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Intel Giving Away Free Computers To Employees 150

Merlyn42 writes, "According to this article at Intel's Web site, Intel is giving Pentium III systems and lots of goodies, including free Internet access, to all its employees. Who else is going to follow this new trend started by Ford?" Don't know, but I wonder how many 'geek houses' we'll see comprised of five Intel employees living in a house with free systems. The cool thing is that the site says that they can use the systems for whatever they want.
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Intel Giving Away Free Computers To Employees

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  • by suss ( 158993 ) on Wednesday March 08, 2000 @03:00PM (#1216451)
    Intel are getting really desperate aren't they? The things they'll do to keep their own employees from buying AMD based PC's... (yes, i'm being a bit sarcastic ;-))
  • by aozilla ( 133143 ) on Wednesday March 08, 2000 @03:00PM (#1216452) Homepage
    Ford should have patented the "process" of giving away computer to employees, to protect their intellectual investment. Then they could license the process to companies like Intel who want to increase their productivity too.

  • Can we say Northwest [slashdot.org]?
    Can we say 'big brother inside'?
    Can we say 'trojan horse'?

    There's no way I'd accept a company computer in my house. If they can try to search personal, non company donated computers, imagine the rights you give up by placing a company gift computer in your abode??

    Besides, I like my Athlon. It has no product serial number :)

    63,000 bugs in the code, 63,000 bugs,
    ya get 1 whacked with a service pack,
  • by The_H0und ( 37508 ) <jkaldon.yahoo@com> on Wednesday March 08, 2000 @03:02PM (#1216455)
    I'd like to see all the major computer companies do this. After all, the computer portion of it is cheap. It's only when the employee says "You expect me to work at home, so you must fix my problems..." that it actually has some cost to it.

    I work at AMD and our cubicals are $1500/month/employee. Computers are nothing by comparison.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    The Republican party headquaters, Republican National Committee, has been providing all its employees with free internet access for a while now.
  • Complete with AMD processors?
  • I guess the idea is to get folks to waste time on the internet when they're at home rather than at work.
  • by zaius ( 147422 ) <jeff.zaius@dyndns@org> on Wednesday March 08, 2000 @03:07PM (#1216459)
    I recall a /. story [slashdot.org] a while ago dealing with Northwest Airlines searching employees computers. If employers are giving their employees computers, does this give them any more of a right to look for stuff on these computers? Are they really giving them the computers, or are they just letting them "borrow" the computers?

    Or maybe I'm talking out my ass again...

  • Call me paranoid, but I can't but think that Intel would like to keep tabs on what their employees use their machines for. Since they are Pentium III's maybe they'll ensure that the chip ID number (which had everyone annoyed when it first came out) locked on. Hopefully not, but you can only trust a multinational as far as you can throw it.
  • Bloody first post lusers.

    Discounting philanthropic reasons, why would an employer do this?

    Some suggestions:

    • They give the machines away at cost, but you pay tax on the retail price. It's probably a factor in salary levels too.
    • If you do even an hour of work-related stuff a week on your home PC, they recoup the cost in a year.
    • You don't waste two hours of each working day surfing the web or reading personal email.


  • by Samrobb ( 12731 ) on Wednesday March 08, 2000 @03:11PM (#1216462) Homepage Journal

    Where my wife works, they've had a rebate program for several years - the company kicked in some money (a couple of thousand at one point) towards your purchase of a new computer, as an interest free loan. Several of the smaller companies I've come into contact with have had similar programs.

    Unfortunately, it appears that as companies grow, benefits like this start disappearing... We'll probably be buying a new Mac G4 under the program at my wife's company soon, as their HR department has started grumblings about doing away with the program.

    This is part of what confuses me: it almost universally seems that HR ends up being the department that "champions" cutting the really interesting, set-your-company-apart-from-the-crowd type of benefits... and that only seems to happen when the company reaches some critical mass (200+ people).

    Now, it looks as if at some other breakpoint - when you reach the size of GM, or Intel - something else happens internally. I would be really interested to know who lobbied for these initiatives, why they did so, and how they convinced the executives/board/whoever that it was actually in the company's best interest to actually add a benefit instead of "restructuring" one or taking one away.

  • Its hard to imagine how Intel will monitor what you're doing after you've wiped the hard drive and installed a new operating system.
  • Yes, I think it is a factor in your salary...all you have to do is say: "You obviously expect me to do some work at home...so, lets factor in an extra 10% for all that time you don't want to pay me for."


  • I was under the impression that intel was way behind on production of the PIII's and that was a major cause in many retailers raising prices and running out. Won't this lower the number of processors available to paying customers even more? This may increase employee loyalty, but what about all of those customers that are becoming frustrated at the high prices and out of stock responses?

    By the way, this is only something I was told by egghead.com...I have nothing to back this up but I thought I'd let you know. - Apparently Intel was/is? behind 15,000 pieces in their PIII line. - Again, I have no proof to back this up, only what I was told by egghead, so please correct me if it's wrong!!
  • Does this mean that they will also pay for support for said systems ?
    Will they come with Windoze or Linux?

