Up against the Eee PC
Naturally, the XO draws comparisons with Asus' low-cost Eee laptop, which you can also take to the beach, as the illustration below shows:
Asus Eee PC and friend
So how do they stack up?
Comparing the XO and Eee in their full-screen modes, the XO's 7.5in screen shows a lot more information than the Eee's 7in screen, between the extra size and slightly smaller, but easily readable fonts.
Comparing the XO and Eee browsers
Click for the full picture
Here's another view, giving a comparison of how much of a web page each machine can display:
More pixels for browsing on the XO Laptop
Next page: Multimedia
Eee PC FTW.
Maybe what they should do is ruggedize/childproof a low end EEE PC instead, or just rework the installed software. As much as I dislike the fact the EEE PC base 'nix is Xandros, it does work quite well.
It sounds like the bundled software on this OLPC is far from ideal.
Read the "Case Study" of Arahuay Before Opinionating
As posted by "Jansen":
I find it impressive in detailing the XO's impact, but it also highlights the importance of structural preparation and support within the country receiving the XO's. There has to be some kind of educational infrastructure and context in which to integrate the XO. These machines cannot just be "thrown" at the students in hopes something magical will happen - it does take supporting effort, and it seems Peru is making that effort, as well as providing valuable feedback to OLPC to improve the XO, which it seems to have taken seriously.
My wife teaches first grade at a North Carolina inner-city school, and had her eyes opened a bit as to what "underprivleged" means in a non-American context. She has kids on welfare with no parental interest (or often even presence) who would be considered "wealthy" by the Peruvian kids who have received XO's with a great deal of gratitude and keen interest.
I doubt a number of her students would be nearly as appreciative or motivated by an XO because they have been spoiled by ready access to technology for purely entertainment purposes even if they don't have decent housing/clothing/medical care/etc by (US "standards"). It is all a matter of context.
We have ordered an XO with the "Give One, Get One" program to see if it could be of use in her context. I can provide the Linux support, and she uses Mint Linux at home on an almost constant basis (strictly as a "Gnome end-user" ;-), so it should be "interesting".
Think outside the box, but focus on the objective here of bringing the enabling technology to those who have not had any such exposure before. The Arahuay example is very instructive in how much can be accomplished when done right. It remains to be seen how sustainable the effort is, and how well it can be replicated in other locales. It needs CONSTRUCTIVE criticism to succeed, and not just nay-saying based on pre-conceived notions.
I maintain the effort is *useless* without proper support -- training, maintenance, reposition, content creation in Portuguese -- do you trust our government to do it? Without it how is it going to reduce the digital divide?
It is just yet another waste of money from a government that likes to be seen doing things.
xjy got it right -- solving illiteracy is way more important. Ability to learn and use knowledge is a far more effective tool for citizenship than a shiny nifty probably-unsupported toy.
Politics not technology
Supplying technology like this is a charity solution. The problems facing the people in exploited countries are political, and can't be solved by charity. However, the impact of any useful technology, however it's acquired - like pens and paper, or literacy - in a fertile political setting can be explosive. Brazil is a perfect example of this, with excellent theory and even some practice in place for getting the most out of the desire of poor people to empower themselves. Like Freire's work.
Like China, Brazil could easily design and manufacture its own solutions to technological challenges. But to do this it would need to throw out the multinational leeches (who try and threaten workers in Sao Paulo with "outsourcing" their jobs to the poor north-east of the same country), and repudiate its fake debts to the imperialist banks. While Lula is president this won't happen, and Brazil will just be another India. Damn it all, haircuts cost you more in Sao Paulo than they do in f**king Epsom.
The Amazon isn't a puddle in the street, but charity would like us to see the problem of international poverty in that way. Fortunately the people on the sharp end of imperialist gouging are more realistic about charity than those of us in the first world who just get ground down by the blunt end.
Re: We should be ahsamed
Soif you really ARE from a country where the XO is meant for,why the feck should you be saynig "we"???
Ooh, yeah. I loce the smell of fresh MS astroturf in the morning...