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Blog tracking United States Postal Service Parcel Tracking Review Information The USPS or United States Postal Service Tracking has been established by the U.S. Federal Government for providing postal services in the US. It is the sole provider of postal services in the US and is one of the self-governing Government agencies which is attributed by the U.S. Constitution. The USPS aims to make it easier for you to send and track packages online and avail its services at your fingertips.

About® & Tracking Service

The USPS or U.S. Mail was formed in 1775 when Benjamin Franklin was appointed as their first Postmaster General. And since then, the USPS has adopted various technologies and developed itself to serve the nation in a better way. It is the only postal service in the US that reaches each and every corner of the country efficiently. USPS has more than 31,600 retail locations and got an annual revenue of nearly $69 billion, delivering 47% of the global mails.

They receive no tax dollars for the operating expenses and relies on the sale of postage, services for funding its operations, and products. The US Postal Service is one of the world’s largest computer networks that link to nearly, 32,000 amenities and developing communication between people. They have set fundamental set goals for constant improvement of the nation and their efforts.

USPS puts information and technology at the heart of its business rules which will make easier for people to avail their services with a click. It is on the verge of setting up mobile and digital tools to play a vital role in the digital area of people’s lives. The USPS is already in a digital-centric arena where it uses the world’s most advanced tracking and information systems making mailing speedier all across its network. It provides robust scanning and tracking technology and has developed new products and services to grow in the mailing and packaging industry. tracking Home Page

Summary of services Offered by®

USPS offers the following list of services in the US:

  • Mail and ship
  • Schedule pickup and delivery
  • Hold a mail
  • Forward a mail
  • Change address
  • Track multiple packages
  • Rent and renew PO box
  • Managing mail
  • Supply stamps, envelopes, cards, gifts, and money orders
  • Returns and exchanges
  • Offer business mailing services
  • Advertise with mail
  • Help your business globally recognized
  • International shipments
  • Send money abroad
  • Apply for Passport

USPS Services

USPS provides a wide range of postal services to make posting easier and hassle-free for you. You can change your address online with a click and schedule a pickup or delivery, along with easy tracking. It also lets you calculate the price for a mail and search for your nearest post office with zip codes. You can also order stamps and supplies from their department.

USPS also offers business services so that you can track and manage your business mails and also return them. You can even send international shipments to abroad and calculate their prices. In short, USPS helps grow your business with direct mails and mailing solutions that you ever need in postal service.

In any case, you are out of town during delivery or unable to receive it, you can hold a mail and it will be safely stored at your local post office until you return. You need to notify as early as possible before the scheduled delivery and request your post office to hold the mail. Similarly, you can forward a mail by notifying the post office about your address change. Their premium mail forwarding service lets you receive your mail wherever you are. Even the business mail services can deliver your mail at multiple locations. With USPS, you don’t need to worry at all because they offer flexibility and reliability with their services. lets you manage your mails based on the following:

  • If you are moving out or need to change your address.
  • If you don’t want to receive mails at home.
  • If you want to see all of your incoming packages.
  • If you miss a delivery.
  • If you are going out of town.
  • If you need to redirect a package.
  • If you need to manage the package you are receiving.

Track Your Parcel Using USPS Tracking

USPS provides you a number of options how you want to get indicated on your package. The ‘My USPS’ dashboard gives you full control over your incoming and outgoing mails and sends you text alerts to get notified about it. From the USPS online portal, you can track up to 35 tracking numbers at a time. The tracking number consists of a 22-digit code which lets you see where your package has reached by the time.

It lets you avail door-to-door tracking with up to 11 scans and offer detailed delivery directions when you are out from home. You can receive text alerts on the phone so track your package on the move. The multiple tracking features are good for you to track bulk packages. Mostly, businesses use this feature. Owning a My USPS account will let you check all your inbound packages automatically without having to enter any tracking number. You can also schedule delivery and take total control over your packages.

USPS also allows international, as well as domestic shipments. With business shipping, it helps your industry get universally recognized. The business packages are shipped via Priority Mail, which helps reach the mails faster with prompt delivery. The packages can be tracked via the USPS online portal or the official USPS mobile phone app for Android and iOS.

