April 23, 2024

One Laptop Per Child (New Version), Reviewed by 12-Year-Old

[Today we welcome back SG, a twelve-year-old who previously reviewed the B2 version of the One Laptop Per Child computer. SG had a chance to examine the latest (B4) version of the OLPC machine and write a new review. As before, the review is unedited, just as SG wrote it. – Ed]

After my first review, the administrators at OLPC were kind enough to send Mr. Felten the newer model of the computer, the B4, for me to review. The difference between the two models was quite dramatic. Between new games, new applications, design changes, and a few touch ups for the system, the B4 clearly outshines the B2. I didn’t even know about a bunch of problems in the B2 until they got fixed in the B4!

The minute I picked the new computer up, I saw the physical differences. There are bumps on the handle of the B4. The B2 has none. The flip- up antenna on the B2 was encased in hard plastic, and on the B4, it’s just thick rubber. The keyboards are pretty much the same, apart from a few minor differences along the top. Once I opened it up and started it, I noted how much quicker it booted up than the B2. Then I saw the icons. The B2 has less than half the icons than the B4, which has 13!

As for games, entertainment, and the internet, this computer has bountiful resources. There were many new and fun programs. One of them, called “Block party”, is just plain old tetris with a different name. As I am not really gifted in tetris, I had a lot of fun losing repeatedly. The internet was a lot better on this newer laptop. In my last review, I complained about how slow it was and how the connection was so-so. In the B4, both of those problems have been fixed. It is quick, always connects, and is really very nice. If you don’t want to go on the web to read the new Freedom to Tinker article, “News Reader” lets you subscribe to websites’ feeds. In the games category, “Connect” is a game which can only be played on two separate OLPC laptops . The game is a little like tick tack toe. If you’ve ever played “Connect 4”, that’s the same game. If you want to watch some video clip from the web, “watch and listen”, OLPC’s media player, has you covered. Want some music? Use “tamtam”. This application is similar to Garageband, but not quite the same. Last but not least is “Record”. On the B2, “record” just took pictures with an okay camera. On the B4, you can take pictures with a pretty good camera AND record video with no time limit (as far as I can tell). I was surprised and overjoyed to discover I could take video with the new one.

One of the coolest applications is called simply “Chat”. It is basically an IM-ish kind of thing that works between all OLPC laptops. Since I got two laptops from OLPC, I could test out the chat application with my friends and family. I spent a lot of time having silent conversations with the friend sitting across the room, so that was fun. Etoys is another cool application, and it is definitely the program of a genius technologist. Although it is difficult to understand and use, once you get into the swing of things, it’s awesome. To use Etoys you make a “sketch” on the computer, then save it, and that’s where the fun begins. You can write “scripts” that make the sketch move around the screen in the way that you want. You can put it in “books” that have multiple pages for a flip book or make animations with it (ie. a bouncing ball, flying bird, eating kid, etc.). In Turtle Art, you get a chance to write a simple program that makes the turtle in the middle of the screen move. It’s very cool.

Last review, I said that my main problem with the computer was its slow speed and its battery charge. And I am happy to say that both of those problems have been fixed in the new version. It has more applications, higher quality camera, more games, a few design changes for the better, and much more. I tested how long it would stay alive by opening it and leaving it open. Surprisingly, it stayed awake for more than four hours! And some other testing revealed that the B4 does, in fact, auto save your documents and stuff if it runs out of battery while an unsaved document is on it. I like that feature, because there were many times with the B2 that I was typing and it just died, leaving me rather stunned for a couple seconds until I came to my senses and wearily plugged it in. Then it would take hours to charge up again. But in the B4, it charges up really quickly. Another minor turn for the better is the plug. Now they are greener, more round, easier to hold, and they have the XO sign on them.

I thought that this version was way better than the last one. It was just easier to figure out, more fun to spend time on, just better. It’s going to be hard to send it back to OLPC, but I’m going to have to. It’s great that they’re going to start selling them to the public. (You have to buy two, and you send one to a needy kid in a third world country and keep one for yourself. Read about it in the New York Times… …) I hope I can get one!

For a regular laptop, this would be the paragraph about its problems, its deficiencies. But the thing is, there aren’t any problems with this computer! Congratulations, OLPC. You’ve done it. Or will you come out with yet better laptops? Is that even possible? We’ll have to see…


  1. ass

  2. AS RRgbv fjdsfjsdhg

  3. i think this is a good idea because im a proffesional gas station worker and i have a lot of expirence in computers and i luv mi cheese cake.

  4. Robert Gomez says

    Hola a todos soy analista de sistemas en uruguay pricipalmente de rivera Uruguay y en el mes de agosto estaran repartiendo computadoras en mi ciudad. gustaria tener mas informacion sobre las potatiles xo ya que estare participando del programa en la escuela de mi hijo necesitamos mas informacion y enlaces con otras personas ya que nos estaran dando las computadoras a los niños pero sin ningun asesoramineto educacional como tambien para maestros y profesores desde ya muchas gracias Robert Gomez it

  5. If you try to feed them, there are those who will say ‘Why not educate them’. If you try to educate them, there are those who will say ‘Why not give them medical care’. And if you try to give them medical care, there are those who will say ‘Why not feed them’. It all goes to prove that you can please most of the people some of the time, and some of the people most of the time, but you can’t please all of the people all of the time. This is a great effort to actually DO SOMETHING GOOD and I’m pleased that it has pretty much met with such a positive reaction.

  6. ive got an idea…..

    how about we see to it that these kids have food, water, and safe shelter; followed by education, before we even begin to think about how a laptop will ‘make a difference’ in these peoples’ lives????

    i see how it works, ‘there’s this program that gives kids free laptops in africa’ AHHH (heart warming) just the other day i read a review by a 12 year old saying how great they were! now i can continue my self indulgent gluttony and feel better that starving kids in africa have laptops!!!

    boy golly G sir E! these kids don’t have to worry about the basic essentials now that they know about linux…

    and what about our fat asses kids?? don’t they need laptops too???

    well by golly they sure do! but it will cost the schools <<<<$$$$, but don’t you complain now, unless your one of these EVIL PINKOs???

    NO SIR! to prove my allegiance to corporate capitalism i will go out now and buy the new Iphone! hell maybe ill buy 2…

    WAKE UP! for the price of one of these linux wonders you could feed an entire family for a year or more.

    Not to mention that if we really cared about these people we wouldn’t just give them gifts, or money, we would talk to them directly, find out about what their lives really are like, actually try to change our policies to make the world better for them!

    these laptops are the equivalent of giving that bum of the street a $20, because you were feeling extra charitable today, and walking away while he gets beat up by some rich suburbanite kids

    and did the writer, er 12 year old, really say
    “‘The world itself has mandated that we are all tech savvy or we will indeed starve, whether we are 5 or 50”??

    Ya hear that grandpa! no retirement now! compile this 1995 Slax or no soup for you!

    The irony is bitter-sweet.

  7. PT,

    All we did is review the machine, we didn’t build it. And as far as I know, the machines are being sold rather than given to the countries that are getting them. If the US is willing to pay, I assume the US can get machines just like anyone else.

    But many US schools have better computers than this already.

  8. I think its great because the children here have way more privileges than the children in Africa.

  9. It’s nice of you to do this but their are children here that could use a computer that can not afford one. Why can’t you help out our kids. Just doesn’t seem fair that you would take thise to another country when computers are needed so bad in our schools.

    OH! WELL! I guess you must be link to Bill Gates??

