Open Source Society Technology
The XO laptop project is one I've been following since it was first conceived of by MIT Professor, Nicholas Negroponte, in January 2005. It intrigued me due to its BHAG or Big Hairy Audacious Goal of creating a laptop that could be sold for $100 and would be appropriate for use in third-world countries. For now it costs $198 but the price will drop as manufacturing is honed. It may never reach $100 but it will come damned close! That alone is amazing!
What makes it so special? It has a battery that lasts for a gazillion hours...well OK, 7 or so, is good for 20,000 recharge cycles (4x your laptop) and costs 10 dollars to replace. It can connect wirelessly (of course) or through a mesh network. The mash allows it to connect with other XO laptops and communicate with them - think truly social networking (within a village for ex.). If just one of them is connected to the Internet they can all connect through this laptop...without any end-user configuration.
That's the beauty of this machine. It connects to everything without you telling it what to do. It's smart. It is also waterproof, can recharge from a $10 solar panel or a crank recharger, is as readable as a newspaper in bright sunlight, can be dropped on a rock with no ill effect and on and on and on.
A truly marvelous device. You can buy one starting November 12th for $400. You get one and a child in a poor country gets one (you also get a tax receipt).
Find out more by watching this excellent video.
or go to this website for details of how to buy one: laptop.org