The USPS postal tracking helps you track your package by identifying if your mail is sent or not or where it has reached the moment. You can check the approximate delivery date and schedule the delivery as per your convenience.

USPS offers you a number of tracking options and methods to learn about your packages.

You can track the packages online by setting up a visible form of shipment. In spite of providing automatic tracking, there are some mails which cannot be automatically tracked, such as the media mails and domestic first-class media mail shipments. Although can track them, they would require some extra fees.

For your knowledge, USPS does not consider all emails equally and to learn about that, first you need to go through their rules and regulations accordingly, or else, you might need to pay an expensive fee for that. The Priority Mail Service is the most expensive form of shipment that allows tracking.

You can track your shipment number from the package receipt where it will be displayed probably at the bottom. The tracking number digit also depends on the form of shipment, so necessarily it might also not contain 22-digits. For instance, the USPS tracking, Priority Mail, Certified Mail, and Collect on a delivery comes with a 22-digit tracking code, and the rest tracking forms provide a different code.

A package can also be tracked by visiting the official website of USPS, The tracking bar is present on almost all pages of the website where you can type the code and locate your shipment. You will get detailed information and status of the package. USPS uses a particular message to describe the status of your package where some are easy to understand and some are difficult.

Arrived at USPS Origin Facility– specifies the moment when your package arrives in the USPS sorting system.

Arrived at Post Office– the package reached its final phase of delivery but still under USPS.

Out for Delivery– this clearly shows that the postal agent is out to deliver your package.

Unable to Deliver– it appears when your signature is mandatory or some other directions to simplify delivery. In such scenarios, the parcel will return to the local post office for scheduling its next delivery.

USPS also offers advanced tracking and authorization choices. You can authorize signature with a request where the package will require a signature during delivery. You can request that only the recipient can sign the package during delivery. In such a case, the package will be returned back to the post office if the recipient is absent or unable to sign the package. Therefore, an ID proof will require in that case.

The tracking information is also viewable via the RSS reader. It helps you track the package and parcel after they are shipped from the postal office. For this, you need to create a unique RSS feed for your package and need your tracking number and open RSS reader. You would also need to subscribe to an RSS Feed via the URL and develop a tracking URL by adding the tracking number to it. After creating the tracking URL, you’d require subscribing to the RSS Feed in your reader.

Your USPS package can also be tracked via text messages. Just send a text to 28777 (2USPS) with your tracking number in the body of the message. You will be charged with the standard messaging rates from your service provider. You can also call 1-800-222-1811 with your tracking number to learn about the status of your package. This service is available 24/7.

USPS also provides tracking information via email and for that, you’d need to request them. Simply go to and enter the USPS tracking number and click Find. Then check the ‘Email Updates’ option and you’re done. Email notifications are available for any traceable package within 45 days of entering the mail stream.

USPS also offers its official mobile apps to locate an item. Its Android and iOS apps offer the complete list of USPS services and tracking options so that you can track your package on the go. Their handy app can be downloaded for Android, iPhone, iPad devices from

USPS Tracking Mobile Apps for Android & ios

USPS Customer Service

USPS offers top-notch customer support and resolution in minutes. The official USPS website offers a complete list of FAQs where you will find a detailed knowledge about their services. There you will find the most common queries and answers that you generally face with their services. In case you cannot find a missing mail or unable to track it, you can submit a search request along with the description of the contents and make it recognizable. You can also request a refund if you have used the Priority Mail Service and get money back guaranteed service.

USPS also lets you file a claim for domestic and international shipments. In case your package contents are damaged or missing, then this option will let you file a claim immediately or within 60 days from the date of mailing. The claiming period for each mail service are listed below:

What Other Services Offered By

  • Priority Mail (Insured Mail) – 15 to 60 days.
  • Registered Mail – 15 to 60 days.
  • Priority Mail Express – 7 to 60 days.
  • Priority Mail Express COD – 15 to 60 days.
  • Collect on Delivery – 15 to 60 days.
    • Priority Mail Express – 21 to 180 days.
    • First-Class, Space Available, or Parcel Airlift – 45 days to 1 year.
    • Surface Mail – 75 days to 1 year. Parcel Tracking Website Pros & Cons


  • Cheaper rates for small packages
  • Free Saturday delivery
  • Delivers to remote areas
  • USPS Offer Official Parcel Tracking Service
  • User Information Safe on this site
  • US Government Owned Parcel Service


  • USPS is Not For Large packages
  • Parcel Tracking Service Need to Improve More
  • Longer transit times

USPS customer care can also be reached via email. You can send your tracking number along with the message you want to convey. They are normally available on call at 1-800-275-8777 and their hours of operation are from Monday to Friday 8 AM to 8:30 PM and Saturday 8 AM to 6 PM.

