News Bits: iBook Stampede, AMD 4000+, Google Wi-Fi?, Free ThinkPads

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Apple iBook Stampede in Virginia

Sales of $50 used iBooks in Henrico County Virginia turns into a stampede

Several people were injured at Richmond International Raceway Tuesday morning as thousands of people rushed to buy used laptops from the Henrico County school system. The county was offering 1,000 used Apple iBooks for $50 each to Henrico County residents. Sales were limited to one computer per person.

People began lining up outside the racetrack complex overnight and rushed into the track area when the gates opened at 7 a.m. for the sale, which was scheduled to begin at 9 a.m.

Several people suffered minor injuries in the stampede. Blandine Alexander, 33, brought her 14-year-old twin sons to stand in line at 4:30 a.m, she told later witnessed a mother pushing her daughter in a stroller get trampled.  Furthermore, Alexander says a car pushing its way through the crowd at the gate nearly ran several people over.

AMD 4000+ Processor Released

Advanced Micro Devices yesterday released the AMD Athlon 4000+ processor, a new set of mobile processors designed for full size (15-17 inches) consumer laptops.  Fujitsu and Voodoo PC will be the first to feature these new processors.

The 4000+ processor will cost $382 in 1,000-unit quantities, AMD said its 4000+ can handle 32-bit and 64-bit processing jobs and includes 802.11a/b/g wireless capabilities. The mobile Athlon also includes virus protection hardwired to the chip that works in tandem with Microsoft Windows Service Pack 2.


ThinkPad Sale:

Rampant speculation: Google to build nationwide WiFi net?

I might not normally post about something like this, but it interested me. Speculation is flying about the idea that Google may be planning a free, nationwide WiFi network, supported entirely by local advertising. The idea springs from a report in Business 2.0, citing “telecom insiders,” and stating that Google is buying up all the unused fiber-optic lines it can get its hands on, along with other large internet backbone connections. The report goes on to point out that Google already has a free WiFi network running in San Francisco, which is paid for by using the access points to offer up advertising for nearby businesses.

This certainly would seem to be a major step forward in Google’s prospective plans for world domination. While the prospect of a huge, free WiFi network may seem ridiculous at first, Google has done some pretty amazing things for no cost. See GMail, Google Earth, Google Maps, et al. Local advertising on the kind of network described would likely be incredibly cheap, both for Google and the advertiser, as well as quite effective. Just imagine the number of business travellers who would ask Google about nearby places to eat. Add to that the fact that with accurate WiFi positioning technology, a Google WiFi connection could hook in to Google Maps, and act as a navigation device. Imagine the applications for a broadband-everywhere network that also incorporates mapping, local services, internet reference, VoIP, and other technologies we may not even have thought of yet. Find the nearest restaurant that delivers, call them up to place an order, give them your exact coordinates, and then track the delivery van, all on the same device.

As Keith Olbermann would put it, I for one welcome our new Google overlords.


IBM Donates ThinkPad T Series Notebooks to Genome Project

Want a free ThinkPad T42?  Well, if you happen to be a scientist working on the Genographic Project collecting DNA samples in remote areas of China, Russia and Australia then you’re in luck!  IBM is donating some T42 notebooks with biometric security and software for tracking the DNA to these scientists.  If you’re not one of those scientists, well, there’s at least a sale on ThinkPad notebooks right now:


Laptop Magazine Contest to Win a Systemax Pursuit 4220

Want to win a Systemax Pursuit 4220 notebook that’s valued at $1,500+?  Laptop Magazine can help you out then:

Basic Specs for Systemax 4220

  • Intel Centrino Mobile Technology 1.73GHz
  • Microsoft Windows XP Professional
  • 802.11b-g Wireless 
  • 512MB DDR
  • 40GB HDD
  • CD-RW/DVD Combo

Dell Beats HP, Compaq and Gateway with Customer Satistfaction but Loses Ground

In a University of Michigan consumer satisfaction survey results show that satisfaction with support from Dell slipped 6-percentage points in the past year.  Professor Claes Fornell of Michigan’s Ross School of Business and director of the National Quality Research Center, wrote in a report regarding Dell, “Customer satisfaction in particular has become a problem, and service quality lags not only Apple but also the rest of the industry. Customer complaints are up significantly, while long wait times and difficulties with Dell’s call center abound.”

Interesting to note is that Dell still got a better overall rating than HP Compaq and Gateway.  Apple won the day with 81% satisfaction ratings, the question there is did the loyalty from Apple fans cause them to be more lenient and tolerant of problems with Apple computers?  Here’s how the consumer satisfaction ratings broke down for the top 4:

  1. Apple 81%
  2. Dell 74%
  3. HP 73%
  4. Gateway 72%



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