News Bits: No Laptops in Lecture, New MacBook May 9th?, DisplayPort, Acer TravelMate 3020

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Professors Banning Laptops in Lecture

What are college students really doing with their laptops in class? It appears that many aren’t doing classwork – instead, some are playing poker, others are instant messaging, and so on and so forth. Professors have taken the ‘unthinkable’ step to stop this – banning laptops in class. At the University of Memphis, this seemingly drastic step has caused an uproar. One professor banned laptops for the reason that “they were turning her students into stenographers and inhibiting classroom debate.”

Students have already responded by filing a complaint with the American Bar Association, but it was dismissed.

A professor from the University of Pennsylvania, Charles Mooney, has had laptops banned in his classes for two years already – this past year, he permitted students to use laptops as an experiment – his conclusion: don’t allow laptops.

Students, on the other hand, have different views on the subject. One student said that the ban was unnecessary because of the “embarrassing possibility of being unable to answer a question posed by the professor.” Thus, the students paid attention so as not to be singled out.

A chemistry professor at the University of Oregon says that “even students who are diligently taking notes with their laptops are missing out on social interaction and jokes the teachers make.”

This is definitely a continually growing issue, and it will be interesting to see how it escalates.

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DVI Successor Revealed – DisplayPort

The VESA (Video Electronics Standards Association) has revealed the final version of DisplayPort, which is slated to replace the current DVI. It will improve on DVI by integrating HD Audio and picture signals, support for higher resolutions and refresh rates versus what is currently available.

DisplayPort will support not only external connections, but also internal, so notebook manufacturers can use it to connect the LCD to the motherboard and make upgrades easier. The slimline DisplayPort is what will be used in notebooks, allowing graphics cards to use multiple ports.

The uni-directional four-lane link is capable of transferring data at 10.8Gbps, supporting 8- and 10-bit color.

Another proposal from a separate consortium proposed a different interface – the UDI, or Unified Display Interface. It will be compatible with both HDMI and DVI, which DisplayPort is not. But, it lacks audio capabilities. Different companies are backing UDI or DisplayPort – on the UDI side are Intel, Apple, and LG, and for DisplayPort are Dell, HP, Lenovo, and ATI. Some UDI supporters also support DisplayPort, including Nvidia and Samsung.

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Apple Quietly Recalls Early MBP Batteries

It appears that early versions of the MacBook Pro are having battery problems – AppleCare recently said there was a known issue with some early MacBook Pro batteries, and is in the process of cross-shipping replacements to those experiencing the issues. Issues include battery charge levels dropping to 90% from a fully charge, the battery goes to one blinking LED or fails to respond period, and loss of capacity.

The issue(s) affect MacBooks with serial numbers up to W8608 – that means that the first two weeks worth of MacBooks could be problematic.

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iBook Replacement Rumor — the Apple MacBook to be Released Tuesday May 9th?

According to people visiting the site MacRumors.com, boxes have been showing up in Apple Stores marked “do not open until May 9th” and store sales clerks have been told to push iBook sales this weekend in order to clear out inventory for a supposed new MacBook on Tuesday.  The MacBook is rumored to be a 13.3-inch widescreen Core Duo replacement for the current iBook G4 notebooks.


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Furthermore, a slip up on the Apple.com site in the iPod section showed a breadcrumb navigation for “MacBook”, not “MacBook Pro” the 15.4″ and 17″ laptop released and that we already know about.

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Acer Says Napa-based Notebooks to Account for 40% of Shipments, Release TravelMate 3020 in Asia

 

Acer’s goal for the second quarter this year is to have Napa-based notebooks account for 40% of their shipments, according to Acer chairman JT Wang. Acer’s Q2 revenues should be similar to the first quarter – $2.56 billion dollars.

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Acer also released an update to the TravelMate 3010 12.1″ series notebook in the Asia region.  The only real difference between the 3010 series and this new TravelMate 3020 series is the fact the new release is painted white.

  • Intel Core Duo T2300/ T2400/ T2500/ T2600
  • Display: 12.1-inch WXGA TFT
  • Memory:  DDR2 533/667MHz (up to 2GB), two SODIMM extension slots (upgradable to 4GB)
  • HDD:  80/100/120GB SATA
  • Built-in camera: 1.3-megapixel, 225-degree rotating
  • Dimensions: 297.5 210 2 4.5/32.4mm
  • Weight: (3.3lbs)

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AOL Still Struggling

Subscribers to AOL are continuing to leave the company – it has lost over three million customers in the past year. The number of subscribers fell to 18.6 million, down 835,000. Q1 results to March, AOL reported that revenues fell seven percent, about $152 million, to right under $2 billion compared to one year previously. AOL is also declining in Europe. In March, the total number of subscribers numbered 5.9 million, losing 147,000 on the previous three months. The number of subscribers was down 452,000 from the same period one year previously.

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