Talk:Ask OLPC a Question

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Please take responsibility for the risk that these machines will be used to create a massive wave of new pornography exploiting the poor.

Please take responsibility for the risk of these machines creating an epidemic of new pornography and offer something beyond "this will be dealt with on a country by country level." You are the experts on computing and innovative solutions. The governments of these developing countries are often not equipped to problem solve at a cutting edge level in the computerized world. Your laptops include a (video) camera. It will take a microsecond for poor people to realize that the easiest way to generate income with their machine is to use it to MAKE and distribute pornography. If even a handful of your machines are hijacked for this purpose, it will tarnish everything you do.

I have lived in the developing world for years and spent time in more than two dozen African countries. It is not just a possibility that these machines will be abused, it is an absolute certainty. If you simply suggest to the overwhelmed governments (who will already have security problems once your machines hit the streets) that they be careful of adult content, they will not know how to tackle the problem.

Stop passing the buck on this one. If you are unwilling to attempt the development of something that can be built into these machines, at least suggest some appropriate and dependable ways to filter content. (To be clear, I am not at all concerned that poor people will look at pornography. I could care less. I am concerned that these machines will be used by the poor to make new, exploitative pornography involving their young people and children.)

A possible suggestion: Whenever someone is uploading pictures or video (via the mesh) to the public world, have it pass by human eyes for approval. More specifically, have those eyes be female and have them be in another country in another region of the world. For instance, Uruguayan women, approve every image and video that Nigerian computer users upload. Libyan women approve every image and video that Uruguyans upload etc. It will be harder to corrupt the filter if it exists far away.

The countries where you are going to pilot this program are full of women who would happily take an image filtering job for $50/month or less (and that, in many cases, would be a generous salary). Invest an extra $60,000 in each country towards the power of person by person, external, female filtering and you might be able to save yourselves considerable embarassment. In the context of this project, $60,000 sounds like chump change; but it could create 100 jobs in each country and help to protect young people from the world's thirsty perversion.

But, please, don't hand this one to the governments. People won't blame them when your machines cause an explosion of new pornography. They will blame you. And you will have handicapped future efforts to bring technology to the people who need it most.

How would you feel if that income kept somebody from becoming a prostitute? One of these careers is actually dangerous, and often fatal.

Ndebele Art Project

Dear OLPC Project,

The Ndebele Art Project is a 501c.3 non profit organization and was started in 2004 to address the urgent need of the African artists in Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe. I would like to explore the possibility of partnering with OLPC to address the educational needs of the tribe. We have a preschool started at least the building and two teachers and the supplies.

One of the items the tribe has asked for is computers for the teachers and then the teenage children. Our Board will be traveling to Zimbabwe on November 13th and would like to deliver computers at that time. We are looking into solar or hand crank computers, can you help? Our website is Any information you could provide regarding a partnership or the purchase of equipment would be appreciated.

Good Work

i'm not sure if this is the right place to do this but i want to say that i think this is an amazing project and all the best with it.

how could we help?

I find this project absolutely marvelous, and would like to contribute. How could we be of any help? - Alain.

I'm a Spanish teacher of Modern Languages (English, Italian, French, Spanish). I would like to offer my help to make this project real in any way possible. I have years of experience teaching, and I would be very honored to do anything I could to develop your idea. Felix (

The company I work for would like to make a donation to support OLPC. Can you please contact me about your donation policy? Thank you. (nox AT cambrianhouse DOT com)

Financing techniques for OLPC

I'm working for an Institutional Investment House and I'd like to gather techniques that allow countries/governments to find/gather the financing for 100 million OLPComputers. [Fund Babylon or the OLPC fund ?]

Public traded company

Is olpc a publicly traded company, and if not will it be any time soon?

No, it's a non-profit.

Mesh network capability and satellite connection ?

This a great project and I think it will be successful in closing the digital divide. However it seems that the computers would be useless if a user does not have internet access. I know that the laptops will have wireless connection that is provided by satellite. My question is will the wireless connection provided by satellite cover all the regions of the world for free?

This is important because you indicated that the machines "will make a mesh network of their own, peer to peer". However this is only useful if there are a great number of laptops in close proximity. I don't know the distance required to establish this network but it must similar to free wireless hot spots in the US.

How many individual units are needed to make this network effective?

Thanks ooumard@(e-mail address )

You might misunderstand how the satellite service is deployed. The laptops do not talk directly to the satellites. Schools will have the satellite connection, and the laptops will have a wireless connection through each other to the school. There are many satellites, but they don't cover all the world. Most satellite owners want to be paid in some way. Paying them on a per region basis is practical, but not on a per kid basis. The laptops do have a greater range in more remote areas, and a great number of laptops in close proximity is exactly what is planned. --Quozl 19:56, 13 November 2007 (EST)


How far does the Internet reach? In other words how close do the Laptops have to be to each other in order to be able to network? ~ Peter Mikael Jensen

Within hundreds of metres in the open, within tens of metres in sparse vegetation, within a few metres in a building. This is not something that is easily predicted, as it depends on radio noise in the environment, altitude, humidity, propagation, reflection, obstruction, and so forth. In experiments in the Australian outback we have operated laptops over 1.6km line of sight with no obstruction, but this was done very carefully. Distance counts for far less than height above ground and signal obstruction. --Quozl 20:02, 13 November 2007 (EST)

Increase public awareness and purchases

Follow the apple lead with the RED products. And produce a RED version. Convince Starbucks T-Mobile to provide free or reduced wifi for anybody with an olpc laptop. The demand for them would be unstoppable even at $300-$400 dollars. People would be able to check email drink their coffee with there bright red laptop smug in the knowledge that everybody walking by knows they are doing there bit to save the world.

