I accompanied my son’s new class to the Stockholm Museum of Technology today. An investment — it’s good for me to get to know everybody, and it’s good for Junior that everybody knows me as a present and available dad.
At the museum, just about the first thing I saw was the XO laptop, about which I’ve heard so much on Digital Planet. This is the machine developed by the One Laptop Per Child project, known as the “$100 laptop” (though it hasn’t quite come down to that yet). Having lugged all 3.6 kilos of my four-year-old Dell Inspiron 6000 through the streets of Lund and Linköping for two days, I instantly desired the tiny XO. That’s the kind of size my next computer will have.
The XO went into production a year ago, with a run of a million machines projected for 2008. 300,000 have been delivered only to Uruguay. 11,000 are in Afghanistan. It’s a ruggedised wifi-centric Linux machine with highly innovative screen technology and gigabyte of flash memory for storage. No fan and no hard drive — no moving internal parts that can fail.
A second round of the Give One, Get One (G1G1) program will open on Monday 17 November, organised through Amazon. For about $399, £254, €312 plus shipping, you can give an XO laptop to a child in the Third World and get one for yourself as well — or pass it on to a kid you know. Perhaps worth considering for your Christmas shopping?