mm153: Buy a Laptop for a Child, Get Another Laptop Free

MUDGE’S Musings

This week seems to be developing a theme: technology of the developed world reaching out to the developing world, with some intriguing results.

Any member of the ‘Sphere recognizes that the PC is the instrument of tremendous potential for creating change, especially the access to the Internet (and the universe beyond the dusty village) that it can provide,

The One Laptop Per Child project has been carefully followed in this space, and the original story has been subsequently augmented and commented on, most recently this week.

Here’s an update on OLPC, published this week in the NYTimes.

By STEVE LOHR Published: September 24, 2007

One Laptop Per Child, an ambitious project to bring computing to the developing world’s children, has considerable momentum. Years of work by engineers and scientists have paid off in a pioneering low-cost machine that is light, rugged and surprisingly versatile. The early reviews have been glowing, and mass production is set to start next month.


Orders, however, are slow. “I have to some degree underestimated the difference between shaking the hand of a head of state and having a check written,” said Nicholas Negroponte, chairman of the nonprofit project. “And yes, it has been a disappointment.”

But Mr. Negroponte, the founding director of the M.I.T. Media Laboratory, views the problem as a temporary one in the long-term pursuit of using technology as a new channel of learning and self-expression for children worldwide.

And he is reaching out to the public to try to give the laptop campaign a boost. The marketing program, to be announced today, is called “Give 1 Get 1,” in which Americans and Canadians can buy two laptops for $399.

Putting aside the question about how a $100 laptop has inflated to two for $399, the OLPC continues to break new ground even in marketing.

[Please click the link below for the complete article — but then please come on back!]

Buy a Laptop for a Child, Get Another Laptop Free – New York Times

This is a wonderful cause, and I would think that people who would find a $399 purchase with a 50% charitable component affordable might also wish, as the story suggests, to donate the PC they’re entitled to a (not third world, but certainly third rate) school in this country.

God knows that there are pockets of the third world within these preciously regarded borders of ours, many within our biggest cities. Then it becomes a $399 charitable contribution, serving to further education among the deserving needy in our own country as well as beyond.

If this promotion serves to prime the production pump, so as to assure economic deliveries to the nations like Peru and Mexico and Italy (for Ethiopia — now that’s fitting!) that have committed to the project, then it’s absolutely worthwhile.

As the giving season looms (the pumpkins are out, after all!), why not add OLPC’s “Give 1, Get 1” to your planning (orders to be taken Nov. 12–26); and as MUDGE recommends, just make that slight adjustment and you can call it “Give 1 (there), Give 1 (here).”

It’s it for now. Thanks,



7 Responses to mm153: Buy a Laptop for a Child, Get Another Laptop Free

  1. J. Roland Cole says:

    Dear Mudge,

    Thank you for keeping up with this important project and making it known.
    I believe the mission would be greatly helped (financially/launch-wise) if Intel weren’t trying to get in on what it sees as “the billion person market” by undercutting the efforts of Mr. Negroponte. Here is a letter I wrote him after reading the Leslie Stahl 60 Minutes interview:

    Mr. Negroponte,
    I applaud you, and thank you, and pray for you and the success of your mission!–which is to make a more viable and vibrant life possible for every child.
    If Mr. Craig Barrett of Intel were serious about helping you instead of undercutting you and trying to horn in on what he really sees as “market share” ultimately, he would be contacting you, discussing WITH you, and making proposals/brainstorming possibilities WITH you–instead of making supposedly objective soundbite points. Let’s hope he changes his mind and does the former!
    Please think of yourself and make sure you are staying healthy. [He travels 330 days per year, promoting the project.] You need to stay strong and be well for the long haul, enjoy your one life, too,and don’t cheat on your physical check-ups.
    Please never give up. Though it may not all happen as we (man) plans, I believe God will bless your mission, make it more and more viable, and fulfil your Dream.

    Rev. J. Roland Cole

  2. mudge says:

    Dear Rev. Cole,

    I appreciate your comments, and am grateful that you shared with us your communication with Mr. Negroponte.

    With so many billions to educate, I hope there’s room under the “cheap internet appliance for global education” tent for all of the players.

    Thanks for looking in, and taking the trouble to enhance the discourse.


  3. […] as regular reader of this nanocorner of the ‘Sphere© no doubt recalls (and such links as this, this and this will help jog the memory), is the long-awaited One Laptop Per Child initiative of Nicholas […]

  4. […] in the main, and it’s free to all. All with PC and Internet access, of course, where OLPC comes […]

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