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Buy A Laptop, Give One Away

In the spirit of sharing I want to steer Tech Talk readers to a story over at LAPTOP Magazine written by a professional peer of mine, Joanna Stern. For months she's been following the One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) initiative, which has received praise from the world community, coupled with some lingering concerns over how well it will actually work.

Today marks the first day the Give One, Get One program becomes available to the general public, who now have a limited opportunity to help put a laptop in the hands of some of the world's poorest children.

Stern follows the story of Sali Fandjalan who lives in Guinea, as Fandjalan brings the hardy, green-and-white XO laptop to her village. Initially conceived as costing just $100, the XO eventually rang up at $188. For $399, you can buy one for yourself and one for a child in a developing country, although you can't choose your actual recipient.

Is the OLPC project a revolutionary way of bringing high-tech to impoverished communities or a noble but misguided approach to tackle a much larger problem? Read more for Stern's take.