Sunday, March 27, 2005

Negroponte's 100,000,000 laptops could become 100,000,000 doorstops

Nicholas Negroponte's $100 laptop idea has been getting a lot of attention recently and I'm betting that it will become a reality some day -- probably sooner rather than later. There are two components of this initiative. First is the challenge of building them for under $100 a piece. The second is building and distrubuting 100,000,000 of them to kids around the world.

Unfortunately, most articles I've read about the ideas only look at the economics and technical details of getting them build for under $100 a piece.

What happens after plopping these devices in to the laps of the first few thousand children? The project will fail to be effective if there isn't the support these kids need to expliot what they are given.

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation library grants illustrate that there is a lot of costs associated with making these "free" PCs available. Over the live of the machines, libraries spend many times the purchase price to keep them operational. I am certain that libraries spend hundreds of hours per machine just in hands-on training for those who come to their libraries to use them.

Maybe the project needs to hire a few million librarains too.

For more information on Negroponte's project visit MIT's Media Lab site:


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