Monday, December 3, 2007

One Laptop Per Child - Holiday Giving

Back in September I wrote an update on the One Laptop Per Child Project (OLPC), the brainchild of MIT Media Lab founder and Chairman Emeritus Nicholas Negroponte (who now also serves as chairman of OLPC).

One of the fundamental concepts of the OLPC project is to get computers into as many students hands as possible and let them tinker with them in an effort to stimulate and enhance creativity, like the educational toys many of us have bought for our children. The initial target cost for the laptops was $100 which was not acheivable - the current XO model runs for around $200 and uses a child friendly version of the Linux based open source operating system, built in low-power wireless networking, a display that can easily be seen in the day, a speaker and microphone and a pull cord for hand recharging. You may recall earlier prototypes had a hand crank for recharging. The first ones are being made by Quanta Computer, a Taiwanese computer manufacturer.

Since November 12th, OLPC has been offering a Give One Get One program in the United States and Canada. According to the OLPC website:

"For a donation of $399, one XO laptop will be sent to empower a child in a developing nation and one will be sent to the child in your life in recognition of your contribution. $200 of your donation is tax-deductible (your $399 donation minus the fair market value of the XO laptop you will be receiving)."

If you do donate between now and December 31, your donated laptop will go to a child in Afghanistan, Cambodia, Haiti, Mongolia or Rwanda in early 2008 and you will get your XO around the same time. Here's a 30 second video of actor Masi Oka (from the NBC show Heroes) describing the program:

You also may donate laptops via OLPC's Simply Give and Give Many options.

T Mobile has stepped up, offering one year of complimentary HotSpot access to all U.S. donors who participate in the Give One Get One program.

I've asked Santa for an XO - I cannot think of a better gift for this holiday season.

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