For technical help, you can call them at 1-800-344-7779, in case a website application or form is working erroneously.

For domestic and international tracking, you can contact 1-800-222-1811to learn the latest status of your packages, which you can also view from the USPS website.

For stamps and postal supplies, you can contact 1-800-782-6724 and question about stamps and orders placed online through the postal store.

For shipping supplies like boxes, envelopes, and postal forms, you can call 1-800-610-8734 and report a problem with your shipping supply order. Their hours of operation are Monday to Friday 7 AM to 11 PM and Saturday 7 AM to 6 PM.

The USPS plays in a crucial role in the commerce and delivery sectors in the US that helps connect one person to another in an effective, affordable, reliable, and secure way.

Disclaimer This is an Educational Purpose article the words USPS And USPS Tracking are Registered Trademark Words used in this Article Used logo and Images owned properties by USPS ( United States Postal Service) login

Gmail – An Email Service From Google Login is a free email service by Google that was released in a beta version on April 1, 2004. On July 7, 2009, appeared to be a full-fledged email service provider offering 1GB free storage capacity per user. Today offers 15GB free storage to every user including attachments. Gmail is an ad-supported email service that can be accessed through the web and mobile apps, including Android and iOS. The email can also be accessed via third-party programs that can be synchronized through POP and IMAP protocols. Login An Email Service From Google

Gmail comes with a search-oriented interface that lets you search for any particular email simply by typing an associated keyword. You can also search via the email address or subject to filter the conversations. The interface offers a number of view modes, including vertical split, horizontal split, comfortable, cozy, and compact mode, so that you can arrange your inbox according to your choice. login

The servers automatically scan for emails and add relevant text ads next to them. It also scans for spam emails and retrieves them to the Spam folder to prevent clutter your inbox. The promotional emails from companies and services are fetched to the Promotions tab and the Social emails from social networks are retrieved to the Social tab.

This is to keep your Primary mailbox clutter free so that you can find all your important emails together in a single space. The sent emails can be found in the Sent mail folder and the saved emails can be seen in Drafts. You can also fetch emails from any other additional email ID of yours from different email services and POP/IMAP accounts. Gmail also allows sending email from a separate email ID that you can use as your alias email.

Gmail filters your emails by offering a number of folders and categories. This includes starred, important, receipts, work, travel, and personal. This is to categorize the emails and store them properly in the specified folders so that you can find them easily. While composing an email, you won’t require leaving your mailbox as the compose box pops-up separately on the same window. has the ability to integrate other Google services. This includes Google Drive, Google Hangouts, and Google+. Google Drive can be used to insert files and attachments to your emails by pulling the content from your Drive account. Previously, known as Google Talk, the renewed Google Hangouts can be used to chat with your contacts from your mailbox. Email recipients can view your Google+ profile and photo to find more details about the sender. You can view all your contacts from the Contacts section and tasks from the Tasks section.

Gmail allows viewing a single email conversation within a single thread and avoids unscrambling them. This way you can easily view the contents of a conversation without searching on the other emails. You can reply to multiple recipients at a time from a single conversation, block a user, report a mail as spam or phishing, forwards the message, and do lots more. You can also view the date and time of the conversation and the recipients’ email addresses. sign in

The signing up process is simple and a single sign in gives you access to all your Google-related accounts. The sign in is done using your Gmail user ID and password. You can also use three-factor authentication to sign in to your account. The three-factor authentication puts an extra layer of security to your account and prevents unauthorized logins and access to your account.

Gmail login login After you log in to your Gmail account using your Gmail ID and password, you’ll be able to access your mailbox. At the first time login, Gmail guides you with the different sections in your mailbox and instruct you with its features. You can also login to using its HTML version in case you have a slow connection. Gmail uses its standard version by default where you can find the complete set of features and options that are not completely present in the HTML mode.

