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David Pogue on the OLPC XO

David Pogue reviews the XO for the New York Times.

“The XO laptop, now in final testing, is absolutely amazing, and in my limited tests, a total kid magnet. Both the hardware and the software exhibit breakthrough after breakthrough — some of them not available on any other laptop, for $400 or $4,000.”

Pogue immediately sees the potential of the XO, especially through the way it has created new network- and group-centric paradigms of working and learning.

“Most of the XO’s programs are shareable on the mesh network, which is another ingenious twist. Any time you’re word processing, making music, taking pictures, playing games or reading an e-book, you can click a Share button. Your document shows up next to your icon on the mesh-network map, so that other people can see what you’re doing, or work with you. Teachers can supervise your writing, buddies can collaborate on a document, friends can play you in Connect 4, or someone across the room can add a melody to your drum beat in the music program. You’ve never seen anything like it.”

As many had hoped, developed world customers can now buy one of their own (more accurately, you can buy two, one shipped to you and one to a child in the developing world).

The XO is a formidable testament to the power and promise of open source, and a huge vote of confidence in the potential of millions of people around the world that have so far been left out of the information age. Its release is clearly going to be a world-changing event.

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