OLPC czar shames Intel into board seat
Chipzilla backs crappy AMD-based laptop
You can usually gauge how thrilled Intel is with a given announcement by examining the length of its associated news release. Today, we find Intel joining the One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) program and managing a grand total of five paragraphs to tout the achievement.
That's about, say, seven or eight fewer paragraphs than you might see for a minor Itanium processor speed bump and about ten paragraphs fewer than you'd see for some namby-pamby green computing announcement.
Intel's reluctance to celebrate OLPC - the poor man's laptop effort fronted by Nicholas Negroponte - is understandable. The company has its own Classmate product aimed at the malcomputerized portions of the Third World. In addition, Negroponte - who picked an AMD chip for the OLPC devices - has run around bad-mouthing Intel on shows such as 60 Minutes.
Intel should be "ashamed of itself," Negroponte told the septuagenarian-driven news organ.
But Negroponte's furor only lasted a short while: He's given Intel an OLPC board seat. Intel's presence on the board will apparently help it and OLPC work on the "synergy of their respective programs."
It's great that Negroponte was able to browbeat Intel into joining OLPC through negative press. His priorities are clearly in the right place.
With Intel's help, more children may soon receive the embarrassing OLPC system, so that they can watch dogs, that they'd rather be eating, skateboard on YouTube.
Anyone who has seen both the OLPC and Classmate designs will give the technology edge to Intel. After many years, Intel, and other computing giants, appear primed to get their grubby hands on the world's poor, making sure their market expansion can continue. We're quite positive that Intel will outclass and outsell anything Negroponte comes up with, but it's nice to see Intel save face in the meantime. ®
One view I hold now is that the article in question is not sufficiently serious, given the pretending, posturing, etc.
The other view I hold is that the OLPC is not a realistic enough project for one to be serious about.
I gather the first results in more apathy than the second. In the latter case, at least someone's pushing technology to become cheap and useful to someone. It may make a difference to some of the children who can afford INR 4000 or $100 (which is way above their wages or means in many developing/underdeveloped nations).
To exercise some discretion, I feel this article is simply not serious enough about something which could potentially become important. Flippant comments are all very well, but not into every line of the article, because that is not conscientious reporting, however funny it may be. If one wants to publish hogwash, one may as well do it on one's personal blog or site or whatever.
Anyway this article bops Intel one for staying out of a somewhat positive initiative. Thats the good bit!
This is the first time the Reg has done something that has caused me be annoyed with its publication.
I can honestly say, this article was so rabid that even though it is written in text I could see the Intel Fanboy foam frothing out your mouth.
I had to keep looking at the page header to check to see if I was in the right place. Does the reg actually embrace Intel? Are you paid by them? You must be, otherwise there would be some neutrality in the reporting, not nonsense negative PR.
And still they don't get it
And have either of these two camps thought about who is going to pay for the connectivity?
Let's describe the scene, you're a child in a remote village and you've just received a wind-up laptop. Great, no worries about power - now what are you going to connect it to to learn about the outside world? There's no network for 3 days travel in any direction and getting a satellite connection to your village will require a generator and a monthly subscription fee that's not much short of the annual income of the entire village.
There's this pathetic assumption of the general availablity of internet connectivity. Some of these guys have noble ideas but they need to be dropped in some of these remote places, without power, without a reticulated water supply and sewerage system, without their money, without any connectivity to the outside world apart from dodgy radio or hopping on a boat or walking for 3 days and see how practical their ideas are.
One of the major bonuses of this program that Ashley _so_ artfully flames is to provide access to the textbooks of the world. We can't manage to provide books for schools even in the UK without the help of major supermarket chains!
As for the general tone of the article- well, I've always thought Ashley's 'reporting' of slightly less than the high standard we get from the UK based reporters, but I generally blame that on his being in California, where everything is wonderful and you can look down upon the rest of the world from your Olympian Techno-Utopia, where everyone would rather argue about the relative merits of processor speed and iPhone battery-life than think about people struggling against economic and cultural adversity.
RE: Not the 3rd world, but the "2nd" world
Isn't the '2nd world' a Cold War term for former soviet sates etc.