THE OLD IS NEW AGAIN - AND HOT !

5. August 2006, 21:50 | by WD Milner | Full Article |

A friend pointed out a magazine advertisement for a Dell notebook computer and inquired if they were “any good”.

Within some pretty obvious limits, “any good” is a subjective evaluation. At one pont in the past I have recommended some Dell models to those with basic laptop needs looking for something at a reasonable price point but not for some time now for a variety of reasons.

This particular advertisement was for a Dell Latitude D620 RoadReady model, emphasizing its durability thanks in part to its innovative magnesium alloy case.

Well, it really isn’t that innovative as metal cases on notebooks/laptops are nothing new. The now superceded Apple Powerbook with its titanium case, an older model of IBM Thinkpad with at least a partial aluminum case and Panasonic’s Toughbook line of laptops have been around for many years. But what really came to mind when I read the advert, was a laptop made by a company called GRiD who truly were innovative at the time with their magnesium cased laptops (and who held the patent for the clamshell design). Originally designed for NASA in the early 1980’s, they went on to make 8088, 80286 and 80386 powered machines in the mid 1980’s and early 1990’s. GRiD was eventually bought by Tandy (Radio Shack) and such innovative offerings disappeared as did the GRiD brand name.

Dell has been in the technology news media lately for its “exploding notebook” at a Japanses conference and another “exploding notebook” in an outdoorsman’s vintage pickup truck. Other stories are starting to appear as people who thought their occurance was an isolated event discover they are one of a growing number.

Despite the apparent culprit being the notebook batteries, one has to wonder what part the case design may have played in the explosive nature of the laptop fires, given the highly combustable nature of magnesium if you get it hot enough.

Another disquieting thought for air travellers is how long it may take before these are banned on aeroplanes as a potential “bomb” risk?

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Categories: ,
Keywords: Dell,notebook,laptop,exploding,magnesium,GRiD,bomb

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