Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Is the 100 Dollar laptop dead?


May be not dead, but close. Here's Fake Steve Jobs [via Wayan Vota's OLPC News] pouring scorn and ridicule on media outlets for hyping the product:

Remember all those big, splashy, gushing, goofy, stupid, incredibly naive stories in all the major publications about the Hundred Dollar Laptop? Remember the cover story in the NY Times Magazine about how this was going to save the world? Remember the insanely stupid 60 Minutes piece? Ever wonder why nobody, and I mean nobody, ever stopped to think about whether the whole thing could actually work? Or even to question how it was going to work? Did you notice that nobody looked at the business realities? Did anyone even consider looking at Negroponte's disastrous track record and his utter lack of experience? Did anyone point out what a ridiculous waste of space the entire MIT Media Lab has been? Of course not. Partly it's because no reporter wanted to pee on Negroponte's shoes and get branded as a meany and a kid-hater and a racist by the noisy freetards who backed this silly project.

If you have been following the decline and fall (and probably the impending demise) of Negroponte's dream project on the excellent OLPC News blog, you are probably aware that the OLPC project has attracted some of the best minds, and led to the development of some nifty technologies. Even if the 100 dollar laptop dies, many of these technologies will find a home in other (hopefully low-cost) products and gadgets. Thus, there is no reason to feel sad about the failure of OLPC.

As someone who opposed the very idea of a 'Third World laptop' pretty much from the time I heard about it (and I had my 15 nanoseconds of fame, too), I'm just glad that India didn't fall for the hype, and boldly said 'no' to this costly mistake.

From whatever I have seen, (here, here and here), laptops don't seem to have any serious educational value for school kids.

3 Comments:

  1. Ashutosh said...

    The Third World Laptp seems to me to be an extension of the ongoing development of what Freeman Dyson calls the domestication of information technology. While this did progress by leaps and bounds beyond our imagination earlier, sometime the time may just not be ripe.

  2. Rahul said...

    Among other things, $100 isn't what it used to be... they may have had better luck calling it a hundred euro laptop.

    Of course, even if they had produced a nice useful machine for $100, the basic premise -- that a laptop is more useful to a third-world schoolchild than $100 worth of books -- remains dubious.

  3. Doctor Bruno said...

    Intel's Classmate PC is good.... Very Durable and quite cheap when compared to the features offered