XO Giving

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I’ve been looking at the XO Giving program of the One Laptop Per Child Project. For $400, you buy two of these fascinating little green laptops. One of them goes to a child in a developing country. The other one you keep.

There’s some controversy about the laptop and the program, but I think that it is a fascinating experiment that could have some far-reaching benefits, and I would like to support it.

The machine itself is neat: it is designed with a minimal number of moving parts (it uses flash memory instead of a hard drive, for example), the screen contorts for comfortable e-book viewing, it consumes very little power and can be recharged by a hand crank, it is durable – designed for use by children is suboptimal weather conditions. Specs are here.

If I got it, I’d probably use it as a word processor, web browser, e-book reader, a travel machine, and a tabletop rpg accessory.

The two drawbacks:

1. This thing is small. Is it too small for comfortable use? I don’t know… the keyboard would certainly be a step up from my cellphone, but a step down from my work laptop. The screen is only 7.5″ viewable (about 6″ on the horizontal).

2. It runs Linux. This is normally-speaking an advantage. I’d like to play with Linux on a machine… unfortunately, this might cut into its usefulness at the gaming table, as I wouldn’t be able to use it with the whole Wizard’s Digital Initiative thingamabob.



1 Response

  1. While I think that the project itself is great, and the laptop they’ve produced is certainly interesting, I can’t say I would recommend it for regular use. Laptops have had huge price drops in the past couple of years, and even a bottom-line laptop is going to suite your purposes better.

    I’ve been using my not-too-speedy laptop for D&D for a while now and I can’t imagine not having it. With the D20 SRD and gobs of books on pdf, I have everything I need and more at my fngertips.

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