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The TOTEM Poll: Totally Off Topic, Everything Media
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Old July 30th, 2005, 01:32 PM   #1
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The $100 Laptop

My uncle is one of the principles in an initiative to develop a $100 laptop, which is being designed not as a way to undercut the existing technology for but specifically to get computers in the hands of those who can't afford it, particularly in undeveloped countries. I had a conversation about it with him recently, and he told me that by relaxing the stringent guidelines the major manufacturers have in QC (for instance, active pixel count and screen brightness uniformity) by just 10%, the cost drops radically.

http://laptop.media.mit.edu/

It's pretty fascinating stuff. Also check out the link for Electronic Ink in that article--that one is hard to wrap the mind around (for me at least!) but fascinating also, very science-fiction-y.

As a young child in the early 70's the MIT Artifical Intelligence Lab was my playground--I have memories of robotic hands here, computer-controlled "turtles" zipping around on plotter paper there, all sorts of nifty stuff for the day.
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Old July 30th, 2005, 01:45 PM   #2
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Can you edit native HD with it?

Somebody had to ask ;)
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Old July 30th, 2005, 07:46 PM   #3
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Hey Charles, my dad is about to work with another company who are putting together a third world computer using basic parts, all open source software. I'll pass this link onto him.
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Old July 31st, 2005, 01:05 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Charles Papert
....not as a way to undercut the existing technology
What's wrong with that? I'm all for competition especailly after dropping $3300.00 on my workstation; sides Microsoft has a Monopoly and it's time someone cut into it.
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Old July 31st, 2005, 09:55 AM   #5
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I showed that link to a friend, and his reaction was that Bill Gates would never sit still while hundreds of millions of cheap linux computers were distributed, and he would probably do something to undermine the effort...
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Old July 31st, 2005, 11:03 AM   #6
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now there is a great idea or a documentary if i ever saw one,

follow the life the 100 dollar laptop fron conception through production struggles all the way to some kids shack in cambodia, where it becomes the focal point of the family, and they decide to buy pink fuzzy slippers on ebay...
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Old July 31st, 2005, 11:51 AM   #7
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I was told that Dell has already got a task force working on a competing version, but they are getting stuck around the $300 mark.

Fuzzy pink slippers--hee hee!
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Old July 31st, 2005, 01:25 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Robert Mann Z.
now there is a great idea or a documentary if i ever saw one,

follow the life the 100 dollar laptop fron conception through production struggles all the way to some kids shack in cambodia, where it becomes the focal point of the family, and they decide to buy pink fuzzy slippers on ebay...
L M A O!

Charles; is this a laptop for sale in America? And what kind of power and speedare we talking?
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Old July 31st, 2005, 02:00 PM   #9
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Charles,

Very interesting... thanks for the info. Wow, quite a playground you had.

It's funny, I think all the time that the laptop I had 8 years ago would still be fine for most applications - word processing, email, etc - anything text-based. The software just keeps getting more and more bulky, requiring more and more hardware. Cheap is really doable... I look forward to what they come up with.

And yes, that EInk thing is crazy... have you seen it in action?
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Old July 31st, 2005, 03:10 PM   #10
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John:

See the article--I think it will answer those questions.
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Old July 31st, 2005, 04:15 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John Hudson
What's wrong with that? I'm all for competition especailly after dropping $3300.00 on my workstation; sides Microsoft has a Monopoly and it's time someone cut into it.
Get an Apple. Aren't they cheaper?
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Old July 31st, 2005, 07:36 PM   #12
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**sigh** If only.
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Old August 1st, 2005, 01:14 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Robert Mann Z.
now there is a great idea or a documentary if i ever saw one,

follow the life the 100 dollar laptop fron conception through production struggles all the way to some kids shack in cambodia, where it becomes the focal point of the family, and they decide to buy pink fuzzy slippers on ebay...
That's really funny--and clever, Robert! The "becomes the focal point" phrase reminded me of "The Gods Must Be Crazy," or old Star Trek episodes when the Enterprise crew violated the prime directive. :)
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Old August 19th, 2005, 08:43 AM   #14
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Very interesting! Chas, you and your family are quite cool people, for lack of better adjectives.

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Old August 20th, 2005, 11:11 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Robert Mann Z.
now there is a great idea or a documentary if i ever saw one,

follow the life the 100 dollar laptop fron conception through production struggles all the way to some kids shack in cambodia, where it becomes the focal point of the family, and they decide to buy pink fuzzy slippers on ebay...

And then watch in horror as Microsoft crushes their efforts, sending Cambodians fleeing back into their thatched huts to tend to their dusty looms and pottery wheels.
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