News Bits: Dell Laptop on Couch Ignites, Transmeta Quits Processors, Valentine’s Day Laptop

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A house in Maine burns down after owner leaves Dell laptop charging on couch


A 130 year old house in Biddeford Maine burns due to bad mix of Dell Inspiron 1200 and a couch (view large image)

A word to the wise — do not leave your laptop on a couch or bed while plugged in and charging and then leave it. While it could be argued a laptop charging unit should never get so hot as to ignite foam-based home furniture, it’s just best not to try this anyway. A family in Biddeford Maine last week lost their home in a blaze when a Dell Inspiron 1200 laptop that was plugged in and recharging on the couch while the family was out somehow got so hot that it ignited the couch on fire. Apparently the cord, power unit or battery was the source for this heat. It does not appear the battery exploded violently, the Inspiron 1200 was not part of the massive Sony battery recall that took place last year.


(view large image)

According to the state fire marshal investigator Christopher Stanford "The couch was totally burned out and the laptop was still sitting on what remained of the sofa". The damage for the 130-year old house was most severe in the area where the laptop and power cord were located, and thus the conclusion for the source. The damage to the house exceeded $100,000 and at that is a total loss.

Read More (Computer World)

Biddeford Maine Fire Dept. Related Page

Transmeta backs out of processor business

Transmeta this week decided to step away from the processor business, and refocus itself on licensing of intellectual property – no more chips.

Lester Crudele, president and CEO of Transmeta, said in a statement that "After a critical evaluation of all our lines of businesses, we have decided that IP development and licensing will be our core business activity going forward. We continue to believe that this is the best way for us to deliver our technology to the market and monetize our investments. Therefore, we have initiated a restructuring plan to re-align our headcount and expenses accordingly."

Transmeta started its transitioning by reducing its workforce by about 39% to 117; it will continue to reduce its workforce during the next two quarters.

Transmeta was unable to compete with AMD and Intel – the company has been licensing its technologies to third parties who want to reduce power consumption.

Read More (Xbit Labs)

Micrsoft working on Vista’s successor for 2009

Now that Vista is finished, Microsoft is working on its next client operating system, due out by the end of 2009. According to the schedule, the turnaround time should be far faster than Windows Vista’s was. Vista shipped out 2.5 years after XP SP2 was released; Microsoft had put all their energy into securing Windows XP with SP2, and put Longhorn on the back burner.

The codename for the next-gen OS is "Vienna," but that’s going off of what Microsoft said last year. Nothing has been confirmed. The coolest features of it are being worked on right now.

Read More (PC World)

Tulip offers Valentine’s Day laptops

Image courtesy of Engadget

If you have a significant amount of money to burn for Valentine’s Day, Tulip has an offering to consider- the Ego Love Edition. It is tailored specifically for Valentine’s Day, and features a leather-wrapped exterior with a stitched heart in the middle. On the top is a pricey bow and pendant. It is available in a variety of colors. Oddly enough, no specifications are to be found, nor is any pricing information.

Read More (Engadget)

Developing nations preparing to test $150 laptops

Some of the world’s poorest children will be using the new $150 laptops this month. The non-profit OLPC (One Laptop Per Child) organization will be producing 2,500 of the laptops for eight nations in February. Mass production of the $150 laptops is scheduled to begin in July.

According to the project operators, the price will fall to $100 per laptop next year, when they hope to crank out 50 million of the XO (as it is called) machines. The price is expected to go below $100 in 2010, when the OLPC organization hopes to reach 150 million children in developing nations. The project is not without its criticism – some say the project is a financial burden with no guarantee of success. Others say the money would be better spent on libraries, medicine, and food.

Read More (Yahoo! News)

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