    And why anyways ? To encourage people to keep working there?
    Maybe they should save their money for doing more testing before they release second rate processors with lots of errors.


  • Wow, what a stupid knee jerk reaction.

    The Northwest case is irrelevant. If you break a law and have a supoena served against you, your computer will get searched whether you or your employer bought it. Period.

    "Big Brother Inside?", "Trojan Horse"... ah, the natterings of a disturbed mind somehow so caught up in its anti-corporate hate that it can't see what a wonderful gift this is to the employees.

    Prehaps some therapy can help you work through whatever issues you are having that are making you so angry and irrational.

  • My company only gives PC's away to people with pointy hair... (So far, none of them have fallen for the etch-a-sketch trick, either.)

  • "Its hard to imagine how Intel will monitor what you're doing after you've wiped the hard drive and installed a new operating system." It would surprise me if they wouldnt keep records of their employees with their cpu serial... i wonder if these can be put in cookies...
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 08, 2000 @03:26PM (#1216471)
    Here's the employee bulliten:


    ------------------------------------------------ ----------------------
    Published by Worldwide Employee Communications
    March 7, 2000
    ------------------------------------------------ ----------------------

    Intel is announcing the Intel® Home PC Program, an exciting and ongoing new
    benefit designed to provide every Intel employee worldwide with a high
    performance PC package and Internet access for personal use at home. Home
    delivery of PCs will begin in the third quarter of 2000.

    Detailed information about this new benefit is available on Circuit on the
    Intel intranet at >

    Sponsored by Human Resources and Information Technology, the Home PC Program
    will help employees, Intel retirees and their families to participate fully
    in the information revolution and take advantage of the education and
    e-Commerce opportunities offered by the Internet.

    HR and IT project teams are working to make this program a positive
    experience for employees and families around the world and will release
    additional details about the program as negotiations with vendors and
    suppliers proceed.

    Blue-badge full-time and part-time Intel employees will be eligible if they
    are on the payroll as of a particular date in Q3 that will be selected and
    announced later. Intel retirees also will participate. They will receive a
    performance segment personal computer with a Pentium® III processor, and
    unlimited Internet access. In addition, the offer will include a printer,
    Intel® Create & Share(tm) Camera Pack, keyboard, mouse, monitor, graphics
    adapter, unlimited use of Internet service, software, tech support and the
    choice of one Intel® Play(tm) PC-enhanced toy.

    Intel will offer the PC package and Internet access to employees at no
    charge to them. Because it is a new kind of benefit, the tax treatment has
    not been determined. Intel believes this should not be a taxable item for
    employees. In the event government agencies say otherwise, Intel will pay a
    portion of taxes through a benefit available to employees who require it.

    Intel is requesting proposals from potential suppliers of hardware and
    software and from potential vendors of Internet access.
  • by Brian Stretch ( 5304 ) on Wednesday March 08, 2000 @03:27PM (#1216472)
    Intel gets to tax deduct the cost of the PCs as a business expense (probably leased?), whereas employees would have to use precious aftertax $$$. Thus it would literally cost employees twice as much to buy the same PCs. This is a nice way of getting wealth into the hands of workers without getting raped by the IRS.

    Remember kids, employer-paid health insurance started as a way of getting around FDR's WWII wage and price controls. Hopefully we won't wind up with the same screwed up political consequences with employer-paid PCs, tho the "Digital Divide" propaganda is disconcerting.

    Sure would be a lot easier if Big Brother didn't confiscate 4-6 months per year of our labor in the first place, then we could buy our own toys with our own money.
  • "The base product and service offering will be provided to employees at no charge, but is not tax protected."
    You still have to pay the government for the computer, as it is considered part of your salary.
  • I think that Intel should give away Linux and FreeBSD systems rather than Windows systems, but that is my personal predjudice. BeOS would be another good option and it would help BeOS get some much needed extra attention.
  • But then some kid in Switzerland would've reverse engineered Ford's PC distribution process and spread it all over the net, at least until Ford whines and gets the kid's pants sued off.
  • Do the PCs belong to the employees, or to Intel? If Intel still owns the PCs, in the event of a dispute between the employee and Intel, Intel can repossess the PC and look at what the employee has been doing on it (on the grounds that the computer is Intel property).
  • AFIK Statoil (Norway's state oil company) gave away a free pc + internet to every employee (about 15000) 2-3 years ago hehe..

    Ford may be the first in the US but there is a world outside US as well =)
  • At the very least, I would keep it encrypted.

    Unless the employer is prohibited from accessing my data, I would be very leary of puting anything of value on the machine. It's still use it for surfing.

  • The Lisa did, the Mac doesn't (except for the MAC address on the ethernet card, but everyone ends up with that pita)

  • Yes, Intel gets to deduct the cost on its taxes, but the employees have to add the market value of the computer to its salary, unless it uses the computer only for business purposes (otherwise they can find out the percentage of the use of the computer for business purposes and can deduct that, but that's usually too much of a PITA).
  • by eskil-2 ( 1077 ) on Wednesday March 08, 2000 @03:46PM (#1216483) Homepage
    Well, eg. DBC [www.dbc.dk] where I currently work, and many other danish companies have done the same for... years. I've had free internet (they paid for the isdn installation and all) for almost two years now. I haven't had a PC since I didn't really need one and therefore said no. Others in the company of course said yes, and blam - there it was.

