Friday, June 10, 2005

In Memory of Mark Anthony Wildermuth

The last two weeks have been sad ones for those of us who knew Mark Wildermuth from Midlands Technical College in Columbia, SC. Mark had a bad motorcycle accident two weekends ago and passed away Monday, June 6.

Mark had quite a life in his 36 years. Many of us did not know he graduated from the United States Military Academy, West Point, NY, in 1991. At West Point, he was Brigade boxing champion in his weight class, competed on the Army's intercollegiate boxing team and was Sandhurst military training company captain. After West Point he had a well-decorated Army career, rising to the rank of Major, serving in Korea and in several stateside posts. He was Ranger, Airborne and Expert Infantryman qualified.

I first met Mark five years ago when he started at Midlands and was working to create a Telecommunications degree program. In September 2001 Midlands, with Mark as PI, received a grant from the NSF to adapt and implement the NCTT telecommunications education program and our formal relationship was launched. Mark and others including Keith Quigley worked hard to build an exceptional program and over the grant adapted the NCTT curriculum to include a pre-telecommunications technologies component delivered by secondary teachers to local SC high schools. Laboratories were designed to house the appropriate equipment, and Midlands ensured the ongoing operation and continued support for the work. In addition to articulated course work in telecommunications in local high schools, the project facilitated the professional growth and development of college and high school instructors as well as recruiting, retaining, graduating, and placing students in good jobs.

Two years ago, with Mark's leadership, Midlands became one of the original NCTT Regional Partners. Mark was an active participant in the NCTT group, always willing to share his technical and leadership skills. He also like to have fun and could always get us laughing. Marks work can be found at: A wonderful person who I will miss greatly.

Midlands Technical College has established a scholarship in his memory. If you wish to contribute, send an email to me at:

Tuesday, June 7, 2005

MIT Media Labs $100 Laptop

MIT Media Labs wants to produce $100 laptops. Media Lab team members Nicholas Negroponte, Seymour Papert and Joseph Jacobson have a vision of "one laptop per child", and plan to provide 100 million to 200 million laptops to school children in the developing world by the end of 2006. Google and AMD have committed $2 million each to the project and MIT is also working with Samsung, Motorola and News Corporation on this project.
Specs include a 500 MHZ processor, wind-up power, a 12 inch flat rear-projection color screen, Linux and OpenOffice software. Devices will be Wi-Fi and 3G-enabled with lots of USB ports. The laptops will use flash memory (no hard drives) and will not be hooked up via a conventional local area networks. The laptops will use Wi-Fi mesh networks, where one laptop will act as the print server, one the DVD player, and another the mass storage device, etc.
The first working prototype is projected to be ready by September 1 with limited distribution by the end of the year.
See for more details.