OLPC is screening IPs?

It’s the only thing I can think of — my efforts to order an OLPC laptop are being rejected each time I try. I’ve waited over three days and retried as many times with two different browsers, but Paypal kicks back the order each time, always referring me to the merchant.

I know it’s a U.S.-only offer, and I respect that. I have a Paypal account and a valid U.S. credit card and a legitimate U.S. shipping address. So what’s it matter where I click the buttons from?

I considered redirecting through an anonymizer of some sorts, but that shouldn’t be necessary. I have a friend in the U.S. who would be more than happy to reroute it to me, at my expense. I’ll see if the order works that way too.

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6 Responses to “OLPC is screening IPs?”


  1. 1 Wolf Vorkian 2007/11/14 at 10:21 AM

    Maybe a blessing in disguise, Mandla. You probably want the little laptop as a curiosity item but also have an altruistic motive too.

    Quick anecdote concerning the latter. An enormous earthquake leveled parts of Baguio in the Philippines in 1990. Hundreds if not thousands were buried alive and the Philippine Govt appealed world wide for help in the form of large construction equipment and several countries in Europe immediately flew in these large machines. The loaders, crawlers, cranes etc, sat at the airport for several days while people died in Baguio. The port of entry officials claimed that a tax was owed and wouldn’t allow the donated machines to leave the airport before it was collected. A de facto bribe or lagay as they call it there was what they demanded.

    This type of callous indifference isn’t unique to the RP, in fact it is without a doubt present in most, if not all, developing societies.

    Point being of course, I’d be surprised,shocked is a better word, if anything other than a very small amount of the little computers ever got to the parties who they were intended for. If they don’t take your $400, that means you still have it in the bank and some corrupt official in one of those countries doesn’t have at least a portion of your bucks in either a US financial or Swiss institution.

  2. 2 johnraff 2007/11/14 at 12:18 PM

    “This type of callous indifference isn’t unique to the RP, in fact it is without a doubt present in most, if not all, developing societies.”
    Well… in so-called developed societies too. :(

    As to what kmandla should do, hmm…

  3. 3 K.Mandla 2007/11/14 at 2:58 PM

    I understand those issues, I really do. I would rather the developing world got clean water supplies and sustainable sources of electricity before western liberal guilt handed out free laptops.

    But I still think the program has good intentions and I like what it stands for. It’s not perfect and I don’t think it ever will be, but for the few kids who actually get their laptop, it will be a good step up.

    I know governments can be obstacles to progress — there are plenty of examples in both the developing and industrialized worlds. But what happens to the laptop I donate after I buy it isn’t something I can control. It might sit on a dock somewhere and decay, or be sold on the black market, but I don’t think I should deny the program my support because of the potential interventions of an unrelated third party.

    Or I could just say, “Wow! Those are cuuuuute!” and buy two. :mrgreen:

  4. 4 Wolf Vorkian 2007/11/14 at 3:01 PM

    I’ll probably get cyberslapped all over the place because I saw after I made that post in one of the previous columns that Mandla thought they were cute and that was it! Our blogger forbid any negative comments concerning the purchase and I violated the edict. ;-)

    After watching Katrina unfold, you do have a point.

  5. 5 K.Mandla 2007/11/14 at 3:21 PM

    It’s okay — no offense taken. ;) There will be no cyberslapping on this blog. :mrgreen:

  6. 6 Wolf Vorkian 2007/11/14 at 3:43 PM

    Uncle Mandla, uncle. I’m sure I’m jaded after living with corruption for as long as I did but I’m still rather convinced that changing it is only possible by the locals.

    On another subject, why don’t you do one of your interviews on yourself? I suspect you are a far more interesting character than a couple you’ve done. Not nearly as vanilla. Helmke in particular was good reading.

    If you don’t want to interview Mandla, I’ll pretend I’m Mandla and ask the same questions you do or you could appoint someone, I’m sure there would be some takers. Must be in the afternoon in Japan, it is going on 10pm here in Alaska and I’m hitting the sack as soon as I post this. Good night.


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