    This is quite common actually, I think the only big deal is that Intel have quite a few more employees then DBC. But eg. Nokia here in copenhagen do the same, although I'm not quite sure if this goes for all employees.

    funny thing thing is, almost every home in .dk has a pc, yet companies in .dk have done this for a long time, even teachers are getting pc's these days. Must be a socialist thing.

  • While Travoltus brings up some of the recent (and imagined, yet possible) events, the gift of a free P3 would be useful to some of the lower-paid staff, like mailroom folks and secretaries who can't quite afford to shell out the ducats for a new system for the family. The Northwest case where the home computers were searched for information was not due to it being Northwest's system, but because a court said so. If Intel gives away the system, it's now the new employees' system, not the companys'. Of course, that can be modified with a fine-print contract-document that Intel may require, I guess that it will be interesting to find out just what has to be done to get a free system.

    The P3 tracking number is just one of many. Look at the keys hidden in M$ products, like Office. If I were to use one of these systems, I would make sure the first thing installed after the op system would be a strong-encryption system, from email right down to whole disk scrambling. Luckily for us (so far), the US does not have a law like the one being rammed through the Parliament in the United Kingdom, where even if you forgot the decryption key, you'd go to jail. I wonder which imbecile in Congress will revamp the idea and try to get it passed in the US.
  • by Esperandi ( 87863 ) on Wednesday March 08, 2000 @03:52PM (#1216485)
    Free PC with built-in hardware ID number (no, that hasn't gone away just because people aren't pissed off about it any more) plus free Internet access. Wow, sounds like the perfect scenario for realworld testing of meterware (pay-per-use software) which was the whole point of the ID number anyways.

    Oh, and BTW, meterware is unbeatable. It is the only method that I've ever been able to imagine that is unbreakable (unless you go to court and claim it wasn't you using the system). Picture this: You're going to run Word2k (it would surprise you that an Intel employee was using Windows? Wintel remember) and Word2k needs to call a function SlowDown(). Dynamic linking checks and finds out where SlowDown() is. Oh, it's a COM object on the microsoft.com server. Connect to microsoft.com and send the parameters or whatever and then get the result... if that SlowDown() function is system-critical, this method is foolproof barring someone stealing the DLL or whatever from microsoft.com's server, hacking the program to use it locally, etc.

    So, besides getting the net access and PC, they happen to get any up-and-coming software pre-installed?

  • Check out this Internet Week article [internetwk.com] for a clue as to why all these big companies are jumping on the free-PC bandwagon.

    No, Slashdot paranoids, they ain't doing it so that they can trojan a telescreen into your house. They're doing it because they want their partners to be able to sell you stuff through their exclusive portals.

  • I am sure that the is a catch. Either they will wind up doing work while at home, or it is so that they are totally accessible to the company. Sure it will increase productivity, but I am betting that some of these companies get burned. Especially if they are good computers. If they are all in one systems that only have 1 expansion slot then they are fine but if they have each piece separate, what is to stop an employee from buying a new motherboard and processor (AMD) and selling the old one (Intel)? I would do it.
  • I have no idea what Intel's actual legal agreement for this looks like, but from that web press-release, it looks like the employees would actually own the computer. I.e., they pay income tax on its value, so it's part of their income, so it's theirs.
    I really don't see any reason why an employee who gets one of these couldn't sell it, install Linux or whatever on it, or even use it as a (very expensive) doorstop!
    There probably is some agreement with the isp that the internet service is non-transferrable, and the same might apply to some sort of intel-centric software that gets installed, but there shouldn't really be any such thing on the hardware itself...

    (who's wishing he knew some intel employees!)
  • Ten bucks says that they're giving away computer with the bugged/faulty/messed up processors... or ones in the Alpha Stage. Heh.
  • Andover needs to encourage Slashdot readership by giving away free computers and Internet access to all registered non-anonymous users ... (and give extra processor capability to those that will post compliments in response to Katz articles)
  • The computers Intel is giving to its employees are 667 MHz - and this will not happen until Q3 - so the machien will be quite low end for its time. I do not expect it to interefere with the company's production supplies.
  • Time 3:35 PM Friday afternoon.
    Place Managers Office.

    Manager: Mr. Johnson, I was to have done this report two weeks ago but it slipped me and now I have a priority 1 assignment to take care of in our Caribbean branch ( carnival on the beach ).

    Johnson: Ohhhu.

    Manager: I need for you to complete it for me.

    Johnson: I'll get on it 1st thing monday morning.

    Manager: That's when my boss is expecting it.

    Johnson: Well I can't come in this weekend. It's our anniversary and Cindy ( his wife ) even sent the kids to grandma.

    Manager: Ohh you will be able to find some time to look at it between your celebrations. Congratulations. By the way, how long has it been now?

    Johnson: 7 years, but I won't be...

    Manager: Good. See you on Monday.

    Johnson: But the kids have the computer. They want to surf the net and stuff.

    Manager: WHAT? Do you think that's why we gave it to you ? Here, I'll give you a little bonus to cover the gas so you can go get it...

