Notes from the Field: Dell users get burned, Apple lawsuit spurned

Notes from the Field: Dell users get burned, Apple lawsuit spurned

Cringester, Thomas F, says he'd just loaded his 1966 Ford F25 truck with camping gear when the Dell Inspiron 1300 sitting on the floor of the cab burst into flames, just like the laptop that made headlines in Japan. When the fire reached the truck's gas tank, well, remember that scene in Star Wars when the Death Star gets destroyed? When he got back home eight hours later, Dell's online support tech demanded the service tag from the bottom of the charred-beyond-recognition notebook before he would help him. Dell spokesfolk say they take such matters very seriously and are investigating it thoroughly. Earlier Dell had blamed its combustible laptops on defective lithium ion batteries (like that's going to reassure us) and asked the Consumer Product Safety Commission for help. When Dell says its computers are the bomb, I never thought it meant that literally.

Crash and Burn: Apple has given up the fight to force two rumour sites to reveal their sources for their reports on Asteroid, the digital music gizmo that has yet to collide with any computers on this planet. It seems bloggers are journalists after all, as far as the California courts are concerned. Now that's settled, maybe Apple can track down the guys who offered those "irregular" stock options to Steve Jobs back in the late '90s. Oh, wait. That would be Apple's board, wouldn't it? Mystery solved.

"I Am Not a ... Oh, Never Mind": The US Department of Justice is trying to extradite a UK-based former VP for Peregrine Systems who has been charged with helping to cook Peregrine's books to pump up the stock price. His name? Jeremy Crook. Mr. Crook denies all wrongdoing. Luckily, his attorney is named Steve Law.

What's Up, Geek? Apparently misused the term 'nimrod' when talking about the FTC and its lost notebooks. ("And the password is ... nimrod.") Several readers informed me the word means hunter, not dimwit. However, according to my dictionary, nimrod also means an especially inept hunter - specifically, Elmer Fudd. Hey, everything I know I learned from Bugs Bunny.

Got hot tips or hotter laptops? Send them to and you could win a bag useful for smothering fires.

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