Gmail sign up signup process is easy and completed with a few steps. To start the process, you need to choose a unique Gmail ID and password. Your Gmail ID can contain letters, numbers, hyphens, underscores, and dots. The password should be strongly set and must include a combination of upper case and lower case letters, numbers, and special characters.

This would make your password strong and unique and would prevent hacking. The sign-up process will also require your date of birth and gender to confirm you are above 13 years old. For proper verification, your working mobile number and current email address will be required to recover password and other additional details. Before moving to the next step, choose your country or location and proceed. Keep following the sign-up instructions and your new Gmail account will be created.


Gmail includes plenty of options and personalizing settings to choose from. It offers a varied option of themes that you can choose to customize the appearance of your mailbox. The themes range from certain categories and you can select them according to your mood. You can also set a custom image as the theme. The General settings consist of a number of mailboxes customizing options like the page language, maximum page size, display images, default text, mailbox view, notifications, signature, vacation responder, etc.

You can show or hide labels and categorize them accordingly. Gmail also allows you to customize the appearance of your inbox by choosing the default inbox style, categories to display, markers, and filtered mail. It also allows importing accounts from a different mailbox like Yahoo!, Outlook, AOL or any other POP or IMAP account. You can add an additional email ID to send emails from and that can be from any other email service provider, including POP and IMAP accounts. allows you to grant access to a third-party account so that they can send and read emails on your behalf. This process is quite a risky one, but if you have someone whom you trust, then you can allow this action. If you are extremely annoyed with some emails, then you can block that recipient and filter them. The messages sent by the blocked emails will be retrieved in the Spam folder. You can also forward some of your emails by creating a filter and enable POP and IMAP for all emails.

For faster conversations, you can enable chat on your Gmail mailbox and also activate voice and video calling. You can even use emojis in chats and emails by enabling the option.

Gmail includes some third-party tools in its lab’s section from where you can enable or disable the tools in your mailbox. The labs contain some experimental stuff that is in a testing phase and isn’t ready for primetime. These tools might change, break, or disappear anytime. From the labs, you can search for any tool listed in the section. Few of the lab apps include authentication icon for verified senders, custom keyboard shortcuts, Google Calendar gadget, Google Voice player in Gmail, and lots more.

Gmail can also be installed offline with this Google Chrome extension, which can be downloaded from This application runs Gmail offline and is currently in a beta phase. This app lets you read emails, reply to emails, search for emails, and archive them without any internet connection. After the initial startup, the application will synchronize the emails and the queued actions whenever Chrome is running with an internet connection. Apart from this, the application comes with a streamlined user interface, which is much relevant to the original Gmail, makes it run faster with a complete email focused experience. contains a Spam folder where all the junk and non-filtered messages are stored. The Spam emails can be manually deleted and if not, they will be automatically deleted if stored more than 30 days. Seldom, few of the important messages accidentally gets detected as spam and hence, stored in the Spam folder. So you need to cross check the messages to prevent losing any of the important emails. You can also mark them as ‘Not Spam’ and the email will be directly moved to your primary inbox.

The emails deleted from the Gmail inbox will not be permanently deleted unless you delete them from the Trash folder. The deleted emails are moved to the Trash and from there you can recover any email you have accidentally deleted. The Trash folder can be manually deleted and if not, the folder contents get automatically erased if more than 30 days. account login

Gmail is not only just an email service provider, but it is the current age’s primary mailbox. is the most preferred email service provider which is trusted by millions of individuals and businesses. Most businesses and industries have adopted this platform due to the ease and convenience it provides which is unlike the other email providers. Due to Gmail’s interactive user interface, users find it an easy-to-use and a communicative platform that no other email service provider can provide. This is why today, Gmail is considered as the most intuitive and the best email channel used worldwide. Email From Google Pros & Cons


  • Gmail offers free IMAP or POP access and sending from any address
  • The fast and rich web interface works offline, too
  • Smart sorting, searching and starring let you find and organize emails and chat conversations


  • Gmail could help with organizing mail even more, e.g. with learning labels or reply suggestions
  • Free online storage is limited to 15 GB, and Gmail does not support secure, encrypted mail
  • Searching mail is not nearly as smart and comfortable as searching the web with Google

global warming

The heat is on: Vermont aims to cool the impact of global warming

The heat is on: Vermont aims to cool the impact of global warming

global warming

The Douglas administration has signed on to an aggressive regional plan to cut greenhouse gas emissions, but some environmentalists say it may be too little, too late.

