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One clunky laptop per child

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OLPC

IT WOULD be a stunt, but one perhaps worth performing, to write this column on the tiny, green and white, $200 XO computer from One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) that sits idle before your columnist. Alas, he cannot.

This is not because the keys are too small for his adult hands (though they are), or because the processor’s slow speed makes the machine frustrating to use(though it does). Nor is it because the track pad sometimes goes screwy and the keys lack the normal pressed-key response that allows smooth typing. It isn’t even because moving the column from the word-processing application to the web-mail system is prohibitively difficult.

Instead, it is because the XO, which your columnist has explored since it arrived a few days before Christmas, has bugs that cause occasional crashes. A discreet message sometimes flashes when the system boots up, warning of some sort of data-check error. This, along with the host of other hiccups, necessitated the use of an ordinary, expensive computer for this column.

It wasn’t supposed to be this way.

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