News Bits: Commerce Department Loses Laptops, PortableOne FX, Windows Vista Upgrade Coupons

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Commerce Department reports 1,137 laptops lost since 2001

September 22nd – The U.S. Commerce Department has reported that 1,137 laptops have been lost or stolen since 2001. 249 of them have contained some personal data. Who the data belonged to could not be determined.

The Census Bureau, which lost 672 laptops, did not report any of the data being misused. The Census Bureau’s laptops rarely hold data for more than 100 households. In addition to the 672 laptops, the Census Bureau also lost 15 handheld computers, which have survey data for 558 households. The Bureau said that the risk of the data being misused is “extremely low”.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration lost 325 laptops; three of them contained personal data. One had addresses, birth dates, and Social Security numbers for 146 employees according to the department.

U.S. government agencies have suffered numerous hardware losses in the past few months. One of the most dangerous cases was a laptop and external hard drive being stolen in May, which had data on 26.5 million veterans and active-duty military personnel. It was recovered, and the two teenagers were arrested.

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PortableOne releases 19″ widescreen FX series with Nvidia SLI

PortableOne has released a 19″ widescreen notebook featuring Nvidia’s SLI dual-GPU technology. It features dual GeForce Go7900GTX video cards and a 2.4GHz AMD Turion 64 processor.

The PortableOne FX is based on the Clevo M590K, and uses the same chassis as the Alienware mALX and the Sager NP5950. It starts at $3,799 with 2GB of RAM, dual 80GB 7,200RPM hard drives, and a one-year warranty.

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AMD to sell chips to Apple in the future

September 21nd – CEO of AMD, Hector Ruiz said earlier this week that Apple Computer Inc. may eventually buy its processors in the future. Ruiz said that exclusive use of Intel processors will drive them toward using AMD parts during a speech at the Commonwealth Club in San Francisco. An Apple spokesman did not immediately comment on the statement.

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Hacktivismo unveils stealth browser

Hacktivismo, a group of human-rights advocates and computer security experts, has released “Torpark”, a Firefox-based browser which allows anonymous web surfing.

Torpark works by having the IP address seen by the website to change every few minutes, which complicates eavesdropping. Today’s official launch follows over a year of development. You can find Torpark here.

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Vista upgrade coupon to keep notebook sales strong

More consumers will be driven to buy a PC in Q4 of this year thanks to a Microsoft Vista free upgrade coupon, supposed to be available in October. Strong notebook sales are expected to continue straight through Q1 2007.

Vista-capable PC systems using XP Media Center Edition are eligible for a free upgrade to Vista Premium; XP Home users will have to pay 50% of the Vista Premium price tag. Notebook sales have already started ramping up this quarter thanks to Intel’s Core 2 Duo processors and the competition between AMD and Intel.

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