Arguing about how to bring computing to poor

Interesting article in New York Times today about Microsoft’s efforts to bring computing to the poor. One of the images that still stick in my head of visiting China eight years ago was a guy riding down the street on a rickety bike talking on a cell phone.

Over on TeleRead David Rothman says he hopes that MIT’s approach wins cause it’s easier to read on a big-screen device. Hey, I agree with that, but most of the world doesn’t. Go visit London. I rarely see someone reading a laptop or Tablet PC, but EVERYONE is staring into their cell phone screens. It’s really a huge cultural difference between the US and Europe (same can be said of US and Japan too).

Also, don’t underestimate the readability on the new high resolution screens. I read thousands of words per day on my cell phone. It’s amazing how many things you can do on a two-inch cell phone screen.

I also watch the kids around me. They’d rather have a cell phone than a big computer. Why? Cause they can talk! And they can carry the thing around with them everywhere. Oh, and it’s affordable. Very few kids can afford a $1,000 laptop.

What do you think?

Comments

  1. They’d rather have a cell phone than a big computer. Why?
    Cause girls like to talk – and they don’t like geeks !

  2. They’d rather have a cell phone than a big computer. Why?
    Cause girls like to talk – and they don’t like geeks !

  3. One thing I see about ‘computing to poor’ efforts is that most of them are run by academics and government institutions…
    It’s a lot more about pride and status than a technical solution. If you ask someone to choose between a $100 ‘laptop for the poor’ or a $100 cell phone, even without many features…most of them would choose the cell phone. And the other way around would happen if you change the labels and call it the $100 ‘cell phone for the poor’.
    Here in Brazil you can see that in many different ways. The ‘poor’ that can’t buy a $1000 computer, but has bought 2 pairs of nice snickers for $500 each…
    Why? Because he can’t show his “computer for the poor” around the neighborhood.

  4. One thing I see about ‘computing to poor’ efforts is that most of them are run by academics and government institutions…
    It’s a lot more about pride and status than a technical solution. If you ask someone to choose between a $100 ‘laptop for the poor’ or a $100 cell phone, even without many features…most of them would choose the cell phone. And the other way around would happen if you change the labels and call it the $100 ‘cell phone for the poor’.
    Here in Brazil you can see that in many different ways. The ‘poor’ that can’t buy a $1000 computer, but has bought 2 pairs of nice snickers for $500 each…
    Why? Because he can’t show his “computer for the poor” around the neighborhood.

  5. I don’t think it is a case of either a laptop or phone. Most kids I know have a phone and access to a pc at home, be it desktop or laptop.

    As for the cultural differences between the USA and Europe, I don’t think it is as straightforward as you make out.

    Whilst you might not have seen lots of people messing around with laptops in London that deson’t mean we don’t have them – we just use them less in public places. Most people in the UK I know have at least 1 desktop and often a laptop AND always a mobile phone. My wife is from the USA and when I go there I see much less PC usage than here – but she is from the midwest.

    I don’t think there is 1 USA culture, there’s lots of them – the same goes for Europe. Just because you haven’t witnessed lots of laptop usage in the UK doesn’t mean we own mobile phones but not PCs we have both.

  6. I don’t think it is a case of either a laptop or phone. Most kids I know have a phone and access to a pc at home, be it desktop or laptop.

    As for the cultural differences between the USA and Europe, I don’t think it is as straightforward as you make out.

    Whilst you might not have seen lots of people messing around with laptops in London that deson’t mean we don’t have them – we just use them less in public places. Most people in the UK I know have at least 1 desktop and often a laptop AND always a mobile phone. My wife is from the USA and when I go there I see much less PC usage than here – but she is from the midwest.

    I don’t think there is 1 USA culture, there’s lots of them – the same goes for Europe. Just because you haven’t witnessed lots of laptop usage in the UK doesn’t mean we own mobile phones but not PCs we have both.

  7. I think in the US, people are fatter and their sheer girth creates a laptop-usable clearing. So, they can use a laptop. Leaner people share the public space and use the trimmed down cell phone to communicate.

    Really, it’s true!

  8. I think in the US, people are fatter and their sheer girth creates a laptop-usable clearing. So, they can use a laptop. Leaner people share the public space and use the trimmed down cell phone to communicate.

    Really, it’s true!

  9. I’m from India, and did a bunch of surveys among “middle class families” last year on why they’d purchase a computer.

    The main reason to buy a computer was: it will help kids in their education. (the second was “it will help me at work”).

    For the large middle class in India, a computer (education) represents something very different than a cell phone (talking to friends). Kids will more easily be able to get a computer (than a cell phone) from their parents, even though a computer may be more expensive.

    The poor in India cannot afford a $1000 computer. In many places there are no regular phones. For them, a cell phone is awesome because they can communicate. Often, a cell phone is shared among multiple people (like in a village).

    My point: The aspirations attached to and the basic functionality of these devices are different. In my opinion, in countries such as India – a traditional computer, if made less expensive, will deliver computing power to those who need it better than a beefed up cell phone. Cell phones too will continue to do well, but by embracing less expensive call rates, a wider network and easy / simple games and apps (not high computing power).

  10. I’m from India, and did a bunch of surveys among “middle class families” last year on why they’d purchase a computer.

    The main reason to buy a computer was: it will help kids in their education. (the second was “it will help me at work”).

    For the large middle class in India, a computer (education) represents something very different than a cell phone (talking to friends). Kids will more easily be able to get a computer (than a cell phone) from their parents, even though a computer may be more expensive.

    The poor in India cannot afford a $1000 computer. In many places there are no regular phones. For them, a cell phone is awesome because they can communicate. Often, a cell phone is shared among multiple people (like in a village).

    My point: The aspirations attached to and the basic functionality of these devices are different. In my opinion, in countries such as India – a traditional computer, if made less expensive, will deliver computing power to those who need it better than a beefed up cell phone. Cell phones too will continue to do well, but by embracing less expensive call rates, a wider network and easy / simple games and apps (not high computing power).

  11. People in less-developed countries use cells because land-line infrastructures are more costly to build. Kids rather have cells because they want to have fun socializing and be trendy.

    Problems with cells (vs. computers): 1) poor inputting device that limits so many learning activities such as composing essays, doing science homework, etc, which computers have definite advantages over; 2) cell phone’s so-called “text communication capability” tchs stnts 2 b hip not b smart; 3) cell phones offer headlines not details; 4) a cell phone costs, on average, $49/month, which comes out to about $600 a year (here in the U. S.). Cheap but fully equipped computers and laptops nowadays can be had for $600, sometimes even less during holiday sales; offer people credits and extended-payments and computers cost about the same as cells.

  12. People in less-developed countries use cells because land-line infrastructures are more costly to build. Kids rather have cells because they want to have fun socializing and be trendy.

    Problems with cells (vs. computers): 1) poor inputting device that limits so many learning activities such as composing essays, doing science homework, etc, which computers have definite advantages over; 2) cell phone’s so-called “text communication capability” tchs stnts 2 b hip not b smart; 3) cell phones offer headlines not details; 4) a cell phone costs, on average, $49/month, which comes out to about $600 a year (here in the U. S.). Cheap but fully equipped computers and laptops nowadays can be had for $600, sometimes even less during holiday sales; offer people credits and extended-payments and computers cost about the same as cells.

  13. But rather than argue about how to bring computing to the poor – let’s just do it!

    The more competition the better. Let’s see who gets there first.

  14. But rather than argue about how to bring computing to the poor – let’s just do it!

    The more competition the better. Let’s see who gets there first.

  15. Hmm. This just begs the question – How hard is it to install Linux on an average phone? I mean, some of those things have more processing power then my last laptop. (Yes, I know. I need to upgrade more often.)