  10. I bought my XO in November, still haven’t received it. Hope it arrives soon :o)

  11. I find myself agreeing with Nick.
    I wonder how I can help further this idea.

    Nick Says:
    January 1st, 2008 at 5:44 pm

    I missed the get one give one deadline. Darn. Here’s a suggestion:

    Make another deadline. And another. Allow this project to achieve a tipping point by capitalizing on all of our curiosity; let the powerful cart drive the horse.

  12. Doubty just does not get it…
    Think about the old saying, “If you give a man a fish he eats for one day, If you teach a man to fish, he eats for the rest of this life…”
    Or does it need more explaining? Education is the only way to create world unity, diversity, Peace.

  13. I am astonished we are caring now for the poor to be computer educated… We should care for their lives first. Who cared for me 15 – 20 years ago during my childhood? I would welcome it. I would recomment to feed them. And little bit of fear because of poor technology defeating the world as the consequence of this all:-(

  14. What is so special about him? I’m 10; I’ve been blogging for over a year npw, and I have been writing for three years. I am also three fourths done with my book coming out sometime 2008.

  15. I missed the get one give one deadline. Darn. Here’s a suggestion:

    Make another deadline. And another. Allow this project to achieve a tipping point by capitalizing on all of our curiosity; let the powerful cart drive the horse.

    My older son (Linux expert) got one by donating one, and I am impressed, not so much with capability but with the idea that this device can open up little minds and bring isolated children into the age in which we all live. As a manufacturer myself I cannot hire old-time computer illiterate duffers no matter how skilled they are. They are not part of today’s world and there is almost no place for them.

    The world itself has mandated that we are all tech savvy or we will indeed starve, whether we are 5 or 50. Us old folks may not like the idea of wasting time with video games, but I find in my industry that people who have played video games are totally unafraid of computers and are able to visualize well in three dimensions. They learn to program my manufacturing computers very well, utilizing logic that is sometimes a bit obscure to us “deer-in-the-headlights-of-progress” antiques.

    The flexibility and accessibility of Linux is the most intriguing part of this whole thing. Children are not stupid, no matter their color. They will invent for themselves and I predict that they will come up with their own utilities and drivers that will amaze the world. Look out Microsoft. Be afraid. Be very very afraid. This will all be done without Windows, and should this OLPC experiment succeed, Linux and its derivatives will be the universal world language of computing, as flexible and universal as spoken language itself. Systems under stress tend to adapt to relieve that stress, and Microsoft with its new useless Vista has put all of society under a computing mandate. (Their proposition to force feed an answer without a question will not force the world to ask the question.)

    Let the kids loose and stand back. I remember many years ago I was learning to write crude programs on my tiny limited antique Timex Sinclair. My children easily discovered how to write programs and create moving cartoons on the screen. For at least one of them it was like a nuclear reaction that has not yet been contained. This project is perhaps a countdown to something truly great and uncontainable!

    Look out world!

  16. Raynae Baker says

    To One laptop per child,
    I have read about your product and love the idea behind it. I recently saw a tv interview about what has happened. As usual in this country “the gready corporate mongers” have stepped in who don’t understand anything but the almighty dollar!
    Exuse my language but it suck’s-and it makes me very angry but i try to have hope this country will get back to values and people carring about their fellow man.
    I wanted to say though that there are alot of people in this country who’s kids would benefit from this computer but there parents are unable to buy it.
    I called today your customer service line because my child could really benefit from this devise. It’s not that I dont’ want to help a needy child, but i am a single mom and lost my job in november and cannot afford to purchase the two laptops needed to donate. I know this is the last day to purchase the laptop and am asking if you could possibly let me purchase a laptop for my child who really has a need. I personlly don’t own a computer and my son has shown an interestt and has asked why we can’t get one. PLEASE.PLEASE.will you help me help my child. Sincerely,
    Raynae and son Landon

  17. What a very beautiful and awesome thing you people have done for 3rd world countries! This computer is so very needed….

    ( did I mention that you people are beautiful )??

  18. Tim Bolshaw says

    For those who criticize educational tools on the basis they include games, learn some educational theory. That is precisely how young children (the target of the XO) learn best. Those who are disgusted at the thought of poor children playing would no doubt be very happy in some of the places I have been. You could see four-year olds severely beaten by their “guardians” for playing rather than getting on with the business of begging. But, for some reason, those kids do not grow up best able to provide for themselves and their families.

    It is inevitable that the kids who use these will pick up some computer knowledge, but the main objective is to help teach all the skills a child will need, such as reading, writing, creative activities, social skills, and the ability to locate information relevant to him/her through life.

    To whoever suggested that desktop computers were the solution, show me a five-year-old kid who could lug a desktop computer around with him between school and home or use one outdoors when the temperature inside the tin shack (home or school) is 106 degrees Fahrenheit (41 centigrade).

    Nicholas Negroponte is a talented computer scientist, educational expert and visionary. I applaud his humanity in devoting many years of his life to this project instead of to lining his own pockets. I hope very much that politics, corruption and selfish commercial interests do not derail it.

  19. Is anyone aware of what is specifically being referenced by “hand charged via a crank, pedal or pull-cord—or recharged by a directly connected solar panel”? I don’t see any additional information about any of these charging methods.

    Also Skeptical and Violet Weed just don’t get it, both are waaay out of touch with the way things are in the third world… technological competency is exactly what these kids need! I have been working with training in developing nations and know first hand the only way they will succeed and flourish is to be comfortable and proficient with technology (and I say “technology” not Linux or Windows or OSX).

  20. I saw a commercial about this laptop in Nov. 07. I am truly impressed with the G1G1 program and I am purchasing today. My ten year old has been begging me for a laptop since she was four years old. Thanks for making this for kids but something tells me I’ll be on it more than my kid.
    Go XO!!!

  21. Oh yes let us give children laptops around the world so that they will ignore even further the skills they need to survive. because playing video games and having Yourspace accounts are more important! That’s what they need! They need to become more incompetent! Give them cell phones and IPODs next! Not just in the developing countries but also the entire world, children need to be taught how to grow food, make food, build homes, make clothes, provide for the energy they need, restore the environment so they can grow food, and be able to obtain clean water. I have known people in their 20s who couldn’t even wash their own clothes or fry and egg! These are the things Children need! Not electronic toys that will make corporations further profits off of other peoples suffering. What an incredibly rediculous idea! Sure give starving children laptops so they will be able to play video games before they die!

  22. Got my little green XO machine two days ago thru the “Give 1, Get 1” program. OOOOH, so much fun ( I am 51 and feel like a kid again). Also fun learning my way around a new operating system. Project Gutenberg books look great on the screen, even with the brightness turned all the way down. I was reading last night in tablet mode and it really is sort of like one of those new e-book devices. The device is good looking and elegantly designed. Wish I had another one to try out all the collaborative features.

    One of the best things here in the Christmas season is that I feel very good about the “give 1” part of the deal. My heart has been touched by the stories of little ones Nigeria learning and exploring with the XO. Bravo OLPC!

  23. Just received my cute green laptop. I didn’t have time to try it out so my husband grabbed it and had it up in running in 5 minutes. It easily found the network in our house and showed the other networks in our neighborhood. Clean, color display. Browsed websites with multiple windows open at once. I’m amazed! It is speedy too. It has several built-in apps and I see a lot more are or will be available. What a great deal for $200! (Yes, you get to donate $200 for the second one to go to a deserving child in another country…that’s a gift in itself). I’m going to buy another one right now.

