Welcome! Log In Create A New Profile


Clockwork Radios

Posted by SebastienBailard 
Clockwork Radios
May 16, 2008 01:20AM
This is an interesting project: using wind-up (+solar) radios for education and news in developing countries.

"People in rural areas, especially women and children, have limited access to radios. Lifeline radios ensure sustainability of access. Providing the radios for group or community listening is necessary to ensure important programming will be regularly heard. Lifeline radios are self-powered using wind-up and solar-power technology and designed for group listening - they are large and robust with excellent speaker quality - and can accommodate up to 40 listeners."


via a slashdot post
in a discussion of distribution problems with the OLPC project

(The latter is rather depressing, and makes me thankful that a RepRap is its own distribution mechanism.)
Re: Clockwork Radios
May 16, 2008 06:37AM
That radian.org essay is not a happy one, is it? I'm totally unsurprised that OLPC is a train wreck in progress, but at least there will be a crapload of useful, resilient hardware out in the world for *someone* to do something useful with.

Their lack of commitment to open source was apparent from way back when they specced the hardware. I'm happy that reprap pretty much has to be open source as we don't have a few million bucks worth of buying power, and nor could the project realistically grow even if we did.


Anyone tried fabricating the generator posted in another thread yet?

winking smiley
Re: Clockwork Radios
May 16, 2008 08:01AM
Re: Radian.org essay. Lord, what a mess. eye popping smiley

After scraping away all the moaning, the question I had about OLPC was to wonder who was actually in charge of the project. It sounded like there was no clear direction and assignment of responsibilities. sad smiley
Anonymous User
Re: Clockwork Radios
May 16, 2008 12:09PM
I had not heard that the $100 laptop had switched to Windows. Doesn't a Windows license cost more than $100?

I had really been hoping that this project would be successful with all-open-source software, if for no other reason than to establish a widely-used widely-known free OS that could attract software development, and maybe unseat the monopoly.

So what happened? Did Bill Gates make some kind of offer they couldn't refuse to OLPC to prevent such a scenario?
Re: Clockwork Radios
May 16, 2008 12:48PM
drvanthorp Wrote:
> Did Bill Gates make some kind of
> offer they couldn't refuse to OLPC to prevent such
> a scenario?

I expect that they finally freaked out trying to figure out how they were going to make Linux plus the apps they built user-friendly enough to suit large, technically illiterate audiences.

Sadly, I think the same problem is faced by the Reprap project. sad smiley

Linux, for all of its appeal, requires considerably more of its users than the majority of PC users are capable of providing. All you have to do is read the Software threads on this forum to know that for a certainty.
Anonymous User
Re: Clockwork Radios
May 16, 2008 01:11PM
I'm an OLPC volunteer. Not an employee, or a mind-reader.... but for what its worth here's my personal take:

All start-up (and non-profits) go through growing pains. The vision of the first volunteers/employees is often laser-like in its brilliant focus -- but then the real world comes knocking on the door. The people who place the orders for these laptops are politicians. And politicians need to be able to say to the folks that elected them (or bought them-- depending on the country), "See? We're getting laptops that will make our kids ready to work in the computerized world as we know it." It doesn't make any difference that by the time these kids are out of school, XP will have gone the way of the Dodo. Or that Windows is a resource hog and not the friendly when it comes time to fix bugs. Its about PR for night-now -- the short term. (and please know that while I support and love open-source, my home PC is a Windows box... and I'm typing on a Windows machine right now.)

No mater what Nicholas Negroponte says now ("education is still our focus, blah, blah, blah"), the focus of OLPC has changed from being about an all-encompassing hardware & software solution to a just a hardware solution. Sugar (the UI that sits on top of Fedora Linux) and its developers seem to be splitting off into a separate branch (sugarlabs.org).

There is still considerable overlap between the 2 communities (some sugar developers are still active volunteers and employees of OLPC).

I'm not thrilled about the recent developments... but it doesn't mean that OLPC or Sugar is dead yet. ;-)

AuntiMame (you can find me all over the OLPC wiki and boards using that name)
Re: Clockwork Radios
May 16, 2008 01:48PM
Thanks for the insight. Seriously, really appreciate it.
Re: Clockwork Radios
May 16, 2008 03:12PM
Linux is user frendly.... It just picks it's users...

it is to bad because the ones who the computer is intended for is the one who needs open source software not the one who foot the bill..
Re: Clockwork Radios
May 17, 2008 02:22PM

So what happened? Did Bill Gates make some kind of offer they couldn't refuse to OLPC to prevent such a scenario?
Not directly winking smiley

Given the world-wide Windows monopoly, some governments were not interested in a device that would not allow their budding citizens to learn to use Windows in preparation for and exciting career as an 'information worker'. This sort of self-perpetuating monopoly is a truely astounding feat... I can't think of any other product quite so pervasive across the world (bar, perhaps, the fruits of Mr Kalashnikov's engineering... but even then they're not the product of a single company).

There is already (or there was planned to already be) a 'windows for the third world', cut down with a cheapy license. It can't really compete with piracy, of course, but it is a fraction of the price of the real windows. And the $100 laptop is closer to $200 right now... to get that price down means manufacturing in greater volume, which needs more sales, which means getting the pro-windows governments on side...

And so on and so forth.

It is possible that Microsoft have stepped in as a sponsor (or perhaps something not unadjacent, like the Gates Foundation or whatever), but that is quite secondary to the main causes of the decision.
Sorry, only registered users may post in this forum.

Click here to login