  16. Hmm. This just begs the question – How hard is it to install Linux on an average phone? I mean, some of those things have more processing power then my last laptop. (Yes, I know. I need to upgrade more often.)

  17. It makes absolutely no sense that computers or cell phones for the poor run Microsoft products instead of free software.

  18. It makes absolutely no sense that computers or cell phones for the poor run Microsoft products instead of free software.

  19. Networking: IT training a retention issue
    CHICAGO, Jan. 30 (UPI) — Training and education of experienced IT professionals already established in the workforce is becoming a major concern, one certain to be on the consciousness of senior management at corporations all over the United States in the coming year, experts tell United Press International’s Networking.

    A survey, released last week by the Computing Technology Industry Association (CompTIA), a trade association for the IT industry, based in Oakbrook Terrace, Ill., in suburban Chicago, indicates that workers are taking the initiative to get the new training and skills they need for their careers, and that employers, thus far, are not providing guidance as to what skills they want for the future. By Gene Koprowski

  20. Networking: IT training a retention issue
    CHICAGO, Jan. 30 (UPI) — Training and education of experienced IT professionals already established in the workforce is becoming a major concern, one certain to be on the consciousness of senior management at corporations all over the United States in the coming year, experts tell United Press International’s Networking.

    A survey, released last week by the Computing Technology Industry Association (CompTIA), a trade association for the IT industry, based in Oakbrook Terrace, Ill., in suburban Chicago, indicates that workers are taking the initiative to get the new training and skills they need for their careers, and that employers, thus far, are not providing guidance as to what skills they want for the future. By Gene Koprowski

  21. “Networking: IT training a retention issue
    CHICAGO, Jan. 30 (UPI) — Training and education of experienced IT professionals already established in the workforce …”

    Who is “Ted Smith” and WTF is he and UPI up to — blog comment spam?

  22. “Networking: IT training a retention issue
    CHICAGO, Jan. 30 (UPI) — Training and education of experienced IT professionals already established in the workforce …”

    Who is “Ted Smith” and WTF is he and UPI up to — blog comment spam?

  23. Does anyone research or even think before they post around here? It is getting worse than Slashdot…

    I am going from memory but the $1,000 laptop Scoble is referring to is just pure and utter FUD, the MIT developed “laptop” is something that will be developed for a cost under $100 and isn’t really a laptop at all and is a small computing device that has a decent sized screen & keyboard, cell based wireless networking (so with one device located every X miles they can all hook up so it is like instant infrastructure) and has a built-in crank so it can generate it’s own power.

    How in the heck is a cell phone that would need to connect to a TV and external keyboard (apparently that was part of Bill’s plan) going to compete with such a device? Bill’s plan might work better for a different class of poor like here in the USA but it isn’t even in the same league as the MIT developed device when it comes to third world countries.

  24. Does anyone research or even think before they post around here? It is getting worse than Slashdot…

    I am going from memory but the $1,000 laptop Scoble is referring to is just pure and utter FUD, the MIT developed “laptop” is something that will be developed for a cost under $100 and isn’t really a laptop at all and is a small computing device that has a decent sized screen & keyboard, cell based wireless networking (so with one device located every X miles they can all hook up so it is like instant infrastructure) and has a built-in crank so it can generate it’s own power.

    How in the heck is a cell phone that would need to connect to a TV and external keyboard (apparently that was part of Bill’s plan) going to compete with such a device? Bill’s plan might work better for a different class of poor like here in the USA but it isn’t even in the same league as the MIT developed device when it comes to third world countries.

  25. Nicholas Negroponte is just an idealistic utopiaistic nuthead, feel good liberal without a clue.

    But Microsoft handing out cellphones to the poor? Well, I guess that might be the only way to make SmartPhone take off. Instead of creating a platform, Windows Mobile can be a charity. But why not go middle-way, and give away all those old Pocket PCs no one wants…but then the power problem.

  26. Nicholas Negroponte is just an idealistic utopiaistic nuthead, feel good liberal without a clue.

    But Microsoft handing out cellphones to the poor? Well, I guess that might be the only way to make SmartPhone take off. Instead of creating a platform, Windows Mobile can be a charity. But why not go middle-way, and give away all those old Pocket PCs no one wants…but then the power problem.

  27. I’m glad jaseone can read. Scoble, did you read your own companies plan or did you just find this by following Rothman’s post? Your boys want cellies to be linked to TVs, FREAKIN TVs!.

  28. I’m glad jaseone can read. Scoble, did you read your own companies plan or did you just find this by following Rothman’s post? Your boys want cellies to be linked to TVs, FREAKIN TVs!.

  29. Lame, yes. Maybe more lame than usual for me. Lamest ever? Well I would be honored. But not as lame as the miraculous 8 year old memory of the cell phone user on the rickety bicycle in China. Or assuming people in London do not use computers because you didn’t see them using computers.

    Lucas Persona and Arun Rajappa made some excellent comments.

    The survey methodology and presentation of “a computer for the poor” vs ” a cell phone” could incline one to choose the cell phone. Who wants to be identified as needing a computer for the poor?

    The distinction between the value changing ability and aspirations associated with a cell phone and a computer to a struggling middle class is also very interesting. It makes you wonder: does Walmart sell more computers or more pay-as-you-go minutes?

    In this country, a cell phone is generally a personal device. In many homes, a computer is a shared device. If you asked a kid if they’d rather have a cell phone or a computer, I’d guess a cell phone seems more likely to be their possession. Why go for the computer if the computer is shared?

    It doesn’t take long for the cell phone to cost more than the computer. You can play the game anyway you want (it’s a $1000 computer, not a $100 computer, not a $500 computer), but the monthly recurring charges on a cell phone will cost more than the computer in a period of time.

  30. Lame, yes. Maybe more lame than usual for me. Lamest ever? Well I would be honored. But not as lame as the miraculous 8 year old memory of the cell phone user on the rickety bicycle in China. Or assuming people in London do not use computers because you didn’t see them using computers.

    Lucas Persona and Arun Rajappa made some excellent comments.

    The survey methodology and presentation of “a computer for the poor” vs ” a cell phone” could incline one to choose the cell phone. Who wants to be identified as needing a computer for the poor?

    The distinction between the value changing ability and aspirations associated with a cell phone and a computer to a struggling middle class is also very interesting. It makes you wonder: does Walmart sell more computers or more pay-as-you-go minutes?

    In this country, a cell phone is generally a personal device. In many homes, a computer is a shared device. If you asked a kid if they’d rather have a cell phone or a computer, I’d guess a cell phone seems more likely to be their possession. Why go for the computer if the computer is shared?

    It doesn’t take long for the cell phone to cost more than the computer. You can play the game anyway you want (it’s a $1000 computer, not a $100 computer, not a $500 computer), but the monthly recurring charges on a cell phone will cost more than the computer in a period of time.

  31. give us a screen the size of a paperback,
    with a phone _and_ a computer inside
    – with a complete operating system –
    and full web access (through the phone,
    if necessary), and sell it for $300-$400
    (plus the monthly charge for the phone),
    and see how many people pass that up.

    of course, at that price, you could not
    use an o.s. from microsoft, could you?

    -bowerbird

  32. give us a screen the size of a paperback,
    with a phone _and_ a computer inside
    – with a complete operating system –
    and full web access (through the phone,
    if necessary), and sell it for $300-$400
    (plus the monthly charge for the phone),
    and see how many people pass that up.

    of course, at that price, you could not
    use an o.s. from microsoft, could you?