  24. I purchased a ‘give-1 get-1’ set last night and look forward to receiving it. I was thrilled to be able to donate a computer to a developing-world child as well as receive a machine for my own daughter. I want the same things for my daughter as those who have children and live in developing nations: food, clothing, shelter, and education for my children. I’m happy to have found a tangible way to help. My own daughter will be made aware of why she got this computer (and not another kind) and that a child, just like her, who lives very far away, and who may not have access to the services/conveniences my daughter does, has a computer just like it.

    I know people are still harping about the expense of providing computers and contend that we should be supplying food and building materials instead. Pardon me, but that’s bull. We should do all of these things. We’ve been supplying money and supplies to developing nations for YEARS. We’ve barely made any kind of a difference, except to possibly foster additional years of suffering. Education is the way to go. Productivity is the way to go. We do this in the US (as much as possible), why can’t it work outside the US? Just handing over food stamps and cash doesn’t motivate anyone. Give them food stamps, cash, and help finding education AND employment works better. And do these things for a child–your return is even greater.

    As for the young man who wrote the review, he did a wonderful job. I hope that I will agree with him. I suspect I will.

  25. Stuart Greenfield says

    Just received my OLPC from the buy one program. Really like the color of the case. Pretty easy to assemble, just insert the battery and turn it on. Opening the laptop wasn’t as intuitive as one might expect. Also, connecting to my home network has not transparent. When I click that network circle, it would show disconnecting. Instructions and FAQ haven’t resolved the “problem.”

  26. Albert Foster says

    I would like to acknowledge my appreciation to your service to the poor.

  27. Helen,

    The machine does not have a built-in CD-ROM or floppy drive. It does have USB ports, but I don’t know if drives will work automatically if you plug them in.

  28. Interesting review. No mention of any CD ROM drive or floppy capability. Am I correct to say they haven’t these features ? Email capability? Not, criticizing, just curious… it would be kind of sad if the users couldn’t install/play data,etc. from a CD or floppy slot.

  29. I never seem to understand why we (usa) are always helping other countries while we still neglect what problems we have here. Are we blind or is it we just dont want to acknowledge our own problems. most of our children here arent even up to the level they should be needless to say owning a laptop. so what is the big concern we should be worried about. Take care of problems here first before we go venture off to the world to fix there issues. thanks…..

  30. First, Great job for a wonderful cause. Second, People need need to research their information prior to quoting on open forums. Third, We should have a focus on children around the world…regardless of their geographical location or their parents choices.

  31. These laptops are so people will learn to think and explore-

    Hopefully the recipients will know how to SEARCH and FIND things- an important skill that many posters above apparently don’t have..


    The answers are there..

  32. Violent weed,

    What planet did you come from?

    This is not about pushing games?

    What are you talking about? Hmm. let me guess.

    The same ol’ pro-microsoft crap we’ve heard for years. First the IBM PC/Microsoft machine was NOT about games, no it was serious for “business use” meaning businesses were buying them. Of course the reality was it wasn’t a good game machine in the beginning with lack of sprites or good interpretive technology, and blocky graphics chip processing without vectored graphics. Everyone and their brother knew that Apple, Atari and others had better games that IBM, but the mantra at that time was, it doesn’t have games, because it’s a serious business machine. Yeah right.

    The other game machines had interpretive processors which although using more indirect address indexing which causes Optional Features list like expandable designs. Much like IBM mainframe programming was to game like. It was not that the other machines were better, they were “toys”.

    Remarkably, later the Microsoft camp changed their tune, meaning the goofs at the stores and who owned them. Once everyone had PC’s the argument changed. Now the IBM PC with Microsoft was the machine to get because it “had more games” and was a better game machine.

    Meaning you could get pirated copies from others who had the games for free, vs buying the games being on a smaller market platform like Apple. It’s the same old crap argument we hear from Microsoft slappy’s. Not that I’m slamming Microsoft for the things they do well.

    But who the heck cares about business training and accounting programs, or SQL servers for kids in the third world. SQL Server pro costs what, $20,000 per server copy. There’s a real deal and what we need to push on kids in mud huts. Let’s try to make them all accountants or software engineers and teach them the intracacies of the latest Microsoft product that we’ll try to sell them, while they are living off beans and goat milk.

    You make a lot of sense from someone being cloistered in a wall street or first world country. If you opened your eyes a little you’d realize the OS doesn’t even matter, it’s the base features and stability of the hardware and the featues in the programs that are delivered.

    That with a group of software programs from a library of developers who will do this as a project that is not meant to “make money”. That sounds a lot more like an open source community group than corporate goofs riding around in BMW’s wondering where their next Xbox version 5 is coming from.

    Most kids in the third world live in conditions that are worse than the garage your car sits in. These kids aren’t going to be worried about having the latest version of Excel, Powerpoint or Microsoft Access. And they aren’t going to be concerned about playing with a high powered machine like a free Xbox either. They’ll use whatever basic tools they have and the toolset provided by OLPC will be sufficient.

  33. this is great!
    my school did a fundrasier and bought 11 computers and we kept one for the library but the other 10 got sent out. I think this is great that children will get to use them. Bit if they make another model, they should consider putting windows on it.

  34. Jimmie Scott says

    My son is 16 and wants to not only get one for Christmas but is excited about giving one as well. Since he is 16, would this be acceptable for him?
    Thanks! I share your compassion for the least of these. I believe that is a big part of what Christmas is about.

    Jimmie Scott

  35. Buy one get one looks like a wonderful program… but why is it these are not making these available to the kids and schools in the US as well? So many public schools still have only one desktop in the classroom–if they are in a program where grants have funded technology efforts, they may have a couple of additional older systems available for 25+ kids.

    Most of our kids still get only limited exposure to technology at school and only if they are lucky do they get it at home!

  36. Alex,

    The machine can connect to a WiFi network (the most common technology for wireless home and school networks). If the WiFi network is connected to the Internet, then the machine can connect to places on the Internet.

    It has a fairly standard Web browser, so you can go to sites like msn.com and see what ordinary users would see.

  37. I just wanted to know if the internet was safe, and my kids couldn’t look up in appraoprite site like porn, or other things related.

  38. Thomas Zimmerman says

    How can a person find out all the specs on this laptop computer…hard drive, processor,wireless etc..?

  39. Oops- my mistake and apology… his name is given in the mission statement. I’m glad, he deserves praise and respect.

  40. FINALLY- someone really does care enough outside of himself to TRULY leave no child behind. This is such a selfless act- it is no wonder he is attacked by those who would continue to deny 3rd world children an equal chance at education. This man is truly a Great Man in the very best sense- and you don’t even see his name anywhere on the site- WOW!! There is still hope for humanity in the U.S. afterall.

  41. LCR:
    Did you mean “Voila!” instead of “Wella!”?
    OLPC does not provide internet. The computers network together by themselves for classroom/game sharing.

    Yes the review is written by a 12yr old- this site (Freedom to Tinker) has nothing to gain by making stuff up- and in fact they’re not the people who are producing the laptops. My 32yr old wife changes “speech patterns” in the letters she writes me, depending on what she’s writing about or how tired she is. Does that mean someone is making it up for her??

    IF the countries that these laptops are supposed to go to don’t think that they’re a good idea, they won’t buy any and won’t accept the gifted ones. Who are we to say what’s good for other countries?

    What do other people have to do to “earn” the “right” to have technology in their culture?
    -eliminate poverty? Oh wait, the US has that!
    -stop crime and hate? Oh wait, we have that too!
    -cut all graft and dishonesty from their governments? uhoh! Got us again!

    (thanks MWT for the “earning” point!)

