The 100 dollar notebook

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By dhau

Paragon (1570)

dhau's picture

11-01-2007, 22:16

The "buy 2 get 1" is brilliant. Rich people have plenty of money to buy one for $200, meaning they can help someone else on the world to educate himself. Don't be so selfish.

my 2 cents.

They can definitely afford it, but there is no reason for them to buy it. This is not a prestigious item like Dell XPS or Sony PS3. And even though the price is low, you know that you are forced into donation, which is something people hate. And there are great much more powerful options readily available from Toshiba, HP, Dell and such for a bit more money. A generic modern cell phone is more powerful and functional then 100$ notebook (but it doesn't come with built-in crank-operated power generator).

So, I don't think anyone will buy this item for actual computing. May be some obese antisocial nerds will get it to complete their collection of "unusual" computers. To me, 100$ notebook has a lot less appeal then OCM.

By Bastiaan

Champion (333)

Bastiaan's picture

11-01-2007, 22:33

besides the aid-issue here: I'd spent $100 or $200 for a decent laptop.

My current oldie does the job (P2-333,192MB,98SE) why are HW+SW devellopers forcing me to buy P4-3000,1024,XP, just to do the same thing?? (You pay $100 to Bull Gates just for the OS! that's helping the first world not the third)

that reason alone would justify this kind of product, with or without humanitairy background.

By Manuel

Ascended (18125)

Manuel's picture

11-01-2007, 23:06

I'd buy it, because it's a great and unique item, full of new technology and innovations. And famous as well! So, it is prestigious for me! I'd be glad to pay $200 for that. It's even cheaper than an OCM and I'm also helping someone with it! Yeah, so half of it is a donation... is that bad?? I don't think so.

By pitpan

Prophet (3144)

pitpan's picture

11-01-2007, 23:22

Now seriously, there is one fact that I do not understand.

If the real cost of production is about $150 and it is supossed to be priced $100, then if you sell one you'll loose $50. Net gain: -50 USD. Therefore, the solution of selling 2 of them for $200 with leave a net gain of -100 USD, or, in other words, a total loss of 100 USD. This point of view is independent of the goal of giving them away to developing countries.

By dhau

Paragon (1570)

dhau's picture

12-01-2007, 04:28

I think it works like this:

You pay 200$ + tax and get one unit
Government of some lame country pays 100$ and gets one unit.

So in total you and lame gov pay 300$ to Mr Negroponte, so he's doing 0 profit. Since his project is probably paid mostly by charities and some UN development grants, it all kinda make sense.

I still think one can have more fun at a cheaper price with a dead pigeon, but hey, we're all different Smile

By realpeterjack

Champion (417)

realpeterjack's picture

12-01-2007, 10:36

I just found this thread and I already readed so much hilarious comments I can't help commenting them myself:


There was a period in western history without computers and I doubt the 3rd world has already had a similar period. It's like NL skipping 70..80 years from 1900 on and immediately going to the digital age.. would it work??

Oh no! I'm brazilian, I have to throw away my computers right now, I'm skipping 70 years! (Well, on a second thought, it isn't a good idea).


... western countries...

Well, last time I checked, Brazil still was a western country. It is located far more to the west than, let's say, Netherlands, for instance.


I agree mostly with wolf_! We shouldn't impose our way of life to these countries! It just sounds good to have one computer for each child, but it isn't, at least in least developed conutries. There is one side effect on these project: Children from poor countries get addicted to the PC at an early age! So later, they will by PCs! And governments and some kind of humanitarian institutions should pay for that! It's an intelligent business strategie. Maybe it will have also some positive effects on the people there, but for the long term, it wil have positive effects on worldwide computer companies. Has someone thought on the adults of these countries? Maybe most of them can't cope with computers. They can't protect their children from internet material they condsider inapropriate! A better strategie for these countries would be to have a system independent form PC not one for each child, but one or few for each village. With some adults being trained to teach how to handle these computer to children.

No! It's ok to impose computers on us, please, do it Smile ! And about getting addicted to PCs, unless you are saying PC as a general term, like personal computer, the OLPC isn't a machine like the computers we commonly refer as pc. Regarding controlling the use of the computers by children, I have to say two things: first, in the brazilian case, the first batch of 1.000.000 computers to be delivered here is going to be given to teachers only. [EDIT] And second, most "villages here already have at least one computer [/EDIT]


The only computers I've seen in my school-years (not my-study years where I mainly used my own one) are MSX2 for geo-lessons (flying a chopper to given locations) and small PC's for LOGO, WP5.1, DBase4 and M$-DOS 5. Big swell! The Dos/WP lessons were given in the time of Windows and WP for Windows .. So, even when I *did have* a computer at my disposal at schools, nothing useful was done with them.
So, I figure: those ppl in the 3rd world who aren't studying for a serious grade won't need a private computer..

The fact many of us haven't used computers at school doesn't keep us from giving this opportunity for them, now. And regarding the fact a computer can't be used for serious learning, the poor english knowledge I have is SOLELY related to computer use. The only regular english classes I had were the (useless) high school ones and one semester of instrumental english for data processing at university.
And in the case people who didn't used computers at school is unable to use them for anything serious, what do you do with your own computer? Don't you think that maybe, somewhere else, there is someone who wants do do the same thing (for instance, to chat in a retro computing website) and lacks the tools do do it. And I'm sure kids will find something to do with them if you give them one.


