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A Preview of the $100 Laptop

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The mockup I saw was about the size of a large paperback book. There's a stiff rubber gasket around the edge of the machine, which can double as a stand. The keyboard on the mockup was detachable, but will probably fold out on a hinge. The system is designed to work in three modes: laptop mode (screen up, keyboard down, handle behind as a stand); book mode (screen on the front, keyboard on the back, comfortable indentation for holding it in the left hand. Pressing on the keyboard "accordian-stype" - as Negroponte puts it - allows for page scrolling); and game mode (screen in the front, keyboard in the back, held sideways, like an oversized PSP. Two trackballs, surrounded by four way buttons, on each side of the screen act as controls, and function keys on the back act as additional buttons.)

The keyboard on the prototype I saw was removeable - I think this was a nod to the idea that separate keyboards will need to be produced for different markets. In China, the appropriate device might be a stylus and pad rather than a keyboard, making it easier to enter ideograms.

The screen I'm staring at as I type this is backlit with white light - it's what's called a transmissive display. To produce colors on the screen, there are three colored filters that can be selectively applied to each pixel - these filters allow each pixel to display a huge range of colors.

I didn't get to see the software being designed to operate the machine, but learned a bit more about the team working on it. A small team of Red Hat engineers are customizing a Red Hat distro to the processor and hardware specifications of the machine. They're doing some work on the GUI as well, as are Alan Kay and Seymour Papert.

Full Article.

I'm sure the computer will be

I'm sure the computer will be used for far more than computers are used in America. In US schools all they use computers in the classroom for are typing in a word processor and playing games. Try seeing how much a data entry job pays. And Nintendo research - there's a family wage job. Basically high schools are still just getting the rich ready for college and letting the poor fall behind.

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