  42. This seems like a good product, but the site is not providing enough information. Like on the 60 minuts, it said if the battery ran out you could use some type of cranking device…what is that? and does it come with the system?
    Main concern is that I appreciate honesty! And that review is not by a 12 year old child. If you read it over again, you may notice he’s pattern of speech changes quite often. One moment he sounds like a smart 12 year old, the next he sounds like I would…if I wrote the review. All of us have a pattern of speech, many just never notice. And this review is really “an ad” it is not a child writting it. So I am concern with any organization that would do such a thing.
    And in these third world countries, are you providing all the satellites and server issues?
    I think the money would be better spent, on the old fashion methods. Teach a child to read, write, let him not a machine draw because it wont be his drawing. It will not be original and it is another gadget to distance ourselves more than we already are.

    How many off us spend more time on the computer, taking shortcuts, talking to friends, etc., versus the old fashion way of speaking face to face, or writing a letter. Pretty soon we will just be able to hook up a cord to our brain and connect with everyone.

    Then we will be machines, not people. Spend the money on a classroom, a good teacher. They want a computer ok, have one. But I believe it will be difficult for these children to actually connect to the internet.

    And I see no mention here of the main danger, why? You have a child in a third world country, who is not aware of the dangers on the internet. Yeah Im talking about all the scums out there, that love to target children.
    And wella! you have the perfect solution for them. Offer these children who have nothing a new life or anything and there you will find a missing child, some do not have parents so who is going to guide them on the dangers, and in some countries if you did not know this… let me enlighten you! They sell their own children to survive. So I think everyone better stop rather quickly, and consider that this is a nice gesture, but a poor choice for learning and a possible danger for these children.

  43. For info on how to GET/GIVE them rush on over to http://laptop.org/ and look for the “Give one Get one”. (And it only takes 30 seconds to google and find their page…)

    Violet Weed-
    The purpose of this project was not to train kids to be business tycoons. They use linux for 2 reasons- Windows would be outrageously expensive, and the purpose is to teach kids learning, not an OS.

    From what I’ve read and seen of the OS, it was meant from the beginning to have a GUI unlike any other- to emphasize general skills and the “exploration” that children in DEVELOPING COUNTRIES need to start to compete with the rest of the world.

    Why would you give desktops to families that don’t have a desk??

    True, children need the items you listed- the people in this project don’t have the resources to provide all that- but they combined forces to provide a real-life catalyst for EDUCATION, CREATIVITY, and ENJOYMENT of life, which are just as important to success in life as basic survival.

  44. Right! No games! Because, Heaven forbid that poor people should be allowed to have any recreational activities whatsoever! They should all be toiling and sweating 24/7 until they’ve properly earned the right to be human beings like the rest of us!

    Is that what you’re saying, Violet Weed? :p

    I’d be interested in hearing about ways I could buy one for myself, buy one for a poor child in the third world within the U.S., and give two to poor children outside the U.S.

  45. i would like information on how to buy two laptop for my grandchildren age 11 10 on a fix income or can i make payments . thanks

  46. Violet Weed says

    Nice try, but the computer is ‘pushing’ linux, for no reason that I can see except to interfere with Microsoft’s business. Sure I use Linux as a soft router /gateway at home, but I am not supportive of giving computers to kids in third worlds. Why/how are they gonna use the computer? For what? GAMES??? Get real! What kids need in third world countries is water purification systems, non-monsanto indigenous seeds for planting crops, school uniforms and reading/writing/math lessons. What good is a free computer to a kid who lives in a mud hut?

    We have inner-city kids in this country who should be given free computers with MICROSOFT office suite, not linux and open office. The business world uses MICROSOFT (right now) not Linux. Linux on a kid’s ‘resume’ ain’t gonna get ‘im a job. Microsoft will. I build computer networks for free with inner-city churches, depending on where I am working at the time (as I am a consultant). I build the computers or buy used ones and upgrade them. Not laptops. Laptops are NOT built for longevity, no matter what you do to ‘harden’ them.

    BTW, I am a network/software engineer who uses both linux and windows, but pragmatically, windows is the current front runner.

    When you give computers to inner-city kids in the USA, maybe then I’ll buy one or two, but not likely. Laptops are not what kids need. Desktop models are what they need, and with NO GAMES on them.
    nuff said!

  47. how do i get one for my son .i am on a fixed in come.

  48. i would like information on how to buy 5 computers for my grandchildren.

  49. i will like to have information in how to buy two of this computer for my childrens of age 11 and 12 years old.

  50. i will like to get more information about how to buy two of them.

  51. SG- Great review!

    Tom Pike- excellent points.

    As long as there are people on Earth there will be good people and bad people. Someone will try to make things better, someone else will try to steal or break it.

    The OLPC project is a great example of people using their natural (God-given if that’s your faith,) TALENTS to try to make things better. They are sharing their specialties and interests in life with others.

    If everyone else would be as wiling to share their own strengths we’d be in a much better place. Education and willingness to seek out more than you already have is key to deveoping peoples where they have long been oppressed by Fear, Ignorance, and Tradition.

    This project shines as an example of creatively figuring out ways to bring education and a glimpse of what is possible in life to those without it.

    Hopefully those that receive the OLPC will be as inspired to seek out and make a better world as those that created it.

  52. Re: comments on whether or not this device will feed hungry bellies and help dire poverty – to grow beyond your current circumstances requires hope. A belief that your future will not consist of more of the same experienced by your parents, since what you grow up experiencing is so traumatic and death-filled. This device can bring light to the night, literally, although that’s not its primary purpose. Remember the pioneers, and what a difference light at night meant, culturally. Think of what it could mean to learn after sunset. To communicate quietly, while others sleep. To see beyond the boundaries of your own eyes, learn across world boundaries, see a piece of what technologies may exist…

    These are children who do not have lights to play puppet shadows, who don’t get to read under their blankets at night (what blankets, books, lights?!), who have no clay for pretend play or dress-up clothes (they’re lucky to have “real” clothes), who have no paints or color-crayons or paper for drawing, etc. This device can give such experiences in a compact way and so much more. They need this as much as food, clothes, clean water, vaccines. No one’s denying the need of the basics but please see what this might mean to their culture….

    And the hope of course, would be that they see more of what may be available to them, giving hope to their future, a passion for life and change in a way where they could sustain themselves and thrive.

  53. sg I have an answer for the people who ask about the can it print or email a document. From my understanding is it can. If they go to one lap per child.com it should tell them everything they should know.

  54. My question is based on kids using it here in the US. Is the computer software compatible with windows or apple? If a child uses it for school can he print a document or save it and transfer to another computer via email or flash drive? Can our computer’s transfer the document and print it?

  55. Great review, SG. It’s breathtaking that a 12-year-old can write so well, and I’ve spent time with many an extremely bright kid. You should be very proud of yourself. Thank you for sharing such interesting information. It’s great to hear about the XO first-hand by a real user.

