[sugar] The Power of a Truly Low Cost Laptop for People in Need

LodatoClan at aol.com LodatoClan
Thu May 31 14:52:38 EDT 2007

The Power of a Truly Low Cost  Laptop for People in Need and Their Caregivers 

Janine M Lodato  

_LodatoClan at aol.com_ (mailto:LodatoClan at aol.com)  

In  a recent article in www.technologyreview.com , Dr. S. Simeonov  
(_www.polarisventures.com_ (http://www.polarisventures.com/) ) eloquently  argued that 
if information technology (IT) is provided to people on the full  time basis 
then their productivity explodes. Also their quality of life  improves 
significantly to which, as a disabled person I can personally attest.  This is 
especially true for people who are on the wrong side of the digital  divide: they do 
not have quality IT capability.  
A  significant size subgroup of these people without adequate IT capability 
are the  100 million people who are mostly homebound: the frail elderly, 
chronically ill  and the disabled. This population sector is the fastest growing 
segment due to  the aging of the baby boomer population. There are 44 million 
informal  caregivers (family and friends) in the USA who attend to the 100 
million  people in need of care-giving. The combination of these two groups  account 
for roughly half the population of the USA. It is the same  ratio in the 
populations of the group of ten developed nations.  
What these people need is a simplified version of the MIT Media Lab's  (Dr. 
Negroponte's lab.) 100 dollar laptop. Now called OLPC: one laptop per  child. 
Currently priced at 150 dollars but it will come down with volume. It  runs a 
very simple software called XO, offering a simple browser, email,  meshed 
network and the capability to automatically sign up and log into  the Internet and 
the Web. This simplified and easy user interface is called  Sugar developed 
under Linux by _www.RedHat.com_ (http://www.redhat.com/) .  
Also please look at the _www.laptop.org_ (http://www.laptop.org/)  web-site 
for greater details of  the OLPC XO laptop capabilities.. 
While, of course, the XO laptop can connect to any server on  the Internet, 
it should also be supported by local community based server  portal we would 
like to call AbleryPortal  offering the  desired applications. 
The AbleryPortal is equipped with a gesture recognition enhanced  high 
performance voice recognition system thus the end user could simply use  their voice 
and a few gestures. We call this the Signalish system and have  developed it 
over a period of time: details are available upon email request.  
No  Windows, please, only Linux. Windows is insanely unreliable, maddeningly 
complex  and criminally expensive, that is what is wrong with Windows.  All  
applications will run in Webtop style (like _www.youOS.com_ 
(http://www.youos.com/) ) on a group of servers offered by  the local government such as the 
These Webtop server capabilities could also be offered by the  courageous 
companies who support Dr. Negroponte's project including AMD, Google, eBay, Red  
Hat etc.  
The 144 million people mentioned above also need  a political voice and 
political support by any  political candidate, with courage and foresight. The XO 
laptop  connected to the AbleryPortal capability would allow these needy people 
to  voice their political needs. 
The 08 presidential election could be just perfect. A perfect  platform for 
the independent political group: _www.unity08.com_ (http://www.unity08.com/) . 
Of  course the small businesses who employ caregivers would also support such 
 enlightened campaign supported by this very large voting block.  

We  also need a tax break for businesses, especially for small businesses,  
when they hire and retain an informal caregiver as an employee. Businesses  
already have a tax break when they employ a disabled person. The same or similar  
tax break should be given to the business which hires informal caregivers or 
who  already employ such caregivers. 
If  a politician candidate for a major office would create and  push through 
the legislation which would provide a tax break to the employers of  
caregivers, it would assure that such politician or candidate certainly would be  
supported by much of the above 144 million population segment: the combination  of 
the informal caregivers and the people who are in need of  care.

What a campaign issue, indeed!

The US Department of Labor predicts that by 2008, 54 percent of the work  
force will be involved in caring just for an elderly person making doctors'  
appointments, handling emergencies, giving transportation, buying and cooking  
food, all the basic functions of life the elderly person has difficulties to  

But the informal caregivers who are also full time employed have a major  
problem; not everyone is able to manage the conflicting demands of working and  

A  MetLife study reported that 16 percent of employees who perform as 
caregivers  quit their jobs and 13 percent retired early in order that they could 
provide  care-giving to the people in need. This study found that the average 
life-time  loss per such person was an estimated $ 566 thousand in lost wages, $ 
67  thousand in lower pension benefits plus $ 25 thousand loss of Soc. Sec.  
Also, many of the employees who are caregivers get passed over for  
promotions and are the first ones who are eliminated when a downsizing of the  business 
takes place.  
These problems of the employees, who are also serving as caregivers,  could 
be almost eradicated if the employers of caregivers would let their  
care-giving employees to perform tele-work style for some or much of their  workload. 
About only one in four businesses offers employees who are  caregivers such 
advantages as flexible hours, telecommuting, paid leave in case  of emergencies 
and compassionate understanding. 
The legislation which would support the employers of the caregivers could  
also include a double or increased tax break for the employer if the business  
would allow the employees, who are involved in care-giving, to perform most  of 
their work with great degree of flexibility such as telecommuting and  
flexible time. One potential use of such tax break would be to supply the  caregiver 
employee with a high performance Linux based, safe and reliable,  laptop so 
they can perform their work from anyplace including the home of the  needy 
person they are performing the care-giving for. 
So  let us organize a strong campaign for the independent third party online  
convention, or the convention of the democrats, followed by an  election 
campaign in each of the 50 states and then onto the  Presidential elections, which 
could include in their platforms the special tax  break for the businesses 
who employ and appreciate employees who are also  dedicated caregivers. 

Janine M.  Lodato
P.O.Box 838
(  o )\_

************************************** See what's free at http://www.aol.com.
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