OLPC has been in the works for some time, and i've been suspicious for just as long. it was probably good enough to sell a book, but not to effect lasting change in the world. the idea is to design and produce a $100 laptop, cheap enough to distribute freely to millions of impoverished children all over the world. power? no problem, it's got a dynamo. internet? easy, it will mesh a peer-to-peer network. i even like the rhetorical analogy to (a community of) pencils. but the truth is that structural obstacles to growth in impoverished countries are not the absence of pencils (or computers), it is the absence of communities. sure, network computing has transformative properties, reducing effective social structures and making them more fluid. but that's in already structured societies. for the impoverished, this $100 laptop will be nothing more than a commodity, something to exchange to fulfill more immediate needs, consistent with the impoverished social structure. what's needed are initiatives to (help to) remodel that structure (read, teachers). the $100 laptop is cutsey and innovative, but a solution it is not. at least not yet.