  56. I’ve been in so many discussions like this where very bright people want to make some point and use sweeping generalizations to discredit another idea. Like the poor of the world fit into one mold or all share the same problems. Will the OLPC fit every situation, no does anything man made? Are there people who struggle so much day to day that they would turn around and sell this for a days worth of food. Absolutely. Will there be children who are heartbroken beyond belief because a week after getting something like this it is stolen due to a lack of personal security – no doubts here. Are there plenty of places in the world where poor children and adults sit in the dark at night because they have little other choice and a device like this would open a fantastic world form them – I would bet the farm on it. LED lighting that allow something productive to be done after the sun goes down is considered a revolution for these folks.
    Nicholas Negroponte is applying his specialty to improve the lives of countless people around the world. He isn’t a rice geneticist, NGO supervisor, food distribution specialist or local farmer trying to build a laptop. This is a complex project that has been pulled together against all kinds of odds most people never have to face. Anything this ambitious and complex can be attacked from multiple angles. It, however, looks like a fantastic first step in the right direction. I have great admiration for the entire team. Anybody or company impeding, criticizing this effort needs to get a life (or mission statement) with an ounce of meaning in it. SG – thanks for the excellent review it has helped a lot of people endorse this project. When you grow up you may realize better the enormous effect your review has had. Cheers to everyone else -Tom

  57. OLPC…the logical extension of freedom of the press: that nascent people can connect and bypass the propaganda fed to them by adults. Thank you Nicholas (Negroponte). I voted with my money.

  58. Amazing review!

    I wish more people any age could write so clearly and concisely (particurly the individual who criticized the use of the word “redaction” without first checking dictionary.com to confirm facts and find out that the original usage was, in fact, correct).


    I knew about the machine and the planned program a while ago and am glad to see the current version so useful and intuitive.

    I will definitely order one or two.

    I assume the power issue will be solved with a firmware or software patch down the road.

    Would love to an off-grid tool in the box… but realize those are more in need elsewhere right now.

    Nonetheless, very cool.

  59. It was to be the christmas present for my four children and thus 4 laptops for the developing nations tooo…..but I am in Australia, unable to.

    Great idea…long live LINUX and the gregariousness of humanity.

  60. Re: Stephen P. Chiang and others commenting on the materialism

    In the US we do have bloated corporate machines from the need for excessive hardware software compatibility caused by our need to have the machine perform inordinate number of functions only a few of which most owners utilize. We can get by on less by being selective or writing better code. This was shown by the engineer’s response on battery life indicating the issue is software and not hardware related.

    Having said that, a craftsman’s work is only as good as his/her tools. We should give all our children the best we can muster. While understandable, there is a negative side to saying “they won’t miss it because they have nothing with which to compare”. Unknowingly, we are settling for keeping some children “behind”.

    Brain based learning requires proper nutrition, movement and lessons design to activate various brain quadrants. The children need proper food, clean water, disease free environment and safety from violence in addition to computers. To be put in proportion, computers are like spoons you can give after they receive the bowl of rice.

  61. On November 12th, Graeme worte:
    “Of course, in the US, you can find a lot of homeless and poor people but that’s their choice.”

    Who are you? A re-incarnation of Ronald Reagan? This viewpoint is largely uninformed. Dr. Jim Hughes was correct about the third world here in the US. Please read the latest reports from Amnesty International and Andrea Smith on decolonization.

    SG’s review is encouraging but it and some replies focus on the technical (which we need if we are to implement in severe conditions). However, we are most interested in OLPC’s implementation of new theories on contructive learning and collaboration. http://www.heise.de/mobil/artikel/88916/0 suggested by another reader is proving helpful in determining feasibility of both technological and educational deployment.

    The Grandmothers’ Project NW is attempting to deploy the suggestions from the International Gathering of Grandmothers. It is a healing education effort guided by elders addressing educational disparities caused by trauma — poverty, genocide & cultural genocide (perpetrated inside the US) and PTSD (in this we are assisting the local veterans conservaion corps). One report states that OLPC will allow US schools to purchase but the grandmothers, being on limited income, cannot purchase the bulk quantities. (Birger re: ” it should be possible find corporate funding” [sic] this is not as easy as you think.)

    Our integrated and full immersion curriculum is designed for all children.

    SG and Ed, thank you and the constructive replies to your blog that assisted our further research. The OLPC site was not helpful in finding answers.

  62. Stephen P. Chiang says

    It’s as if Oprah went a step further and said that the purpose of giving away Pontiac G6s on her show was to help TV-watching housewives to commute to work and pick up groceries.

  63. Stephen P. Chiang says

    As a CS major who struggles at community college, this discussion is very common and indicative of how materialistic we are. Haven’t tested these new laptops, they all sound the same after a while, whether be handheld device or whatever. If you’re in the third world and have time to play with toys it’s nice, but if you’re in the position to raise your family (like my mother was when she was a new immigrant here) that takes precedent.

    Also, when you say “website Redacted” or “name Redacted,” you are making a grammatical mistake. The definition of redaction is the combination of sources in writing. Retraction on the other hand means removing something. I would think Princeton grads (or if automatic, whoever programmed it) would know something about grammar, but I’m just a community college student trying to pass this Precalculus course.

  64. We’d like to give all users and admirers of OLPCs free access to our HUGE Virtual Language Learning (& Teaching) Links Library at:
    http://www.CALL4ALL.us . You can learn or teach over 120 languages using it. We are quite sure that would help solve many of the communication problems faced by using of XO and any other PC or IM out there!
    JP Loucky, http://www.CALL4ALL.us CEO

  65. it good for kids to study so they don buy text books

  66. didn’t this used to have a wind-up charge mechanism?

  67. Arialia: It should be possible to set up a mailbox in the us with a company that forwards to your country. jetcarrier.com is a company like that that will ship to Norway. I have used them to buy from companies that only ship within the US. Setting up my mailbox address was a very simple procedure. Whenever I buy something to ship through them I just upload the receipt from the web shop to jetcarrier and allocate a shipping slot (by sea or air).

    The tricky part can sometimes be to have your credit card set up with that mailbox as a valid shipping address.

    I am certain there are similar companies that ship to any other country. Happy shopping!

  68. Joe: In america, it should be possible find corporate funding to provide a school with these laptops, shouldn’t it?

    You could check up with local tax deduction laws and see if buying laptops on this kind of deal (one for the U.S. school, one for developing countries) would give companies a tax benefit as well as good PR both from helping locally and globally.

  69. Great review! I don’t doubt that it was written by a 12-year-old; kids are getting their hands on computers as toddlers nowadays. I think the OLPC program is just amazing. On a radio news program I heard one of the designers of the laptop explaining the rationale behind many of the design features. This machine is one more example of the trend towards Green technology. In an often gloomy picture, it’s a genuine ray of hope. Keep up the great work OLPC. I plan to participate in the future.

  70. What about for older kids — 14 and up? Is this a good laptop for them or is it really intended for younger kids?

  71. Good news

    This laptop seems very cool

    i want one for my childreen and for me 😉

    But what a pity that operation G1G1 is only for USA and Canada

    Why only these countries ?

    I hope OPLC make same operation in Europe later ^^

  72. I read about the idea of constructing a computer for $100 several years ago and after reviewing the website I’m thoroughly impressed, even if it costs a little more. I also believe in the mission of OLPC. However, I grew up in a very rural part of WV where poverty was abundant, 90% of the children I went to school with were on free breakfast and lunch. I have lived in Cincinnati and Cleveland, both of these cities public school systems are in great need of help. So I ask the question, why can we not donate to American children in need without purchasing 10000 computers?

  73. Special to the the site master and to willy.

    Since you present the URL [URL redacted] .. as an example of “pornography and other unneeded resources”, I will give you the benefit of the doubt on the matter, but you really should have warned the readers that all of the links on that page lead to an “error” playing a movie and the “codec” which you are requested to download is actually a rather nasty trojan.

    I do not think that it should be left on this site, at least not as a clickable link and without a clear warning!

