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I'm not the authoritative source for this info, but I watched this very problem unfold in our district as two years' worth of Dell computer purchases exhibited the bad capacitor problem.  Virtually every one of the Dell GX-270 OptiPlex computers's motherboards went bad, and I was told that many of the replacement mobos exhibited the same problem.  This lead the district to move these computers out of service sooner that we otherwise might have.  It also lead us to give these computers away, rather than to try to sell them, as we did not consider them reliable.  There is an extended, not easily objectified cost in each one of the computers that were given away and which fail prematurely, even if they were free.  The only redeeming factor in all of this was that Dell's system design was such that the mobo could be replaced in under a minute, with only the need to remove and replace a single Phillips screw.  Still, there were lots of direct costs in dealing with this problem, not to mention the loss of productivity when computers were unusable.  I'm sure if we quantified the costs, we'd find that this was a very expensive problem for the district.
 
There's another cost to Vermont, though, that should be noted.  It was this very rush to Asian capacitor suppliers that was the direct result of the loss of market share for Barre's own Sprague Capacitor Co., a company that had made very high quality capacitors for decades.  It's obvious now that Dell did not test the Asian product sufficiently, and we in Vermont were among those to reward their "low-cost trumps quality" approach at the expense of Vermont jobs.  Granted, we trusted Dell and had no way of realizing that this is what we were doing at the time, but I bet that rings hollow in the ears of former Sprague employees.  I am happy to see that Dell is being called to task over their part in all this.  I think it's long overdue.
 
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Stephen Barner
South Burlington High School
550 Dorset Street
South Burlington, VT 05403
(802) 652-7015
(802) 652-7013 (Fax)
http://sbhs.sbschools.net
http://vtacad.net
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"When we study music, we practice... because there is no other way to become a musician. Neither can we become engineers by just studying a textbook, because practical experience is needed to correlate the so-called theory with practice." Charles Franklin Kettering

________________________________

From: School Information Technology Discussion on behalf of Rick Hege
Sent: Tue 6/29/2010 3:48 PM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Dell, in the news


Like we all don't have enough problems trying to make hardware last:

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/06/29/technology/29dell.html?src=busln 

Rick


Tech Support
Townshend School District
PO Box 226
Townshend, VT 05353-0226
802-365-7506
Fax 802-365-7955
www.townshend.windham.vt.us <http://www.townshend.windham.vt.us/>  


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