    /Johnson** (Breaks out in tears and collapses on the flour.)

  • Intel is going to get the systems from an OEM - who will provide the system and support. It is up to the OEM to decide what OS is on it, what the options are, etc. They have stated that you will be able to pay something to get some of the components extra. For example, it will come standard with a CD-ROM drive, but you can pay a little bit of a money to get a DVD drive instead.
  • Comment #30 [slashdot.org] says it counts as income and the employee has to pay taxes on it, so I reckon it belongs to the employee from then on.

  • Intel has said (at least, internally) that the employees own it, and can do whatever they want with it, including selling it. Intel will have no right to search it, because it is not their property.
  • i don't mean to be too cynical, but in my experience, HR employees tend to be some of the least intelligent in the company. i've seen HR do some truly stupid things, that in many cases caused very good employees to leave, or very promising potential employees turn down offers.

    my question has always been, why are HR employees (especially at high-tech companies) so increadibly stupid?

    - j
  • And Intel is probably going to record the digital serial numbers of the Pentium III PCs they give to employees, and maybe keep track of their employees habits....? Don't know it could happen. Yeah I know employees can disable it, but relying on the laziness factor, most won't.
  • So, what your saying is
    Serial Numbers != Good
    I can just imagine this now

    Police: We retrieved some of the parts to your stolen computer, atleast.. we think they're yours.
    Youse: Well, I had a 14gb seagate harddrive..
    Police: We have about 20 of those, got a serial.. err.. nevermind.. they stopped doing that a few years back
    Youse: Okay, give em here, i'll be back in a couple of hours.
    Police: I'm sorry sir, but if some of those hard drives contain sensitive data, we can't allow you to take them. Unless you can prove that a single one is yours.
    Youse: Awwwh.. crap
  • My mom has gotten a free state of the art(for the time anyway :-)) computer from her work (Nortel) 3 years ago. It was a P200 MMX with 64MB RAM and a 5 gig HD. Nortel just didn't show off like Ford and now Intel. Although I only use it as a Firewall now, it was a nice upgrade from the 386 we had before it...
  • Hmmm...just a thought. You ever wonder what happens to leftover chips when Intel takes them off the market? Sorta reminds me of how a store I worked for gave all the three-day old food to the homeless guys out back, and got on TV this one time for their generous "charitable" work. Food probably gave those bums the runs anyway. Sharkey
    Badassmofo.com []
  • Why would Intel bother to track employee usage?

    In the final analysis, corps are in it for the money. Tracking people costs money and nets very little cost savings in return. Further, the potential liability and public-relations fiascos that could come up should it leak out present a very palpable risk to the bottom line.

    Tracking usage, esp. when you don't have control over the OS used and the network (dial-up) that they use [Yes, I know that internet access is included, but they don't have to use it], is *very* hard. Hard == expensive. We're back to the bottom line.

    Allow me to offer another angle:

    Perhaps Intel wants to:

    1) Gain lots of press and public warm fuzzies by caring for the little guy

    2) Save money by claiming the PC's as business expenses

    3) Possibly ease employee abuse of the internet by allowing them full access at home.

    There are those who would find a conspiracy behind every bush. However, it is just as likely that simple greed is behind most things corps do.

    Take care,
  • Andover needs to encourage Slashdot readership by giving away free computers and Internet access to all registered non-anonymous users
    I've got a better idea. Give people computers based on their karma -- if your karma is negative, you get nothing, if it is up to 10, you get a MIPS processor, between 10 and 50 you get an Intel processor, and above 50 you get an Alpha.
    After all, doesn't it makes sense for a publisher (Andover) to pay people who write their content (the people who post stuff interesting enough to get moderated up)?

  • Um...Whats the big deal here? The chemical plant I work for, after I upgrade PC's, with my boss's permission I build usable PC's and give them to the employee's at work. They all have modems and the company has several dialups that we no longer use but still pay for. The workers are free to use the dialups and they have PC's. Now they aren't the best in the world, along the lines of 486 PCI's or P133's but hey, whats the big deal with Intel or Ford doing it, I bet lots of other companies have been doing the same thing I have been doing at mine.
  • if you've got a network card you've got a mac, yeah, can be fiddled with, but so can the p3 id, tho the p3 id is fiddleable both ways

  • The company where I work (up here in Canada) tried this once, but then there were tax implications that sort of soured them on it.

    Even if they/the-employee had to pay taxes on it (as it could be considered 'income') I don't see how it would change the economics *that* much. Probably just the a) book-keeping nightmare involved and b) the psychological effect of having an extra up-front cost, it being a 'tax' giving it a bigger psychological punch.

  • (Moderators please look the other way. The boy asked for it.)

    Oh look, I'm being lectured by a corporate stooge with the brain of a pea.

    "Big Brother Inside" happens to be a correct term, lackey boy. Intel originally intended each person who used a Pentium III to be trackable in online transactions, as well as ensuring the chip was running at the speed it was intended for. One of the explicitly mentioned consequences was e-commerce websites would deny access to people who didn't turn on the stinking number. So yes, you are clueless about life - "Big Brother Inside" is right on the mark.