    [Thanks for pointing that out. I redacted the URL in willy’s comment, to protect other readers. — Ed]

    On the main point, one of the features of the OLPC setup is that, particularly for isolated villages and rural areas the only Internet access will be filtered or proxied through the school computer which has a large hard drive for shared content and the connection to the OLPC school router, as well as the area’s Internet connection if any. In addition to allowing for access control of whatever type the school opts for, this reduces the Internet traffic for sites which are popular with the kids, since only one copy of the static content of the site needs to come over the Internet to serve as many XOs as are part of the mesh.

  74. Rile Crumble says

    Newsprint books vs. Negroponte’s OLPC laptop

    How about low-tech, locally sustainable newsprint textbooks for developing nations.

    Using existing newspaper publishers and printing plants in each region to print licensed newspaper-format textbooks.

    The existing printing plants and truck delivery routes could drop off bundles of unbound tabloid-format newsprint books at schools for distribution to students.

    Negroponte’s One Child One Laptop plan is complex, unsustainable and unnecessary. Newsprint is compact, long-lasting, portable, and replaceable.

    Basic encyclopedias, atlases, and dictionaries could also supplement the required text books. Appropriate local businesses could support the printing costs by buying advertising, much as U.S. student publications have traditionally sold ads in yearbooks, sports programs, and playbills.

  75. hi [name redacted]…..nice review. See you at school.

  76. I read in a previous review that it does not show news videos very well. VIdeos (like those on CNN.com) are choppy and unusable at best. ALso that same review said that you can forget about watching videos on youtube. Has this been fixed?

  77. Really good laptop. I have son and I hope that it is good for him.. But I hope that children not see with this laptops resources pornography or other unneed resources, such as [possibly malicious URL redacted].

  78. mouwa, they are giving alternate ways of charging the laptops (solar or pull cord or pedal maybe).

    The keyboard is available in several languages (more than 8). Check out: http://www.laptop.org/laptop/hardware/specs.shtml and http://laptopmag.com/Features/Hands-On-with-One-Laptop-Per-Child-XO-Laptop.htm?Page=2

    I hope they offer this promotion permanently sometime in the future b/c I have a niece who is just 2 but I want to get her one when she is 3 or 4 maybe (and I finish school and get a real job). I also hope that they make this available for schools in the US.

  79. Robbie COLLINS (Hong Kong) says

    Good for you. This is very well written – very informative !

  80. how does this work for children who don’t speak english? (they keyboard is in english…)??
    same with the issue of the availability of electricity to charge the computers…?

  81. Wow Cool Laptop!

  82. panzanita,

    The machine can connect to any WiFi network. That’s the standard type of wireless network used by PCs and Macs in homes and offices. If you already have WiFi in the place you want to use the OLPC machine, then you don’t need to buy anything else.

    SG used the machine on an already-existing home network.

  83. I only asked for these things to be explained in a simplified manner – (re: do somthing imporant)Do you need to pay to access with a wireless unit? Can you connect with your existing provider? These don’t seem to be addressed in the reviews.

  84. Well after reading these posts this sounds great for the World! Solar powered..Wifi..Readable in sunlite..ebooks to download..longer battery life..ART, MUSIC ,PICTURES !! YES American children need this TOO !! They should be able to pick one up @ the local social security office !!(since they are required to have a # at birth)… $200 affordable $400 NOT….maybe next year

  85. Great review!

    I read in the OLPC FAQ that the unit, at least the one sent to the buyer in N. America, will not come with an alternate power supply. (http://wiki.laptop.org/go/Give_One_Get_One) This is a little upsetting as the original literature on the OLPC page said, “It will come with at least two of three options: a crank, a pedal, or a pull-cord.” (http://laptop.org/laptop/hardware/features.shtml) I think a lot of people believe at least one alternate power supply is coming with their order. I hope the the pull-cord is sent at a later time or a special price is offered to G1G1 participants.

    The company that created the pull-cord generator have a page at (http://www.potenco.com/home). They write, “The PCG is not yet commercially available, as we are currently primarily focused on ramping up our efforts with the One Laptop Per Child’s initiative. However, we are committed to eventually delivering our product to a wide range of customers, including through individual retail sale. For more information about product availability, please join our mailing list at http://www.potenco.com/contact-us.”

    Hope this helps.

  86. Does this unit run on regular electricity or just battery?
    Can you use your existing provider or do you have to subscribe to a wireless provider?
    Under developed countries cannot afford providers can they??
    Do American poor children get any of the computers?Thanks

  87. Can you do instant messaging with this laptop? I’m an educator in a rural area, and the kids spend 90% of their time on the computer doing IM. I know it has its own IM system, but could you do yahoo IM or hotmail’s version?

  88. Exceptional review for a great tool.

    My son would like one but I’m not in the colonies. He would want to get the other tools that can be downloaded especially gcompris which is an educational package that runs in Linux and does cover some of the topics/drills other commentators have made. Still since I already use Linux he can run gcompris on the family PC.

    From the suppliers website, charging the battery can be done by mains, solar or physical (hand/pedal) and if they get the bug sorted to make it last 14 hours on a charge that will be a great help to those who can’t rely on stable, constant supply. It’s also good that it will accommodate a wide range of voltages.

  89. Awsome review for a 12 year old im impressed and look forward to the XO and also that they made a half-decent 200 dollar computer take that Microsoft

  90. I don’t think it’s “fare” that Americas’ students are wasting their educations and not enriching their minds with the thousands of amazing books and reading material they choose to say “Ewwww” about, but the world couldn’t possibly accommodate us all Brenda.
    It’s a great cause and I’m planning on contributing as soon as I finish this post.
    Thanks for the informed review!

  91. i don’t think it’s fare that people in other countrys have the right to take advantage of our stuff they need to their oun shit!

  92. GrannyAnnie says

    Okay, I realize I have limited time before Any(mous says) drives me away from this website (sorry, but I just don’t have time to listen to each and every idiot), but what is etoys?

    And, no I am not being “cute”!!! — I’m 61 and my time for asking cute, flirty questions is long gone, trust me!

    Etoys sounded cool (sorry, a term from the 1950’s!) — if it is a program, fine, but if it can only be used by a programmer……..

    Yes, I am old enough to know why we talk about “bugs” in a computer!

  93. GrannyAnnie says

    Okay, Any — time to stand down! (or maybe stand up)

    I confess to being guilty of bringing gender into the convo, because I am indeed a grandmother.

    Any, there may indeed be battles to fight; however, not here, not now

    Just my $.02 worth (and where did that dang cents sign on the keyboard go, anyways???)

  94. The next person who assumes SG must be a boy gets a boot to the head.

    Great reviews!

  95. GrannyAnnie says

    Nice review, SG! I confess that I had not read it until after I “doubled up” and ordered 2 laptop packages….. (I had been wishing I could have a laptop like that for myself for $200 — and had a “lightbulb” moment, where it occurred to me that I could actually “eat my cake and have it, too”

    As for your review, I believe that you did indeed write it. I might have written a review myself back when I was 12 — except for the slight hurdles of not much for me to review back in 1958, the lack of an audience, and the hiatus of my typing skills……. i.e., the time between my 3-year-old self pounding (and I mean that literally!) on the keys of an old manual typewriter and running to ask my mom if “this is a word?” and my “learning” to type in 13-14 years later in the class so wonderfully named “Personal Typing.”

    Granny Annie

    PS. There were indeed things to review back in 1958 — but, lacking a driver’s license…. not much of interest!

  96. If you don’t have access to a “hotspot”, can you still use the WRITE word processing & the other applications?

  97. We just participated last night. We are so excited! Our two children, ages 8 and 11, heard about this with us a few months ago. When we checked the web site and heard about this upcoming program, we withheld donating until we could “Get 2”, also. These are our children’s “big” Christmas presents.

