Let’s Do Some Good

Dig the nifty tablet designYou’ve probably heard about One Laptop Per Child, the visionary project intended to get computers and connectivity into the hands of children in the developing world.

Founder Nicholas Negroponte had a simple idea: He and his partners at the MIT Media Lab would design an inexpensive, basic laptop — something that could be made with about $100 worth of parts, and run open-source software that didn’t require programmer-level understanding — and make as many of them as possible. And then, with the help of some wealthy donors, he’d put them in the hands of children who need them the most.

A fine and worthy cause, this. And yet, as the New York Times reports this morning, progress has been slow:

“I have to some degree underestimated the difference between shaking the hand of a head of state and having a check written,” said Nicholas Negroponte, chairman of the nonprofit project. “And yes, it has been a disappointment.”

So he’s doing what any computer company would do in this situation, and having a sale. As of November 12th, when you donate one of Negroponte’s laptops to a child for $399 at xogiving.org, you’ll get one for yourself, free, to be passed along to the child (or adult) of your choice.

Having never been able to resist a computer deal, I’m in. Anyone else feeling charitable this year?