The concept sounds pretty good right? Give a laptop to every child for educational purposes? Great right? Well, yes, yes it is. Most Western nations do that now, my niece got a bloody awful tablet for “school” work.
And that was it, a dirt cheap laptop for every child, simple and straightforward, and also well over a decade to early, sadly.
Today, the cheapest laptop available is priced at just about 95 US$ at time of writing, the last time the OLPC’s laptops were for sale commercially, they cost 399 US$, the use a bizarre screen that apparently can switch between colour and monochrome, which even for the middle 2000s was bloody odd, apparently something about saving power.
Even at the best of times, they couldn’t actually get to 100US$ point, only reaching a little over 200 US$ and I still fail to understand why on Earth everything had to be custom-made, it’s a cheap laptop aimed towards various poor countries and the US, because apparently Detroit now counts as an African nation or something.
Even for the time we’re talking, around 2010 for the last round of deployment, off-the-shelf stuff would have been vastly more efficient and almost certainly cheaper, just slam together a nice straightforward PC laptop and put in a solid though case, IBM would probably have let them license their old ThinkPad design, those things are fucking indestructible.
But no, Yves Behar showed up and created this monstrosity:
This isn’t smart or wise, a laptop needs to look like it’s purpose, education, this green bag of stupid doesn’t look educational, it looks like a toy, no they should have been grey, boxy and solidly built, nothing less nothing more.
When this was rolled out in Uruguay, the kids just used the TOY-looking device for entertainment purposes, not for educational work, but what do you expect, with the message sent?
I found an old Targa laptop from 1994, damn thing must have spent twenty years in a closet somewhere, and it still worked, sure the CMOS battery was long dead, but you can replace those, so that’s not a big thing.
This is how the One Laptop Per Child should have looked:
The thing is, you could probably do it fairly easily today, using off the shelf components you can easily build cheap laptops today, shove them into a though frame and send them off to Africa, no fuss, no Yves Behar.
There, problem solved, get in though with my One Laptop Per Child, so I can yell at you.