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Homepage: Lob a grenade into the boss's office

Homepage: Lob a grenade into the boss's office

How many screws hold the cover on your PC? If you answered in your best Mexican bandito accent "Screws? I dohn need no damn screws!" you're the sort of user IT managers hate. While a lack of these screws could conceivably mean you took them to make a quick repair to your grandfather's pacemaker, it probably means you fiddle with your PC.

It's bad enough when you fiddle with your home PC, but it's a real worry when it's your work PC. The company has standardised on Internet Explorer, so you replace it on your machine with Netscape Navigator. The standard WP package is Microsoft Word so you install your 12-year-old copy of Wordstar "because everyone knows how much faster control key combinations are".

The fewer tasks a user expects to perform on a PC, the better the IT manager likes it. Many would tell you that the average user should be happy to use his/her PC for word processing and e-mail. Anything else should be reserved for the very few who have specialised software needs, such as accounting, graphics or CAD. They regard sound cards and CD drives as an invitation to waste time at the desk.

Chip maker AMD launched its latest product two weeks ago (coincidentally called the K6-III). AMD says it already has a very healthy slice of the home PC market with its K6 family of processors. Now it's cutting deals with most of the top desktop and notebook manufacturers so traditional office workers may soon find themselves with machines that have an extra claim over those powered by Intel. AMD says its 3DNOW! technology is THE standard for the latest games, offering unprecedented frame rates, 3D modelling and theatre quality audio and video. Of course, you also have to have a 3D graphics accelerator card to take full advantage.

If it was up to me I'd give every office PC user a 3D graphics accelerator card, a DVD drive, 3D audio, full Internet access and a copy of Quake II loaded with a level based on the user's own office layout. Which would you prefer to sell - the bare bones machine or the full-spec version?


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