Tuesday, November 27, 2007

G1G1 - The Enlightened Gift

It started simply as a good idea and a catchy phrase.

Nicholas Negroponte had the good idea: a cheap laptop for the poor children of the world that was loaded with software and connected to the Internet.

His catchy phrase: "the $100 laptop."

In 2005 Negorponte with a little help from his friends created the The One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) organization. The goal: to give every primary school aged child in the world a rugged, Internet connected, low-power consuming laptop.

It took three years and some pretty complicated twists olpcto achieve the goal. But it is a reality and called the XO laptop.

Admittedly, it isn't exactly a hundred dollar laptop (it's closer to $200) but it is rugged, Internet connected and doesn't require electricity.

If you are me, you probably think that the $100 laptop is a great idea but why stop there? Why confine the idea to children? Why not include teens and adults?

What about a OLFE (One Laptop For Everyone) organization?

This is perhaps and example of a good idea that lacks a catchy phrase because to date no such organization has developed.

Fortunately, good ideas tend to be contagious. Earlier this year Intel and ASUS (a computer maeee pc 2nufacturer) announced a commercial version of the $100 laptop, the ASUS Eee PC. Four versions are currently being sold at prices ranging from $191.52 to $639.36.

Both of these machines use some interesting technology; if you are interested visit the OLPC or ASUS sites.

As much as I love technology, I am much more intrigued by good ideas. And the OLPC organization has a terrific one for the holiday: G1G1.

Get 1, Give 1 is a gift idea with real punch: get a computer for your kid(s) and give one to a child in a developing nation (Rwanda, Afghanistan, Cambodia, Haiti and Mongolia). This is not your classic "two-fer" deal since both machines cost you $399, but it is still a great deal -- a charitable contribution and a Christmas present you won't have to wrap.

To participate click on this link: One learning child. One connected child. One laptop at a time.

Since November 12th, OLPC has been offering a limited-time Give One Get One program in the United States and Canada. During Give One Get One, you can donate the revolutionary XO laptop to a child in a developing nation, and also receive one for the child in your life in recognition of your contribution.

Of the $399, you get credit for a $200 charitable contribution. Next April you can deduct that from your taxable income. If your tax rate is, say, 20%, that's a savings of $40, which brings the actual price of the XO laptop you receive down to $183.95. You even get a nice email from Nicholas Negroponte, founder of OLPC, thanking you for your contribution.

This is the one gift guaranteed to enrich at least two kids -- how cool is that!

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