Friday, March 28, 2008

The OLPC Story

The most recent ABC Science Show consisted entirely of a talk that Nicholas Negroponte gave at the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

In it, he tells the story of how the One Laptop Per Child project came about, and how it is progressing.

One point he made, that reminded me of my beloved MacBook Air, was that the cost to build a computer with a given set of specs will halve over a period of roughly eighteen months.

So, in theory, one would expect the price of decent hardware to keep dropping as time goes on.

Of course, that's no good for the manufacturer's bottom line. So, instead, they simply keep bumping the specs sufficiently to be able to charge the same price.

In reality, the benefit of these escalating specs, to the average user, ceased a long time ago. Most people use their computers for word processing, e-mail and web surfing. The greatest demand they're likely to place on their machine is asking it to recalculate a spreadsheet.

The reason this reminds me of the Air is not that it's cheap ... I wish! ... but the fact that while my precious has a relatively feeble processor, by current standards, it handles everything I throw at it admirably.

Anyway, I think the podcast tells an interesting story, so here's a link to the MP3 on the ABC site.

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