Thursday, November 23, 2006

Wintel is from Mars, OLPC is from Venus

The first OLPC's (I'll just turn that into a noun) have rolled off the assembly lines. From a green perspective, I'm excited about the project for a variety of reasons:

  • It breaks the Winintel buy/upgrade/throwaway cycle. Frankly, I don't know if the OLPC cycle will be much better, but I suspect it will be because it is designed with developing countries in mind, and developing countries are terrific at conserving resources. I'm not the only one.
  • There are a lot of them. This is exciting because it means there are a lot of parts available. As every SA knows, scavenging works best if all of your machines are the same.
  • It's right sized. I posted an article a while ago on using the 100 energy slaves we all have working for us on a daily basis. And, with the competition (the human brain) running at only 20 watts, these things have better be producing. In this regard, the OLPC laptops show great promise, as they only draw 2 to 3 watts. Basically, if they can do a tenth of what a human brain can do, they are a good bet. Compare this to a high end desktop running at 400 watts that has to do the work of 20 people.

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