    -bowerbird

  33. bowerbird, since this is intended for everyone to tribal Africans who have never used a computer to Indians in South America to Aboriginis to the poor Chinese living deep in the interior to Pakistanis who are freezing because they are homeless because of earthquakes, I suspect a lot of folks would turn down your $400 mini-Tablet (which can’t be built at that price).

  34. bowerbird, since this is intended for everyone to tribal Africans who have never used a computer to Indians in South America to Aboriginis to the poor Chinese living deep in the interior to Pakistanis who are freezing because they are homeless because of earthquakes, I suspect a lot of folks would turn down your $400 mini-Tablet (which can’t be built at that price).

  35. A device that will change the lifestyle of people in Africa or Asia has to be invented by the people there itself.
    Not by people who live somewhere far away who probably has no clue as to what goes on anywhere else.

    Am not saying these efforts will go waste. But if such a gadget is developed, then it should be flexible enough to be tweaked by the users for their own needs. And I don’t see Microsoft marketing such a device.

    There is no difference between a cellphone and a computer. There were computers that were slower than todays cellphones and were put to great use.

    So instead of trying to come up with solutions. Try and identify the problems first. What are the problems they usually face? What can poor people do with computers?
    Anyone?

  36. A device that will change the lifestyle of people in Africa or Asia has to be invented by the people there itself.
    Not by people who live somewhere far away who probably has no clue as to what goes on anywhere else.

    Am not saying these efforts will go waste. But if such a gadget is developed, then it should be flexible enough to be tweaked by the users for their own needs. And I don’t see Microsoft marketing such a device.

    There is no difference between a cellphone and a computer. There were computers that were slower than todays cellphones and were put to great use.

    So instead of trying to come up with solutions. Try and identify the problems first. What are the problems they usually face? What can poor people do with computers?
    Anyone?

  37. The basic concept here is: let’s do something for the kids in the poorest of the poor areas.

    Now picture this: a classroom of 60 in an Afghan village; 1/3 of them walk for miles to get there every morning; 1/3 do not have breakfast; 1/3 rarely have dinner. Then Bill Gates walks in and announces, “I’ve got the solution for your education – here is a cell phone, a TV, a keyboard; hook them up and you’re on information autobahn!”

    This is not to say Nicholas Negroponte has the answer either. Here is a man whose brother is John Negroponte, the National Intelligence Czar appointed by Bush. Although these two brothers might not share the same political ideology, but Nicholas Negroponte’s idea of fixing problems for the poor reeks “let them eat chocolate” kind of rich man’s mentality.

    I don’t fault either man for trying, but some of their proposals are just materials for bad sketches on late-night comedy shows. They should simply do the easiest – buy a bunch of computers, truck them over to the schools in poor areas, and set them up for them.

  38. The basic concept here is: let’s do something for the kids in the poorest of the poor areas.

    Now picture this: a classroom of 60 in an Afghan village; 1/3 of them walk for miles to get there every morning; 1/3 do not have breakfast; 1/3 rarely have dinner. Then Bill Gates walks in and announces, “I’ve got the solution for your education – here is a cell phone, a TV, a keyboard; hook them up and you’re on information autobahn!”

    This is not to say Nicholas Negroponte has the answer either. Here is a man whose brother is John Negroponte, the National Intelligence Czar appointed by Bush. Although these two brothers might not share the same political ideology, but Nicholas Negroponte’s idea of fixing problems for the poor reeks “let them eat chocolate” kind of rich man’s mentality.

    I don’t fault either man for trying, but some of their proposals are just materials for bad sketches on late-night comedy shows. They should simply do the easiest – buy a bunch of computers, truck them over to the schools in poor areas, and set them up for them.

  39. Why do you hate the poor so much that you want to foist computers on them? Do they not have enough trouble?

    The MIT laptop totally makes sense and what I love about it is it puts all commercial computers at risk. Windows is a closed system. So is OS X (although a lot more of its source is available).

    The goal is to provide a system with FULL SOURCE CODE that will allow the users to make something TRULY ORIGINAL OF THEIR OWN.

    The problem with Windows is MS expects me to be a consumer/audience. OS X is a bit better but it assumes I produce media/content.

    What makes MS or Apple think their shiny boxes relate in any way to the people in emerging nations? Cell phones are no better. They do what they do but you can’t make them do anything new.

    The $100 computer is CHEAPER than Scoble’s cell phone, does more, and will be completely open to learn from. Its the old give em fish or fishing poles argument. Negroponte is opting for the poles.

    I’m sorry that MS isn’t going to get to use it to lock people into the MS way of doing things so they can extract license fees in the future but this is really in the best interest of the eventual users. It would be nice if you could acknowledge this.

  40. Why do you hate the poor so much that you want to foist computers on them? Do they not have enough trouble?

    The MIT laptop totally makes sense and what I love about it is it puts all commercial computers at risk. Windows is a closed system. So is OS X (although a lot more of its source is available).

    The goal is to provide a system with FULL SOURCE CODE that will allow the users to make something TRULY ORIGINAL OF THEIR OWN.

    The problem with Windows is MS expects me to be a consumer/audience. OS X is a bit better but it assumes I produce media/content.

    What makes MS or Apple think their shiny boxes relate in any way to the people in emerging nations? Cell phones are no better. They do what they do but you can’t make them do anything new.

    The $100 computer is CHEAPER than Scoble’s cell phone, does more, and will be completely open to learn from. Its the old give em fish or fishing poles argument. Negroponte is opting for the poles.

    I’m sorry that MS isn’t going to get to use it to lock people into the MS way of doing things so they can extract license fees in the future but this is really in the best interest of the eventual users. It would be nice if you could acknowledge this.

  41. Because “one” solution makes the cover of Time – and has the scale to drive towards the cheap target price.

  42. Because “one” solution makes the cover of Time – and has the scale to drive towards the cheap target price.

  43. Bill is an ok guy. But selling a very weak and cut down OS to Africans and Indians is not the way forward.

    We are smart.

    I tell you what ever you send to us we would learn about it then through innovation make it better.

    Just send something.

  44. Bill is an ok guy. But selling a very weak and cut down OS to Africans and Indians is not the way forward.

    We are smart.

    I tell you what ever you send to us we would learn about it then through innovation make it better.

    Just send something.

  45. 1. While cell phones are great for communication, they certainly are not all that great for educational purposes (even with a TV monitor): getting info from wikipedia for example (and reading it).

    2. An even more interesting possibility is that when they become reality, the two ideas may prove to be quite disruptive even in developed countries. Cheap laptops are useful not only in poor countries, but also in rich countries with poor people. Similarly, cell phones that allow you to read your e-mail on a TV is a great (and inexpensive) boon even to businesspeople who don’t want to invest in an e-mail oriented device.

    3. My problem with the 100 dollar laptop is primarily with Negroponte’s plan to push them through governments, which are expected to buy them in lots of million pieces. Now, 100 million dollars is a huge amount even for a big country like India, where the reach of primary education is not complete.

    Also, in India, the average government spending on primary education works out (roughly) to about $100 per year. When a country has so many children out of school, the government has no business buying one million pieces of these laptops for distributing to its schoolkids. It should be spending that money to get more kids into schools.

  46. 1. While cell phones are great for communication, they certainly are not all that great for educational purposes (even with a TV monitor): getting info from wikipedia for example (and reading it).

    2. An even more interesting possibility is that when they become reality, the two ideas may prove to be quite disruptive even in developed countries. Cheap laptops are useful not only in poor countries, but also in rich countries with poor people. Similarly, cell phones that allow you to read your e-mail on a TV is a great (and inexpensive) boon even to businesspeople who don’t want to invest in an e-mail oriented device.

    3. My problem with the 100 dollar laptop is primarily with Negroponte’s plan to push them through governments, which are expected to buy them in lots of million pieces. Now, 100 million dollars is a huge amount even for a big country like India, where the reach of primary education is not complete.

