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NOVEMBER 26, 2007    XO LAPTOP   

Junk mail... fighting back

Junk mail, labels from catalogsIt was annoying to see three more catalogs in today's mail, two of them from companies I'd never even heard of. In the past I'd have just grumbled about "damn junk mail" and thrown them in the recycle pile.

Not any more. Now that I'm signed up with CatalogChoice.com —described here—I tore off the address labels, threw the catalogs in the recycle pile, and went to my computer. In about a minute I was able to decline any more mailings from these companies. It felt good to take action against more crap in the mail. Try it yourself.

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One Laptop Per Child photoGive one, get one

It's cute, it's cool, and maybe it can help change the world.

It's the XO laptop computer from the One Laptop Per Child project. The goal of the project is:

To provide children around the world with new opportunities to explore, experiment and express themselves.

The original plan was to build and distribute laptops throughout the underdeveloped world. The hope was to build laptops for less than $100, load them with open-source software designed specifically for kids, and thus promote education in areas where opportunities are few and far between.

The price rose to $200, but the resulting machine seems remarkable: a " flexible, ultra-low-cost, power-efficient, responsive, and durable machine with which nations of the emerging world can leapfrog decades of development—immediately transforming the content and quality of their children's learning. "

If you're interested in computers, hardware/software design, education, and helping others, buy one for a child you know and at the same time give one to a child in a poor county. This Give One, Get One program is the only way you can get an XO laptop in the U.S.—your $399 donation is partly ($200) tax-deductible to boot.

I'm really interested in trying out the interface and the built-in software myself, and plan to give the laptop to my 10-year old grandson. He's been raised on XBox and "real" computers. Wonder how he'll react to this? This review written by a 12-year old give me reason to think he'll like it.

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