Benjamin M. Schwartz bmschwar at fas.harvard.edu
Thu May 22 11:46:35 EDT 2008

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John Watlington wrote:
| On May 22, 2008, at 11:01 AM, C. Scott Ananian wrote:
|> GPS enables a lot of mapping and geography-related educational
|> activities, which is why it was originally considered for the XO-1.
|> It would probably (like the camera) only be powered on when being used
|> (although the long lock-on time might make this user-unfriendly).

Long lock-on times have been reduced considerably in the latest generation
of cheap GPS hardware.  Initializing with a good guess makes it even
faster, just a few seconds.

|> Google Earth-like applications are fantastic for giving students a
|> sense of their place on the earth, and there's a lot of economic
|> possibility inherent in allowing kids to create better maps for their
|> local neighborhoods.  But, the time/cost was not ripe for Gen 1, and
|> it may not be for Gen 2 either.
| Probably not.   Remember the accusations that we already
| HAVE a GPS unit in the XO, and are using it to track everybody...
| Would we have to have a hardware-only light that indicates that
| the GPS unit has been used to locate the laptop ?

A hardware light sounds like a good idea to me.  Nonetheless, we should
not allow the conspiracy theorists to design our hardware.  We are of
course speaking about GPS receivers, not location transponders.  OLPC may
not be able to include GPS, but we should not deny useful technologies to
children merely because we expect a backlash from uninformed armchair critics.

- --Ben
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