[sugar] The Power of a Truly Low Cost Laptop for People in Need
LodatoClan at aol.com
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
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
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
SAN ANDREAS, CA.
( o )\_
************************************** See what's free at http://www.aol.com.
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