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The XO-3 tablet concept promises a different vision of computing  (Source: OLPC)
Even poor kids need faster computing

Over the last five years, the OLPC (One Laptop Per Child) project has sought to develop and distribute a low-cost and rugged computer to children around the world in a bid to raise global standards of living. The non-profit organization successfully developed the XO-1, and has distributed over 1.4 million of the netbooks for less than $200 each.

“The first version of OLPC’s child-centric laptop, the XO, is a revolution in low-cost, low-power computing. The XO has been distributed to more than 1.4 million children in 35 countries and in 25 languages,” said Nicholas Negroponte, the founder and Chairman of One Laptop per Child.

Mass production of the XO-1 first started in November 2007. Computer technology has made significant advances over the last two years, and the XO-1 is getting long in the tooth. The XO-1 features an AMD Geode CPU running at 433MHz, 256MB of DDR DRAM, and 1GB of SLC NAND flash memory for storage. A 7.5-inch screen with a 1200x900 resolution is used. Wireless networking is enabled by a chip from Marvell, while a built-in camera, microphone, and speakers add functionality. A variety of battery choices are available. The XO-1 only uses 2W to run.

The OLPC project will introduce a new XO-1.5 in January 2010 using the same basic design. However, it will drop AMD in favor of a VIA C7-M Ultra Low Voltage CPU which will double operating speed. DRAM will be increased to 1GB, while 4GB of flash memory will be the standard, with an option for 8GB. It will be capable of running Windows and Linux, and is targeted for a $200 price.

Two other designs have been added to the OLPC roadmap. The XO-1.75 is currently targeted for the $150 mark and an early 2011 launch. The design will be updated, with rubber-bumpers on the outside for added shock protection. A new 8.9-inch touch-sensitive display will be used. The project is working with Marvell on integrating a new ARM processor that will double speeds while cutting power consumption by 75%. This ARM-based system will complement the x86-based XO-1.5, which will continue to remain in production to give deployments a choice of processor platform.

The XO-3.0 is being developed for 2012 at a target price of less than $100. It will feature a new tablet design using a single sheet of flexible plastic, and will supposedly be unbreakable. The XO 3.0 will leapfrog the XO-2.0, a concept approach that the OLPC project decide not to pursue.

“To fulfill our mission of reaching 500 million children in all remote corners of the planet, OLPC will continue to innovate in design and performance. Because we are a non-profit, we hope that industry will copy us,” Negroponte added.

The XO-1 helped to establish that low-cost netbooks could be functional and affordable, and helped push Intel into developing the Atom. Former OLPC CTO Mary Lou Jepsen left the project to form Pixel Qi, a fabless firm which designs and and markets energy-saving screens that are readable in daylight. There is no word yet on which OLPC netbooks will use the technology, but Pixel Qi just entered mass production of its first 10.1 screens for use with new Pine Trail netbooks, and its future screens  are rumored to be used in Apple's tablet computer.

Walter Bender's Sugar interface has also been spun off. Originally designed for the OLPC project,  it is now being developed by Sugar Labs and is available for free under a GNU General Public License.



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RE: Why not everyone?
By thehappyguy on 12/24/2009 10:10:41 AM , Rating: 0
Yeah, I know a number of teachers and even the "easy" subjects like music education, they get to the school between 7 and 7:30am so they can be prepared for their first class at 8am, they get a 30 minute lunch break (during which they often are busy making copies of handouts, etc.), school gets out at 2:30pm or so, but the teachers have bus duty, where they have to wait around until the last bus leaves with all the students (this takes 30 minutes to an hour depending on the size of the school), so now it is 3pm. Then stay after school 2-5 nights a week for chorus, band, etc. These after school sessions are usually 2-3 hours for the group, after which the teacher might spend another hour or so with an exceptionally gifted and/or challenged student to either get them to where the student wants to be or where the teacher needs them to be. At this point it is at least 5pm if not 7pm and it is finally time to go home. To add to this music teachers have concerts for parents roughly 4 times a year, sometimes it is for just chorus, sometimes it is for just band, sometimes for just one grade level - teaching 6-8th grade in a large school means you'll be running as many as SIX concerts, these concerts usually start around 7 or 8pm and last upwards or two hours, and then you have to talk to all the parents for 30 minutes to an hour, and very often the teacher has the kids stick around after school for practice before the concert, which means the teacher has been there since 7:30am and probably until 10:30 or 11:00pm (that is a 15 hour day), which the teacher does as many as 24 times a year in addition to their average of 9.5 hour days (for other teachers, this doesn't include the time spent at home in the evening correcting, tests, quizzes, papers, etc. my friend who is a math teacher for the 6th grade level, has 200 students, and has homework to correct on a nightly basis, and this is easy stuff to correct, either the answer is right or it isn't, and it takes him upwards of 3 hours to correct homework).

