Wednesday, November 28, 2007

One Laptop Per Child blows goats

Look, I like OLPC. Mostly because it's an acronym. But what sort of 1.0 thinkers dreamed up this project? (Get it? 1.0? As in 'one-point-oh'? As in 'one' laptop?)

Limiting a child to just one laptop is yesterday's thinking. How about two laptops? Or three or six or eight? Heck, how about 100? The OLPC initiative is a noble thing. I'm not questioning that. But Nicholas Negroponte needs to get a little more ambitious, a little more imaginative. That's where innovation happens, at the nexus of ambition and imagination. Why limit ourselves to counting numbers at all? There's a word for unlimited potential. And that word is 'infinity'.

Also, what's with the laptops? Who wants to lug around a 3- or 4-lb. slag heap of industrial melt-off in this day in age? Do I look like Tenzing Norgay to you, motherfucker? How about an iPhone, or better yet an Android, or better yet a next-gen ultra-mobile PC that hasn't even been invented yet? With bundled kNoodle SDKs?

I don't even know what 'per' means. It looks Latin. And Latin's a dead language. I'm not a nativist or a xenophobe, but let's face it. These kids already have every disadvantage. Let's give them a head-start by making them speak in the living language of technology ... English.

Okay. I hate to be nit-picky, but I'm not really sure I like 'child' here either. 'Kid' is more fun, and kids like fun stuff. Even better: 'friend'. Because we're all supposed to be friends in Negroponte's future utopia, right? Or how about we go even further? Let's tie this whole thing in with social networks. Because isn't that what this project is all about?

So forget the clunky 'One Laptop Per Child'. It's branding suicide. I'm going to suggest we go with: 'The Infinity Open-Source Ultra-Low Voltage Next-Gen Handset Operating System Kernels (English equivalent of 'Per' TBD) Friend Request Initiative'.

Now that's got word-of-mouth buzz written all over it!