Intel is trying to get some other companies to help it build and sell a low-cost laptop. Whether the project will get a lot of traction is, of course, only up to our own best guesses, but it seems like there might be a lot of people interested in a laptop that only costs $350 or so. Dan is concerned that such a low-priced machine would end up disappointing a lot of users, but Brian suspects that it's just a natural step in differentiating different computers for different users. Just like we've learned to distinguish our wants and needs when choosing between a 3/4-ton pickup truck and a gas-efficient hatchback, we also learn to distinguish computers for their correct uses. One of the lessons of the One Laptop Per Child project is that there is tremendous demand for simple computers among people like children and older people who don't need to do sophisticated computer work -- they just need to get access to the Internet and be able to write a letter or a report.
Apple's been pushing its Safari for Windows web browser out to Windows users of services like iTunes. They claim that it's a huge improvement over competitive browsers like Opera and Internet Explorer. We'll be testing it out ourselves and will report back, but at the very least, it's nice to see that there are yet more alternatives to MSIE, and a little competition for our house favorite (Firefox) probably can't hurt.
We revisited a question we first addressed at this same time last year: How people in rural areas who can't get cable or DSL Internet service can still get something faster than dial-up. Most of our list of alternative wireless options remain valid, and today you're also able to get wireless broadband services from carriers like like Verizon and AT&T. One advantage those services might have over the others is that you can use them practically anywhere you can get a cell-phone signal.
Our theme music is actually by a band called the Wiseguys, in case you were wondering.
Both Dan and Brian were on Twitter today.
Guerrilla Mail offers e-mail addresses that expire after 15 minutes of use. There's a lot of potential for such technology to be used for both good and bad.
The Defense Department is working on a robotic pack mule that can carry 340 pounds over rough terrain. Imagine what that kind of technology will mean to our own lives in the not-so-distant future...especially as we live longer than ever before and find that we can't carry the same heavy loads we used to.
There's a lot that the computer-literate need to teach the computer-limited. We hope you're learning something along with us, no matter what end of that scale you reside on.
Keywords in this show: Apple • computer literacy • DARPA • Department of Defense • education • educational technology • e-mail • Guerrilla Mail • Intel • Internet browsers • laptops • music • One Laptop Per Child • pack mules • product differentiation • robots • rural Internet access • Safari • wireless Internet access