Then there are the open houses and parent/teacher conferences, that they have to participate in every semester.

Teachers also have to maintain continuing education credits, so often when your kids have a day off for a holiday, teachers have an in-service day, where they go to the school or sometimes they have to drive to a class in another city, and take an 8 hour course. During holiday breaks, many teachers use that time to develop lesson plans, and or take more continuing education classes and often during those breaks they are correcting homework, reading and correcting essays, papers and tests.

Summer break for your kids is typically 10 weeks, teachers often have a week of teacher/administration meetings after the school year ends and they have a week of teacher/admin meetings before the school year begins. During the summer, they are also working on developing their lesson plans to meeting the guidelines set forward by their respective state mandates, as well as the federal "No Child Left Behind" laws, although I like to call it "Every Child Left Behind", as it slows down curriculum, standardizes and dumbs down a lot of what kids should learn in school, apparently multiplication and long division are now taught in 4th grade at the earliest and 5th grade at the latest, we were doing multiplication in 2nd grade and division in 3rd grade in the mid-80's. Advanced students were allowed to move ahead of other students and work on special projects, now many are forced to stay behind with the rest of their "peers".

In many states teachers are paid ~$28,000/year and must buy their own teaching supplies and often buy supplies for underprivileged students so they have pens, pencils and paper to write with.

Lets just assume that a teacher doesn't do anything at all during their two week long breaks and their 8 weeks of freedom in the summer, they work 42 weeks a year roughly 48 hours a week, 2,016 hours. A normal full-time 40 hour a week job, works 50 weeks a year (between paid holidays and vacation time, assume that you get at least 10 paid days off, most people get more), you're working 2,000 hours a year.

So how again are teachers under-worked and overpaid?


RE: Why not everyone?
By richwenzel on 12/24/2009 10:47:16 AM , Rating: 5
Teachers' pay is much better on average than 28,000

Median annual wages of kindergarten, elementary, middle, and secondary school teachers ranged from $47,100 to $51,180 in May 2008; the lowest 10 percent earned $30,970 to $34,280; the top 10 percent earned $75,190 to $80,970.

Thats from bls.gov (Bureau of Labor Statistics)

This also ignores the fact that they have incredible job security, one of the most powerful unions, and excellent benefits.


RE: Why not everyone?
By elgueroloco on 12/24/2009 6:13:35 PM , Rating: 3
I have a hard time feeling sorry for teachers who spend all their time correcting homework. If they didn't assign so much, they wouldn't have to spend so much time correcting it.

When I was going through school, most of the homework assigned was merely busy-work and didn't contribute at all to the education of the students. Also, many teachers use HW as a crutch to avoid actually having to teach their students anything.

When my dad was in school they had no more than an hour of homework each night. In order to get A's, kids had to spend 6-8 hours every night just to get all their homework and studying done.

There is a big problem with this. A standard school day is 7 academic hours of class time. A student taking a regular full-time course load should spend 40 to 45 hours per week on academics (including both class and study/HW time). That would be 12-15 credits at college. 45 hours per week is 9 hours, 5 days per week. With 7 spent in class, that leaves a maximum of 2 for HW. Maximum. IMO, children should not be working more than 45 hours per week under any circumstances, and really shouldn't have to work any more than 40. I believe 1 hour should be the maximum total homework a kid should have in a night unless they voluntarily take on extra course load, with parental consent. For kids, HW needs to be just a brief exercise at the end of class to give the kids an opportunity to practice what they just learned. It also gives the teacher a clue as to who needs help before the test comes up and what they need help on. I believe this is what HW was in the past, but now it has become the end rather than the means.

My personal experience has been that this trend of excessive HW has a horribly detrimental effect on both education and quality of life for Americans.


RE: Why not everyone?
By Jedi2155 on 12/25/2009 4:03:32 AM , Rating: 2
I hate homework with a passion. Especially essays and reports in courses where the professor does nothing except ask questions and repeats what the other students says adding very little of his own opinion/points across. Thank goodness I've just finished my engineering degrees....no more of that liberal arts BS.


RE: Why not everyone?
By jdietz on 12/27/2009 12:02:45 PM , Rating: 2
Do teachers have a class every period? My impression was they didn't.


"If you look at the last five years, if you look at what major innovations have occurred in computing technology, every single one of them came from AMD. Not a single innovation came from Intel." -- AMD CEO Hector Ruiz in 2007














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