The regional initiative — embraced by nine states and several Eastern Canadian provinces — would reduce total greenhouse gas emissions by 25 percent by 2012; 50 percent by 2028; and a minimum of 75 percent by 2050.

Gov. Jim Douglas announced his support of the measures Dec. 5 at a UN Climate Change Conference in Montreal, where the Bush administration made a stir by continuing to claim that a voluntary approach was better than the mandated reductions spelled out in the Kyoto Treaty.

fair trade

Fair trade for all Brattleboro promotes fair trade to boost economy

Long known for its funky character and progressive values, residents in Brattleboro hope to marshal this image into economic policy.

A campaign is currently underway to obtain “fair trade” status, which would make Brattleboro the second such town in the nation, and the first in New England and Vermont.

Fair trade promotes equitable standards for international labor, environmentalism, and social policy in areas related largely to the production of consumer goods, ranging from handicrafts to agricultural commodities.

More specifically, exports are sold and traded for by developing countries to developed countries. Fair trade’s aim is to empower marginalized producers and workers.

fair trade

Coffee, teas, spices, and bananas are fair trade products commonly sold on the market today and FLO (Fairtrade Labelling Organization) statistics indicate that 2005 fair trade certified sales were estimated at more than $2 billion worldwide.

The idea for Brattleboro to become a fair trade town took root with Tami Stenn, the owner of Kusikuy Clothing Company in Brattleboro, a wholesale fair trade organic clothing company.

For the last three years, Stenn has co-organized the “Muna Fest,” an annual fair trade bazaar featuring more than 15 local fair trade vendors. Just before last year’s event, Stenn heard about fair trade town efforts in Media, PA, and thought it would be a great idea to pursue.

Joining her in the effort was Sara Stender, a graduate student at the School for International Training.

“[W]e wanted to establish more projects and the fair trade town came to me about a week or two before and we thought the Muna Fest event would be a great place to introduce the initiative,” said Stender.

Brattleboro is also home to the Brattleboro Foreign Trade Zone (FTZ), which offers users exemption from import duties and customs tariffs. In late December 2005, Brattleboro received approval to create the zone. The key difference between trade zone and the fair trade efforts is that some fair trade goods and services will be traded, and the town must meet the Fair Trade Foundation critieria (see sidebar).

Joe Famolare, president of the Brattleboro FTZ, welcomes fair trade efforts and also sees it as complementary to the trade zone. “I think it would be perfect. We’d love it,” said Famolare. “The object of our foreign trade zone is individualized organizations doing business. We’ve got the Central American Free Trade Agreement [being implemented] and I feel that in the foreign trade zone, we’d like to work with small countries like Costa Rica. In Costa Rica, they do big business with coffee. There is fair trade coffee coming in with Mocha Joe’s and such. So I think it suits Brattleboro.”

U.S. fair trade towns

In June 2006, Media became the first town in the nation to adopt Fair Trade Foundation standards. Hal Taussig, founder of Untours, Inc., got together with his staff to talk about whether Media could become a fair trade town. Only Taussig was familiar with the concept.

“[Hal] said two summers ago to a bunch of us, ‘Let’s make Media the first fair trade town,’ and we responded as any self-respecting people would — we all laughed at him,” said Liz Killough, associate director of the Untours Foundation, a provider of low interest loans to individuals and organizations for job creation and low-income housing and a supporter of fair trade products.

“I did a little research and found that Britain has over 200 fair trade towns and Europe has hundreds of fair trade towns, so I humored Hal by starting the process of doing some community organizing and was amazed that the campaign got a life of its own,” Killough added.

The Media Business Authority loved the idea and fast-tracked it to the Media Borough Council where the measure passed. Killough credits Media’s progressive business climate for the fast passage, but believes such a campaign could fly in many communities.

