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MIT Media Lab recently announced plans to create $100 laptop to be distrubited to school children in developing nations. The idea is quite revolutionary.

The proposed $100 machine will be a Linux-based, full-color, full-screen laptop that will use innovative power (including wind-up) and will be able to do most everything except store huge amounts of data. These rugged laptops will be WiFi- and cell phone-enabled, and have USB ports galore. Its current specifications are: 500MHz, 1GB, 1 Megapixel.

What I find most intersting is the "...will be able to do most everything except store huge amounts of data" statement. 5 years ago, would anyone want a computer that doesn't store huge amounts of data? No. But with the advent of - buzzword! - Web 2.0 a statement like that does scare me at all. In fact, I find it to be quite... almost... well... liberating. Web applications are the wave of the future in my opinion. Being able to access any program over the internet without the need to install a program is the way the internet moving. With BaseCamp, Flickr and even GMail, web applications have become all the rage. The future will be in the user's ablity to connect to their personal infromation from any computer, anytime and anywhere.

These new computers have a chance for work in that same fashion. Why would school children need 20gb of hard disk space if they could write, edit, research and hand in their assignments by GMail? Disk space isn't what it used to be. The children don't need to fire up Word anymore to write the paper... they don't even need it installed on their system!

The main reason these computers can be made so cheaply now is their lack of necessary disk space. It's quite an amazing idea and I'm very excited to see what the developers can come up with. So far, it looks very promising!

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