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Where Africa and Technology Collide!

Tag: laptop

Negroponte on the New (lowercase): olpc

Nicholas Negroponte comes up on stage at TED and tells us that, due to the OLPC, there’s a whole new product line: Netbooks. However, they copied all the wrong things. Next thing you know there are a couple being thrown around the stage, and he’s asking us how well a netbook would stand up to that, or being submerged in water, or being sent to Africa…

My question is about how well an OLPC works when you just open it up…? 🙂

“Commercial markets will do anything they can to stop you, even when you’re non-profit, even if you’re a humanitarian organization.”

Now we want to build something that everybody copies. Go from the OLPC to the olpc (lowercase). That’s what’s going to happen over the next 3 years. Open source hardware: where you publish all the specs and all the designs so that anyone can copy it.

In a side conversation with Ethan Zuckerman here, this is what they should have done 3 years ago, and it would have saved them a lot of heartache.

Cameron Sinclair adds via Twitter, “OLPC to be open sourced. email nn@MIT.edu with ideas about olpc. I suggest adding SketchUp and making it o.l.p.innovator”

Dell’s Africa Inspired Art Laptops

You can now buy your Dell computer with customized African artwork. It’s all part of the Product (RED) campaign to support the fight against AIDS. My favorite is the mapping one (for obvious reasons).

More on these two designs:

Dell African Design: Shine Within

Shine Within (map): Award-winning artist Siobhan Gunning was born in Mombasa, East Africa and has had the opportunity to visit many of the unique locations in Africa, like the Great Rift Valley, the Serengeti Plains, the Ngoro Ngoro Crater, and even traveling up the Nile to its source. During these travels she has been privileged to observe wildlife in their native habitat and visit with tribes like the Masai and Samburu. Currently residing in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa, Gunning combines her passion for Africa with her life experiences and her love of art, design and photography, creating digital collages that often result in “happy accidents” that bring her joy.

Dell African Design: New World

New World (tribal): African artist Joseph Amedokpo resides in the town of Vogan, Togo (West Africa) with his wife and five children. He supports his family through painting, using locally produced oils he blends by hand, on canvases made from recycled flour sacks. While painting, Amedokpo chats with frequent visitors and listens to a short wave radio, gaining a global perspective on peoples’ failures and weakness, as well at their core strength and hope, which is reflected in his art.

Open Source Rifts at the OLPC

An article over at Ostatic blog about the escalating open source wars at the OLPC got me thinking again about this project. In general, I’m a big proponent of using OS in the OLPC and hate where this fight is taking things. Why do I even like the OLPC? Well, it has something to do with this quote:

It should be noted that the point of the laptop project was not to give children access to the Internet, or to word processors, or even so that they could learn to touch-type. The idea was to provide children with an open-ended system with which they could tinker and explore — and through that exploration, learn. Papert long referred to computers as “the children’s machine,” because it offers children the chance to learn by creating and sharing, two key elements of Papert’s educational theory known as “constructionism.”

At the end of the day, I just want more computers in the hands of kids in Africa. It’s only by younger generations gaining access to technology that we see major change happen.

Of course, this begs the question about mobile phones. Is it possible to program for mobile phones on mobile phones? If so, maybe we can skip some of this PC paradigm altogether…

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