Thursday, March 26, 2009

The Difference Between James and Compaine

Hi all,

We didn't get to talk about the James article as much as I would have liked. To make up for it, I'm hoping to move our class discussion to our blog. The question comes from the list I sent out last week.

What are some examples of James’s evidence that he uses to argue against Compaine? How might Compaine reply?

James's article is replying directly to Compaine's--as well as a few others. You can see the number of times he cites him in his article. I'm asking us to give Compaine a chance to rebut. How might Compaine use James's evidence to argue for his point of view?

Please reply in the comment section of this post.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009


Like a couple of you have stated, OLPC has noble intentions, yet there other greater issues that developing countries are more concerned with than obtaining a slightly shoddy, toy-like laptop. I praise OLPC's efforts towards trying to close the digital divide by distributing technology aimed to make those recieving it feel connected to the rest of the world and equally priviledged. But, if one were to compare the quality of an XO laptop to that of one common in a developed country such as the U.S., you would see many differences and ineqaulities. Some characteristics of an XO laptop are listed below:

1). Instead of a large hard drive the laptop has 1GB of flash memory, similar to that used in some digital cameras.
2). The chip, made by AMD, is much slower than most in today's PCs, operating at a speed of just 433MHz. In comparison , some of today's high performance machines have multiple chips with speeds of up to 3GHz.
3). has no hard drive, CD or DVD drive.
4). can be difficult to physically use; very small keys and screen

Even though OLPC has a lot of work ahead before they can "put a laptop in the hands of every child on the planet," I still give them credit for caring and trying.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

One Laptop Per Child

Hey all, as we talked about in class, we'll be using the blog to understand the OLPC program better. Please comment on this post with some new information about the program.

What does that mean for your responses? You'll have to read the post and the comments to make sure you're not repeating anything! We want to know as much as we can so we can make informed decisions about how this laptop relates to the issues we've been discussing in class.

So in relation, try to also provide some commentary about how your OLPC information relates to some portion of the class content.

This will be fun!


One of the most striking digital divides that I have come across, though unrelated to American libraries, is the vast difference between the technology available to children here, and that available to those in Africa. The One Laptop per Child organization strives to bridge that gap by donating inexpensive, interactive laptops to children in Africa. The article that I read described the program and stated how it lacks funding not only because we, technologically advanced nations, aren't giving enough but also because the governments of these countries are not willing to spend the money to test these unproven products that could take away from the standard teaching environment. The African governments are concerned about buying "an odd looking box with unfamiliar software" which is a valid concern. Relating this article to our class though, I think that this initiative is one that needs to be explored more. If we can provide children in Africa with internet access and computers, we will be able to further break down cultural and physical barriers between countries and people. This program will help promote business practices that can occur across any distance and can link up children in different countries to help with learning and understanding the size of the world. Further, children will get involved with technology at an early age and will have an advantage, or at least an even playing field in the business world in the futures. This is something that libraries in the US provide as well. While one laptop per child here too would be a stretch, every family having access to a computer and the internet is not. That is achievable thanks to libraries which, much like the One Laptop Per Child organization, serve to bridge the digital divide and bring those underprivileged individuals to the level that the rest of the world is at.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Hey everyone! I didn't talk in lecture today either, but I had a bunch of thoughts. 

In response to the previous post on today's lecture... I know I had a reporter write about broadband access for farmers in a recent Badger Herald issue. Obama was increasing broadband access as part of his stimulus package, but I don't know anything more about taxes,etc. 

However, I really wanted to comment on the personal experience I had in Costa Rica in a library. I went to the country on a school trip in high school, and although I had some Spanish language knowledge, I didn't know enough about the language to go around the library myself, so I can only imagine how scary it is for recent immigrants here. 

In Costa Rica, the libraries were much smaller, darker and not nearly as welcoming. I don't know, or rather don't remember, anything about if you had to pay for services, but I remember that nearly everyone there was waiting to use a computer, which most people didn't have at their homes. Each person would only check out a few things and then someone else would have a turn. 

I thought it was very interesting to think about today because I hadn't thought much about the experience until lecture today. 

Lecture Today!

Hey guys!
So I get a little nervous talking in front of the entire lecture, so I didn't today. But my question was regarding the new online bills and internet access that President Obama is attempting to put in to action currently. I think it is an excellent idea to have broadband internet access for everyone in the country. However, I am concerned as to how these changes will be funded. Will there be new taxes? Will funds be taken away from other causes? I guess the issue here is whether or not we have enough funds to complete this task especially in our current economy. I feel that internet access for all is a just cause, but I don't feel like it is realistic to say that every single person in the U.S. will be provided with access. 

Let me know your thoughts. This was just something I was thinking about in lecture today! :)

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Informationalism and Division of Labor

Hey all, we didn't manage to cover all our discussion questions this week, so this week's blogging prompt is from the question list. As you're responding, please note your classmates' responses. Try to respond to each other as much as my prompt.

4. Robert Reich (former Secretary of Labor who also made a cameo in the “Digital Divides” video) has suggested “the principal division [in labor] is no longer between blue-and white-collar workers but rather among three new categories” (22). What are those categories and how are they different than blue- and white-collar divisions? How do these divisions play into our discussions about inequality, digital divide, and racial ravines?