Wednesday, January 3, 2007

New Wave of Technology for the New Year

$100 laptop project launches 2007

The first batch of computers built for the One Laptop Per Child project
could reach users by July this year.
The scheme is hoping to put low-cost
computers into the hands of people in developing countries.
Ultimately the
project's backers hope the machines could sell for as little as $100 (£55).
The first countries to sign up to buying the machine include Brazil,
Argentina, Uruguay, Nigeria, Libya, Pakistan and Thailand.
The so-called XO
machine is being pioneered by Nicholas Negroponte, who launched the project at
the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Media Lab in 2004.
Test machines
are expected to reach children in February as the project builds towards a more
formal launch.

Mr Negroponte told the Associated Press news agency that three more African
countries might sign on in the next two weeks.
The laptop is powered by a
366-megahertz processor from Advanced Micro Devices and has built-in wireless
networking.
It
has no hard disk drive and instead uses 512 MB of flash memory, and has two USB
ports to which more storage could be attached.

"I have to laugh when people refer to XO as a weak or crippled machine and
how kids should get a "real' one"," Mr Negroponte told AP.

"Trust me, I will give up my real one very soon and use only XO. It will be
far better, in many new and important ways."
The computer runs on a cut-down
version of the open source Linux operating system and has been designed to work
differently to a Microsoft Windows or Apple machine from a usability
perspective.

(Read more at News.BBC.Co.Uk)

This is a groundbreaking move up for getting developing countries on board with innovative technology. I was quite excited to see that Pakistan is one of the 7 countries to have signed up so far. I hope that it really will be a project taken seriously by whoever is responsible for the procurement and not just another opportunity to make a quick buck at the expense of the poor.

Too many people are trying to find more productive and lucrative ways of alleviating poverty, most of which involve their own professional skills and time. With embezzlement from poverty reduction schemes, that time and effort is merely wasted and thus making the process counter-productive altogether.
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