Saturday, November 24, 2007

Give a Laptop, Get a Laptop: And a great big grin!

Thanksgiving. Christmas. Time to give, thanks and gifts. Time to get. And this year the giving and getting has never been better for geeks. Why? The XO is here.

XO ComputerYes, Oh happy day! XO Day! For the XO is the little laptop that could, as in 'could change the world.'

Come on all of you geeks out there. Get back to the edge. Buy an XO! Forget Wii. Forget Xbox. Forget Playstation and Bezos' Brain Fart (a.k.a. the Kindle). What your soul really wants is the coolest tech gift this year AND a very special feeling, a way to feel good about yourself for years to come: righteousness! And you get that from getting the XO.

That's because the XO is the laptop designed and destined for the developing world, places where they need computers that work and work cheap. The XO is the embodiment of One Laptop per Child and until we reach that target, surely anything else is just a diversion?

And right now is THE time to buy. If you live in North America and buy before Christmas, laying out about $400, roughly the same price as you would for Bezos' electronic version of a paperback book, you can get your own XO, a totally cool and very unique machine, AND have one delivered to a child in a developing country who really needs one. BUT WAIT, THERE'S MORE...Seriously, if you do the get-one-give-one program right now, not only will you feel REALLY GOOD about yourself and have a great new gizmo to explore, you will get a year of free access to all T-Mobile HotSpots in the US. What a deal! Free WiFi where you normally have to pay, like Starbucks.

And yes! There's even more! You also get a tax break. That's right, a bona fide $200 tax break, because at the end of the day you are donating a $200 laptop, while keeping one for yourself. But what a $200 laptop. First of all, this thing is a tablet as well as a laptop, viewable right side up from any direction (click the left-hand photo in the row of four small photos on this page).

XO has speakers, microphone, camera, headphone and external mike jacks, USB ports, built-in game pad and hybrid touch/tablet. The screen is 1200 x 900. And the software does all kinds of cool stuff. From word processing to music synth. What more do you need? WiFi? Of course, 802.11 b and g are included, plus s for mesh nets. This is the box to be hacking. It has Python, JavaScript, Csound and Squeak. And of course, a Linux-based OS. What great things can you make it do?

And finally, for this post, let me ask you, assuming you are an unattached male "Could there be a better chick magnet?" If you're young and single and a geek, you should be all over this. Get your XO and head down to Starbucks. Sit and do all the usual WiFi stuff AND have people come over and ask "What kind of box is that?" (That green trim really breaks the ice at parties!) Then you can tell them, because they sort of asked, how you donated one of these to a third world kid who will now stand a better chance in life. Charity can be a real turn on.

[And before anyone questions the morality of that statement, let me assure you that the recipients of charity do NOT care if the giver gave to impress a romantic partner or to get bragging rights at posh parties--a gift that has real value delivers that value regardless of the motive of the giver.]

But you must ACT NOW...it is quite likely that after Christmas all XO production will shipped to developing countries, making yours a collectors item, on top of all those other benefits, such as the lifelong feeling that in 2007 you made a statement, made a difference, did a good thing, sent a miracle of technology to a place that could use a lot of miracles.

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