    As for the Northwest case, the subpoena was a farce. There was nothing ILLEGAL done, but corporate lawyers managed to lie hard enough to the judge to get access to those PC's. And my computer won't ever get searched. My email disappears once a week and all free space is rewritten over. The best anyone will get is a 1 day URL browsing history.

    As for therapy, how about you get a clue transplant? It's sheep like you who baaaaaaaaah and graze on the pasture while the wolves are snatching your freedoms away, one at a time. You are severely outnumbered in this world by the number of people who are vigilantly watching people like Intel and fighting for our privacy rights.

    I'd love to meet you in the street so I could see you get laughed at. Tool.
    63,000 bugs in the code, 63,000 bugs,
    ya get 1 whacked with a service pack,
  • Given some of the creepy intel practices as seen on Face Intel [faceintel.com] I'd be really nervous about using it for much of anything -- they're already known to break into visitor cars and hire private investigators.
  • Considering the types of people who work at Intel (presumably a lot of computer nerds) I'm betting that many already have pretty decent computers at home. I know three or four people who work at Intel in Oregon, all are Computer Science graduates, and all have nearly new (purchased within 12-18 months) computers. Sure some won't already have their own machines, but I'm betting a larger percentage of Intel employees already have computers than, say, Ford employees.

    Maybe Intel should have given all their employees cars instead. :)
  • can you say 'format the hd and put linux on it'?

    I am sure there is something you could do with a computer like this. I doubt there would be trojans at the hardware level.
  • If the company _gives_ you a computer, no, that shouldn't give them any rights to the content stored on it. Like in the northwest case, legal action can still be used to search the computers, but that's more or less normal law.

    If they merely say 'here is a company computer to use at home' and don't actually transfer ownership, then they could theoretically do anything with them they want. But Intel and Ford, from what I understand, are actually giving the computers away, not just placing company-owned computers in homes. So there should be no privacy concerns with this.
  • by Ravenscall ( 12240 ) on Wednesday March 08, 2000 @04:58PM (#1216523)
    Call me naive and overly optimistic, but to somewhat respond to all the paranoia I have seen flying around on this subject, why does anyone think Intel even WANTS to track it's employees. Yes, I know all the corporate PR on this subject (I DO work for a multinational, and yes, only trust them as far as I can throw them), but to understand big mean megacorp (TM) you must think like it's executives:

    This is the Infrmation Age (Or at least thats what my marketing people tell me)

    My Children have a computer (Assuming the exec has children, this is just an example)

    They have internet access

    They are more productive on class assignments because they have internet access (Remember, a good fast connection and cable preclude actually having to PARENT your children)

    So, maybe if I give my employees computers and internet access, they will be more productive on take-home assignments and therefore make me more money so I can buy that second fleet of yachts.

    I want to know why everybody seems to think that this is the opening salvo in more Big Brother tactics from Corporations? The Tactics of Northwest aside (one company among THOUSANDS), what the employees do at home is thier buisiness, and the corporations, in thier pursuit of the almighty bottom line, are not going to pour the money into survaillence of every customer without expecting a great return, and there is just no return there. Now, if it were the Government giving out these PC's, I would worry......

  • There was nothing ILLEGAL done

    wrong. The employees allegedly broke the law by organizing a sick-out (yes, it _is_ illegal). The subpoena existed for the express purpose of finding out whether there was any evidence of an organized sick-out on the employees' computers. If they had owned the computers, the subpoena would still have been granted.

    did I just get trolled?

  • Damn! 50 for an Alpha!! Some of us would be taking home supercomputers! Perhaps I can squeeze my 180 for a used S/390 or one of those Power Challenge I'm always lusting after at work.

    Sig 11! Hold out for the T3E man! They're gonna try to lowball you with a crappy Onyx!

    Self confessed closet Karma Whore..
  • Never assume that HR's job is to help out the employees. In all large companies and many small companies, HR is your enemy. It is their job to make sure that nobody gets paid "too much." Their job to make sure that the cost of benefits programs is minimized. Their job to keep the employees from getting too large a piece of the pie of the company's revenues.

    They are not there to help you resolve disputes with your boss and/or co-workers. In many large companies, HR will report the contents of any conversation you have with them right back to your manager, especially if it gives the company some kind of leverage over you.

    This kind of BS doesn't fly in a startup or small company, but once they get big and faceless, it becomes HR's job to keep the employees down.

    It is this simplistic kind of attitude that makes switching employers the only way to appreciably increase your salary. HR is short-sighted, no doubt about it.

    My last experience with a corporate HR group was when I "volunteered" to take a position within the company doing some crap work for a lot of money, effectively $100/hr. They completely vetoed it even though the manager was desperate for someone and they still would have made a decent profit.

    Well, I went independent and billed $135/hr for pretty much the same stuff and the company lost money on the deal, but they were contractually obligated to provide the service and I was the only game in town (or actually in the whole country).

    HR is not your friend, but that doesn't mean you have to take it.

  • The hard drive serial number cannot be picked up by someone on the internet. Your computer cannot automatically transmit that number to anyone.

