Thursday, October 4

Give your kid -- and another kid -- a laptop

An Insideschools reader pointed me to a special promotion going on next month by the creators of the XO Computer, formerly known as the "$100 laptop," a few-frills machine developed with the goal of making inexpensive computers available to children in the developing world. For two weeks in November, if you buy one of the computers (a fully loaded laptop at $400), the company will send a second computer to a child in a developing country. Except for the two weeks beginning Nov. 12, the laptops are not available for general purchase.

The computers don't run Windows or have a DVD player, but David Pogue, the Times' tech reporter, calls the laptop "amazing" and "a total kid magnet." He notes that the computers use little energy, have a long-lasting battery, and can recharge using solar power. Users can also access and tinker with the code for all of the pre-installed programs; there's a word program, a web browser, music programs, and games, among others. Especially if you are shopping for a budding programmer this holiday season, the XO laptop might make an excellent, socially-conscious gift. (And your donation to the One Laptop Per Child Foundation is tax-deductible, as well.)

Do you have a tip on something we should profile here? Let me know in the comments or by email.

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