On the XO Laptop

The Most Idiotic Post Yet Written About the XO Laptop

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I just came across — though stumbled across seems more apropos — the most idiotic article yet written about the XO Laptop: One Laptop Per Child Doesn’t Change the World.

It was composed by a Mr. John Dvorak, a man to whom I am told some look for guidance on computers.

Though I have read only a handful of the many articles he has written over the years, this post confirms that my early judgment was correct: he has absolutely no clue when it comes to computers and, especially, software.

Here are a few of the choicer excerpts:

Hands Across America, Live AID, the Concert for Bangladesh, and so on. The American (and world) public has witnessed one feel-good event (and the ensuing scandals) after another. Each one manages to assuage our guilt about the world’s problems, at least a little. Now these folks think that any sort of participation in these events, or even their good thoughts about world poverty and starvation, actually help. Now they can sleep at night. It doesn’t matter that nothing has really changed.

This is how I view the cute, little One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) XO-1 computer, technology designed for the impoverished children of Africa and Alabama. This machine, which is the brainchild of onetime MIT media lab honcho Nick Negroponte, will save the world. His vision is to supply every child with what amounts to an advertising delivery mechanism. Hence the boys at Google are big investors.

Some readers will just perceive these complaints of mine as coming from a grumpy old man who doesn’t like anything. Fine. Stay optimistic. Buy ten. All I can tell you is that, personally, I have never seen such a cavalier and pompous assuredness in my life. As if this whole OLPC scheme is anything other than a naïve fiasco waiting to unfold. I’ll donate my money to hunger relief, thank you.

As I am a true believer that the XO is a revolutionary innovation, Mr. Dvorak is naming me an idiot, as I have just named him to be one.

Time will tell who is right. Thing is, I have a whole bunch of colleagues who are just itching to prove how wrong he is. There is just one Mr. John Dvorak the technical columnist, and thank goodness for that. There are a lot of us. We are called “open-source developers.”

I noticed Mr. Dvorak’s idiotic post when I came across a link to an article in the forum where he writes his blathering drivel, PC Magazine. It just posted What Not to Buy in 2007, that makes mention of the XO:

Maybe buy: A $400 One Laptop per Child PC (part of the “Give One Get One” program).
Yes, I know this contradicts my first point, but if your child or grandmother can live with what is essentially a toy PC, you’ll be doing a mitzvah for an underprivileged child who could never afford a PC.

Mr Lance Ulanoff of PC Magazine labels the XO a “toy.”

I also consider that, among its many uses, the XO is also a toy: xo-laptop xo-toys Off Target at Target.

Mr. Ulanoff, here is one of the ways I plan to use my XO as a toy. I ordered an XO within two hours after the program opened.

I am going on a vacation in Europe in a couple of weeks. If my XO arrives my departure — and since I was among the first to order one, there is a good chance it will — I am going to take my brand new, green XO to one of the most famous places in the world. I am then going to fire up that XO, and take a picture or two, and write a blog post confirming the location, the presence of me and my XO in it, and that date I was there.

I’m hoping I will be first person to use an XO in that place. I’ll be able to tell my grandchildren, and perhaps they will remember to tell their grandchildren, that ancestor “Blogge Dave” was the first to use an XO in that place.

I am sure there are more than a few residents of the U.S. and Canada who have ordered their XO’s and will soon be taking them on their vacations.

Though I won’t name the place I am aiming for, here are a few other places that are of interest:

Who will be the first person to take an XO to:

  • The top of the Eiffel Tower
  • The Statue of Liberty
  • London Bridge (let’s hope they don’t fall down, but if they do their XO won’t break)
  • The Sistine Chapel
  • The Kremlin
  • The Taj Mahal
  • The Mount of Olives
  • The White House
  • The top of the Empire State Building
  • The top of Mount Everest (the XO can operate in extreme temperatures, low or high.)

Some of those people are going to appear in the newspaper, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see more than a few on network newscasts. Who is going to be the first guest on Oprah to bring an XO? Meet The Press? The Tonight Show? The Dave Letterman Show?

I hope you get the idea. One thing I do know is that it won’t be Mr. Ulanoff.

I expect Mr. Ulanoff won’t be writing any more columns about the XO, though I do hope he does.

I do know I will lots of fun with my XO.


Written by daveshields

December 5, 2007 at 8:32 pm

Posted in xo-laptop

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