OLPC and innovation


I particularly like this article that links up Sir Sinclair of the Sinclair ZX80 fame with the OLPC project. I am not sure the link is fair to both projects and men. The Sinclair came out at a time when technology was beginning to see the initial impact of Moore’s law happening while the OLPC is addressing where Moore’s law created the digital divide.

When you are forced to think about writing a program that only fits into 4K of memory (like my first computer, the 6502-based Superboard II), you do things very tightly. When faced with oodles of RAM and storage, laziness creeps in and does disservice. This disservice is also seen in the hardware growth – battery power hungry LCDs for example and double-clocked, over-clocked CPUs – that does not help to realize the enormous benefits from Moore’s law. One hand giveth and the other hand taketh it away.

The OLPC is an effort to reign in those outlandish hardware design rules for simplicity to address the remaining 5 billion people. Moore’s law needs an extension and perhaps it should be the Negroponte Collorary via the OLPC hardware design.

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