Publishers print/write/make books, not Joe African. African publishers for sure will have computers for those jobs. I'm not talking about African industries here, but about normal/non-industrial ppl, and mainly was I talking about learning how to read/write, that has nothing to do with computers whatsoever. If we did rely on computers for reading/writing then we wouldn't be able how to read/write before the 80's!

Only publishers need computers to write? Think about projects like wikipedia, and this forum, perhaps. If you can't rely on computers at developing countries, tourists shall be warned to leave their computers at the airport. Or, maybe, a tourist has something more serious than "Joe African" to write. Maybe "Joe African", at South Africa, for instance, just want to do the same things as the man in the countries which formerly had colonies.


They can definitely afford it, but there is no reason for them to buy it. This is not a prestigious item like Dell XPS or Sony PS3. And even though the price is low, you know that you are forced into donation, which is something people hate. And there are great much more powerful options readily available from Toshiba, HP, Dell and such for a bit more money. A generic modern cell phone is more powerful and functional then 100$ notebook (but it doesn't come with built-in crank-operated power generator).

So, I don't think anyone will buy this item for actual computing. May be some obese antisocial nerds will get it to complete their collection of "unusual" computers. To me, 100$ notebook has a lot less appeal then OCM.

If you need a computer to be "fancy" to be suitable for you, you have a serious problem, man! Computers are not "prestigious", they are tools! And nobody will be forced into donation, the ones who doesn't want to donate, just don't buy it.
And maybe some obese antisocial nerd is the only ones which still find a eighties-made computer, with 3.57 mhz of raw computer power is still good for someting at the 21st century. What are you doing here if you don't think so? Don't you know that every computer ever made (including msx) can perform the tasks which it was designed for? If we could only run word processors at 3 ghz computers with 2 gb ram we would be having an useful computer only by now!

By Poltergeist

Champion (277)

Poltergeist's picture

12-01-2007, 11:22

RealPeterJack: For Europeans the western countries are defined as NATO countries, as opposed to the WarsawPact countries (which was the communist block, with for example the USSR, Poland, the DDR). They where also called the western bloc and eastern bloc, hence the term "western countries". And then there are the 3rd world countries. It has nothing to de with the place on our globe...

By realpeterjack

Champion (417)

realpeterjack's picture

12-01-2007, 11:39

RealPeterJack: For Europeans the western countries are defined as NATO countries, as opposed to the WarsawPact countries (which was the communist block, with for example the USSR, Poland, the DDR). They where also called the western bloc and eastern bloc, hence the term "western countries". And then there are the 3rd world countries. It has nothing to de with the place on our globe...

Yeah, I understand, but you should agree it is a very weird way to look at the world (placing Australia at west and South America at east). If you are thinking in military terms (nato), it would be more precise to say the good and the bad guys.

By wolf_

Ambassador_ (9892)

wolf_'s picture

12-01-2007, 13:03

Just to summarize: ppl get the wrong idea of my original post, some while back in this thread.

One doesn't need a computer of any kind (expensive or cheap) to learn to read/write, to learn maths, to learn history, geography, biology, English, French, Spanish, German, Latin, Greek, sociology, cooking, sports, drawing, carpenting and another bunch o' typical high-school courses. We didn't need them for centuries, and in the end I don't think we did a bad job on our educational history.

^ No computer required when for the same money other things should be bought or secured/repaired first, one can perfectly learn from books.

One "needs" (makes life soooo much easier) a computer when doing super-high-grade studies like where you need to calculate incredibly large math models or simulations (aerodynamics, advanced math, physics, chemistry, advanced biology, space-related studies, weather-analysis etc.), and to a lesser extend for any study in which you are required to make proper texts/schemes/reports etc.

^ No problems using a computer here

To get back on the first point: I wouldn't even mind when computers take a minor or NO role even here in the western society. Often enough kids are given time on a computer these days to do their stuff, while 20 years earlier a teacher would just tell a good story and teach things the proper classic way. I truly believe that the older system just worked better. While I'm not entirely sure, but when you just read Dutch forums, the amount of structural errors is staggering, and I'm not talking keyboard typos, but fundamental mistakes! Therefor it's my point that these cheap computers are certainly not required for highschool purposes, in which books and teachers should play the main role. Handing out these computers for just the typical ppl doing highschool or even elementary boarding school, is a waste of efforts which should be saved for ppl going to university. This all has nothing to do with racism or colonialism or whatever (never think such of me!) but just with belief in a certain educational system. And again: everywhere on the world -including here in the west- where a computer takes over the role of teacher/books in a way that is not essential, we have a wrong situation -imho-.

By LeandroCorreia

Paladin (955)

LeandroCorreia's picture

12-01-2007, 13:10

Wolf, I do agree with most of your opinions. A computer is a tool. Not a solution by itself.

I don´t think that children should have calculators. They should use abaccuses (just like in Japan). It´s even faster.

But I do think that computers are useful in other situations: programs that test math skills with animations and sound could be great for incentive. Multimedia applications are much more interesting than simple Geography or History books. Audiovisual methods are much more effective for language learning than simple books.

And besides, a laptop is great for democratic information. A book is expensive? Yes, it is. But connecting to the Internet and reading for a long time (although boring) is better than having no information. Recently I read that many poor people in my country (Brazil) have or struggle to buy computers. Why? Because information is quite cheap with them.

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