    Great review, by the way, SG. I expect that the bug mentioned in the 9/12 post would have been fixed by now, which is why they’ve delayed the launch into the US. They are very concerned about criticism from spoiled Windows users.

    Our kids know this is not a Windows or Gaming computer. They do use our computer for PC games, but have no computers of their own and do not have any GameBoys, etc. I’m hoping they’re not too spoiled to appreciate this terrific machine.

    What I really want is for them to use their computers with each other and the web sites children with these machines access. What a way to chat to gain penpals from overseas! And to share tips, knowledge, perhaps even participate in the same program… I’m not exactly certain how these machines connect/communicate with each other but I see potential here, real potential, that could change over the next 5/10/20 years. That’s why we’re so excited.

    We’re hoping others in the neighborhood participate too, so we could really see the “mesh network” in action. What a way for a teacher to track what his/her students are doing. We’ve already heard complaints from my son’s teacher that, “He had 2 hrs. to work on mapping and he spent it all downloading pictures and not on the writing.” Our reply was to keep him off the computer if she can’t supervise what he’s doing, but with this system, teachers can “see” what their students are working on.

    I don’t have any hope of the US schools being “invaded” by these machines; they’re too entrenched with Apple, but too bad….

    Looking forward to the future of the world!

  98. Sounds like a wonderful tool, but I thought I had heard in a previous report that this cranks to power up? if it is only battery powered, that seems like a big limitation. Are the developers looking at a crankup version too?

    Was also wondering, in the third world countries where this computer is going, what percentage will actually have free internet access??

    Last concern: while it sounds like a mesmerizing gadget for children who certainly deserve any form of enrichment, I would love to hear more stories of its actually being used in ways that help kids learn. . .

  99. I think this laptop is a great idea and the buy one give one program an even better idea. I love the idea that we can send one of these machines to someone that needs it.

    I can’t wait to see the outcome of this program in a year or two. Just think of all those people that do not have access to technology suddenly getting it. They have no preconceived notions. It should be amazing.

    It would have been cool to actually know who got the other laptop. It would have been neat communicating with them.

  100. Just ordered my b2g1 laptop. Love the idea and am thrilled to get this for myself and my son–he is developmentally delayed and wants a computer–this seems to be intuitive and sturdy for him to use and perfect way to give to another child. Am going to pass this info around my son’s school, maybe we can sponsor a school in Africa–what a great way for kids to get the laptops for a classroom here and there!

  101. OK, I just participated in the “Buy Two Get One” deal… Hope it comes by Xmas. I have a 3-year old that will (probably) benefit from having this clever gadget (pardon, educational tool) around. (OK, I admit, this was my main driver. To get one for my child. Donating one is only the icing on the cake…)
    I don’t have very high expectations regarding the capabilities, but my child has zero :), so she cannot be disappointed…
    What I am looking forward the most is the current and future softwares that can make my child smarter and happier…
    What we need now is a parent’s forum here in the US to interact so we can make the most out of this tool! Also, do we know if the video messaging software is compatible with the major players? (Like Windows Messenger??)

  102. Congratulations OLPC for implementing a solution instead of complaining about a problem. Well done. **Extremely well done.**
    About the review, it was written very well, better than many adults can achieve, even with spelling and grammar checkers.
    For the people looking for all the bells and whistles on these all terrain vehicles, I feel sorry for their lack of compassion, empathy as well as for their level of ignorance.
    Until you live in a third world country, and live local life, you can’t appreciate what you have back home. Of course, in the US, you can find a lot of homeless and poor people but that’s their choice. Not so in the heartlands of Africa.

  103. Thanks for your follow-up review, SG. Hopefully, someone will be giving you one via G1G1 promotion as I’d be curious to see your opinion of the version that ships. I ordered one today and I’m very glad to hear they fixed a lot of the criticisms that you described in your review of the B2 machine in the B4. I have to say I get a little tired of people comparing the OLPC to the ASUS EEE. They are two separate beasts that I think are great but should not be lumped to together when one is critiquing them. I am even more excited about getting one after reading your reviews and the progress that has been made in between versions. I will be using my OLPC to watch videos and read E-books when traveling via trains and planes, doing quick research while I’m sitting in Borders during my weekly visits to browse through magazines to determine the ones I’ll buy for that week or to research reviews of books and CDs that I’m interested in buying (thanks to T-mobile for their complimentary hotspot service and the solar charger will be a great addition since the cafe in the Borders faces south and gets a lot of sunlight and usually all the outlets are in use when I get there) and making VOIP calls and god knows what else. And I know my nieces and nephews will want to ge their hands on it and won’t bother me one bit since it’s so durable whereas I freak out anytime they get near my regular laptop!

    I hope this promotion is a great success!

  104. Dr. Jim Hughes:
    > Bill Gates has provided some computer access to the reservation. Has your group approached him or other corporate resources to facilitate our own third world childrens education with this wonderful program […]

    Sadly, this would not be a program of interest to mr. Gates (not even Sr, let alone Jr). For starters, the machine runs a flavor of Linux, which Gates sees pretty much as one of his “arch enemies” or “achilles heels” w.r.t. his own baby, Windows.

    A bit more off-topic: I am also quite cynical/sceptical about his foundation’s goals/aims. W.r.t. a lot of their activities, you will find that they look good on paper (e.g. providing vaccines for children in Nigeria) – until you get down into some of the details: (1) Gates is one of the major shareholders of GlaxoSmithBarney, who were tasked with developing these vaccines. (2) These vaccines contained nearly twice the amount of Thimerasol as those that were distributed in the USA in the 90s, before this additive was outlawed due to its link to Autism, Aspbergers, ADHD/ADD, etc. Indeed, after the introduction of these vaccines on the Nigerian market, the rates of autism has increased tenfold. (3) This was known to the Nigerian government; they were initially going to reject this vaccination programme – but suddenly changed their minds without further explanation. Now, instead, parents will go to jail if they refuse these vaccines for their children. It should be noted that this is not the first/only time that Gates/MSFT is believed to be involved in bribery. (http://www.klinghardt.org/docs/Autism%20Paper%2012%2005%2021.pdf).

    Another example, again from Nigeria: Mandriva (a Linux distributor) had an agreement to distribute some computers (in a fashion similar to OLPC) – before MSFT stepped in, bribed some local officials, in order to load these machines with Windows instead. Link:

    I realize that this post is off-topic w.r.t OLPC. I just wanted to dispel the myth that Gates might be in favor of anything good, like the OLPC project.

  105. have two grandchildren, age 4 and 6, we are teaching them how to use our computers and hope this B4 will help also. Would like a review from someone who is not so knowledgeable as the 12 old boy. Someone who has not used a pc before.

  106. One thing I haven’t figured out yet. What form of recharging are they shipping with the laptop, for those that are off the grid. They talk about solar, windup, etc., but I don’t see any specs that include the recharging method.

  107. SG Seriously Awesome Review. Other sites should think about how they write to make it from the users perspective not from Corp America. Try not force feeding us garbage and tell us what you really think and what you like/dislike. We could all learn something from this.

  108. Amen to Dr. Jim. Since first reading about this machine and the program’s aim, I’ve wondered why we don’t have at least equal emphasis on getting these into the hands of kids here in the U.S. Teach for America might be the perfect way to get them distributed. How about we all encourage our companies to sponsor one Teach for America teacher…give them enough B4s to outfit all of their kids…and off they go? How about a program where G1G1 means one goes overseas and one goes to a child here in the U.S. So much potential. What a great opportunity.

