To US consumers, that is. The “Give 1 Get 1″ program ended on December 31, 2007. So now that it’s over, and at least hundreds of thousands of Americans have tried it out, what do people think?
My OLPC on an extremely messy desk
The Economist says it’s “One clunky laptop per child.” At least they’ve managed to attract attention with the article: they got me to read it! It’s a negative review, so let’s take a look at exactly what they say, along with my response. [I originally wrote this as a wall post to Sam Park, who linked me to the article. It's long enough that I'd like to repost it here.]
Economist: “Great idea. Shame about the mediocre computer … This is not because the keys are too small for his adult hands (though they are), or because the processor’s slow speed makes the machine frustrating to use (though it does). Nor is it because the track pad sometimes goes screwy and the keys lack the normal pressed-key response that allows smooth typing. It isn’t even because moving the column from the word-processing application to the web-mail system is prohibitively difficult.
Instead, it is because the XO, which your columnist has explored since it arrived a few days before Christmas, has bugs that cause occasional crashes. A discreet message sometimes flashes when the system boots up, warning of some sort of data-check error.”
Me: The OLPC isn’t done yet. As the article conceded, the hardware issues were NOT the main problem. His trouble was the software, which can be fixed in future revisions. The hardware isn’t easily changeable, so that’s what must be done right. And they’ve done it right: it’s a laptop designed for children, but can work for adults. Continue reading