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On the XO Laptop

Tithing XO Laptops

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I have just ordered my tenth XO laptop, as noted in k12openminds07: Donating an XO to the Navajo People.

I will keep only one of them. The other nine will go elsewhere, as described in the cited post.

And, if truth be told, I’m actually looking forward to the end of the “Give 1 Get 1” program in a few days, for were it to be extended I would probably order even more.

It is often said that a little knowledge can be dangerous, as first expressed by Alexander Pope, “A little learning is a dangerous thing; drink deep, or taste not the Pierian spring: there shallow draughts intoxicate the brain, and drinking largely sobers us again.”

For example, having just the little knowledge I have about the XO has so far been dangerous to my bank account. Here is why, in the form of a photo, as described in The XO Laptop can run Sahana:

Sahana running on an XO Laptop
(1) Sahana running on the XO Laptop

If you know the technical capabilities of the XO — and I do — and if you know about Sahana — and I do — then you know why I donated two XO’s to the Sahana project as soon as I learned that Chamindra and his colleagues needed two to test the mesh networking capabilities. To not do so would have been unconscionable, for my little knowledge led me to the inexorable conclusion that to not make this donation as soon as possible might cost some people their lives, and I did not want to have to live with that knowledge.

When it comes to the XO Laptop I have found myself to be a reverse tither. Instead of keeping nine and giving one I have given nine and am keeping only one.

Tithing itself is an old tradition, first described in the first book of the Bible, Genesis 23:28. In the King James version (1611) this verse is rendered:

And this stone, which I have set for a pillar, shall be God’s house: and of all that thou shalt give me I will surely give the tenth unto thee.

The new JPS translation (1985) renders it thus:

And this stone, which I have set up as a pillar, shall be God’s abode; and of all that You give me, I will set aside a tithe for You.

I bought ten XO’s so I could decide how to dispose of four of them, as I wanted to have one for my own use.

The first will go to Andrew Tridgell. I had lunch in New York City this past Friday with a CEO. As is almost always the case these days when I talk to someone in the computer business, I spent some time talking about the XO. When I mentioned I had ordered my first within three hours after they became available, he said he had ordered his within two hours, and I shook his hand. I then explained that I felt that any programmer in the U.S. should send at least one to a much better programmer outside the U.S. He then said, “Damn, I should have thought of that.”

The next two will go to the Sahana project, as described above.

The fourth will go somewhere within the United States, on the lands of the Navajo People, as I wanted the pleasure of knowing that at least one would stay in our country to help educate our own children.

I trust that, if nothing else, this testifies to the importance I attach to the OLPC Project and the XO Laptop, and my gratitude to the people who created it.

We owe them all a great debt, and those of us who happen to know how to program can start paying it off right now, be it in the form of code, or blog posts, or personal instruction in the use of the XO.

Merry XO Xmas to all. Happy XO Chanukah, too.

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Written by daveshields

December 20, 2007 at 10:26 pm

Posted in xo-laptop

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