Thursday, August 11, 2005

Thai government might provide 500,000 cheap laptops for Thai students

Few days ago, Thai newspapers mentioned of an idea by the Primer Minister to provide 500,000 laptops to Thai students, at a cost of 4,000 Baht each. I do not know who will pay for it but certainly our CEO of Thailand can dream of novel ways to raise money. A minor interesting point is that it will cost only 4000 Baht (or USD 100) each. I recall my earlier memory that the high cost of the laptop was mainly the LCD, or 50% of its price. I am not aware of the current price of LCD ; althought it is much lower than before but I do not think a good quality LCD for the laptop would be that low. Perhaps that would sacrifice the quality of those cheap laptops and we might end up with half a million Thai students with short-sightedness. Grim future for the new generation, isn't it. Another point of concern, bigger one, is which OS this planned laptop will be used. If it 's going to use the Thai Language Extension of Linux (TLE Linux), which I favorably think so, much more desktop features must be refined in the future. This is to prevent the previous incidents of sort of lack of support in the previous TLE version 5.0 installed people's laptops. The Thai postal service could not do the support role. As a consequence, a high fraction of users was believed to reinstall them with illegitimate copies of old and obsolete OS such as Windows.

My major concern would be the lack of information, Thai-oriented by the way, which constitutes the "I" in the "IT" word. I do not think sufficiently many people or agencies in Thailand have concerted or massive plan to create such a big "I". Recently, I visited the web of the Thai National Library, for example, and it still looks unprofessionally too cute and not much serious information could be obtained from it. I hope that somewhere they have a kind of e-document repository idea, sort of like e-Print servers, in a plan. I also hope they have heard of this idea.

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