Saturday, November 22, 2008

You've got to give it away

Last year, I followed the story of One Laptop Per Child and the attempts to build and distribute a $100 computer for the world. There were start-up, distribution and political challenges, not to mention some personality conflicts, from what I could tell. While I thought about donating money to the cause recently (not sure what reminded me of this worthy endeavor) but just didn't quite get around to it. Then, I saw a message on twitter that the "Give One, Get One" program was starting up in 2008:

@ScottMonty: One Laptop Per Child is now on Twitter: @OneLaptop. You should follow this very worthwhile education project. 10 days ago

I started following that account, as Scott Monty suggested:

@jspath55: now following @OneLaptop 10 days ago

Shortly after, I rephrased why I was following:

@jspath55: RT @OneLaptop T-Minus 6 Days until launch ...Spread the word!! 10 days ago

Mark Finnern replied/retweeted, but with an editorial comment:

@finnern: RT: @jspath55: RT @OneLaptop T-Minus 6 Days ... -- Read Richard Stallman first Ability to tinker is essential to change 10 days ago

I looked at what Mark referred to, and found what I consider a tired argument about which computer operating system is purest to qualify for charitable giving. For one thing, if I'm making a donation, I don't need to please anyone but the recipient. For another thing, Mark was incorrect by inferring that these computers include Microsoft Windows; they don't. Hopefully some of the nearly 500 people that follow Mark read my reply:

@finnern "Only Linux-based XO laptops will be available through Amazon, said ... vp/sftware eng/at OLPC. A Windows version will not be sold" 9:46 AM Nov 12th

@finnern See re the "read Stallman first" comment. Read it, then make up your own mind. 9:48 AM Nov 12th

That last link leads to

I ordered 2 from Amazon on 20-Nov-2008. The gift system goes wherever the one laptop per child program decides. The system that goes to me I'm planning to give away to a local charity. Another online friend suggested I keep the laptop that will be sent to me. Maybe if I do this again later.

As I was cleaning out my bill pile, I found a letter from the House of Ruth. It suddenly dawned on me that was the place to drop off the other machine. As I looked at their web site to make sure this was workable, I saw this link:

I'm used to seeing public service announcements for online safety directed at kids, protecting them from abusers, and at adults, protecting them from financial predators. This was a different, and likewise scary scenario, where women need to protect their internet browsing to sites like the House of Ruth, bus tickets, shelters or housing ads might be clues to an abuser.

Besides the donation I plan to make as soon as the shipment arrives, there's this wish list of necessities:

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