[aprssig] APRS for One-Laptop-Per-Child

Scott Miller scott at opentrac.org
Mon Nov 12 02:04:56 EST 2007

Ray McKnight wrote:
 > One laptop for every child on the planet.
 > I have strong words which I cannot use.
 > Other than utterly LUDICRIOUS!

There are many arguments against the project, and I agree with a lot of 
them - I've certainly heard enough about it, with two family members 
having Master's degrees in education, and one of those being directly 
involved in educational technology design.

But whether you agree with it or not, the fact remains that these 
laptops WILL be deployed in large numbers.  Maybe not in the millions 
they're planning (I suspect that'll depend on how things go in the first 
countries to adopt them) but they will be out there, and Bob's right, 
there's certainly value in designing systems with this hardware in mind.

I think the OLPC initiative probably has more merit than some other 
programs, like the Simputer initiative in India.  I kept reading about 
how it was going to aid local farmers by keeping them up to date with 
market prices so they'd know when and where to sell their produce or 
livestock to make the most money.

Now, I may be a California native, but I've spent enough time in the 
Midwest to know that that particular problem was addressed a long time 
ago.  Turn on any AM radio and you don't have to wait long to hear a 
market report.

Last time I checked, you could buy radios for under $2 each in volume. 
Maybe $6-$12 for crank-powered types that wouldn't require batteries. 
No training required, and it's capable of delivering news, education, 
entertainment, or whatever else you want to broadcast.

But if governments have decided to spent millions of dollars on 
hardware, whether it's a good decision or not, we may as well make the 
most of it.  I would *love* to see an OLPC-compatible HF message node 
that could be dropped in any village (or disaster area) and provide 
worldwide email capabilities with a minimal investment in infrastructure.


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