The Not-a-schmuck report, #1

On the other hand, not everyone in the world is a schmuck.

Dean Kamen is not a schmuck. If the man who gave us the insulin pump and the Segway (commercially a flop but technologically brilliant) wants to turn his brilliant mind to the problem of delivering power and clean water to the underdeveloped populations of the world — well, then, I just gotta take off my hat to him.

And Mark Shuttleworth is also not a schmuck either, primarily because of his work with Ubuntu and Canonical. Another millionaire who wants to bring cheap, available technology to the underdeveloped nations of the world (this time by spreading the Linux operating system everywhere — free is a hell of a lot cheaper than anything Microsoft would be willing to spread to the poor of the world).

Oh, and then there’s Nicholas Negroponte of the One Laptop Per Child program. Not a millionaire, but still a guy who wants to bring cheap, accessible technology to parts of the world which don’t have access now. I like the way he once essentially said “F— you” to both Bill Gates and Steve Jobs because both of them wanted prohibitively expensive licensing costs for the MS Windows and Apple operating systems to be part of the program. And hats off to Red Hat Linux for participating in this program for dirt cheap, if not for free.

These are the kinds of projects I’ve always wanted to get involved in (as well as something like Satellife). It may be a little late for me to get involved, but I’m glad they’re out there.

The reason I hate the news media is that they tend to overlook stories like these, and instead focus on the fray and fracas initiated by the maniacs and robber barons who generally run the country. What these guys are doing is a hell of a lot more important, in my opinion, than who Dick Cheney shot or the latest hare-brained scheme from George W. Bush.

Hm. Maybe I ought to start a regular “Not-A-Schmuck Report”. There are plenty of guys out there doing things like this. Sadly, we hardly ever get to hear about them.

On a related note, I’ve found that the WorldChanging website is worth bookmarking (or adding to your BlogLines feed, if you have one of those).