Education victory in PC wars

IT was not that long ago when it was considered somewhat unusual to have a computer in the home. However, ever since personal computer (PC) vendors declared war on each other 18 months ago and started cutting prices to the bone, home computing is increasingly the norm.

And the homes where PCs are used more and more are those with children where they are being set up as an educational tool. As prices continue to fall, the penetration of computers in homes will continue to increase.

What is interesting is that the PC vendors in Hong Kong are starting to specifically target the home education market. If nothing else, this means consumers are in for some excellent prices on bundled hardware and software.

Packard Bell last week launched a new campaign where it bundles multimedia hardware and software with one of its 486 PCs, specifically aimed at home education. The result is a tasty configuration at a reasonable price.

The package is based on a 486SX system, four megabytes (MB) of RAM (random access memory), with one 3.5-inch floppy drive, a CD-ROM drive, a stereo sound-card and digital speakers, a modem connector, mouse, and 14-inch super VGA colour monitor. (The baseconfiguration hard disk for the system is more than a little anaemic at 40 MB, though options exist for bigger drives.) Software bundled with the system includes MS DOS 6, Windows 3.1, Microsoft Works for Windows and the Microsoft MultiMedia Pack for Windows and Software ToolWorks.

It includes a stack of educational CD-ROM-based software like Chinese-to-English-language lessons, a multimedia encyclopedia, a world atlas, multimedia typing lessons and Chessmaster 3000.

The bundle carries a list price of $15,900 and that's not bad.

Price wars are great for consumers. And with the PC market currently the scene of the mother of all battles, PC consumers should be kept happy for some time to come.

HERE in the Technology Post command bunker, we like to occasionally stray from our usual information technology fodder, to slightly more diverse technology developments.

Which brings us to an article from The Times about a new product used for sticking people together.

Apparently a couple of professors at Bradford University in England's north have developed a new super glue that can be used for joining skin, suitable for replacing a surgeon's stitches with the advantage of reducing scarring and infection.

The glue is applied in tiny amounts to the edges of the skin and bonds it together in seconds.

The process is quicker and no more expensive than conventional sutures.

Similar glues already exist, but the scientists are billing this as a new improved version which comes complete with specially designed applicator.