“It wouldn’t fly at all if the town wasn’t progressive to a certain degree. On the other hand, fair trade appeals very much to all places on the political spectrum. The right likes fair trade, in part, because it can keep people on their land and keep them from immigrating to the United States,” she noted.

Brattleboro: The ideal place to start

To get the idea rolling in Brattleboro, Stenn and Stender brought together a diverse group of people who have an interest in promoting social justice and Brattleboro’s economy.

The group’s first meeting was two weeks ago, and included local business owners; Famolare; Vern Grubinger, director of the University of Vermont Sustainable Agriculture Center; and Alex Wilson of Green Building magazine, said Stender.

Stender believes a fair trade zone in Brattleboro would work because it already meets most of the criteria put forth in the Fair Trade Foundation’s standards.

“Brattleboro has a very good foundation for fair trade consumerism. There are already a number of businesses here familiar with fair trade and selling products that are fair trade certified, so I think it’s a relatively educated community as well and a forward thinking people,” she said.

The Brattleboro Selectboard has not yet indicated whether it would approve such a measure, but one Selectboard member believes it’s a good idea.

“Poverty is a condition that no one should have to suffer and anytime that we as individuals or as a community can help raise people anywhere out of poverty it improves everybody’s quality of life,” said Audrey Garfield. “What Brattleboro is saying is we will not tolerate working conditions for people in other countries that we would not tolerate or accept for ourselves and I think it’s a really positive thing for anybody to get behind.”

Make it sustainable

Although there may be no direct opposition in Brattleboro, the crux of the matter is to ensure it will succeed in the long run.

“I think right now this really needs to be community-based in order for this movement to work,” said Stender. “We need to be spreading the word, we need more people at these meetings, but just to spread the word and get people talking. I don’t really see that as an obstacle but more of a challenge to get more people involved.”

“I just think that the hardest thing is working in an industry that’s not 100 percent formulated yet exactly what is fair trade. It’s still forming itself, which I think is fine,” said Stenn. “But I just think that ambiguity might be the thing that could stall us, so I think our biggest challenge is to keep clear and keep things moving and not get bogged down in too much ambiguity.”

For his part, Grubinger wants to ensure that local farmers are part of the process, and are considered as fair trade partners.

“You want to help people in developing countries get a fair price for their product but their situation is a similar to a lot of farmers here,” said Grubinger.

Others believe time and resources can make or break a fair trade endeavor.

“It’s not just financial resources but time and people able to commit to this because in order for anything to get off the ground and to be sustained you’ve got to have people working on it all the time,” said David Funkhouser, strategic outreach director of TransFair USA, who works with community and faith based organizations promoting fair trade products.

Garfield said that shouldn’t be a problem. “Brattleboro is really lucky to have very committed people serving on all types of committees. So I don’t think a [fair trade town] committee would be any different.”

“I think it goes along with ‘think globally, act locally’ as well,” said Stender. “I think that it’s really a Vermont value to support local businesses and smaller businesses and we are in a rural area and we need to continue to support that and to help benefit the economy locally. I think this is a great opportunity to really market Brattleboro.”

Becoming a fair trade town

To be recognized as a fair trade town the following must occur:

A local council passes a resolution supporting fair trade and agrees to serve fair trade tea and coffee at its meetings and in its offices and canteens;

A range of (at least two) fair trade products is readily available in the area’s shops and local cafes/catering establishments;

Fair trade products are used by a number of local workplaces and community organizations;

There is media coverage and popular support for the campaign; and,

A local steering committee is convened to ensure continued commitment to fair trade status.

cheap laptops

Digital magic for millions: Will cheap laptops create active learners or “green box” slaves?

TUNIS, Tunisia – Justin Mupinda hurried up to the crowded stall at the Tunis World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS). “I want to see this device with my own eyes,” he said. He was among the thousands at WSIS who were curious about what was fast emerging as the biggest technology story of the event — a laptop that costs only $100.

The laptop — hailed by its developers as a technological breakthrough — was proudly displayed at the UN Development Program stand, with the slogan “One laptop per child.”

“I like it,” said Mupinda, a Zimbabwean IT expert and country coordinator for WorldLink, an organization campaigning to bring a million personal computers to schools in Africa. “It’s a good start toward getting more youths using ICTs” (individual computer terminals).