    The Intel Pentium III PSN was built in with the express purpose of being transmittable online. Any ol' website could pick it up.
    63,000 bugs in the code, 63,000 bugs,
    ya get 1 whacked with a service pack,
  • Damn! 50 for an Alpha!! Some of us would be taking home supercomputers!
    Yeah, so maybe those numbers are a little off. But still, I'd prefer to read Sig 11's posts over Hemos' or CmdrTaco's any day. It doesn't exactly seem fair that Hemos and CmdrTaco get paid so much (how many millions in stock right now?) while the people who write the funny, informative, interesting, insightful (etc.) posts don't get anything.
  • That begs the next question, why don't I work at home instead? Or at least in some jobs.

    This also brings in the cost of internet access (and speed).

    What about support? Will the employee expect MIS support at home? When the kid trash the system, what happens?

    Some people don't want a computer at home, others would want it.

    This could be considered an educational expense, or be a reason for divorce.

  • What you say is simply false. It isn't possible for a random arbitrary website to connect to your machine and demand the serial number. It's not even possible for a website that you connect to to demand the serial number, unless you're running a browser that can be conned into reporting it. The control of the system is still software.
  • by Harlequin ( 11000 ) on Wednesday March 08, 2000 @05:31PM (#1216535)
    I dunno, as an intel employee, I'm pretty excited to get a free box to crack more rc5 keys with. I'm not sure what I'll do with it, but I'm certianly not turning it down on some paranoid notion that Intel will have some secret deal with whatever OEM provides the box to get my serial number. Especially since I'll just disable it's transmission in my bios (I doubt the oem will write a special bios that won't allow me to turn it off). And, yes, the employees will own their machine and intel won't have any more right to look at it's contents than the do with the machines I have now.

    However, I'm not one of the people that will benifit the most. Of the 70,000+ employees and reitrees Intel has, many of them work at fabs in countries where computers are much less prevalent. They say they're trying to find an internet access option for all the employees too. I think that's pretty cool.

    Actually, working extra hours (at home or at work) is supposedly forbidden by intel's pollicies (yeah, that really works :). The cool thing is that in the internal faq, it says that there's a possibility that the internet access won't necessairally be dialup. They may have cable/dsl/isdn options or something... they're not sure yet. Also, you get that (kinda) neat microscope that hooks up to your (windows) box. I saw it at the store and thought, "hrmmm... that might be fun to play with".
  • The cool thing is that the site says that they can use the systems for whatever they want.

    Well, fitted with the latest i820 motherboards they'll make great (if somewhat bulky) doorstops I suppose...

    Consciousness is not what it thinks it is
    Thought exists only as an abstraction
  • Oh please.
    Serial number. Give me a break.
    MOST processors have serial numbers... big deal.
    SPARC has serial numbers. Why not boycott SUN?
  • From the writing.on.the.wall.dept. here's why I bought AMD:

    (snipped from HNN)
    S2105 Would make it a crime to tamper with
    identification codes put in place by manufacturers. Disabling or changing such codes would be a crime. So changing a MAC address or disabling the PIII ID code would now be a crime.
  • The computers are theirs to do with as they please. So if some of them decide to do away with Windows and install Linux, so be it. (Although they do get a slew of accessories with it, such as a Printer and a web cam. Who knows if those specific devices are even supported under Linux.)

    -- Give him Head? Be a Beacon?

  • I second that. AMD are you listening? I could use another computer... 8^)
  • Intel's motives, I suspect, are not entirely altruistic. Ford's weren't either, but they were a lot closer. They wanted their workers to be more computer literate to be more efficient, and in the process allow them to acquire skills that many of them don't have the ability to practice otherwise. In that sense they are really doing their employees a favor, considering that probably 3/4 of them are working class, blue collar, high school graduates who probably wouldn't have a chance to learn basic computer skills otherwise. Intel, on the other hand, is using this as a ploy, an overpublicized signing bonus intended to steal away scarce tech workers from other firms. It's not a bad thing, but come on - how many people working at Intel don't already have a Pentium 3 or something else, and how many of those don't know how to use it? You're getting into fractions of a percent here. I'm not knocking the program, but you should try to avoid piling on the felicitations - I think Intel's motives are a lot more transparent that Ford's were.

  • Except with houses. :-)

    I've actually been thinking of this for several years, as I think it's important that every employee "know thy product". I agree that all companies should provide their employees with the product they make, so everyone can use and be familiar with it.

    Whenever I manage to get my company started, officially, I plan to do the same, but do it with the autonomous, self-contained houses we plan to build. :-)

    You can find info about those houses at the above URL.

    Patrick Salsbury

  • by Anonymous Coward
    I got this form somebody that works at Intel. At the time the program is launched, a standard configuration will consist of a performance PC with a Pentium® III processor 677 MHz, 128 MB RD RAM, 20 GB hard drive, 48X CD-ROM, floppy drive, Intel® Create & Share? camera pack, USB speakers and soundcard, graphics adapter, modem, keyboard, mouse, monitor, printer, and software. Each employee also will receive an Intel®Play? computer-enhanced toy. And each employee will receive Internet access. Guess they need to do something with all those extra i820's and RDRAM..........
  • ...And my computer won't ever get searched. My email disappears once a week and all free space is rewritten over...