  109. Just bought my buy-two-get-one, can’t wait until I receive it!

    Thanks for the review, SG. That was very well written.

    Now, let’s just hope the suspend bug is fixed before the laptops are shipped!

  110. Dr. Jim Hughes says

    I< too , am a big proponent of education. As a healt care provider, now vision oriented, I have had the opportunity of working in third world countries such as Oman and Vietnam. My last 30 plus years have been spent in the Third World here in the USA, ie, American Indian Reservations. These reservations mimic the hunger, poverty, disease ridden environment we see in sub Saharan Africa. Bill Gates has provided some computer access to the reservation. Has your group approached him or other corporate resources to facillate our own third world childrens education with this wonderful program. My own Give 1 get 1 order was placed today. Thank you for caring about children and education . They are the future of the world.

  111. I took a couple of the earlier machines with me when I went to Africa in June. Particularly in a community of learners on machines with an intuitive interface, information spreads quickly to help anyone missing something. I took B2 machines. It looks like they really fixed the rough spots, now.

    One thing for those who want to buy one: One of the best part is the large number of activities with collaboration built in, for which one or more nearby friends should have one, too. Good to consider buying G1G1 x 2.

    And the software advances keep coming, and all the software is free. There will be better versions than what come now with the B4. With a flash drive and internet access you can download the next version easily and reboot to install the new image.

  112. If a twelve year old can write like this then I have to say: America, we have taught our children right! I wish all adults can write like this.

  113. I ordered up the buy-two-get-one deal. I expect I’ll make my own review of the laptop and then donate it to a local elementary school. I really don’t understand why people would be so critical of OLPC – the only question I have is, will it prove to be of real value in the field? I can’t answer that question, but I’m willing to put some effort into finding out, hence my sponsorship.

    As for OLPC being “brought [sic] and paid for by corporate america” – how do you figure that? I mean, if it shipped with Windows, maybe. If the UI was smothered with popup-ads, maybe. But as it is the laptop and the software is not branded. It’s being deployed in areas where, even if the local populace wanted to, they can’t be substantial contributors to corporate America.

    As far as the review in this blog is concerned, it’s a start but I too would be interested in seeing feedback from third-world children, even if it’s not polished or very detailed. Just to know that they are actually using the laptops on their own would be worthwhile.

  114. I was sold on the concept when I first read about it- I’ve just bought my Buy One Get One and the one I get is going to a neat little boy I know-
    He’s 11 and a real reader- we’ll see how Patrick likes it!

  115. I was sold on the concept when I first read about it- I’ve just bought my Buy One Get One and the one I get is going to a neat little boy I know-
    He’s 11 and a real reader- we’ll see how Patrick like it!

  116. Kudos to SG for another informative review!

    I have some random thoughts and questions of my own…

    How does the OLPC functions as an ebook reader? The flip-around screen which can be read even in sunlight, with the nifty handle, make this device appear to be a superior ebook reader device. I might even get one for myself to use for an ebook reader!

    Are educational programs for teaching subjects other than computing included? At the very least, I would think a math drills program, and perhaps a math tutorial, would be beneficial. Does the software include a program to teach keyboarding (typing) skills?

    I am also thinking the video camera could be a useful tool for parents and teachers to use to communicate to one another, especially when the parents have limited literacy skills.

  117. Please elaborate. How was it informative on the subject of computer games??? I find this claim a bit baffling since it mainly deals with the hardware and general capabilities of the laptop, and doesn’t go into any detail about its gaming capability or specific games SG may have played on it.

  118. I came across your blog while I did a search on Google for new computer games and your article on One Laptop Per Child (New Version), Reviewed by 12-Year-Old was informative.

  119. I just wanted to thank SG for both the reviews. They’re articulate, interesting and to the point.

  120. Well done.

    A brilliant review from exactly the people who will use it.

    Keep up the good work kid, your writing style is great. Why not write some more articles on different subjects??

  121. annoyed by F.U.D.ers says

    Hmm, maybe my previous comment was uncalled for, sorry for that.
    But It just gets on my nerves the deceiving argumentative “art” of Wayan Wota. For example, he begins his comment positively, with a Wow, but manages to insert a little stab, calling this kids positive review as “fanboyism”. Then calls for a lack of reviews from the developing world. He knows that Pilots have been going on during this year in many countries, and that obviously 5,6,7,8 year old kids, which so far have been the receivers, can’t write as well, and obviously wouldn’t be able to provide the larger perspective on the laptop, that this review could, since most won’t be able to compare with other simillar technologies. I’m not saying that feedback wouldn’t be interested, and although it has been coming from the teachers (see olpc.tv and the school pilots category at wiki.laptop.org) it’s also been comming from kids.

    What is impressive of this review, that Wayan stupidingly calls fanboysm, is that it is done by a tech kid, who has some perspective on computing to make a usefull comparison. The result was that it rocks, technology-wise. While that is only half the project’s shtick, it’s excellent news.

  122. annoyed by F.U.D.ers says

    Wayan is stinking the place again, phew..

  123. Wow! I’m glad that SG is such an OLPC fanboy now. But again, I wish we could get concise and unedited children’s review of OLPC XO technology from OLPC’s target audience: poor children in the developing world who are not gifted writers by age 12.

  124. SG, you write better than some professional tech writers I know, excellent review. It’s also nice to see it reviewed by someone in the actual target audience, instead of the usual theoretical bickerings of the “experts”. Don’t get me wrong, we need the experts as well, but in the end, it’s the kids who are going to use it.

    I assume that you have some computer experience, that much is pretty evident from the review. What’s your opinion on how difficult it is to get started for someone completely unfamiliar with computers, as this will be the case for most of the users?

    The OLPC looks cool. I’m 38, and I still want a few of them. I’ll probably get them under the coverup reason that the “buy 2, get 1” will help kids get them, but the real reason will be that they are pretty darn cool and I want them. As far as I’m concerned, on a global scale, this may very well be the biggest thing to happen in computing since the move to microcomputers.

  125. Any chance for an A/B comparison between an Asus EEEPC and the OLPC as tested by SG? They seem like two approaches to the same problem, each with some merits.

    I’m presuming that Asus do actually deliver a product some day soon.

  126. Thanks for the followup review SG. It’s great to hear about progress of the OLPC project from a user’s perspective and it’s good to hear that the laptop keeps getting better.

    I look forward to reading future articles from you, should you wish to write them. 🙂

  127. Heh. As an OLPC developer, I immediately noticed one big problem: the 4 hour battery life. We ought to be able to do 14 at least. We’re not suspending the processor at all right now because we’re chasing down a tricky hardware bug with suspend. Once we get that squared away, we’ll be suspending the processor whenever the machine is idle, which ought to let us achieve our designed battery life.

    But I’m glad SG enjoyed the machine! We’re continuing to try to make it better & better…

  128. Tomer Chachamu says

    Greener plug, eh? Great! 😉

    I have to wonder whether the camera is really worth it in terms of the educational value of the laptop.

    SG, some suggestions for your next post, if you make one: * What did you make with etoys? * Can you send an etoy production for other people with the XO laptop to see? * How do you find videos to watch? * How long does the battery work if you read something (instead of just leaving it alone for 4 hours)? And a thought, * How do you know they fixed some issues if you don’t know what the original issue was? 😉

  129. i think its better for all

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  130. SG,

    Another great review. Thanks!

  131. Is this really a review by 12 year old ?
    If it is, it’s great

  132. brought and paid for by corporate america

    or maybe it’s just all true.