Tuesday, September 25, 2007

$100 Laptop Program Needs Your Help

In high school, it was pretty challenging to be an emerging futurist and proponent of digital convergence. I was fortunate enough to have at least one teacher who let me ramble on about it (thanks, Mr Goodwin), but for the most part, telling people in the mid-nineties that their computer and tv would soon be the same thing wasn't really of interest or relevance to many folks. There weren't a whole lot of people around to talk about things like that with--or even many books to read. The first I recall devouring was Being Digital, penned by Nicholas Negroponte, at the time, director of the MIT Media Lab.

A few years ago, I was excited to learn that he had walked away from his post to pursue his passion--putting a computer in the hands of every child in the world. The organization is called One Laptop Per Child and the goal was to work with corporations to get the costs down to $100 per machine. The stories of even the early successes are amazing.

As you might imagine, this is quite an undertaking, and the fact that it hit the news again today is probably a sign that progress isn't going as well as they might have hoped. Nevertheless, for the first time, the program has gone public--asking individuals to help the cause. BBC reports that starting November 12, anyone will be able to purchase two laptops at a time--one that they may keep, and another that will be donated. The price is $399 for the two machines through the G1G1 (Give One, Get One) Program.

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