One XO Laptop Per Obsessive Fanboy

I am obsessive, but not blind

my xo laptop
I have my X0!
blogging success
OLPC News Success
Wow! My XO laptop from One Laptop Per Child is finally here. It really exists and it’s in my very hands. I never really knew if this moment would happen.

Now, I never doubted that OLPC could build the laptop, or that it would be clock-stopping hot technology that everyone would want. I knew it would be the geek gadget to have this Christmas, I’m just surprised I have one, now.

I’ve been obsessed with OLPC for the last two years, ever since I first heard Nicholas Negroponte start talking about a “$100 laptop” in February 2005. Since then, I developed thought leadership on his grand plan through OLPC News, my obsession turned digital as a website that tracked the program’s every move.

With the site as a micropublishing platform to make myself heard, I’ve become quite the gadfly around the project, with quotes in much of the mainstream press and even a full minute of TV fame with an interview on 60 Minutes.

And with all that exposure, and not all of it pro-OLPC, I had my doubts that I’d ever have a Children’s Machine XO myself. I had the firm belief that OLPC would do its best to keep me from having one, out of spite as much as anything else.

Because I wasn’t a blind fanboy, because I spoke out against its more egregious implementation fantasies, OLPC did its best to discredit my opinions. Oddly, they’re very dislike of me, gave OLPC News more credibility, more independence to stimulate conversation around the programs methods and goals.

And so this past August found me in Santa Clara’s Kobe Japanese restaurant with heavyweights of the technology and education sphere. People who were all heroes of mine for their efforts to bring both to the developing world.

During the course of dinner, the debate around OLPC became intense, and questions about its survival arose. I silenced all with a bold prediction: OLPC would sell XO laptops to Americans this Christmas.

There were a few guffaws, and I do remember betting someone, though I forgot who, and when we left, I wondered if Christmas would find me the fool. Alas, as I write this on my own XO, bought through OLPC’s innovative Give One Get One program, my prediction came very true.

And now if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got some learning and exploring to do.


I am on 60 Minutes this Sunday!

It’s official: I am a One Laptop Per Child expert!

the focus: olpc
wayan on tv
Look ma: I’m on TV!
Are you in the USA? Do you have access to the American infotainment juggernaut? Then turn your attention to the CBS News program “60 Minutes” this Sunday, May 20th at 7pm.

Famed reporter Lesley Stahl will be covering MIT Professor Nicholas Negroponte’s progress with One Laptop Per Child, his dream of one-to-one computing as an educational boost, a way for children in the developing world to “learn learning”. Ms. Stahl will have on-location reports from OLPC testing in Brazil. With 13 million viewers on average, the coverage of OLPC should be a major boost in profile for the project.

Lesley Stahl will also be interviewing an obsessive follower of OLPC XO advances, a technology in development expert who publishes the informative and influential OLPC News: Wayan Vota.

Yes, I’m on 60 Minutes this Sunday!

In what may be a great case study on how blogging now influences major media outlets and confirmation that I am in the blogging big leagues, 60 Minutes will be focusing on the other website I publish: OLPC News.

I am told my site and I will be an integral part of the One Laptop Per Child segment of the CBS News program, including video of an interview I had with Lesley Stahl in New York City. There should be a distinct focus on OLPC News as the medium by which those interested in the “$100 laptop” can go for independent news, information, and commentary.

Luckily, if I make a fool of myself, I am headed to Nairobi on Tuesday for two weeks, and I’ll be able to hide out until the mobs dissipate. If I come off the expert, I might just become a blogging consultant. I create enough content to be one already!


I’m gonna be on National Public Radio tonight!

Wayan Vota, an OLPC XO $100 laptop expert – who knew?!

olpc xo
OLPC Chlidren’s Machine XO
negroponte olpc
Nicholas Negroponte of OLPC
That’s right, I’m going to be on National Public Radio talking about a $100 dollar laptop, tonight, Wednesday Feb21 @ 7pm. (station list)

Think about it, a $100 dollar laptop. Wouldn’t that be great! You could buy one for everyone you know. Better yet, what about a $100 laptop designed for students?

