Tag your laptop


In a discussion with Jay Cousins recently we talked about a small problem: If you’re coworking in a cafe or in a coworking space, you sometimes don’t know a whole lot about the other folks around, or what they’re working on. Online, Twitter or a coworking network like Hallenprojekt.de do a good job transmitting just this information. But if you walk into a cafe and would like to strike up a conversation with another laptop worker, things can get socially awkward. (Plus, of course, you don’t want to make the round from laptop to laptop talking to 10 people until you find someone you relate to.)

Jay mentioned something he had done over at a Barcamp in the UK, which is give people a funny hat with their tags (i.e. interests, skills, companies etc) so you could see across the room who you might want to talk to based on shared interests. So we wondered if there’s a way to reach the same effect without running around in public wearing giant tag-cloud hats.

Here’s a proposal: Just tag your laptop, so people can see what you do:

tag your laptop The important bit: The piece of duct textile tape in the lower right corner, tagged with some projects i’m involved in.

It’s probably too much trouble to update it to a current status, but at least you get a general idea. In my case that you can see in the photo above: I’m interested in #coworking, a regular at #studio70, co-organizer of #atoms&bits as well as #likemind Berlin, and I’m a member of Berlinblase.

Of course, duct tape might not be everyone’s first choice. (If in doubt, double check first if you can remove it without traces!) So get creative: Use a non-permanent marker right on your laptop. Use stickers. If you’re a tinkerer, attach a little display on the back of your laptop. Of course it all works with your Moleskine, too. And next time you’re in a cafe and see someone with the tag #coworking on their laptop, make sure to say hi!

Negroponte Unveils Second Generation OLPC


Just a few months after shipping the first laptops, the One Laptop Per Child project (OLPC) is getting ready for round two. Chairman Nicholas Negroponte just unveiled the second generation laptop, going by the name XO-2 or XOXO.

Xoxo, laptop.org So here’s what it’ll look like. (Note the Matrix-like picture language? Ah, good times.)

Needless to say, from what Negroponte has shown it’s pretty amazing. (Am I biased obsessed? Well, in that case I think I can live with it.) The new generation is roughly half the size of the current version (or rather: the whole new machine seems to fit into the foldout screen of XO-1), and it features a dual touchscreen. Basically, it just consists of a dual touchscreen. So it’s a premium e-book, or a dual Pong screen, or half keyboard, half screen. Either way, it looks like the future is now. Think Minority Report meets International Aid.

And while that’s good news for developing countries, it’s probably good news for the industrialized world, too, namely for us gadget geeks: Just as the OLPC project pretty much created the low-price laptop segment (like the Asus EEE), XOXO will also push the prices for touch screen devices all the way down. I so want one! However, it’ll be another few years, aimed launch is 2010, for a planned cost of $75 per piece. (Again, it’s unlikely that they’ll hit that price, but even if they manage to produces these machines for, say, $100, who’s going to complain?)

Gizmodo has a picture gallery and a concise write-up, more coverage available directly from OLPC.

One Laptop Per Child Project Launches Social Media Campaign


One Laptop Per ChildAs I’ve mentioned before, I’m a huge fan of the One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) initiative, which aims at giving kids in developing countries a rugged laptop so they get easier access to educational material and so they get a chance to bridge the digital gap on their own.

If you’d like to support the OLPC project, there’s a great way to do so: You buy two laptops and it’s Give One, Get One. One of the awesome green things is mailed to you, the other one goes straight to a soon-to-be-hacking kid. (The program is available to U.S. and Canadian citizens only, so far, so to order from somewhere else, you’ll have to do so through friends in the States. Which, admittedly, can be kind of a pain.)

This Give One, Get One program is, of course, a fundraiser, but first and foremost a means to raise awarenesss. The OLPC project is also accompanied by a very solid social media campaign. As Chris Brogan has pointed out, this is a great example for how social media can drive social responsibility campaigns.

The OLPC campaign includes updates through Twitter, both for transparency (Peru just ordered 260,000 laptops) and to point out other supporting projects, such as Luminaire, a fundraiser by artists for OLPC. You can support OLPC through the Facebook cause, or even give this greenest of all laptops directly through Facebook.

There’s a joint story telling campaign by UNICEF, OLPC and Google, Our Stories:

The Our Storiesâ„¢ project helps people share the stories of their lives, no matter where they live or how their stories unfold. We’re providing resources to create and share personal stories from all over the world, starting with children in developing countries who are using One Laptop per Child (OLPC) computers or those who are working with UNICEF radio producers to record and share interviews. Children are asked to record the stories of elders, family members, and friends.

Personally, I’d still like to see what happens if you hook up the OLPC Laptop with Twitter. My idea? It’d go boom, in a good way. But that’s just me.

(If you speak German, you might also be interested in Markus Beckedahl‘s take on how the web offers good opportunities particularly small political organizations. Having been active in the online campaigning field for a long time, he knows the ropes and shared his insights in this interview he gave for my client Blogpiloten.de.)