Boletín de Noviembre de 2005
Boletín Informativo

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Tech for the World

Summit in Tunisia unveils Negroponte's $100 laptop and other ideas for plugging in the rest of world.
By Associated Press

TUNIS, Tunisia (AP) -- A U.N. technology summit was focused Thursday on bringing more communications, including Internet access, to developing countries where the cost has been too high and the technology too low-tech.
Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi and Senegalese President Abdoulaye Wade were among the leaders scheduled to address the World Summit on the Information Society, which ends on Friday.

At the same time, several companies and organizations were unveiling their plans to bring the world closer and, in a sense, narrow the digital divide, by providing laptops that cost just US$100 (euro85) to portable, satellite-based radios that can pull in international programming from just about anywhere.

More than 16,000 people from 176 countries are attending the three-day summit.

Delegates also said bridging the digital divide was more than just creating better access, lower prices and improved bandwidth.

Pakistan's Mahmood Kahn said increasing access to communications can help improve relations between regions and religions.

"Information is not just an economic tool," Kahn told delegates in the main hall. "We need its infinite power to combat the rising tide of prejudice and hatred ... We will use the Internet and other media to heal wounds, to remove misperceptions, to promote dialogue, to foster trust between diverse communities and to reverse the onslaught of extremism and terrorism."
Elsewhere, the focus on learning was prevalent at the summit.
Microsoft Corp., the world's largest maker of software, unveiled a new network of learning centers in Tunisia that will train people to be teachers in technology.

The effort is part of a joint push with UNESCO to make technology easier to understand and, ultimately, to spread its reach across Africa, Asia and the Middle East.

"We welcome this project for its scope and potential," said Koichiro Matsuura, UNESCO's general director.

Jean-Phillippe Courtois, president of Microsoft International, told The Associated Press that the year-old project has gained steam and the 200 centers it plans to open in Tunisia will be replicated elsewhere.
"The InfoYouth Center represents the type of program that effectively addresses education and development issues to date," he said.

Late Wednesday, a text-book sized laptop boasting wireless network access and a hand-crank to provide electricity was unveiled by Nicholas Negroponte, Chairman of MIT Media Lab.

The machines will sell for US$100, making them accessible to millions of school-aged children worldwide, he said.
"These robust, versatile machines will enable children to become more active in their own learning," U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan told reporters after the machine was unveiled.

Negroponte said the aim is to have governments or donors pick up the cost of the machines with the children who receive them having full ownership.

The first shipments are due in February or March and will go to Brazil, Thailand, Egypt and Nigeria.
Negroponte said he expects 1 million of them to be sold to those countries. He did not say who would build the machine, which will cost US$110 to make, but at least five are considering bids to do so.

He said the laptop, lime green in color, would run on an open source operating system, such as Linux.

Negroponte said the laptops could become available on the commercial market, but at a higher price.

He said they were colored lime green, with a yellow hand crank, to make them appealing to children and to fend off potential thieves.