Anyone who's known me for more than three seconds can figure out that I'm a geek who's interested in technology, not only for its own sake, but for what it can do to make life easier. (Hence, my interest in assistive technology for disabled people, and how best to provide equipment and training to the people who'd benefit from it.) What people might not realize is that I was also raised to value education, and the opportunity to receive it, highly. This was drummed into my dad's side of the family by my grandfather (who passed away when I was a few months old), because he had to quit school as a boy and go to work during the Great Depression. His regret at being unable to complete school translated into a philosophy, which eventually was handed down to me, that a person should seize the opportunity to pursue an education, if it's at all possible.
Hence, it should surprise no one that I'm highly enthused about the "One Laptop Per Child" program that's on the verge of being implemented for children in developing countries; the premise is that an extremely low-cost laptop computer will be provided to each child, which can then be used in the child's education. Textbooks can be loaded onto the devices at a fraction of the cost of providing physical books to a schoolful of students. The device is meant to be rugged, consume less power than a high-end laptop, and even has a crank to charge its battery manually in the event that the electricity goes out. My first thought, upon reading about this, was "Genius!"
Well, it appears that those of us in the US and Canada will be offered a very interesting way to promote this program. For two weeks in November, we will be able to purchase two such laptops, with one going to a child in a developing country and with the buyer receiving the other one. Half the cost of this purchase is tax deductible.
I think it's a great idea. I hope it gets an overwhelming response, not just because it involves techie things, but because someone decided to think WAY outside the box when trying to resolve the issue of getting kids in developing countries an education. Like I said, "Genius!" :o)