Forget the OLPC laptop, MIT's new hotness is the $12 desktop computer for developing countries based roughly on the NES. The goal is to create an equivalent of the Apple II from the '80s for less fortunate students across the world, likely to complement the OLPC laptop initiative. The designers imagine schools with computer labs where kids could learn the basics that they could use later in life. And the good news for the students who may someday get these is that gaming is indeed part of the package. [Project Page via Baltimore Sun]
Congratulations, MIT. You just made a cheapass NES clone plastered with copyright-infringing characters. Of course, China's hodge-podge industry has beaten you by how many years? This might be a handy toy for kids to learn a thing or two, but I can't see it as a particularly effective educational tool, and it definitely won't prepare anyone to today's world of computing.
Hey, I've got a crazy-ass idea! Take the Dragonfly BSD kernel, slap it onto a server farm offering various data services, optimize it for thin clients on a relatively low-bandwidth virtual network, and hand out extremely cheap ultrathin clients (for a certain fee) that can use a TV as a monitor and a phone line or cable TV line as a data service line. Then, you can serve up all sorts of data services with a minimal monthly fee. Hell, it can't be any worse than OLPC.
OLPC was made by MIT guys. Where the hell but MIT's Media Lab do you think the "Let's save the world with cheap PCs!" idea came from?
It's an NES-on-a-chip, and by the looks of it, it's got a build quality comparable to those cheap Chinese NES knockoffs.