    Also, in India, the average government spending on primary education works out (roughly) to about $100 per year. When a country has so many children out of school, the government has no business buying one million pieces of these laptops for distributing to its schoolkids. It should be spending that money to get more kids into schools.

  47. Abi, your point #3 is golden!

    We here in the States often have a terribly erroneous notion of economic gap between fully developed nations and barely developing ones — $100 is what many parents in my neighborhood spent on each of their kids last Christmas! Some of them spent much, much more.

    Nicholas Negroponte has set up a “non-profit” foundation called “One Laptop Per Child” to pursue this lofty goal of his, and he’s been traveling all over the world on, dare I say, first-class everything — airplanes, hotels, food, etc. Who paid for all these travel (and god knows what else) expenses? His so-called “non-profit” foundation. And so far, not one single $100 laptop has been produced. I bet you the expenditure of “One Laptop Per Child” foundation has reached well into millions, and no one can even predict the day when an Indian child can actually have a $100 laptop in his or her hand, let alone the eventual success of this “let the poor enjoy chocolate, too” scheme.

    Mr. Negroponte’s heart may be in the right place, but his way of going about it is beyond satire.

  48. Abi, your point #3 is golden!

    We here in the States often have a terribly erroneous notion of economic gap between fully developed nations and barely developing ones — $100 is what many parents in my neighborhood spent on each of their kids last Christmas! Some of them spent much, much more.

    Nicholas Negroponte has set up a “non-profit” foundation called “One Laptop Per Child” to pursue this lofty goal of his, and he’s been traveling all over the world on, dare I say, first-class everything — airplanes, hotels, food, etc. Who paid for all these travel (and god knows what else) expenses? His so-called “non-profit” foundation. And so far, not one single $100 laptop has been produced. I bet you the expenditure of “One Laptop Per Child” foundation has reached well into millions, and no one can even predict the day when an Indian child can actually have a $100 laptop in his or her hand, let alone the eventual success of this “let the poor enjoy chocolate, too” scheme.

    Mr. Negroponte’s heart may be in the right place, but his way of going about it is beyond satire.

  49. 1.The reason why the laptops have been delayed is because Negroponte was waiting for gates and Job’s to make up their minds about supporting the idea.

    2.Another thing you have to understand is while it is most likely impossible to give each child a laptop it’s still a very good aim/target, because as you know it’s better to aim for the bulls eye and miss than to just miss.

  50. 1.The reason why the laptops have been delayed is because Negroponte was waiting for gates and Job’s to make up their minds about supporting the idea.

    2.Another thing you have to understand is while it is most likely impossible to give each child a laptop it’s still a very good aim/target, because as you know it’s better to aim for the bulls eye and miss than to just miss.

  51. For such a laptop to take off there needs to be consumer demand, not just subsidised supply.

    The tipping point won’t be when the price is $100. The tipping point will be when affordable devices play music, movies and games, and surf the internet. When they become status symbols among the young, ones that entertain people and connect them to their friends.

    I appreciate that some worthy paternalistic types would like the poor to get all excited by the thought of editing spreadsheets showing crop yields. It’s not going to happen.

    In poor countries, as in rich ones, mobiles will be the most popular computing devices, but due to the screen size, laptops will be the dominant ‘proper’ computing platform. Capable laptops won’t cost anything like $1000 in 5 or 10 years time. If anything, there’s likely to be more convergence between the costs of basic laptops and computing-rich mobile phones.

  52. For such a laptop to take off there needs to be consumer demand, not just subsidised supply.

    The tipping point won’t be when the price is $100. The tipping point will be when affordable devices play music, movies and games, and surf the internet. When they become status symbols among the young, ones that entertain people and connect them to their friends.

    I appreciate that some worthy paternalistic types would like the poor to get all excited by the thought of editing spreadsheets showing crop yields. It’s not going to happen.

    In poor countries, as in rich ones, mobiles will be the most popular computing devices, but due to the screen size, laptops will be the dominant ‘proper’ computing platform. Capable laptops won’t cost anything like $1000 in 5 or 10 years time. If anything, there’s likely to be more convergence between the costs of basic laptops and computing-rich mobile phones.

  53. 100-Dollar Laptop: UN Secretary General’s Office shouldn’t be used for exploiting the poor

    My eyes were stuck to the news that the UN Secretary General Mr. Kofi Annan, while launching a 100-Dollar Laptop, on the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) in Tunis, Tunisia, said “the invention is an impressive technical achievement. The project promises to provide flexible technology that can be used in any place, even in the desert without energy supply”. It is also reported that the U.N. is backing the project even with financial support thinking that it could help to promote education in the Third World. A professor and his team mates of MIT (USA) have claimed the credit for the project and the invention (!).
    At the very outset, let me state certain hard facts, which I believe will largely explain the title of today’s write-up. Long 31 years ago, in 1975, I invented the Free-play Radio technology and demonstrated a working model in a jam-packed press conference on 23 July 1975 in Dhaka. The news came out in almost all the news papers in the country in addition to an editorial the following day. Raymond Lee Organization, Inc.(USA) wanted to take initiatives for patenting the invention and marketing the product (Receipt No.71001, dated 13 February 76 ) when I contacted them from the then West Germany. On the request of Bangladesh Science Museum, a working model was presented to them in 1978. The invention, although apparently a simple (addition of storage facility to a hand generator) one, was never conceived and publicly demonstrated by anyone on this earth before 23 July1975. It opened the gate for free playing and playing low-powered electrical gadgets and equipments in remote and yet vast electricity-less areas of the world.. Thus the technology is especially handy for mass communication, mass literacy, emergency weather forecasting or as a life-saving communications tool following a natural disaster ( be it in the coastal areas of the Bay of Bengal or New Orleans city), mass-scale low-powered emergency medical equipments etc. However, to reduce the price of a product with free-play facility and bring its price closer to the product without that facility, mass-scale production was a necessity, for which the desire to do so by the wealthy and powerful people who rule and control the world economy was also essential. But it appears that the world leaders were not keen to give the green signal unless and until the very free-play technology could be hijacked, first by the British and then by the Americans.
    In 1989, I sent a brief on my inventions and research works (including the free-play radio) to ITDG (UK) in the hope of mutual cooperation. In reply, they informed me that they would be establishing an office in Dhaka soon and re-contact me after that. But they never contacted me again, although they opened their office in Dhaka alright. One fine morning, on 28 August 1996 to be precise, through a British High Commission press release in a local daily, a company named Bay-Gen proclaimed itself to be the inventor (!) of the Free-play radio, which was reported to be developed under British technical and financial assistance under the ODA program. Immediately after the British press release, a wave of protests flooded the news papers and periodicals in terms of editorials, post-editorials, features, letters etc. in the country. Bangladesh Patent Office gave me recognition as the inventor of the Free-play radio and congratulated me for the invention and wished all success. The Bangladesh Govt. and I contacted the British High Commission, Bay-Gen company and the British Patent Office, but no to-the-point replies were received. Understandably so, since the UK Patent Office awarded a patent to a British named Trevor Bayliss in the 90’s on a technology which was in display in the Bangladesh Science Museum since 1978 and which was publicly demonstrated even before, i.e. in 1975, which is not only unethical but also highly illegal. The illegal invention of Bay-Gen received BBC product design award 1996 also. When the matter was raised to the BBC, they replied “development of the Bay-Gen is not a BBC matter”. A question was asked on the conscience of the BBC “Had it been the other way round i.e. a British invention in 1975, could you still have given a BBC product design award to a Bangladeshi company in 1996 and a reply to the British inventor “…..not a BBC matter” ? But no reply was received. According to a report titled “Launch set to go like clockwork” published in a foreign news paper, Bay-Gen received a multi-million pound cash boost from the GEC(USA) and planned to produce devices like free-play radio (originally planned for use in African bush fighting aids, with the blessing of the President Nelson Mandela, would go on sale throughout the world for about 50 pounds), mobile-phone charger, torch light, even TV sets etc. in its plan to launch a billion-pound business. During the recent war with Iraq the BBC talked about (and showed the product) using 5000 free-play radios by the allied forces. The 100-dollar laptop authorities must have acquired the hand-cranking free-play technology’s manufacturing right from the illegal patent holder as already mentioned above. A hand-cranking mobile-charger is recently being flooded in the local market @ USD 2, and appears to be a Chinese/Taiwanese product although no manufacturer’s name is printed, without caring for any patent rights. The President of a Japanese company appears to be right. He came to Dhaka towards the end of December’04 to discuss with me the modalities of acquiring the manufacturing rights of my new invention of free-electricity (2002) and commented on my new invention “the Americans will not care for your patent on such technologies, some Japanese companies may care but not every company will and the Chinese wouldn’t take more than seven days to reach your home with a manufactured product if they get a prototype”. He further added “some people told me that you did not elaborate in certain places in your patent paper”. I replied “75% answer of your question have just been replied by you yourself. Besides, there is hardly any time left to complete the patent formalities for the invention. I am not sitting idle, I am trying to develop a better process, and also to make a prototype with that”. At that time, I also discussed with him about my hand-cranking mobile-charger technology which he appreciated and now I can see the manufactured product in the market.
    My new invention of Free-electricity has already been registered with World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) with a filing No. PCT/IB03/03366 dated 04 August 2003. The 44-page story with diagrams and a very favorable search report from the American Patent Office (USPTO) acting as the International Searching Authority (ISA), has also been published by the WIPO in the form of a booklet and is also in the display of WIPO website since 04 March 2004, under publication No. WO 2004/019476 dated 04 March 2004 (revised on 22 April 2004 for correction and again on 22 July 2004 to accommodate the ISA report). Actually, the ISA report dated 21 April 2004 from the USPTO was delayed by about 5 months. When the legal section of WIPO was contacted, they replied “there may be special circumstances where time is needed to resolve matters arising in connection with important workload in certain technical areas etc. As to your particular case, I would suggest that you contact the USPTO directly. You may also inquire about any refunds in such a case.” Accordingly, I contacted the USPTO, but I did not get a proper reply.

