by John Moe // Posted: 06/30/10 08:07 AM
Dell used to be one of the best selling PCs on the market. Their computers were thought to be well made, affordable, and backed by outstanding customer service. But that was several years ago and Dell has fallen from grace quite a bit since then, amid charges of irregular accounting practices, terrible customer service, and computers that break. New York Times reporter Ashlee Vance wrote about documents that were recently made public as part of a lawsuit against Dell. The documents indicate that Dell employees knowingly shipped out millions of computers from 2003 to 2005 that were likely to break, spill chemicals, and even cause small fires.
When the computers were returned for repair or replacement, they were given new faulty equipment and shipped right back out again to customers like Wal-Mart, Wells Fargo, and the Mayo Clinic. We speak with Vance about the story. We also check in with Matt Wold of Geek Squad about the specific problems at issue, how you can see if your own computer is affected, and what you can do about it.
By Larissa Anderson // Posted: 05/31/10 09:28 AM
We’ve been following the story of the Foxconn suicides closely. Someone passed along this link to us about how the media is misrepresenting the figures. The story mentions the suicide rate in China, and suggests that the Foxconn suicides are not out of proportion.
In our report over a week ago, Alexandra Harney said that while the working conditions are very difficult, people line up every morning at dawn to get a job there.
There are a lot of numbers that are hard to get nailed down - the number of employees at Foxconn in addition to the number of suicides, the number of suicide attempts. It’s important to keep these suicides in perspective. One of the guests on our show helps do that. Dr. Eric Caine worked on suicide prevention in China. He China is the only country in the world in which women commit more suicide than men. He also says that suicides happen more often in rural areas, as opposed to urban areas. They also often are the result of women consuming agricultural pesticide.
From all the people we talked with, it’s clear that having a number of suicides in a row, this close in proximity, this close in time, with such similarity (jumping off their dormitory roofs, is worth examining. Dr. Caine said the Foxconn suicides have all the earmarks of cluster suicide, in which case the way to stem the rash of suicides is to confront the issue head on.
Posted: 05/28/10 08:31 AM
We last talked about the suicides at the Foxconn facilities in China only a week ago. But since that time the death toll has risen and Foxconn has been scrambling to respond and prevent future fatalities. Foxconn is the company that assembles many of the consumer electronics you may own, like smart phones, tablets, video game consoles. We follow up with Endgadget’s Laura June about reports of workers being asked to sign a pledge not to commit suicide (a pledge the company later retracted and apologized for). Laura also tells us of the increased number of counselors on site and the reported installation of nets being placed beneath the tall dormitories from which many workers have been jumping.
For understanding of how the phenomenon of suicide is different in China than in the United States, we speak to Dr. Eric Caine. chair of Department of Psychiatry at University of Rochester Medical Center and co-director of Center for the Study and Prevention of Suicide.
Apple, HP, and Dell are all major partners with Foxconn and have all recently said that they would be investigating conditions there. We asked each company what specifically they planned to do. Here are their responses:
09/26/10 11:15 AM
There’s a vote coming up this week in Washington that will have a big impact on how you use the internet, what’s available to you, how much faster you’ll be able to get things online. On Thursday, the FCC is expected to open up unused parts of the broadcast spectrum, a lot of people call it “white space”. This is space that was positioned to be something of a buffer between television stations but such padding is proving less essential since the conversion to digital TV.
On today’s show, we talk to Glenn Fleishman from Wi-Fi Networking News and The Economist about how the spectrum works and what kind of new space we’re talking about. We also check in with Tim Wu from Columbia Law School about the companies that will look to use the space and what it all might mean for you and me as internet consumers.
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