Society Technology Open Source
I am not a big fan of technology. This may sound strange coming from someone who makes a living off the stuff but it's not. Take the laptop for example. The number of features and the power it currently offers, not to mention the price, is over the top for most people. Each version of OS requires more and more power and they deliver nothing new. With all that power what ever happened to the promise of effective speech recognition? Why are we still using keyboards to enter data? They come from the typewriter and still have the same layout for goodness sakes! Did you know that the layout was chosen to slow down the typist because the mechanical typewriters of the time couldn't keep up with fast typists? Stupid!
I fully support the One Laptop Per Child project because it's all about getting the right technology to the right people. You can read an article from the Wall Street Journal here. A basic laptop with the ability to compose documents, write programs, surf the Web, e-mail and IM; being delivered to third-world students. This is cool! There is all kinds of educational material available for free over the Web. For example, MIT has an initiative called OpenCourseWare to publish the classroom material of 1800 courses across multiple disciplines by 2007. Again - Cool! I know there are many hurdles like how to get the computers, training on how to use them, and Internet access to the students. There are many more but all of these 'issues' mean nothing without the possibility of affordable computing. Even without Internet access these laptops can communicate with each other via wireless networking. The students can still use them to program and compose. They even work with a hand-crank to power them when a power source is not available.