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Bill Gates, eat your heart out

The first real-life images of MIT's $100 laptop have surfaced on flickr.  In its transition from mockup to working prototype, the laptop appears to have lost its distinctive hand crank which was supposed to be used to provide additional run time in a pinch – the basket handle remains, however. Included on the prototypes are what appear to be swiveling “ears” which in the down position protect the USB, headphone and microphone ports from dust and dirt (or whatever kids manage to drag their laptops through during the day). Both the screen and the keyboard appear to be a bit on the small side, but children shouldn’t have many problems placing their tiny digits on the keys or deciphering what’s on the screen.

Bill Gates has lambasted the device due to its lack of a hard drive in recent months in an effort to promote his company’s own UMPC efforts. Gates also barked at the $100 laptop’s small screen size – interesting considering that UMPC devices have screens ranging from 4.5” to 7” and are hundreds (and thousands) of dollars more expensive.

There are also other efforts to spread technology to underdeveloped nations including Microsoft’s FlexGo and Intel’s Community PC.

On a side note, bonus points for whoever can point out what’s wrong with this picture.



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What's wrong
By peternelson on 5/23/2006 8:00:13 PM , Rating: 3
I know what's wrong: It's sitting on a boardroom table.

Isn't this to be for poor countries where they don't use boardroom tables they live in shacks, huts, tents and desert sand and mud, with dust storms. And earthquakes that shake your things a lot.

The surface should be WHITE to reflect away as much of the sun's heat energy as possible (to avoid overheating and need for cooling energy). Black would absorb lots of heat, and other colours do also to some extend. Maybe it could have a foldout solar panel.

I think the keyboard should be removable/replaceable/plug in even some membrane type so that they are disposable when you get too much dirt or sand in them. Don't trash the whole machine replace faulty part easily. Generic mass market keyboards cost peanuts.

Also there is no need for trendy design, nice feel type of plastic (typically costs more) or dayglo colours (well, you couldn't lose it in the dark).

I'm not sure why those people would want one when you can get cheap used laptops of 386/486/early p5 - in bulk for like $2 each ;-)

They could save money by doing away with the battery found in conventional laptops (because it degrades and needs replacing) and batteries do not work well in HOT non-air-conditioned climate.

Just hook up the village power - 12v alternator driven off a diesel truck engine and you can work from that. My desktop machines don't have batteries so it's not an essential feature is it?

You could replace the hard drive with some flash memory and embed linux into it. You don't need a cdrom because you can download your ebooks/learning software/pirate music across a lan. It only needs to be 10/100 not WIMAX or wifi as has been suggested by some.

I also strongly disagree with the "one laptop per child" idea. NO!!!! What a waste of global natural resources - billions of computers and they will all depreciate. In non-usa countries there is the novel concept of SHARING. eg instead of buying one each and only using it sometimes, you and your BROTHER take turns. The other half of the day you probably have to gather crops or carry water. A laptop each is a waste of money that could buy these people CLOTHES and FOOD.

As for the two mac stickers, they're a bit off-topic.




RE: What's wrong
By DigitalFreak on 5/23/2006 8:17:54 PM , Rating: 1
YES! We need more people pirating music in third world countries! I'd love to see the RIAA sue some kid living in a mud hut in Namibia.


RE: What's wrong
By peternelson on 5/23/2006 8:20:13 PM , Rating: 2

Use the enlarged picture and look again.

In yellow there is a demarcated panel between the keyboard and the user. It appears to have two wide buttons at the front too.

Personally if they are trying to keep the cost down they could use a smaller sensor panel - that one is like twice the size of mine, and that just pushes up the costs.


RE: What's wrong
By peternelson on 5/23/2006 8:23:21 PM , Rating: 2
hehehe difficult serving legal papers on nomadic wanderers of "no fixed abode". Just find the deserted former campsite and a note saying "Too slow, L0s3rZ, we are no longer at this address. Try asking directions from the friendly pride of lions in the clearing".