    Do you actually think that annihilating the e-mail off your computer does any good? You can chop up your hard drive into a jillion pieces, degauss each one individually, burn them, and then mail them in plastic baggies a hundred different countries without extradition treaties, and it wouldn't do you any good.

    There's also a copy of the email on the server. Probably one on the source mail server and one on the destination mail server. In addition to the sender's computer, possibly.

    If you're that scared of big brother, don't send email. You can't ever be sure. For that matter, don't ever use a computer. Whenever you want to send a message, do a public/private key encrypt in your head and send the cyphertext via smoke signals. Then bash your head with a mallet so that you'll forget the message and they won't be able to force it out of you, now the weak link in the chain. And once you've done that, kill whoever it was you sent the message to, because now they're the weak link.

    Seriously, if you're going to insult somebody for being a twit, it's generally a good idea not, in the same message, to let on that you're grossly ignorant of how actual computer espionage works. FYI: the guys who dig up your secret e-mails for a living first check your computer, and if that doesn't work, they go straight to your mail server. It's basically impossible to be sure that a particular e-mail is unrecoverable.
  • LAMBERTVILLE, MICH (AP) - On early thursday morning, McDonalds, Subway and BurgerKing all announced simulateneously that they will be giving their employees a $3,000 voucher to purchase a system.

    Employees there were rather pissed off. One employee, who wants to remain anonymous states, "Fscking McDonalds. We already have enough fscking computers at fscking McDonalds. You think they would _TRY_ to improve the quality of their hamburgers before wasting $3,000 on every god damned fscking employee in this joint. HELL, THEY ARE ALL TOO STUPID TO EVEN KNOW HOW TO USE A COMPUTER." Upon hearing this, the store manager at Lambertville, Michigan, sedated his employee and submitted him to the ELECTRO-SHOCK THERAPY room.

  • ... are known as "HR Babes". Yes, some of them do live up to the stereotype -- cute, but suffering from a partial cranial vacuum.

    Disclaimer: No, I am not a Microsoftie.

    Disclaimer2: I was stupid enough to date a few of them.

  • OK, I had to tell someone - basically I was ordering some capture cards from pcstop.com [pcstop.com], and inquiring about stock and found out that Intel hasn't shipped any PIIIs to pcstop.com in a *month*. Supposedly pcstop.com has 1.5 billion in stocked merchandise, so I don't think they are a small player. Has anyone else heard similar tales?

  • by Anonymous Coward
    This is pretty stupid. The only reason I could see to do this is to dodge taxes, but since the employees pay tax, that doesn't work.

    See, the idea is that people get paid money to do work. Free computers are nice and all, but the equivalent amount of money, which gives the employee an opportunity to buy a computer, is much nicer, since that involves choice.

    Not everyone needs a new computer. Undoubtedly, many Intel employees have computers. It is safe to say that they paid money for them. If they need a Pentium III at home (and I'm not saying they don't), why can't they pay some amount of money for that instead (preferably discounted and/or tax-free)?

    Is Intel going to start distributing home food rations to their employees? After all, everyone needs food, and that way employees wouldn't have to pay for food out of their own pocket.

    On the other hand, "Intel Giving $750 Bonus To Employees" wouldn't make for a very interesting Slashdot story, would it?

  • ... just couldn't wait till Hustler or Playboy offers something to their empoyees ;-)
  • If you're talking computer espionage, wouldn't they attempt to go undetected by the person they were spying on and try all those other places for copies of the e-mail first before chancing alerting the person they're trying to spy on by trying to get to his computer directly?
  • <i>Oh look, I'm being lectured by a corporate stooge with the brain of a pea. </i>

    Oh look, I'm being lectured either by a misplaced hippie or a clueless "the man is down on me" type.

    <i>One of the explicitly mentioned consequences was e-commerce websites would deny access to people who didn't turn on the stinking number</i>

    Riiiight... like someone is not going to see you something over the net because you don't have the appropriate chip. Snicker.

    <i>As for the Northwest case, the subpoena was a farce. There was nothing ILLEGAL done, but corporate lawyers managed to lie hard enough to the judge to get access to those PC's. </i>

    Wow, maybe the defense in that case should suponena you since you apparently know so much about the case.

    <i>Re:They couldn't pay me enough (Score:1)
    by Travoltus (travoltus@hot.mail.com) on Wednesday March 08, @19:47 CST (#73)
    (User Info)
    (Moderators please look the other way. The boy asked for it.)

    Oh look, I'm being lectured by a corporate stooge with the brain of a pea.

    "Big Brother Inside" happens to be a correct term, lackey boy. Intel originally intended each person who used a Pentium III to be trackable in online transactions, as well as ensuring the chip was running at the speed it was intended for. One of the explicitly mentioned consequences was e-commerce websites would deny access to people who didn't turn on the stinking number. So yes, you are clueless about life - "Big Brother Inside" is right on the mark.

    As for the Northwest case, the subpoena was a farce. There was nothing ILLEGAL done, but corporate lawyers managed to lie hard enough to the judge to get access to those PC's. And my computer won't ever get searched. My email disappears once a week and all free space is rewritten over. The best anyone will get is a 1 day URL browsing history.

