Friday, December 7, 2007

The World Wide Web & Access for Everybody

The steam engine and iron rails transformed our lives profoundly 200 years ago. The USA would be a very different place today without the railroad. I believe that the personal computer and the internet will transform our lives in even a more comprehensive fashion than the railroad. Unprecedented in our history, these tools enable us to exchange information globally and interact with each other almost instantly. In open source computing, people work together who live in Minsk, Mumbai, Shanghai and San Francisco, as if they sat across the street from each other. The resulting synergism is unprecedented in our history. On this post's day, SOURCEFORGE.NET hosts 164,138 projects and has 1,744,123 registered users.

It is essential for our future that everyone has access to the internet. Particularly, people in developing countries must not be left behind, if we wish to lessen the gap between the rich and the poor nations. That is why I encourage everybody to participate in the One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) initiative.

Nicholas Negroponte, Professor at M.I.T., launched this initiative in 2002 with the idea to create a laptop computer affordable to people with little means. This computer was conceived to cost about $100.- and work anywhere, providing access to knowledge about our world to youngsters even in the remotest areas. The product ended up costing twice as much as initially hoped.

However, there is a way to ease the financial burden. When you participate in this initiative until Dec. 31, you purchase for a bit more than $400.- one computer for yourself and another for a kid somewhere out there who has hardly ever seen a sleek gadget like this before. I bought one for my ten year-old son. Imagine two sets of eyes beaming with curiosity and excitement, one set here and a second set somewhere else, when the kids unpack this wonder machine! Join in!

  • The XO proved itself a profoundly useful edition to our household, particularly for reading e-books. The next generation can be purchased here (Oct. 18, 2008).
  • Amazon is sold out for now (Jan. 12, 2009).
  • Brian Stelter reported today in his The New York Times article entitled "Can CNN, the Go-to Site, Get You to Stay?" that garners on average 1.7 billion page views per month. The web is the future (01/17/09)!
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  • I could not emphasize the relevance of free global exchange of ideas better than Dr. Goodall in this 2002 presentation (07/07/2010):

  • In the video below with the title "Wiring the Amazon" published online by The New York Times, May 19, 2014, Michael Kleiman and Michael Pertnoy document how XOs were put to their intended use in a small Peruvian village in the remote Amazon. Sadly, the laptops' success did not last because of the scarcity of adequate technical internet support. The XOs seem to have been supplanted with cell phones (05/21/2014).

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