[Olpc-open] Responding to misinformed criticism of OLPC

Jim Sayre jfsayre at vcn.bc.ca
Thu Dec 13 13:50:32 EST 2007

Thanks to all of you who replied.

My concern wasn't so much with winning Dvorak over - both his article 
and his response to some of the talkbacks (he wrote his own talkback to 
trash Nicholas Negroponte's polite reply, for example) make it pretty 
clear that he has a closed mind, which is probably good for his 
self-appointed role as a cranky curmudgeon.  But well over half the 
talkbacks supported him, and it's pretty obvious from reading some of 
them that a lot of people are just following his gripes without thinking 
for themselves.

These things have a way of spreading.  A TechRepublic blog picked up on 
the Dvorak article and asked for reader's comments: 

It was in turn picked up by a normally thoughtful member of a universal 
access email list I belong to, who agreed that food is more important 
for starving people than computers.  (Duh...)  I referred her to this 
site.  The more publicity OLPC can generate about the active projects, 
like the one in Nepal that folks are discussing this morning, the less 
impact such criticism will have.

In the end, even Dvorak may have to admit he's wrong.  After all, he 
probably uses a mouse now and then.  :)


Charbax wrote:
> I'm actually a fan of Dvorak and I have seen all episodes of Cranky 
> Geeks and listen to all Twits. I am just a bit dissapointed on his 
> opinion about the OLPC project.
> I also think that he was recently wrong saying nobody would find a use 
> to a device like the Kindle.
> Perhaps we can instead simply show him the XO and convince him a bit 
> that his column was relaying the sentiment that some of the critics out 
> there have towards the project, but that they should consider if they 
> are just misinformed.
> And perhaps Dvorak will write his next column appologizing to having 
> mixed up the need to bring food to starving people and the need to bring 
> cheap laptops to people who need education.
> So if I was at OLPC, I would make sure that Dvorak gets to see and try 
> an XO as soon as possible (it seems from his column that he has never 
> even seen one) and give him some of the most relevant links so that he 
> can learn a little bit more about the project.
> On Dec 13, 2007 7:56 AM, Ivan Krstić <krstic at solarsail.hcs.harvard.edu 
> <mailto:krstic at solarsail.hcs.harvard.edu>> wrote:
>     [I speak only for myself, not my employer.]
>     On Dec 13, 2007, at 12:40 AM, James Sayre wrote:
>      > Some of you may know that a nasty attack on the OLPC concept was
>      > written
>      > by John Dvorak of PCMag and ZDNet recently.
>     Dvorak is a professional village idiot, and has been entirely
>     irrelevant for two decades. I should remind you of some of his
>     previous choice bits:
>     "The Macintosh uses an experimental pointing device called a 'mouse'.
>     There is no evidence that people want to use these things."
>       -- Dvorak, San Francisco Examiner, February 1984
>     "The noisiest buzz in the industry lately has been over the emerging
>     use of cable TV systems to provide fast network data transmissions
>     using a device called a cable modem. But the likelihood of this
>     technology succeeding is zilch."
>       -- Dvorak, PC Magazine, September 1995
>     "When I hit Ctrl-Alt-Delete, I see that the System Idle Process is
>     hogging all the resources and chewing up 95 percent of the processor's
>     cycles. Doing what? Doing nothing?"
>      -- Dvorak, PC Magazine, September 2003
>     "The absolute deterioration of the wiki concept is just a matter of
>     time."
>       -- Dvorak, PC Magazine, July 2005
>     Just smile and nod at what he has to say. Or point people to Bill
>     Thompson's response at the BBC:
>        < http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/technology/7138061.stm>
>     Cheers,
>     --
>     Ivan Krstić <krstic at solarsail.hcs.harvard.edu
>     <mailto:krstic at solarsail.hcs.harvard.edu>> | http://radian.org
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> -- 
> Charbax,
> Nicolas Charbonnier !DSPAM:528,4761323e86771455415562!
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Jim Sayre
jfsayre at vcn.bc.ca

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