Monday, September 24, 2007

An Optimistic Endeavor or Why Will WiFi Win The World?

I caught an interview on Good Morning America with a gentlemen whose organization's goal to to put a laptop computer into the hands of every child on earth. Ambitious project. M.I.T. has developed a child-resistant, inexpensive ($100) computer that they want to distribute to needy kids.
I will accept there are many underserved, undereducated kids on the planet that would benefit. The computer's battery is rechargeable with a hand crank. No electricity necessary, but where would they be getting the internet signal in the jungle?
Minneapolis has been working on WiFi so everyone can connect without paying a cable or DSL hookup fee (and having problems with "dead spots"). Will poor countries provide the same resource? Will remote places be able to get a signal? Will the keyboard be "one type fits all"? I am sure this would work many places. Hard to believe it could be universally adapted. The man interviewed said to paraphrase, in 15 years we could wipe out poverty and have peace on earth. Perhaps if the "whole village" has these computers, they could all "raise" the child to be computer literate.
A few years ago our local school board decided to give a laptop to every kid in one of our junior high school. There are two junior high school. Just one got the computers at a cost to the school district I think was close to a thousand buckerinos per kid, if memory serves me correctly. Some parents didn't want their child to have one. They would be responsible to pay for it if the child damaged or destroyed it. This is an affluent area. Most had computer's at home. Not all had computers, so everyone got one. Heads rolled at the next school board election. We now have a referendum for a school bond and many still think they waste too much money and will not vote to increase their own taxes.
I wonder if anyone has considered that the terrorists communicate with each other via internet. Would that influence our gettting the whole world online?

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