Digital magic cheap Laptops

Mupinda’s enthusiasm is shared by many people eager to bridge the digital divide between poor and rich countries. “Our university has 25,000 students and it would be wonderful if all of them could have laptops to access the Internet,” said Alain Capo Chichi, manager of Cerco, an education project in Benin.

In Tunis, journalists covering the launch of the $100 laptop, developed by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), frequently used the word “magic” in their questions about the device. And indeed, to many it seemed nothing short of magical. Not only is the green-cased notebook-size laptop incredibly cheap, it also has wireless connectivity and a hand crank allowing it to operate without electricity.

“We are quick and we have very good relations with MIT,” Thailand’s ambassador to Geneva said with a smile as he inspected the laptop for the first time. Thailand, Brazil, Nigeria, and Egypt are lined up to be the first four recipients early next year.

Nicholas Negroponte, chairman and co-founder of the Media Lab at MIT, and leader of the team that developed the laptop said learning environments have been transformed through the use of laptops, as students become more engaged in class. Nearly three-quarters of students surveyed by a U.S. project said they earned better grades by working on laptops, and a similar number said they enjoyed writing more on laptops than on paper.

“It’s the single most dramatic thing I’ve seen affect the classroom in a very positive way,” a Florida school administrator was quoted as saying in a press release. At the launch, UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan added, “These robust, versatile machines will enable children to become more active in their own learning.”

The aim is to provide the machines free of charge to children in poor countries who cannot afford computers of their own, said Negroponte. The laptops will be paid for by governments, private corporations, and donors.

Around the world, there are roughly one billion children of primary and secondary school age. International production of laptops is just below 50 million units. The U.S.-based One Laptop per Child association, a non-profit that will manufacture the laptops, said its mission is to spread learning rather than sales. Profit margins would translate into more research and lower costs.

Reactions in Tunis ranged from the overexcited to the doubtful. “Everybody likes it because it’s cheap,” said Sanjaa Ganbaatar-Ceo, president of the Internet Service Providers’ Association of Mongolia, a country that is trying to build a $250 personal computer. But Ganbaatar-Ceo is disappointed because the minimum order for the laptop is half a million sets. With population of 2.5 million, Mongolia doesn’t have enough children to place an order, he said.

“It has not been mass-produced yet so I don’t know if it will really work,” said Mabrook Chouk, a Tunisian businessman. And Subbiah Arunachalam, a grassroots information scientist from India, noted that there were several problems associated with the laptop. He pointed to hidden costs: “Who will deliver these laptops? How many poor countries have got that kind of extensive distribution network? And who will repair them if something goes wrong?”

Content may prove to be another difficult area. Alan Kay, the man who invented the laptop, said U.S. materials will accompany them, together with homegrown content. This, experts said, could cause concern in some countries. “The laptop is just the first small thing to be done,” said Key. “It is harder to set up content.”

Negroponte remarked that component suppliers will make profits from the project, and it would also be a good marketing opportunity for the project sponsor, Google. For poor children in developing countries, their “first English word will be ‘Google’,” he wrote in an e-mail to the Washington Post. On the other hand, Negroponte points out that the laptop can be used in any local language and that countries should start thinking about making textbooks available on the web.

“With this laptop, kids can write their poems or stories and share them on the web,” said Justin Mupinda.

By 2007, five to ten million of these laptops will have been shipped to developing countries. By the year after that, the number is expected to have grown ten-fold. What is not known is whether this project will mark a new phase in the spread of knowledge, or whether hundreds of millions of children will become slaves to their little green boxes instead of playing in the backyard.

Tran Le Thuy is correspondent for the Saigon Times Group (Vietnam). This article was provided by Panos London.

True life stories of class Bayou playwright sweeps through New England with Hurricane

In a country where race, religion, and equality are consistently represented in our arts, laws, and overall community conscience, “class” represents one of the last least talked about topics of our culture.

Dartmouth College’s Hopkins Center for the Arts is looking to change that through their participation in “the Class Divide,” a three–year program designed to examine social and economic class divisions through the performing arts.

“It is clearly one of the last discussions,” said Margaret Lawrence, the Hopkins Center’s director. “I think it is one of the most important conversations nationally that we can have.”

