Windows XP Service Pack 2 On Its Way
CNet has a pre-release review of Windows XP Service Pack Two. Some SP2 goodies include Windows Media Player 9.0, Bluetooth Client 2.0, DirectX 9.0b, and a new wireless LAN client with an improved interface. In addition, tablet PC users who download SP2 will receive the latest OS for such devices: Windows XP Tablet PC Edition 2005. Similarly, SP2 will upgrade first-generation Media Center PCs with Windows XP Media Center Edition 2004.
Expect XP SP2 to be available for download in the next few days.
Tax-Free Shopping Weekend Across Many States in the U.S.
If you’re lucky enough to live in states such as Texas, North Carolina, South Carolina, Missouri or Iowa then you probably are aware that this is the weekend in which state and local governments simply don’t collect taxes on certain products you buy. You’ll have to read the fine print of the rules for the state you live in and whether you can buy a notebook computer and not get taxed, but in states such as North Carolina and South Carolina you can avoid taxes on a laptop computer as long as it is under $3500. So, assuming the state and local taxes are around 7% – 8% then that’s hundreds of dollars of savings you can rack up in retail stores by buying this weekend. And for those of us that live in state’s where the goverments squeeze you for every penny you’ve got every day of the year, well, we can only sit and be jealous or maybe drive across state borders to try and land the same deals!
Apple Laptop Program in Maine Schools to Expand
Ninth-graders in about one-third of Maine high schools will get laptops this fall under an agreement reached Friday with Apple Computer Corp. Approximately 6,000 students, which is 33% of the 9th grade student body in Maine public schools, will get a laptop supplied to them by their high school. This expands upon a program already in place in Maine middle schools in which nearly every student gets a laptop to work with.
Apple offers an annual rental price of $300 for each laptop it provides to Maine schools. Originally Apple had said they would not do this deal unless 8,400 laptops could be rented out, but after Maine fell short of funding and found they could only afford 6,000 Apple agreed to still do the deal.
The price includes servers and repairs, and Apple also will provide training and assist in installing the wireless networks that link the computers.
Maine was the first in the nation program to provide Apple iBook computers to more than 30,000 middle school students and teachers and the vision was always to expand this program to include high school students. Budget constraints and controversy over the value of this program prevented that expansion from occurring in a rapid manner. MaineToday.com has more on he ins and outs of this program of an Apple laptop on every child’s desk vision:
Paris and Nicky Hilton have Their Laptop Stolen
Okay, in a somewhat off topic news item, we all know that laptop computers are pretty hot items for being stolen. You’d think that in your home it would be a little safer. Usually laptops are stolen in the workplace or when somebody spots a laptop carelessly left unsupervised in a public area. But Paris Hilton, to whom every blonde joke in the book applies, was unfortunately the victim of a Hollywood Hills home break-in on Wednesday and her laptop was stolen along with pictures of her ex-boyfriend. So even keeping your laptop locked down with a security lock in the home isn’t a bad idea if you don’t want it to go if your house is burgled. Notebooks are just such easy to carry, high priced and easily resellable items so they’ll unfortunately be swiped along with jewelry if your house is broken into.