Why I need an “abject stupidity” category

CNN:Police try to control the crowd rushing to get cheap iBooks.

So what sort of braintrust in Henrico thought up this clusterfuck?

Here is my favorite quote:

“It’s rather strange that we would have such a tremendous response for the purchase of a laptop computer—and laptop computers that probably have less-than-desirable attributes. But I think that people tend to get caught up in the excitement of the event—it almost has an entertainment value.”
—Paul Proto, director of general services for Henrico County, to CNN

“rather strange that we would have such a tremendous response” You knew it was going to be bad which is why you required proof of residency and changed the date.

“laptop computers that probably have less-than-desirable attributes…” STFU. You already had to issue a redaction because you said these iBooks were always broken and Apple wasn’t repairing them according to contract when the real reason you wanted to switch to Dell is because of MS Office (a totally valid reason).

“it almost has an entertainment value” Porquoi? What is so entertaining about your neighbors getting injured and peeing their pants?

Let’s face facts: Four year old iBooks (+RAM+wireless) for $50??? Apple hardware holds it’s value. I once owned a Powerbook 270c that three years later was actually worth more than the educational price I paid. Let’s see, these things are worth $550 and would go for at least around $350 on eBay.

Anyone resident willing to stand in line can pick one up for $50 and get at least a $300 on eBay. Why are you so surprised, oh school director? Just because you want Office (and assorted viruses and spyware) doesn’t mean that everyone in your county does.

Oh well, I think it’s good that Henrico switched to Dell, might as well trade one untested system for another. If the normally indestructible iBook 2 was having a 5% failure rate, I wonder how they will fare. I suppose someone has to be the guinea pig and I glad it’s not my school district.

I remember reading about this four years ago, right when Apple was starting to turn the corner. Caitlin was ticked that she didn’t her own computer when she went to school, but now the Apple program is so robust she has more school districts to be jealous of.

Now before you consider me this sour grapes from an Apple zealot. It sounded like the iBook program was a disaster in Henrico. The first iBooks had a high failure rate and were not repaired by Apple in a timely manner and Apple did a poor job of educating the public about “Mac/PC compatibility” (and the OS wasn’t really that PC-friendly yet). Remember, in this new deal Henrico got MS Office(!), loaner notebooks during repairs, and saved a cool $4 million dollars. (Granted, they’ll need some of the money for IT, but we can assume Dell is picking up the hardware failure cost.) That’s good for Dell because they finally get their feet wet in this market and the costs will never get runaway for a company Dell’s size. (Yes, I know their notebooks are very fragile, but this is a great way for Dell figure out how to finally make a decent hinge.) More importantly, it will force Apple to innovate a little—perhaps the improvements in Universal Access and the addition Parental Controls in Tiger are a direct response to the renewed competition in this market?.

But today, Henrico passed up a $300k windfall. I hope the $50,000 they made will cover the hospital and police expenses accrued that day.

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