Imagine a classroom full of children, faces aglow with laptop screens, all learning at Internet speeds; the next Bill Gates, the next Jerry Yang, the next Sergey Brin. Now imagine all three in the developing world, better known for abject poverty than power computing.

That is the dream of Nicholas Negroponte, a MIT professor and technology futurist, as well as a dream of many in the development community. In a distinct difference, Mr. Negroponte has run with his dream and now his nonprofit, One Laptop Per Child is designing an appropriate-technology laptop, the Children’s Machine XO.

Originally priced at $100 dollars per laptop, now $150 and climbing, the technology behind the computer is amazing. But as Dr. Negroponte often reminds us, this is an education project, not a technology project, and he believes that he can revolutionize education through Constructivism – the laptop being sole tool required to achieve that goal.

As a technology professional, with a deep love for the developing world, I’ve followed OLPC in daily detail on my other website: One Laptop Per Child News where sometimes I am a fanboy and other times I scream in frustration, schizophrenic in my support.

Tonight National Public Radio will discuss this love-worry spectrum of One Laptop Per Child on “Open Source with Christopher Lydon” and I will be one of the guest speakers. That’s right, I’m going to be on NPR!

Listen in – this is your chance to give a thought to one of my passions, development using information and communication technology on my other Internet passion: blogging on OLPC News.

Radio Open Source streams live tonight at 7 PM EST:

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I’m in the Blogging Big Leagues Now!

And I’m enjoying the wild and wooly ride!

Little Nicos
The next geek generation!
news scoop!
Hot tip? I’m on it!
Over the last year or so, an initiative has slowly formed to change education in the developing world. Based around the idea that children need to “learn learning” and computers are the best tool to do this, One Laptop Per Child has developed a cheap (in price, not technology or manufacture) laptop and proposes that developing world governments buy these computers for internal distribution.

From the on-set, as a techie, an uber-Geek even, with experience in and love for the developing world, I’ve followed OLPC with deepening interest. I also noticed that while there were many articles about the program on various websites, there wasn’t a single website focused on the computer, now called the Children’s Machine XO, or its professed goals of changing education.

So I started a website about it all, One Laptop Per Child News, with the main goals of staying educated on OLPC and to enter into the debate about its merits. OLPC News was also the next step in my blogging career, running my own collaborative blog, experimenting with different management and promotional techniques along the way.

Now, only five months later, I’ve succeeded beyond my wildest dreams!

This unpaid hobby of mine, a loose association of writers and commenters myopically focused on the One Laptop Per Child program, has jumped into the forefront of the international debate.

Everyone from the OLPC leadership to national news media reads One Laptop Per Child News. Leading websites and news organs regularly republish our scoops of OLPC-related news. Controversial posts have altered the conversation around the OLPC program and ideas and memes from the site have entered the vocabulary of other OLPC followers.

And just this week, I’ve had the greatest compliment of my blogging career. Conspiracy theorists, so amazed at how informative the content and professional the site, have come to the conclusion that OLPC News cannot be the humble work of yours truly. That there must be an invisible corporate mandarin behind the scenes, orchestrating the site’s success.

To be honest, at first I was offended. As long time readers of mine on all the sites I write for know, I call life how I see it, warts and all, with no apologies and no hidden agendas. I write for OLPC News in exactly the same style – honestly how I feel at that moment based on my experience and the knowledge I have at hand, other protagonists be damned.

That my voice could be bought, by an employer or companies I associate with in my profession, was so absurd I finally realized the underlying flattery. Not only is everyone involved with One Laptop Per Child reading OLPC News on a daily basis, the site is so insightful and so influential, that key players are becoming paranoid about what we’ll talk about next.

And that, my friends, is the very definition of blogging success.