Curriculum Development

I'm a public school teacher with extensive experience in curriculum development. Is OLPC involved in this aspect of bringing opportunities to children in developing nations? If so I would love to know how I can help. - Joanna

Yes, please help. Have a look through the Educators page on this Wiki for ideas. We have 20 on the roll call already, and I'm sure they would welcome more. --Quozl 20:09, 13 November 2007 (EST)

How Could we help

I am a IT support analyst . I would like to offer my help to make this project real in any way possible. I have years of experience in IT, and I would be very honored to do anything I could to develop your idea. ~ Izaak

Could we extend this to Rural and Tribal schools of India?

Blossom Charitable Trust, (Registration No. E6668/Vadodara dated 18.06.05) with Head Quarters in India and actively engaged in imparting free computer education in primary schools in the State of Gujarat. Objectives: To impart skills in the use of computers to target groups/ beneficiaries with particular reference to ICT absolutely free of cost to Children/ Parents/Schools. To improve quality of primary education through use of IT.

Progress so far (October 2006): State: Gujarat :: District covered: Five :: No. of Schools covered: 1762:: Classes covered: 1 to 7 :: No. of students: 602000

Haresh/ Punita:::

Messy FAQ

IMHO this page is getting way too messy. Lots of questions have been asked (and answered) - many in 'duplicate'. The TOC is just a flat sequence without any real clustering of related subjects defeating the point of a FAQ/Ask a Question. I would be willing to re-organize it, but I'm wondering about the plans for this page... Should I? Or Shouldn't I do it? --Xavi 09:09, 2 December 2006 (EST)

Well, I did it anyway... I'm not quite sure why though or if it'll do any good. Tried to cluster the mayor areas I spotted, and maybe later will do some sub-sub-categorization (ie: bundle all the "will I be able to buy it in some-country?" together and likes)--Xavi 13:44, 2 December 2006 (EST)

Can we ask people to add questions here instead?

Maybe we should change the text of the main page to ask people to submit their new questions in this Discussion tab. That would also highlight the fact that Discussion pages exist and some questions are better asked in the Discussion tab of another page.

I wouldn't mind. I find the '+' tab a worthy functionality for the page - so much better while trying to ensure that new questions go at the end/bottom and not on top or wherever. But in order to preserve the article page you would need to somehow lock it. Unfortunately, with that solution the users would have to check in more places in order to try find an answer: the OLPC FAQ page(s), Ask OLPC a Question, its archive and then this page! Way too confusing.
On a side issue, I think that the name of the page lends itself to misinterpretations by some (novice?) users: they just ask! They don't care to check if it makes sense or the answer is somewhere in the site (hidden or otherwise)... just like an email, they fire-n-forget.
I've noticed the latest clean-up on the page and welcome it (I didn't dare). Still, I think that many more questions should be clustered, grouped, re-written, etc. in order to reduce the size of the page. Unfortunately, I would think that such reformulation it would overlap with the intent of the official FAQ... --Xavi 10:19, 17 December 2006 (EST)

New Orleans and Katrina

- Why can this program not be used for the New Orleans area, devastated by the failure of the federal levees? We are so close to the death of this great American city, and the school systems are in dire straits. This could help because the school system is devastated. We have little if any computing infrastructure. We currently have a free local wireless network. Finally, it would be a big PR event for the organization

- In the FAQ, you quote: "However, our priority is to make the laptop available first where there is the greatest need." Have you toured the ninth ward or Gentilly lately? Do you know the difference between Hiroshima and New Orleans? Japan rebuilt Hiroshima.

The OLPC project offers the laptop to any country, although emphasis is put on underdeveloped countries, willing to participate. But it's upto them to decide, not the OLPC. Maybe you should check OLPC4USA, its FAQ and keep an eye on the Category:OLPC USA for future developments specific to the USA, or News and the OLPC FAQ in general.
Reposting your question in several places from a previously edited entry could be considered spamming. Specially after efforts have been made to deter questions about the availability of the OLPC outside government agencies.
Personally, I find a bit disturbing the careless way by which you compare Hiroshima to New Orleans; which btw took quite some time to rebuild and will always bear the scars and stigma of its (man-made) tragedy. A quick search gave me this article about it.--Xavi 01:40, 20 December 2006 (EST)
Thanks for the answer. The reposting occurred due to deletion without answers. And I see nothing careless about the comparison of Hiroshima to New Orleans. New Orleans was also devastated by a man made tragedy.
I would've thought that this section addressed your question - at some point a FAQ has to consolidate specific questions into general ones. If you see nothing careless about the comparisson, then we are not on the same page, but this is not the place to debate on the issue.--Xavi 12:32, 20 December 2006 (EST)
A quick web search will show that there are far more similarities than differences.

