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Birmingham, AL totally confused by OLPC purchase

Nilay Patel

We knew we were in for some rough chuckles when Birmingham, Alabama signed up to provide an OLPC XO to every K-8 student last December, but we didn't think they'd be this silly from the get-go: apparently the mayor's office, which negotiated the deal, is now saying the school board needs to add WiFi to every school for the laptops to work. That's news to us -- the mesh-networking XO was designed to be used in rural parts of the developing world, after all -- but we're still puzzling out what mayoral advisors John Katopodis and Bob McKenna meant when they said they're "trying to make the whole city WiFi," or where they got a quote of $39 per school to enable wireless access. Of course, the only response from the school board was one member who worried about students accessing porn -- which seems to be a real theme with the XO -- but for some reason we're not at all surprised that bureaucratic officials have totally missed the point of the OLPC project.

[Thanks, Jay]

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