Once again, the One Laptop Per Child Foundation is offering two of its XO machines for $399. One goes to you, one goes to a third-world child. Technologizer editor Harry McCracken, the pathologically honest former head of PC World, bought into the program last year. This year, he says, he'll do it again, but he's not sure you should:
Should you Give One, Get One in order to get an XO to use as a netbook for serious adult-type productivity? I wouldn’t: The child-sized, rubbery keyboard wasn’t meant for grown-up touch typists. And while OLPC has introduced an XO that runs Windows XP, the G1G1 laptops are the original ones, running Linux and the decidedly kid-oriented “Sugar” user interface.
There's one big improvement this year. OLPC has arranged for Amazon to handle fulfillment.
Last year, the fulfillment firm chosen by OLPC proved incapable of getting laptops out to donors in an organized and timely fashion: When I made a donation I didn’t to the fact that I had to wait for weeks after the estimated arrival date had come and gone so much as that the fulfillment house lost my mailing address. Repeatedly.