Split the page?

This page is way too big! The top 5 of Special:Longpages reports:

Even the TOC is way too long!

I was thinking that the current ouline could be used to split the mega-page into several 'Ask OLPC a Question about XXX' keeping the original as a place holder for a catch-all broad answer and then guiding the query towards the appropriate page - each with a 'New Questions' section.

It will not stop the 'clueless' from posting 'carelessly', but maybe it'll make easier moving it... currently I get a bit lost trying to keep track of such a long page...--Xavi 12:42, 19 December 2006 (EST)

"Ask OLPC a Question about XXX"--seems like an excellent suggestion. --Walter 12:49, 19 December 2006 (EST)
Done. Well, almost. I left the General, Uncategorized and New Questions still in the main page, and I'm missing the 'New Questions' in each of the sub-pages. I left behind some 'samplers' of questions asked, and in some cases, pointers to other pages in the site (ie: hardware specifications). So there's still room for improvements; so comments, corrections, etc. are welcome.--Xavi 16:30, 19 December 2006 (EST)

This page needs some serious wikignome attention again now. I was thinking of taking it on, but then I realized that any solution based on multiple pages is vulnerable to the current problem: a constant flow of uncategorized questions building up in the page itself. And if people aggressively recategorize stuff, and if the main question page does not transclude ALL of the subcategories (which would defeat the point), the original askers will not be able to find their questions, especially since a lot of people don't log in or sign their questions.

Possible solutions: -1. Separate into a heierarchy of transcluded pages, each with a noinclude section at the top explaining how to edit and recategorize. -2. Impractical: make each question its own transcluded page, this would make it easier to recategorize but is basically impossible on current platform.

...just some thoughts... Homunq 10:00, 16 December 2007 (EST)

how to get a laptop link not working

I am interested in getting one, but the link appears to try to link to a section that is no longer on the page 11:49, 26 December 2006 (EST)

Fixed! Thanks for the notice!
Your question is one of the most popular ones (and incited the restructuring of the 'Ask OLPC a Question' into several '... Question about XXX' pages. The short answer is that they are NOT available for the general public—only to government agencies... (follow the now-fixed link for a clearer idea of why it is so) --Xavi 12:50, 26 December 2006 (EST)

exploitation (not pornography)

Pornography is a gateway issue, the substantive danger is in the physical world.

Currently sexual predators use the combination of seemingly harmless communication via computer to prey on children.

One solution is to limit the contacts for the children by requiring a trusted adult to approve the connection. Another mechanism is to parse all incoming and outgoing text for keywords.

The developing nations have a huge proble with this already. Let's not make it worse.

Give 1 Get 1 and then donate?

What are the implications for a participant in the Give 1 Get 1 scheme if they choose to donate the one they get to a charity overseas. Would the rules and regs for exporting the laptop impede this generosity?

You would need to handle compliance with these regulations yourself, this is not something that One Laptop Per Child can directly help you with. Also talk to the overseas charity, they may already be able to answer you. However, you do have the option to donate and not receive a laptop, which will help OLPC to do this on your behalf, though not to your nominated overseas charity ... see item 8 of the terms and conditions --Quozl 20:16, 13 November 2007 (EST)

Voice activation software

Is there voice activation software available for this laptop? I would like to be able to receive a call, have the person voice / words typed onto the computer.

I am looking into this for my mom's good friend who can talk, but no longer can hear. Currently she cannot use the phone, and if you are face-2-face you have to use a pad and pencil.

If not this product, can someone point me elsewhere?

thanks, don

I don't know much about other products, but I can tell you that while speech recognition is something that is being considered for the XO, it's not working yet; we don't even know yet if recognition is feasible using the limited resources of the XO. For phone communication, you might want to look at the Wikipedia articles on TTD/TTY devices and captioned telephone. Most solutions seem to involve communicating through a third party, which implies that automated voice recognition in general isn't very good yet. —Joe 11:21, 3 December 2007 (EST)

Page title captitalization

The capital Q in "Question" definitely violates the page title guidelines. But since this page is in the nav bar, I don't feel qualified to move it. Homunq 11:37, 16 December 2007 (EST)

Redoing page

I redid the page to encourage people to categorize their new questions. There is still a lot of work left to do but with some simple testing everything seems to work. Please help finish the job -

- Cut and paste questions from the giant list in Ask OLPC a Question/New into the appropriate category.

- Cleanup some of the banners from the subpages.

- Choose appropriate questions for the subpages to be included on the main page, and/or rewrite the summary sections of the subpages. (Anything on the subpage that is after the line ==Overview==</noinclude> and before the line ==Other xxx questions== , appears on the main page. Homunq 15:15, 16 December 2007 (EST)

Canadian shipments

I would ask why OLPC is not forthcoming on questions relating to shipments to Canada? Even earlier questions concerning this topic have been disappearing from the wiki, without being answered.

As donors, do we not have any right to know why we are being left in a state of limbo? Please just inform us, and do not remove this question.