One lesson here is that a simple but well-done web app [...] can be vastly superior to a full-fledged but terrible iPhone application. Usability Nightmare: The My.SXSW iPhone App.
What’s sadder than people in Burundi earning an average of only $90 a year? It might be Bill Gates‘ criticism of MIT’s efforts to bring affordable, networked computers to the poorest countries of the world in hopes of improving education (and communication and healthcare and more).
The challenge is enormous: the technology needs to be durable, require low-power (and be easily rechargeable), as easy to use as an egg timer, have networking in a land without infrastructure, and be cheap, cheap, cheap. Yet somehow, the MIT folks have figured it out, and the project — known to most of us as the $100 laptop project — seems to be on its way to success.
It’s the sort of thing that you’d figure a philanthropic guy like Bill Gates would be on top of. But alas, he seems not to understand. Gizmodo, ArsTechnica, TeleRead, and others are all reporting the world’s richest man went critical over the MIT project.