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Debate over the $100 Laptop
Alex Steffen, 12 Aug 06

Here is an excellent overview of the debate about what kind of machine(s) will best serve the needs of poor people in the developing world, from the One Laptop Per Child project to the underperforming Simputer to other handheld options, as well as whether computers are really the best leapfrogging tools in the first place. If you've been following this debate on Worldchanging, there's not much new here, but if you're new to the subject, it's not a bad place to start.

A final reservation against the latest entry-level computing initiatives is that they have anchored the word 'computer' in people's minds to be synonymous with 'technology'.

Rochdi points to the utility of using radio, TV and personal digital audio (MP3) players to share information and educate people. She says policymakers and the public are fixated with the belief that computers and computer-related inventions, like the Internet, are the only drivers of development.

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Comments

Most unfortunate that this article skips over any mention the Jhai PC (http://jhai.org). Certainly in writing the "history" of developing low-cost rugged computer devices for use in the less developed world, one should not neglect this project becase it is much more people/community centred than a lot of the other hardware design projects out there. And in that light, the Jhai PC is much more "worldchanging" because it draws on important principles of participatory "development".


Posted by: CleverGirl on 14 Aug 06



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