Lost Packets

The machine that was set to revolutionize the way people commute was voluntarily recalled last month after power problems were reported by riders. The Segway Human Transporters were found to not deliver enough power – especially when batteries were low – to sustain riders, causing them to actually fall off the machines. According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, one person actually required stitches from a head injury after falling off a Segway. The recall is for all nearly 6,000 machines sold. All Segways sold in the future will include the mandatory software upgrade, which incorporates new parameters and alerts into the existing system to avoid accidents and injuries. For details visit www.segway.com.

No more slaps on the wrists for spammers in California

California Governor Gray Davis signed legislation last month that prohibits Internet spammers and advertisers from sending unwanted e-mail, threatening fines up to US$1 million for non-compliance. The newly-forged law not only targets firms that send spam to consumers but also the companies whose products are being solicited. According to a San Francisco-based research firm, spam e-mails cost US$9 billion in 2002 in lost productivity and bandwidth consumption. The message is clear, Davis said in a statement, that California will not allow spammers to “litter the information superhighway with e-mail trash.” The state of California is so far the first to take this measure of action against spammers.

Former employees claim working at IBM made them sick

A group of ex-IBM Corp. employees are awaiting a court decision to see if the case they filed against Big Blue in 1998 can go forward. The former employees allege that Big Blue knowingly exposed workers to cancer-causing chemicals in its semiconductor factories. While IBM is seeking a dismissal of the case, court documents show that hundreds of IBMers developed rare forms of cancer including lymph, blood, breast and brain cancers, as well as non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, leukemia and the very rare multiple myeloma. In 2001, IBM settled a lawsuit by two former employees who alleged that exposure to chemicals caused birth defects in their son, but the company remains adamant that it has no plans to settle this case.