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Re: How many of you would buy the OLPC computer right now?

  • Subject: Re: How many of you would buy the OLPC computer right now?
  • From: "Larry Qualig" <lqualig@xxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: 17 Mar 2006 12:47:13 -0800
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Roy Schestowitz wrote:
> __/ [ Larry Qualig ] on Friday 17 March 2006 18:15 \__
> > Lobo wrote:
> >> If the OLPC computer was available for sale right now, would you buy
> >> it?
> >>
> >> At $100
> >> At $150
> >> At $200
> >
> > Assuming these (
> > http://www.engadget.com/2006/03/04/olpc-100-laptop-shown-in-final-form/
> > )  were available to me (which they are not) I would *not* buy one. And
> > as Roy S. pointed out in his reply, I'm not the person these laptops
> > are targeting.
> >
> > Now if I were living somewhere in Cambodia would I buy one of these?
> > That is a very difficult question to answer. I don't live in Cambodia
> > and I have no way of relating how much money $100 is to someone who
> > lives in such a country. What's the equivalent amount of money to me...
> > $500, $5000, $10,000? But just equating it to some amount of money
> > isn't a fair comparison because I already have access to healthcare,
> > medicine, food, shelter, transportation, etc. My mindset of buying such
> > an item is going to be vastly different than the person they are
> > appealing to. I understand what this item is and what can be done with
> > it. Will the Cambodian farmer understand and appreciate the benefits of
> > such a device to be willing to spend $100 on it?
> I'm glad you finally concur with me on that one. Remember that the OLPC was
> engineered and conceived with a certain audience and environment in mind.
> Cost should be set aside.

I'm fairly sure that we both saw the same audience/market for this
laptop. We just expressed our views from different directions.

> This reminds me of a fellow student who was using a machine that cost around
> 10,000 pounds. She used it to run Windows 2000 for daily work. The machine
> was a server that had been bought by professors some years back, but was not
> put to use. In terms of the price is was an overkill. The machine was _not_
> designed for what she was doing and just devoured a lot of electricity. I
> once told her that the machine was crying. It was begging for more work to
> fulfil its potential.

Most personal computers spend a majority of their time begging for more
work. Mine has probably used more CPU cycles this week than ever
before. My nVidia card has video-capture capability built right into
the card. You plug this little dongle into the connector on the back of
the card and voilla - you have video capture.

My newest camcorder is digital and I can download the videos right into
my PC via fire-wire. But I have all these older "Hi-8" videos and even
some older Betamax tapes of the kids when they were younger. So this
week I decided to digitize all these old family videos and make a DVD.

Digitizing the video itself takes quite a few CPU cycles. (Hi-8 is
about 30fps @ 640x400) Then there's the video editing where I remove
the junk I don't want, add music, special effects, transitions, etc.
Even that isn't too bad on the CPUs.

What really pushes the limit is the "digital cleanup" that I run
against the older analog videos. It removes noise and flicker and
produces noticably better image quality. Problem is that this is
sloooooow. It needs to analyze each frame of video and compare it
against previous/next frames. It works well but it is painfully slow. I
don't have the exact number but each minute of video takes about 18-20
minutes to process and clean-up. (Works best as a batch job done

But other than this latest project... my machine is usually idle.

Out of curiosity, are there any "video capture" apps for Linux that you
know of? Not so much for the new "fire-wire" digital transfers but for
video-capture cards. Obviously I would need a driver to talk to my
nVidia card. I may have been able to do this with Linux but didn't
really want to get into a big mess. It's enough work as it is
digitizing all the videos (has to be done in real-time, meaning dozens
of hours).

Windows has a standard API for video capture devices (similar to SANE
for example.) Once the nVidia driver was loaded I could capture video
from Windows Movie Maker, Nero, Pinnacle, etc. Originally I planned on
capturing the video on XP then booting Linux and using Cinelerra to do
the editing but ran into some "issues" there so I'm now doing the
editing in XP and eventually I'll user Pinnacle to author the DVD.
(Create titles, chapter menus, etc.)

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