    On 04 July 2004, the patent paper of my new invention was sent to many notable eastern/western universities of the world for their evaluation and comments. Although the “Innovation” magazine of Singapore National University opined it to be a “too high level research work”, the aforesaid MIT (USA) refused to give any comment on it. People started saying that the MIT was busy in building a mobile laptop using Bangladeshi technology and therefore it refused to talk at that time. Energy Technology Innovation Project of Harvard University (another university of USA) replied “we (the project of Harvard) do not do any original research either of science or of technology”. Most of the Universities of the Western world replied “this is not our project, we do not want to be involved”. My answer to all the universities was “I certainly honor your decision if it is honest and non-racial. But the way my free-play technology was hijacked, how can I be sure”? I did not get any further reply. A journal of the Physics faculty of a notable university of Canada was almost ready to publish the paper. But they asked me for my postal address on the plea of “addressing me properly”. As soon as they found out that I am from the Third World, they did not correspond with me any more. A New York born President of the Conserve Energy Engg. Inc. wrote to me while reading my paper “I am impressed with the parts that I have read. The dangers in bringing forth a low cost or free energy source, dangers that you must be aware of by now, the “powers to be” or most certainly in the USA, Corporate America and also the worldwide Oil Mafia, will do just about anything to protect their interests”. Not a single university however could point out any fault in my paper and I strongly believe that my pressure-motion equivalence theory is correct and there is no scientific basis behind Newton’s third law of motion.

    Although I received a local patent on my new invention of Free-electricity (and a very favorable search report from the International Searching Authority), I could not manage patents in other countries for want of sky-high financial requirements. Since I am a member of the International Federation of Inventors’ Association (IFIA), Switzerland, and the Institute of Electrical & Electronics Engineers (IEEE),USA, and an invited scientist of many inventors’ associations like East West Euro Intellect, World Association of Inventors, SIMED etc., I had

