Talk:Our market

Revision as of 18:05, 9 December 2006 by (talk) (Comment on theft:)
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Our intention is that the laptop belong to the child even after they leave school.

But this would make the laptop easier to steal in the long run. 10:22, 25 July 2006 (EDT)

Avoiding resale to developed countries

Comment on: "Considering that there are many people in the developed world who want one of these, are you worried that recipients of the laptop will re-sell them?"

IKEA seems to have a very simple tactic to avoid their plastic bags being stolen from the markets: Inside the market you can get yellow bags to carry your shopping items. At the point of sale however you can buy a blue bag which you then take home -- yellow bags are never sold and stay inside the market. Thus if you see someone with a yellow IKEA bag you know he or she must have stolen it. Transferring this idea: Put undetachable visible marks onto the 100$-laptops for developing countries and other marks on those that go out to the devoloped world. A notebook that you cannot use in public without being immediately recognized as the bad guy who has taken it away from those in need will not be very attractive.

Why not flip this around to a significant advantage:

I would be willing to pay $200 for one of these laptops with the understanding that you would give the second one to a school/child in some other country. I suspect I am not alone in this sentiment.

To refine this idea a little, why not make these laptops in pairs: one colour for the rich folk that pay, another colour for the distributed ones. Further, have these two laptops be aware of each other, when both have access to the Internet, through some very simplified messaging system. No actual words, that could be exploited by predators etc, just symbols: I'm online, hello, are you having fun, etc.

Now that would make for a fantastic learning experience. It is one thing for a child to be aware that there are other people in the world and quite another for the child to have some link to another child over there.

Perhaps the paired-laptop concept would be for the especially poor countries that could not afford $100 per.

Comment on: "Will OLPC spin-off a commercial subsidiary?

The idea is that a commercial subsidiary could manufacture and sell a variation of the OLPC in the developed world. These units would be marked up so that there would be a significant profit which can be plowed into providing more units in countries who cannot afford the full cost of one million machines.

The discussions around this have talked about a retail price of 3× the cost price of the units.

Please do this. Not only can it help generate revenue supporting the main project ethos, it makes sense that there could be a real market for this that isn't being addressed by suppliers at present. I'm sure I'm not the only one who wants a low-power, ruggedised e-book/PDF reader that is also a fully programmable computer with modern connectivity and storage (WiFi, USB, SD) - not a luggable laptop with ever more "features" or a closed and unmodifiable e-book reader that implements digital restrictions on what I do with it.

Not only that, but I look at what this device is and can do, and while I completely agree with the principle that putting learning tools like this into the hands of kids in developing nations makes all kinds of sense, then I also think that the Children's Laptop makes all kinds of sense for kids in more developed nations as well, and those of us who live in Western countries should also get on to our education authorities to get talking to OLPC and negotiate prices for these to be supplied for our schools and our kids as well - they're great tools and we should be aiming for the widest possible use of them!

Why hold back from such a great concept because we're supposedly "developed"? (I can feel a letter to my MP coming on as I write this.)

The more I learn about the OLPC, the more I want one, even if I have to pay $600-$800 for a stolen one on E-bay. Considering the features compared to what is available on the market, it is worth that price.

Another comment on: "Will OLPC spin-off a commercial subsidiary?

I am not sure of the meaning of "commercial subsidiary".

If it means a traditional capitalist company for which the goal is just making profit for the personal benefits of a few people, then it would be a mistake. Of course it could improve the number of total machines producted and so help decrease the price for un-developed country, but NO, I would not appreciate this.

At contrary, if the only goal of the "subsidiary" is always to allow children in un-developped contry to have their own personal computer, then YES : I would certainly buy one of two OLPC (for me and my own kid) for three good reasons :

- it is a grat product

- Buing them, I increase the total number of machines built and so decrease the final price

- I know that for each OLPC that I buy (2 times the basic price), I will contribute to give one OLPC for free to a kid in an un-developped country

Other manufacturer's use of design

Will (insert company name here, but let's imagine anything from startup Cheap-Linux-Laptops-R-Us to Dell) be able to manufacture and sell OLPC-based designs without asking permission? If not what kind of legal barriers are there to a company doing this?

I'm pretty sure that OLPC is not concerned with that. If people use their designs in a way that does not hurt the goal of the project, why should the project care? The project is full of innovative technologies, some of which could very well end up on other laptops. Cheap-Linux-Laptops-R-Us is far more likely to reuse the entire design than Dell is. The only chance that Dell would sell laptops of this design is if they decided to sponsor OLPC, and do the commercial distribution in the US that everybody seems to want. However that is quite unlikely as Dell is unlikely to want to sell a Computer that does not run "Normal" software (people will be asking why they cannot put MS Word on it, or play commerical games.) Dell would also not be equiped to provide support for the system. 19:30, 12 October 2006 (EDT)

"Periodically connected to the school network" to stop the grey market

I highly doubt that this is going to stop any type of computer from being used away from the school. There will be nearly instantly hacks to get around this, regardless of how bright you as a development team come up with some sort of software/electronic security measure to cripple these computers away from the schools, and that will lead to code bloat and bugs in the computer software (and hardware) that will be not only hard to trace down, but cause an esclation of problems further down the road as well, particularly if you try to get into the arms race of thwarting the hackers.

I hope this idea has lasted only the 30 seconds or so of thought it took to look at and reject out of hand. If this were something for a top-secret military installation with a budget of millions or billions of dollars to spend on physical security, together with armed security checkpoints and data that absolutely needed to be kept from leaving a facility, there might be a reason to implement these kind of procedures. For a very low-end computer like the OLPC, it is simply a waste of time to even worry about it.

From my own experience of having worked on school computers over the years, the only real security to keep things getting stolen is a guilty concience (I've seen school computers returned by the perpetrator's priest) and physical security where the computers are bolted down with something like a bicycle cable and a padlock. -- 18:45, 14 November 2006 (EST)

  • I also can't support this idea. Aren't the children going to grow up and leave school someday? Aren't these things meant to last forever? Do you really want to turn hundred dollar laptops into worthless lumps of plastic? Just sell red ones on the market, and give kids green ones. And yes, you do need to sell red ones in third world countries too. Actually 3 versions would be better: free green ones for kids, orange $100 version for sale in poor countries, red $300 version for sale in rich countries. The only difference should be the colour. 21:46, 22 November 2006 (EST)

Comment on theft:

Taking into consideration: Considering that there are many people in the developed world who want one of these, are you worried that recipients of the laptop will re-sell them? We are trying to develop strategies to maximize the number of laptops in the hands of children. We realize that in some places there will be many pressures to undermine that goal and are working on tactics to mitigate these pressures to what ever extent is practical. Your ideas are welcome.

[edit]What happens to the laptop when the child grows up and leaves school? Our intention is that the laptops belong to the children even after they leave school.

Then why not make it a real personal computer by writing/engraving the childs name on it. Along with the color of the laptop it should be a good deterent by guilt. If the childs school and/or town is also on there then it will also facilitate the return of a stolen laptop to the rightful owner, which might otherwise be an unsurpasable obstacle. Finally by really personalizing the laptop, then the big school bully who has not been taking good care of his laptop, thus breaking it, cannot exchange his with others. This should lead to kids taking better care of the laptop, since they know it will follow them hopefully for many years.