An OLPC pre-mortem? Hope not.

Sic Transit Gloria Laptopi is a long and wrenching piece about the project by Ivan Krstic. Just one man’s take, but Ivan’s been a strong advocate for the OLPC’s highest purposes. Performer too.

Some pushback from Taran Rampersad. Also this from Tom Hoffman. (And privately from some people.)

For what it’s worth, I’ve loved the ambitions of the OLPC program from the beginning, even if I thought they were crazy to start in 5th gear by rolling a zillion laptops out to 3rd world countries, too many of which are run by dictatorships that could be bought by actual vendors.

Still. Ordinary laptops have been stale for a long time.

Even if they crater, they’ve blazed a worthy trail along the way.

5 comments

  1. Taran Rampersad’s avatar

    Ram-per-sad, Doc. ;-) Rampersad.

    As far as tossing technology around the world, the prediction of the mobile phone’s success made before the inception of the OLPC has been substantiated by the latest reports. The OLPC’s technology is all well and good, but the lack of understanding of the problems that created the circumstances which it is supposed to solve leave it a dusty piece of neon.

    Better luck next time to Negroponte & co.

  2. Doc Searls’s avatar

    Sorry, Taran. I knew better. Just a typo. Good to see you here.

    I’m inclined to give OLPC the benefit of some doubt at this point. The baby/bathwater ratios may differ greatly by location, I suspect. Plus other variables.

  3. Taran Rampersad’s avatar

    Oh, I tend to agree, Doc. The trouble is that the spin cycle has been left overattended and where the rubber meets the road it does seem a bit like an underused prophylactic on a tropical road. My problem with the OLPC is not the technology used, but rather the lack of focus on technology use in context. For many government officials around the world, you could dress up a toaster oven and pawn it off as the latest thing…

    And honestly, the UN really did demonstrate that mobile phones are the present and future cat’s meow. Negroponte missed the banana boat. I have the links to the actual report here: http://www.knowprose.com/node/18440

    (Long read, but what is interesting is what is and is not in the report.)

  4. Allan Wallace’s avatar

    I doubt the best procedure to accomplish any goal is to be found by utilizing government or an NGO. While organization is essential to large projects; throwing other people’s money at opportunities first creates inefficiency and secondly a demand for more money.

  5. wotlk’s avatar

    Negroponte & co. really need to step it up if they want to stay in this..

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