Thursday, January 26, 2006

United Nations' Continues Its Laptop Folly

The UN in its infinite lack of wisdom has announced today at the World Economic Forum to back and fund the $100 notebook compute first discussed here in November.

The computer, created by MIT, grabbed the UN's attention as a way to bring the Internet to the deepest, darkest parts of Africa. I listed five reasons last fall citing the basic ignorance of the UN on this matter, but now I have to add a few more.

The sentences in italics are from a Yahoo News story.

6. The program aims to ship 1 million units by the end of next year to sell to governments at cost for distribution to school children and teachers. Gee, how much graft will this create for Kofi Annan's son. It's a good thing he left his last job skimming money from the UN Oil for Food program so he can take full advantage of this new $100 million situation. Then trusting the host country to actually give the computers to those in need, kids and schools, instead of selling them on the black market is a leap of faith that only the naive UN would take.

7. The devices will be lime green in color, with a yellow hand crank, to make them appealing to children and, so the thinking goes, to fend off potential thieves. Yes, we all know yellow and green scare off criminals. Especially in lands where tribal wars result in 500,000 people being hacked to death with machetes.

8. The lack of Internet access still has not been addressed. For God's sake how will these kids download free music if they can't connect to the web.

9. I've notice the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has not been mentioned in connection with this idea. Even Gates, a computer prophet if there ever was one, money is better spent on inoculations then free computers.

The computers are expected to start falling into the hands of criminal gangs in Brazil, Thailand, Egypt and Nigeria later this year.


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