Letters to the Editor

Letters to the Editor







Dell speeds PC to fed's door

I have been a GCN reader for quite a while, and I nearly always turn to John McCormick's Power User column first.

I have been working with computers about 10 years fewer than he has, and I always appreciate his insights and comments about real-world applications of both hardware and software. I have shared his opinions numerous times, but this is the first time I have responded to his column.

McCormick's column on ordering a PC from big manufacturers [GCN, Nov. 22, Page 28] prompted me to write about my experience. I too recently needed a home computer in a hurry, but I had a different experience.

Satisfied with my previous Dell Computer Corp. machine, I checked the Dell Web site. I found a new Pentium III with 128M of RAM, a 12G hard drive, a CD-RW drive, a 17-inch monitor, a 3Com Corp. modem, a sound card and Microsoft Office for $1,500 with a federal employee discount plus shipping and taxes. I was told that shipping would take five to seven days.

I ordered on a Monday morning and was surprised to find the PC delivered to my door the next afternoon. It wasn't just sitting around waiting to be shipped either, because the hard drive indicated all the programs included had been loaded the previous afternoon. Dell doesn't promise such a fast delivery, but I guess my order hit just right in their order cycle and inventory conditions.

Everything worked fine out of the box, and I'm very satisfied with the machine. And though I was happy with the quick delivery, it would be great if they could more accurately predict the shipping time.



Ray Adams

Production supervisor

Bull Run Power Plant

Tennessee Valley Authority

Knoxville, Tenn.



Prices for electronic IDs were wrong

I would like to correct the record on some of the information in the Oct. 11 article 'Army brings dog tags into the electronic age' [GCN, Oct. 11, Page 1].

I thought the article was well written and fairly accurate. The pricing information conveyed in the article, however, was grossly inaccurate. The actual pricing paints the personal information carrier technology in a much more favorable light.

My company holds the contract. For the record, the base-year contract prices range from $23.10 for an 8M PIC with 8M of flash memory to $94.50 for one with 48M of memory. And, there is no 2M PIC.

The contract prices decrease dramatically over the life of the contract, for example to $14.29 in the third option year for the 8M PIC.

The adapter price is $54.86 in the base year for the PC Card version; that price drops to $28.64 in the fourth option year. The PICs, as well as parallel and Universal Serial Bus adapters, are also available through our General Services Administration schedule contract.




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To the best of my knowledge, we are the sole provider at this time of PIC products from SanDisk Corp. of Sunnyvale, Calif.

The PC Card adapter is a smart device with onboard electronics that translate the serial input/output to a Type II AT attachment I/O. This explains why the PIC adapter has a higher price than a conventional dumb-card adapter without onboard electronics. A serial device was chosen because it is more rugged and resistant than current native ATA media.



Ronald R. Richardson Jr.

Vice president

InformaTech Inc.

Frederick, Md.

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