I doubt this will be news to many, but it’s a really cool idea and worth the plug. The One Laptop Per Child program is making that crucial leap from great concept to spiffy, shipping technology. These are designed to be used by groups of kids in the developing world, but the project’s viziers had the clever idea of allowing folks in the U.S. and Canada to buy one of these first units under their Give One Get One program. You pay $400, and $200 goes to sending you a wondrous new XO laptop, while the other $200 is a tax deductible donation that puts one of these gems in the hand of a child in the developing world. This is only for a limited time, however: November 12 and November 26
As Michael Tiemann points out, however, if you’re gonna get one, you really should consider getting two. These things are designed to form little ad hoc wireless networks whenever they’re near other XO laptops, and lots of the software assumes the existence of other XO laptops more than it assumes access to the full force of the internet (which so much traditional software now assumes). So you, your kids, and whoever you’re showing off your new toy to will be much more impressed if you have two of them to play with.
I’ve had some people ask if we were planning to buy one. Unfortunately (a) we can’t buy one from the UK in a straight-forward way and (b) we’re pretty tight for cash with partial salary and the damn exchange rate. So the answer is no, for now, but not for lack of wanting to. My guess, however, is that this short window of opportunity is a nice marketing scheme to bring in some cash fast, and that down the road they’ll open things up more broadly on a similar scheme. And why not? It raises their profile, and the “Give one, get one” scheme puts more in the hands of the target group of kids.
Cleverly, KK has proposed that UMM’s CSci discipline buy four of them for students and faculty to do projects on. I think that’s a great idea for a lot of reasons, only one of which is that there will be some waiting for me to play with when we get home :-).