops to every one of our kids, yet we seem to think we can tell poor countries that this is what they need. I think of a dozen things that would benefit the poor way before we start thinking about fucking PCs.
  • by Ancient_Hacker (751168) on Wednesday November 01, 2006 @08:46AM (#16671901)
    $100 laptop is a terrible way to burn money.

    In case you havent been out in the boonies, if you take the chicken bus from any big city in 95% of the countries of the world, out an hour or so, you get to villages where there are no schools, no paper, no pencils, no books, no nuttin!

    Those people need:

    1. A SCHOOL! -- meaning four walls and a roof.
    2. A TEACHER! -- meaning somebody that can read nad write and add numbers.
    3. PAPER! -- just the cheapest grade.
    4. PENCILS! -- yes, they do not have pencils.
    5. BOOKS! --
    6. BREAKFAST!

      They do not need: money wasted on what random first-worlders thing third worlders need.

    • by rbarreira (836272)
      Why do you assume the target kids don't have that already? There are lots of comments about this in the previous /. stories regarding OLPC, so I won't repeat all of that here...
      • >Why do you assume the target kids don't have that already?

        Because some of us HAVE been on the chicken bus for a couple of hours and looked over the villages.

        Next month my brother is going to Guatemala to help build a school. Just a little ways out from the capital there are sizeable villages with no schools, or schools without roofs or plumbing, no books, no supplies, etc...

        What WE think WE should do with OUR and other people's money to help unspecified others is just about the poorest way to efficient
    • by Upaut (670171)
      In many third world countries with a high level of tourism, the children already have this. What they need to get a job in the hotels are a knowledge of computers, a bit of math, and the ability to speak either English or German. This computer can aid them in many of these tasks. This is not about providing a necessity of survival, but to give them hope to raise themselves out of the hovel.

      And say your town wants to build an irrigation system and learn about crop rotation? You don't have that book, but th
  • This system specs seem more like an updated version of the old HP Jornada 820 I've used for the last 6 years. A tough little Laptop with no Spinning Harddrive, I've added a CF WI-FI and a 4 GB PCcard Flash drive card. Only thing I had to replace was the battery a couple years back.
    HP Jornada 820 Specs [wikipedia.org]
    OLPC Ver 1 [laptop.org]

After any salary raise, you will have less money at the end of the month than you did before.

Working...