    requested the inventors’ associations to try to make an arrangement to evaluate a WIPO published patent paper with a favorable search report , after the leading universities of the world had expressed reluctance to do so. An inventor cannot plead his case himself in the national phase of an international patent application. An attorney or at
    least an address of correspondence in that particular country is required, which is highly expensive and really impossible for an inventor of a Third World country. As it is, the basic fees for pursuing a patent is exorbitantly high too.
    Coming back to the comments of the UN Secretary General on the 100-Dollar Laptop, it is worth mentioning that there was again a wave of protests in the leading local dailies against the hijacking of the Bangladeshi technology of Free-play Radio by the100-Dollar project authorities. On the question of 100-Dollar Laptop’s technical achievement as opined by the UN Secretary General, I became tired and was unable to find any such thing. The Linux operating system, the flash memory instead of hard disks/CD-Rom drives, the LCD displays (the dual-mode display as claimed by the project was not operational in the WSIS prototype. The prototypes were shown with conventional transmission TFT LCD displays)etc. are pretty old technologies. Cheap components have been used in the 100-Dollar Laptop. But one who knows about the definition of “invention”, should understand that merely using cheap things to reduce the price does not constitute an invention. Use of “parasitic power” of typing, although not a totally new idea, could however be considered an achievement if it could be economically and reliably utilized. But I am afraid, this seems not to be the case so far. Using of low-cost, low-power and high-resolution eInk displays will be a good idea, but the project’s undisclosed technology appears to be not a novel one either and understandtably the project has no plans to patent their display innovations(!). As far I understand, the project authorities are not confident enough to bring such display innovations(!) in the market before the hardy Chinese (without any UN backing or multimillion pound cash boost from GEC,USA).
    At the UN conference in Tunisia, several African officials, most notably Marthe Dansokho of Cameroon and Mohammed Diop of Mali were suspicious of the motives of the project, and claimed that the project was using an overly American mindset that presented solutions not applicable to specifically African problems. Dansokho said the project demonstrated misplaced priorities. Diop specifically attacked the project as an attempt to exploit a new market under the guise of “non-profitability”. He further added “It is a very clever marketing tool. Under the guise of non-profitability hundreds of millions of these laptops will be flogged off to our governments. That’s the only way of achieving the necessary economies of scale to get the price low. They’ve finally found a way of selling to a huge number of poor people. Even at a hundred dollars, as the well dressed Africans were pointing out last night, these things are absolutely not a bargain for an African child. Schooling for a year would make more sense. Better food would be nice. If it ever does make sense for Africa’s children all to have laptops, this will surely not be until the price of them goes down to something nearer to ten dollars than a hundred. My guess is they will all have mobiles long before. And we don’t need to give this one away. If somebody puts in the research to design the thing and really, really optimizes for cost, I’m sure there’s a Chinese factory somewhere you can build it for”. Mr. Bill Gates in his criticism said “The world’s poorest two billion people desperately need healthcare, not laptops”.
    Unfortunately, my “free-play” technology has been hijacked and incorporated in the 100-Dollar Laptop to reach a vast population of electricity-less poor people (without incorporating free-play technology this wouldn’t have been possible). Even a profit margin of barely USD 25 in the cleverly designed marketing plan of “one laptop per chid(OLPC)”suggests a profit of only(!) USD 50 billion, from the world’s poorest two billion people.What a Nobel-prize winning maketing plan indeed!
    The western world preaches for open-market economy, but this OLPC maketing plan (with a minimum market lot of 1-million) will be executed through the corrupt governments( the beneficiaries of so-called western assistance programs through World Bank,IMF etc. while the common people have to shoulder all the loans with cleverly designed effective heavy interests), so-called donors, absolutely loyal to their masters the NGOs, and other similar arrangements under the umbrella of UN. One Mr. Lee opined “The U.N. is backing the project
    because it can help promote education in the Third World”. But the question is, what is the per capita income of the vast targetted people? I am afraid, the figure may not be very much away from USD100, if the income of the western so-called assistance nourished so-called elite groups are not taken into account.Therefore, after being forced to buy a 100-Dollar Laptop, he wouln’t have anything to eat ,anything to live on or anything to wear (attire
    is a must for the poor, although optional for the western people).However, the OLPC project will be first launched in countries like Nigeria, Egypt, India, China, Brazil , Argentina and Thailand. Between five million and 15 million units are expected to be provided to these countries.
    Actually, even the computers failed to calculate the wealth gathered by the powerful and leading arms- producing countries of the world each year. They invest the surplus wealth in a highly profitable business of so-called assistance programs(in terms of interest, supporting even the misdeeds of the so-called donors, listening to harmful dictations, serving as an assured market and accepting all kinds of garbage tools and so-called experts etc.) by channeling the money through the world Bank, IMF , loyal NGOs and similar tools. They create and spread conflict and corruption and demoralize the people in other countries in order to sell their arms and to arrest their progress with an ultimate view of keeping a vast assured market and less powerful nations to rule.
    In the WSIS, Mr. Kofi Annan also said “This is not just a matter of giving laptop to each child, as if bestowing on them some magical charm. The magic lies within-within each child, within each scientist, scholar or just plain citizen in the making. This initiative is meant to bring it forth into the light of day”, but the question is why should anyone be a scientist in the third world country? To give scope to the western world for hijacking their inventions or to helplessly tolerate USPTO delaying the search report by 5 months (on grounds of special circumstances where time is needed to resolve matters arising in connection with important workload in certain technical areas etc.) without giving compensations or to become a puppet to the whims of the rich people where “intellectual property” has been very cleverly and effectively been shaped as “rich people’s property” or to get no answers either from the governments or from patent offices on the question of alleged hijacking of inventions or to discover racism in leading western universities when they were reluctant/failed to evaluate a science paper or simply to be a victim of the West /oil Mafia in trying to do good to mankind?
    If the UN sincerely believes in the welfare of the third world, why shouldn’t it try at least a few following things :
    1. Close all the arms manufacturing plants in the world.
    2. Make “intellectual property” as an “intellectual property” in reality and not “rich people’s property” effectively : (a) Make arrangements so that an individual scientist of the Third World can get a patent for the whole world with a maximum expenditure of USD 100. He should be allowed to plead his case himself and perform all the necessary formalities from his own residence through correspondence with his own equivalent currency. (b) Fully assist in fighting the “hijacking of inventions” cases, including my one in the International Court of Justice. (c) Make arrangements to evaluate a WIPO published patent paper with a favorable search report.
    3. Monitor the ill-motivated so-called assistance programs through IMF, World Bank, loyal to their masters the NGOs and similar tools of the West.
    4. Do not be a party to the huge profit-making programs of the West by exploiting the poor in disguise of humanity, child care, education and God knows what not.
    5. Do not allow the West to escape competition from hardy nations under the umbrella of the UN by marketing any product forcibly (invisible) in huge numbers through corrupt governments, so-called donors, loyal NGOs and similar agencies. …………………………………………………………………………………………………………….
    Written by: Nazmul Huda , 38/10 Siddheswari Road, Dhaka-1217, Bangladesh. E-mail : nazinvbd@yahoo.com
    Copy forwarded for your information and necessary action by : NAZMUL HUDA

  54. 100-Dollar Laptop: UN Secretary General’s Office shouldn’t be used for exploiting the poor

    My eyes were stuck to the news that the UN Secretary General Mr. Kofi Annan, while launching a 100-Dollar Laptop, on the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) in Tunis, Tunisia, said “the invention is an impressive technical achievement. The project promises to provide flexible technology that can be used in any place, even in the desert without energy supply”. It is also reported that the U.N. is backing the project even with financial support thinking that it could help to promote education in the Third World. A professor and his team mates of MIT (USA) have claimed the credit for the project and the invention (!).
    At the very outset, let me state certain hard facts, which I believe will largely explain the title of today’s write-up. Long 31 years ago, in 1975, I invented the Free-play Radio technology and demonstrated a working model in a jam-packed press conference on 23 July 1975 in Dhaka. The news came out in almost all the news papers in the country in addition to an editorial the following day. Raymond Lee Organization, Inc.(USA) wanted to take initiatives for patenting the invention and marketing the product (Receipt No.71001, dated 13 February 76 ) when I contacted them from the then West Germany. On the request of Bangladesh Science Museum, a working model was presented to them in 1978. The invention, although apparently a simple (addition of storage facility to a hand generator) one, was never conceived and publicly demonstrated by anyone on this earth before 23 July1975. It opened the gate for free playing and playing low-powered electrical gadgets and equipments in remote and yet vast electricity-less areas of the world.. Thus the technology is especially handy for mass communication, mass literacy, emergency weather forecasting or as a life-saving communications tool following a natural disaster ( be it in the coastal areas of the Bay of Bengal or New Orleans city), mass-scale low-powered emergency medical equipments etc. However, to reduce the price of a product with free-play facility and bring its price closer to the product without that facility, mass-scale production was a necessity, for which the desire to do so by the wealthy and powerful people who rule and control the world economy was also essential. But it appears that the world leaders were not keen to give the green signal unless and until the very free-play technology could be hijacked, first by the British and then by the Americans.
    In 1989, I sent a brief on my inventions and research works (including the free-play radio) to ITDG (UK) in the hope of mutual cooperation. In reply, they informed me that they would be establishing an office in Dhaka soon and re-contact me after that. But they never contacted me again, although they opened their office in Dhaka alright. One fine morning, on 28 August 1996 to be precise, through a British High Commission press release in a local daily, a company named Bay-Gen proclaimed itself to be the inventor (!) of the Free-play radio, which was reported to be developed under British technical and financial assistance under the ODA program. Immediately after the British press release, a wave of protests flooded the news papers and periodicals in terms of editorials, post-editorials, features, letters etc. in the country. Bangladesh Patent Office gave me recognition as the inventor of the Free-play radio and congratulated me for the invention and wished all success. The Bangladesh Govt. and I contacted the British High Commission, Bay-Gen company and the British Patent Office, but no to-the-point replies were received. Understandably so, since the UK Patent Office awarded a patent to a British named Trevor Bayliss in the 90’s on a technology which was in display in the Bangladesh Science Museum since 1978 and which was publicly demonstrated even before, i.e. in 1975, which is not only unethical but also highly illegal. The illegal invention of Bay-Gen received BBC product design award 1996 also. When the matter was raised to the BBC, they replied “development of the Bay-Gen is not a BBC matter”. A question was asked on the conscience of the BBC “Had it been the other way round i.e. a British invention in 1975, could you still have given a BBC product design award to a Bangladeshi company in 1996 and a reply to the British inventor “…..not a BBC matter” ? But no reply was received. According to a report titled “Launch set to go like clockwork” published in a foreign news paper, Bay-Gen received a multi-million pound cash boost from the GEC(USA) and planned to produce devices like free-play radio (originally planned for use in African bush fighting aids, with the blessing of the President Nelson Mandela, would go on sale throughout the world for about 50 pounds), mobile-phone charger, torch light, even TV sets etc. in its plan to launch a billion-pound business. During the recent war with Iraq the BBC talked about (and showed the product) using 5000 free-play radios by the allied forces. The 100-dollar laptop authorities must have acquired the hand-cranking free-play technology’s manufacturing right from the illegal patent holder as already mentioned above. A hand-cranking mobile-charger is recently being flooded in the local market @ USD 2, and appears to be a Chinese/Taiwanese product although no manufacturer’s name is printed, without caring for any patent rights. The President of a Japanese company appears to be right. He came to Dhaka towards the end of December’04 to discuss with me the modalities of acquiring the manufacturing rights of my new invention of free-electricity (2002) and commented on my new invention “the Americans will not care for your patent on such technologies, some Japanese companies may care but not every company will and the Chinese wouldn’t take more than seven days to reach your home with a manufactured product if they get a prototype”. He further added “some people told me that you did not elaborate in certain places in your patent paper”. I replied “75% answer of your question have just been replied by you yourself. Besides, there is hardly any time left to complete the patent formalities for the invention. I am not sitting idle, I am trying to develop a better process, and also to make a prototype with that”. At that time, I also discussed with him about my hand-cranking mobile-charger technology which he appreciated and now I can see the manufactured product in the market.
    My new invention of Free-electricity has already been registered with World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) with a filing No. PCT/IB03/03366 dated 04 August 2003. The 44-page story with diagrams and a very favorable search report from the American Patent Office (USPTO) acting as the International Searching Authority (ISA), has also been published by the WIPO in the form of a booklet and is also in the display of WIPO website since 04 March 2004, under publication No. WO 2004/019476 dated 04 March 2004 (revised on 22 April 2004 for correction and again on 22 July 2004 to accommodate the ISA report). Actually, the ISA report dated 21 April 2004 from the USPTO was delayed by about 5 months. When the legal section of WIPO was contacted, they replied “there may be special circumstances where time is needed to resolve matters arising in connection with important workload in certain technical areas etc. As to your particular case, I would suggest that you contact the USPTO directly. You may also inquire about any refunds in such a case.” Accordingly, I contacted the USPTO, but I did not get a proper reply.