Yeah
By Sharky974 on 5/24/2006 12:50:50 AM , Rating: 2
You fail at funny.


RE: Yeah
By proamerica on 5/24/2006 6:03:51 PM , Rating: 2
I agree.


RE: What's wrong
By hoppa on 5/24/2006 1:01:24 AM , Rating: 2
Wow, you really seem to know a lot. Maybe they should've accepted you at MIT after all, eh?

quote:
I know what's wrong: It's sitting on a boardroom table.

Isn't this to be for poor countries where they don't use boardroom tables they live in shacks, huts, tents and desert sand and mud, with dust storms. And earthquakes that shake your things a lot.


You really show a lot of ignorance. Three of the first targets for this computer are China, Brazil, Egypt. They don't quite have mega-earthquakes and desert sand and mud (except for Egypt). We aren't talking about tribal african villages here.

quote:
The surface should be WHITE to reflect away as much of the sun's heat energy as possible (to avoid overheating and need for cooling energy). Black would absorb lots of heat, and other colours do also to some extend. Maybe it could have a foldout solar panel.


Do you actually think that they've been designing this thing for years and that it is suddenly going to be overheating because of its case design? Also, the solar panel is a novel idea but is most likely too expensive and wouldn't provide near enough power. I'm sure they've thought of it.

quote:
Also there is no need for trendy design, nice feel type of plastic (typically costs more) or dayglo colours (well, you couldn't lose it in the dark).


I've read it was designed to have bright flashy colors so as to deter theft.

quote:
They could save money by doing away with the battery found in conventional laptops (because it degrades and needs replacing) and batteries do not work well in HOT non-air-conditioned climate.

Just hook up the village power - 12v alternator driven off a diesel truck engine and you can work from that. My desktop machines don't have batteries so it's not an essential feature is it?

You could replace the hard drive with some flash memory and embed linux into it. You don't need a cdrom because you can download your ebooks/learning software/pirate music across a lan. It only needs to be 10/100 not WIMAX or wifi as has been suggested by some.


Man you really seem to know a lot better than them.

quote:
I also strongly disagree with the "one laptop per child" idea. NO!!!! What a waste of global natural resources - billions of computers and they will all depreciate. In non-usa countries there is the novel concept of SHARING. eg instead of buying one each and only using it sometimes, you and your BROTHER take turns. The other half of the day you probably have to gather crops or carry water. A laptop each is a waste of money that could buy these people CLOTHES and FOOD.


It blows me away how proud you seem to be of your ignorance. You really have shown you know absolutely nothing about the third (or developing) world. Stop pretending like you know more than everyone else (including anthropologists, industrial designers, electrical engineers, geoligists, businessmen, etc.) and be thankful that there are brilliant, caring people out there that strive to make things better for those not so fortunate as to be living in upper class society rather than their greedy selves.



RE: What's wrong
By msva124 on 5/24/2006 1:53:20 AM , Rating: 3
I think that none of us know for sure how this is going to be accepted in those countries, for the simple reason that it wasn't tested. I'm glad you have faith in the intelligence of people at prestigious universities. I do not share it.


RE: What's wrong
By hoppa on 5/24/2006 2:09:46 AM , Rating: 1
Then perhaps you should quit using your darling computer. Without the intelligence of academics, your machine would be far different and drastically less powerful than it is today.

I don't understand how people can look at the incredible vastness of human knowledge, society, and production, and then claim that they don't trust the intelligence of those who are leaders in the field of knowledge. It's like trying to say that the sky isn't blue.


RE: What's wrong
By msva124 on 5/24/2006 2:26:37 AM , Rating: 2
You are in desperate need of Prozac.


"We are going to continue to work with them to make sure they understand the reality of the Internet.  A lot of these people don't have Ph.Ds, and they don't have a degree in computer science." -- RIM co-CEO Michael Lazaridis














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