So important in fact, that the Class Divide initiative is the Hopkins Center’s first attempt at presenting a project that directly involves the community in a sustained examination of a particular theme.

In conjunction with this initiative, several New England arts organizations and venues are taking part by conducting unique “story circles” for community members of all classes and ages.

“This is also the first time we’ve committed to doing something over multiple years,” Lawrence added. “It’s a learning experience for us as an institute.”
The circles, led by playwright and actress Anne Galjour, will be her fodder for a play about class difference in New England. The play is expected to debut in 2008.

Along with story circles in the Upper Valley region, similar community collaborations are taking place this month in Brattleboro and Burlington, sponsored by the Brattleboro Arts Initiative and the Flynn Center for the Performing Arts respectively.

Those story circles have already taken place in Brattleboro.

Gail Nunziata, managing director of the Brattleboro Arts Initiative at the Latchis Theatre, selected a dozen people across generations, with whom Louisiana–born playwright and actor Galjour spoke. Galjour grew up in the bayou town of Cut Off, and now resides in San Francisco, teaching playwriting at San Francisco State University.

“We live in a time where 30 percent of the people own 70 percent of the wealth,” Galjour said. “Margaret Lawrence and the Hopkins Center staff are exploring the issues of Class Divide in New England through various exercises.”

Galjour’s award–winning play Hurricane was inspired by people she had known growing up in Cut Off, and portrays a life at the edge of a marsh in Louisiana before, during, and after a powerful hurricane sweeps through the landscape.

Written in 1992, it’s world premiere a year later would garner Galjour numerous awards, including an American Critics Association Award for Emerging Playwright. In the years since, Galjour has written three solo performance pieces, as well as four full-length plays.

In Hurricane, the natural disaster affects the lives of six unforgettable Cajun French characters as portrayed in Galjour’s tour-de-force solo performance that, ironically, was written in 1994, long before the Hurricane Katrina tragedy.

Galjour will perform Hurricane at the Hopkins Center on Feb. 6 and 7, at the Flynn Center on Feb. 8 and 9, and at the Latchis Theatre in Brattleboro on Feb. 11.

“When The Latchis was approached to participate in Anne’s New England tour of Hurricane, I felt this was an important project to take on, even though we don’t do much presenting at the Latchis,” Nunziata said.

“A tour including the Hopkins Center at Dartmouth, the Flynn in Burlington, and the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts in North Adams sounded like an event I really wanted the Latchis to be part of.”

Galjour is also currently interviewing Upper Valley residents for a play that the Hopkins Center has commissioned her to write about class and culture concentrating in the Twin States area.

Still, the story circles represent a way to bring together people to talk openly about the differences between each other.
“These story circles and interviews are all part of the research that will culminate in the theatrical work that explores issues class and culture in New England,” Galjour said.

The Latches performance is in fact also a benefit for both the nonprofit Brattleboro Arts Initiative and Southern Repertory of New Orleans, which was Galjour’s specific request as she has been doing much fundraising through performances of Hurricane for arts organizations in New Orleans.
“Presenting Hurricane in the post-Katrina era and even since the upheaval in people’s lives caused by the flooding in Alstead, NH, it feels relevant to give voice to the struggle,” Nunziata added.

At the Flynn Center, Creative Director Arnie Malina plans to have Galjour speak to three different groups, including individuals from the Living Wage Community in Burlington, a group of immigrants from Africa, and an open story circle in which the general public is invited.

“The story circles are an opportunity for folks from different neighborhoods to come together and talk about their experiences, history, and feel respect for cultural differences,” Galjour said. “I know there is an issue in New England of the ‘old timers’ and the ‘newcomers.’ We get to dispel some of the assumptions we make about people, such as the way someone dresses or talks. In reality, we all have common ground and we all have cultural differences. Everybody gets their chance to speak, and I’m encouraging people to also bring photographs.”

For more information about the upcoming performances of Hurricane or to take part in selected story circles, call the Flynn Theatre in Burlington at 863-5966, the Latchis Theatre in Brattleboro at 254-1109, or the Hopkins Center for Performing Arts in Lebanon, NH, at (603) 646-3991.