    On 04 July 2004, the patent paper of my new invention was sent to many notable eastern/western universities of the world for their evaluation and comments. Although the “Innovation” magazine of Singapore National University opined it to be a “too high level research work”, the aforesaid MIT (USA) refused to give any comment on it. People started saying that the MIT was busy in building a mobile laptop using Bangladeshi technology and therefore it refused to talk at that time. Energy Technology Innovation Project of Harvard University (another university of USA) replied “we (the project of Harvard) do not do any original research either of science or of technology”. Most of the Universities of the Western world replied “this is not our project, we do not want to be involved”. My answer to all the universities was “I certainly honor your decision if it is honest and non-racial. But the way my free-play technology was hijacked, how can I be sure”? I did not get any further reply. A journal of the Physics faculty of a notable university of Canada was almost ready to publish the paper. But they asked me for my postal address on the plea of “addressing me properly”. As soon as they found out that I am from the Third World, they did not correspond with me any more. A New York born President of the Conserve Energy Engg. Inc. wrote to me while reading my paper “I am impressed with the parts that I have read. The dangers in bringing forth a low cost or free energy source, dangers that you must be aware of by now, the “powers to be” or most certainly in the USA, Corporate America and also the worldwide Oil Mafia, will do just about anything to protect their interests”. Not a single university however could point out any fault in my paper and I strongly believe that my pressure-motion equivalence theory is correct and there is no scientific basis behind Newton’s third law of motion.

    Although I received a local patent on my new invention of Free-electricity (and a very favorable search report from the International Searching Authority), I could not manage patents in other countries for want of sky-high financial requirements. Since I am a member of the International Federation of Inventors’ Association (IFIA), Switzerland, and the Institute of Electrical & Electronics Engineers (IEEE),USA, and an invited scientist of many inventors’ associations like East West Euro Intellect, World Association of Inventors, SIMED etc., I had

    requested the inventors’ associations to try to make an arrangement to evaluate a WIPO published patent paper with a favorable search report , after the leading universities of the world had expressed reluctance to do so. An inventor cannot plead his case himself in the national phase of an international patent application. An attorney or at
    least an address of correspondence in that particular country is required, which is highly expensive and really impossible for an inventor of a Third World country. As it is, the basic fees for pursuing a patent is exorbitantly high too.
    Coming back to the comments of the UN Secretary General on the 100-Dollar Laptop, it is worth mentioning that there was again a wave of protests in the leading local dailies against the hijacking of the Bangladeshi technology of Free-play Radio by the100-Dollar project authorities. On the question of 100-Dollar Laptop’s technical achievement as opined by the UN Secretary General, I became tired and was unable to find any such thing. The Linux operating system, the flash memory instead of hard disks/CD-Rom drives, the LCD displays (the dual-mode display as claimed by the project was not operational in the WSIS prototype. The prototypes were shown with conventional transmission TFT LCD displays)etc. are pretty old technologies. Cheap components have been used in the 100-Dollar Laptop. But one who knows about the definition of “invention”, should understand that merely using cheap things to reduce the price does not constitute an invention. Use of “parasitic power” of typing, although not a totally new idea, could however be considered an achievement if it could be economically and reliably utilized. But I am afraid, this seems not to be the case so far. Using of low-cost, low-power and high-resolution eInk displays will be a good idea, but the project’s undisclosed technology appears to be not a novel one either and understandtably the project has no plans to patent their display innovations(!). As far I understand, the project authorities are not confident enough to bring such display innovations(!) in the market before the hardy Chinese (without any UN backing or multimillion pound cash boost from GEC,USA).
    At the UN conference in Tunisia, several African officials, most notably Marthe Dansokho of Cameroon and Mohammed Diop of Mali were suspicious of the motives of the project, and claimed that the project was using an overly American mindset that presented solutions not applicable to specifically African problems. Dansokho said the project demonstrated misplaced priorities. Diop specifically attacked the project as an attempt to exploit a new market under the guise of “non-profitability”. He further added “It is a very clever marketing tool. Under the guise of non-profitability hundreds of millions of these laptops will be flogged off to our governments. That’s the only way of achieving the necessary economies of scale to get the price low. They’ve finally found a way of selling to a huge number of poor people. Even at a hundred dollars, as the well dressed Africans were pointing out last night, these things are absolutely not a bargain for an African child. Schooling for a year would make more sense. Better food would be nice. If it ever does make sense for Africa’s children all to have laptops, this will surely not be until the price of them goes down to something nearer to ten dollars than a hundred. My guess is they will all have mobiles long before. And we don’t need to give this one away. If somebody puts in the research to design the thing and really, really optimizes for cost, I’m sure there’s a Chinese factory somewhere you can build it for”. Mr. Bill Gates in his criticism said “The world’s poorest two billion people desperately need healthcare, not laptops”.
    Unfortunately, my “free-play” technology has been hijacked and incorporated in the 100-Dollar Laptop to reach a vast population of electricity-less poor people (without incorporating free-play technology this wouldn’t have been possible). Even a profit margin of barely USD 25 in the cleverly designed marketing plan of “one laptop per chid(OLPC)”suggests a profit of only(!) USD 50 billion, from the world’s poorest two billion people.What a Nobel-prize winning maketing plan indeed!
    The western world preaches for open-market economy, but this OLPC maketing plan (with a minimum market lot of 1-million) will be executed through the corrupt governments( the beneficiaries of so-called western assistance programs through World Bank,IMF etc. while the common people have to shoulder all the loans with cleverly designed effective heavy interests), so-called donors, absolutely loyal to their masters the NGOs, and other similar arrangements under the umbrella of UN. One Mr. Lee opined “The U.N. is backing the project
    because it can help promote education in the Third World”. But the question is, what is the per capita income of the vast targetted people? I am afraid, the figure may not be very much away from USD100, if the income of the western so-called assistance nourished so-called elite groups are not taken into account.Therefore, after being forced to buy a 100-Dollar Laptop, he wouln’t have anything to eat ,anything to live on or anything to wear (attire
    is a must for the poor, although optional for the western people).However, the OLPC project will be first launched in countries like Nigeria, Egypt, India, China, Brazil , Argentina and Thailand. Between five million and 15 million units are expected to be provided to these countries.
    Actually, even the computers failed to calculate the wealth gathered by the powerful and leading arms- producing countries of the world each year. They invest the surplus wealth in a highly profitable business of so-called assistance programs(in terms of interest, supporting even the misdeeds of the so-called donors, listening to harmful dictations, serving as an assured market and accepting all kinds of garbage tools and so-called experts etc.) by channeling the money through the world Bank, IMF , loyal NGOs and similar tools. They create and spread conflict and corruption and demoralize the people in other countries in order to sell their arms and to arrest their progress with an ultimate view of keeping a vast assured market and less powerful nations to rule.
    In the WSIS, Mr. Kofi Annan also said “This is not just a matter of giving laptop to each child, as if bestowing on them some magical charm. The magic lies within-within each child, within each scientist, scholar or just plain citizen in the making. This initiative is meant to bring it forth into the light of day”, but the question is why should anyone be a scientist in the third world country? To give scope to the western world for hijacking their inventions or to helplessly tolerate USPTO delaying the search report by 5 months (on grounds of special circumstances where time is needed to resolve matters arising in connection with important workload in certain technical areas etc.) without giving compensations or to become a puppet to the whims of the rich people where “intellectual property” has been very cleverly and effectively been shaped as “rich people’s property” or to get no answers either from the governments or from patent offices on the question of alleged hijacking of inventions or to discover racism in leading western universities when they were reluctant/failed to evaluate a science paper or simply to be a victim of the West /oil Mafia in trying to do good to mankind?
    If the UN sincerely believes in the welfare of the third world, why shouldn’t it try at least a few following things :
    1. Close all the arms manufacturing plants in the world.
    2. Make “intellectual property” as an “intellectual property” in reality and not “rich people’s property” effectively : (a) Make arrangements so that an individual scientist of the Third World can get a patent for the whole world with a maximum expenditure of USD 100. He should be allowed to plead his case himself and perform all the necessary formalities from his own residence through correspondence with his own equivalent currency. (b) Fully assist in fighting the “hijacking of inventions” cases, including my one in the International Court of Justice. (c) Make arrangements to evaluate a WIPO published patent paper with a favorable search report.
    3. Monitor the ill-motivated so-called assistance programs through IMF, World Bank, loyal to their masters the NGOs and similar tools of the West.
    4. Do not be a party to the huge profit-making programs of the West by exploiting the poor in disguise of humanity, child care, education and God knows what not.
    5. Do not allow the West to escape competition from hardy nations under the umbrella of the UN by marketing any product forcibly (invisible) in huge numbers through corrupt governments, so-called donors, loyal NGOs and similar agencies. …………………………………………………………………………………………………………….
    Written by: Nazmul Huda , 38/10 Siddheswari Road, Dhaka-1217, Bangladesh. E-mail : nazinvbd@yahoo.com
    Copy forwarded for your information and necessary action by : NAZMUL HUDA

