Computer lovers assemble 1,000 PCs in bid to get a slot in Guinness book of achievements The fastest-selling video-game console, the most widespread computer virus, and the highest market capitalisation reached by an information technology company have all earned a place in the Guinness Book of World Records' computer category. The list of record achievements includes the sale of 98,000 PlayStation 2 machines in four hours by Japanese consumer electronics giant Sony, on March 4, 2000. The mass-mailing Love Bug virus, a malicious program written in the Philippines, swiftly infected more than over 80 million personal computers in May 2000 and spawned more than 50 variants six months after it hit. Networking gear-maker Cisco Systems of San Jose, California, rode the dotcom boom to post a market capitalisation of US$503.4 billion on April 11, 2000, eclipsing software giant Microsoft. Last week, a large group of PC enthusiasts in Hong Kong were given the opportunity to join that list in their attempt to set the world's first record for the largest number of computers assembled at the same time and at the same place. About 1,800 participants gathered at Kowloon's Shek Kip Mei Park Recreation Centre in Sham Shui Po last Wednesday afternoon to assemble, individually or as a group, 1,000 do-it-yourself desktop PC kits they had bought. 'Guinness World Record officials have accepted this as a valid world record attempt,' said Jacky Cheung Yiu-shing, president of event co-organiser, The Chamber of Hong Kong Computer Industry. 'We will soon make a formal submission of results.' With about 300 volunteers helping first-time PC buyers assemble their machines, the world record attempt was successfully completed at about 5pm. The group let out a roar of triumph as their 1,000 PCs were turned on simultaneously, with all monitors showing the familiar Windows operating system interface. Those more experienced in assembling PCs took an average of 20 minutes to complete their task, while others took up to an hour and a half to assemble their machines. Participants bought their PC kits from authorised PC dealers. Mr Cheung said preparations for the world record attempt started in February, as organisers awaited the greenlight from the Guinness World Record organisers and sought to sign up participants 'from all walks of life, young or old'. 'Finding participants was not difficult - plenty of people wanted to be part of this attempt,' he said. Coming all the way from Bombay to take part in the record event was Nikhil Parva, an information technology assistant manager with Fleet Management, a member of Hong Kong's Noble Group. 'I was invited by my friend to join. This record is quite an accomplishment,' he said. Another incentive for participants was that the do-it-yourself PC kits were bought below their market rates, thanks to support from IT firms such as Microsoft, Intel and Advanced Micro Devices (AMD). The Intel processor-powered kit cost $5,688, while the AMD-based machines sold for $3,688. Microsoft Greater China regional director Alexander Huang saw the exercise as 'a sign of renewed confidence in the economy, especially the IT sector'. Estimates from research firm International Data Corp (IDC) suggest there has not been much to smile about in Hong Kong's information technology market. The local IT market last year was worth US$2.52 billion, down 13.8 per cent from 2001. IDC has forecast a meagre 1 per cent increase this year to US$2.54 billion. The Chamber of Hong Kong Computer Industry, the Sham Shui Po District Office and the Sham Shui Po District Council organised the PC assembly record attempt as part of the district's annual computer festival.