Make that TWO laptops per child?


I’m not sure what to make of Intel’s decision to enter the “market” for laptops to the developing world, though I am frustrated by Negroponte’s quick dismissal of this as Intel being evil rather than noting that this could be a fantastic opportunity to realize his (wonderful) vision of internet computers for all.

Intel’s machines now cost $200 and the One Laptop machines are now $175. Both think pricing should fall as production ramps up.

This reminds me a bit of our local internet broadband fiber network conflict between the city of Ashland, Oregon and Charter Communications.

Several years ago Ashland developed a great fiber network concept that would be run by the city via the public electrical utility. Charter initially tried to get Ashland to work on a project together, partly using strongarm and legal challenge tactics. When that failed and Ashland started competing with Charter for cable and broadband services, Charter countered the city by offering lower rates for cable and internet to their Ashland subscribers. This split up the customer base and created revenue shortfalls for the city project (and probably for Charter as well – my theory is that they wanted to fight this trend in other cities and were willing to take a loss in Ashland to make that happen) . So, the end result now appears to be a lose-lose deal where taxpayers in Ashland have to make up shortfalls, and Charter also probably lost money.

Perspectives vary on motivations and such, but for me the moral of the story (then and now) was that it’s better for non-profit entities to cooperate than to compete. There was a win-win in Ashland when the city could hold out the *threat* of doing their own thing, forcing Charter to lower rates and offer great services. But they foolishly chose to fight, leading to the predictable lose-lose situation.

Extending this to the One Laptop project I’d sure like to see Negroponte at least *carefully examine* all the possibilities of working with or next to Intel. If profit-hungry Intel can produce these for $200 where heavily subsidized One Laptop is at $175 there may be some room here to cooperate in an effort to get the job done.

Negroponte’s motivations in my opinion are virtuous and his integrity in this is almost unimpeachable, but that does not mean he’ll make the best decisions under the changing sets of circumstances. I’d like to see more of an open mind about this one.

Blog Travel and why YOU should be blogging!


One thing I *really* like about blogs is keeping up with your friends in some detail about their life and experiences, especially when they are doing really interesting stuff like traveling to cool places.   Sure, using legacy snail mail and picture media you might get a postcard or a few emails or a christmas card, but you can’t beat blogs for really tuning in – for bringing some depth to heretofore superficial social experiences.

Anne and Keith are in Italy teaching at Sienna and Keith’s started blogging their adventures in earnest at his site WonderfulItaly.com.  The main downside of him blogging is simply getting envious about not roaming around the Tuscan countryside.

Jeremy’s over in Hangzhou China talking Yahoo and internet stuff and has posted some neat pix at Flickr as well as comments about China at his blog.

People often ask me “why should I start a blog” and I think one of the best reasons is that through blogging you can keep up with your friends and other interesting folks  on their terms AND on your own – ie they post what and when they like and you can read what and when you like.    When you are with them in person it’ll be easier to cut to the most important stuff, and blogging brings a kind of depth to the life experience for both reader and writer that is not accessible using the normal small talk and christmas card method.

So why blog?   For friends, family, and for YOU!