  55. Dear Sir/Madam,

    It is with great honour that the Executive committee of West African Standpoint-the potent/collective youth wise within our sub-region write to you on the above caption.

    Youth violence in particular in the West African areas has increased and the age of entry into legionary is decreasing.Since the early 1990s, statistics from statistical services department indicates that we have witnessed the growing phenomena of child abuse,street children,youth gangs,school drop-out,wild spread social exclusion and civil war involving youth soldiers aggravating the situation of youth crime.

    It is in this relation that we the West African Standpoint have taken it upon our shoulders to build an effective culture of peace through education and training aimed at soc ail progress,fighting inequalities,recognising the importance of youth dialogue and cooperation.

    The convening committee of the West African Standpoint have come out with an idea to embark on a new educational programme(child education)to drive these young ones back to the classroom.

    We therefore passionately appeal to you to come to our aid in supporting us computers so that together we can help redirect the long existing problems,transforming our mould by redefining definitions,erasing outmoded mentalities and provoking potentials and above all introduce new edition of active participation of our young people with intellectual disabilities in all sectors of development.

    Counting on your usual support. We avail ourselves to renew to you the assurance of your highest consideration.Thank you.
    West African Standpoint

  56. Dear Sir/Madam,

    It is with great honour that the Executive committee of West African Standpoint-the potent/collective youth wise within our sub-region write to you on the above caption.

    Youth violence in particular in the West African areas has increased and the age of entry into legionary is decreasing.Since the early 1990s, statistics from statistical services department indicates that we have witnessed the growing phenomena of child abuse,street children,youth gangs,school drop-out,wild spread social exclusion and civil war involving youth soldiers aggravating the situation of youth crime.

    It is in this relation that we the West African Standpoint have taken it upon our shoulders to build an effective culture of peace through education and training aimed at soc ail progress,fighting inequalities,recognising the importance of youth dialogue and cooperation.

    The convening committee of the West African Standpoint have come out with an idea to embark on a new educational programme(child education)to drive these young ones back to the classroom.

    We therefore passionately appeal to you to come to our aid in supporting us computers so that together we can help redirect the long existing problems,transforming our mould by redefining definitions,erasing outmoded mentalities and provoking potentials and above all introduce new edition of active participation of our young people with intellectual disabilities in all sectors of development.

    Counting on your usual support. We avail ourselves to renew to you the assurance of your highest consideration.Thank you.
    West African Standpoint

  57. I don’t think it is a case of either a laptop or phone. Most kids I know have a phone and access to a pc at home, be it desktop or laptop.

    As for the cultural differences between the USA and Europe, I don’t think it is as straightforward as you make out.

  58. I don’t think it is a case of either a laptop or phone. Most kids I know have a phone and access to a pc at home, be it desktop or laptop.

    As for the cultural differences between the USA and Europe, I don’t think it is as straightforward as you make out.

  59. hi, its a pleasure to be part of the debate from far a way in uganda .the only we can reach to the needy is by a vailing cheap opportunities to them.mostly in the institutions so that the students begin to be familar with the technology.from my part of area internet is expensive and getting acess to the computer you fingd it at the university level which further contributes to te poverty in africa mostly in uganda.
    as a youth organisation in the rural community we desire to link up with you for the donation of used computers so that we set up a youth center to avail opprtunties to the youth in terms of information technology to enhance development and hard work.thanks for your support and waiting for the postive reply.

    yours ronald -managing director
    comfort development organisation
    p.o box 30 kamuli uganda e.africa

  60. hi, its a pleasure to be part of the debate from far a way in uganda .the only we can reach to the needy is by a vailing cheap opportunities to them.mostly in the institutions so that the students begin to be familar with the technology.from my part of area internet is expensive and getting acess to the computer you fingd it at the university level which further contributes to te poverty in africa mostly in uganda.
    as a youth organisation in the rural community we desire to link up with you for the donation of used computers so that we set up a youth center to avail opprtunties to the youth in terms of information technology to enhance development and hard work.thanks for your support and waiting for the postive reply.

    yours ronald -managing director
    comfort development organisation
    p.o box 30 kamuli uganda e.africa