    <i>As for therapy, how about you get a clue transplant? It's sheep like you who baaaaaaaaah and graze on the pasture while the wolves are snatching your freedoms away, one at a time </i>

    Oh thank goodness some luser on /. is here to bitch about me losing the freedom to, um, oh yeah, to prevent heartless corporations from giving away computers. Fight the power, man!

    <i>I'd love to meet you in the street so I could see you get laughed at. Tool.</i>


  • The real reason that Intel is doing this is so they can track what their employees are doing at home.

    Think about it. With the PIII chip ID Intel can easily identify which employee is doing what at home.

  • ...RadioShack doesn't try this whole free computer thing. If I got a free Compaque, I'd think, "Hey. I didn't spend any money on this Compaq." Which would lead to, "I didn't wate the money for this computer." And then I'd think, "hey. I've got that 20 lb. sledge hammer in the garage that I've been itching to use." Of course, I'd probably end up keeping the monitor.
  • Oh geez... all those Sparc's I have in my house. Wait.... I don't have any. Not much of a desktop OS. Yeah, only companies have Sparc's pretty much. Make sense to have to have a serial number.
  • what the hell kind of hippy, tree huggin' crap is this? we are talking about a corperation (that I happen to work for) that is giving away a free PC to its employers. Trojen horse? Not likly since they are coming directly from the distributers. Big brother inside? Do you think that AMD doesnt poll the places that sell the chips that they create as to how they are getting sold as compaired to other chips for marketing reasons? Do you think that the sites you go to cant tell what hardware configuration you have on your PC is, think again. You people really need to get off your paranoid, everyone is out to get you, trips and learn to live. "We should be careful to get from experience only the wisdom that's in it ... a cat who sits on a hot stove lid won't ever sit on a hot stove lid again, but she won't sit on a cold one either" -- Mark Twain
  • "We're delighted to offer employees and their families the ability to take advantage of the education and e-Commerce opportunities on the Internet," said Patty Murray, Intel vice president and director, human resources.

    E-commerce and education...? we all know they're going to be playing q2 and looking at porn.
  • Intel is not the only multi-national business peeking around.

    The cool thing is that the site says that they can use the systems for whatever they want

    Not cool that this applies only when the U.S. government says the use is okay. Corporate and censorship special interest groups seem especially keen on limiting us through our government.

    (Thanks, Travoltus, I really enjoyed your rebuttal. Refreshingly concise.)
  • If they were, they would be giving away automobiles, not computers.

  • Ever heard of Oracle Corp?

    Unlike you, state legislators and Congress are taking corporate privacy invastion seriously, and are taking action. See: New York.

    Yes. You are clueless. Yes. Corporations are playing fast and loose with people's privacy. Yes. Check that Trojan horse before you let it in the courtyard. YES. Read that contractual agreement before you go sign up for that company donated PC.

    Give it up, dude, you aren't gonna win because you don't have the intelligence for this.
    63,000 bugs in the code, 63,000 bugs,
    ya get 1 whacked with a service pack,
  • IIRC, though, the court used Northwest having provided the computers as a justification for giving NWA the right to search their employees. Apallingly unconstitutional, IMO.

    Employees could (probably) effectively oppose this sort of thing by extensive use of cryptography, e.g. CFS.

  • Everyone is so paranoid...

    Let's look at it another way. My sister works for Agilent (which used to be the scientific measurement divisions of HP), and I often listen to her describe some of the things the company does for its employees. And y'know, they appear to be actively nice to their employees -- almost as though they've figured it out: if they treat the employees decently, they'll have loyal, enthusiastic workers!

    BTW, my sister happens to really enjoy working for Agilent... so it seems to be a successful approach. Maybe they're not alone in trying this approach?


  • I understand that the university I attend has bids out for a pile of notebooks. One for each student. There are about 2500-3000 currently enrolled. I have heard of other schools doing this too. What do you think are some of the Pros/cons of this?
  • Wow, I enjoy /. as much as the next guy, but you guys need to get out more. As an employee of Intel, it's highly amusing to read all the "real" reasons Intel is giving away PC's. Just to clairify a few points. 1) there will be support, no it probably won't be shipping w/Linux. those of us who run Linux, or my personal preference FreeBSD, (gods' OS of choice; flame on! :) will be free to do so. 2) it will be "ours" not "loaned". I'll no doubt use mine to pour grits down my pants or whatever the trendy blather on /. at the time is. 3) it will come with some ISP, printer, video conference device, and can be customized as long as the employee pays the difference... We don't know the details yet. I doubt however that we'll be able to upgrade to a "real" processor such as the Athlon, but I'm sure we'll see 50 messages chuckling about that.. :)It will be a PIII, and sadly not a Willamette, If you want to talk about a screaming CPU look no further, unless you post on /., and then you'll no doubt dis it, cuz we're all cool here.. Now, as to some of the assumptions... - Why? uh, maybe it's a tight job market, and we want to attract and retain good employees? Maybe not everyone of the 70K who work there are high grade engineers who have millions in options to burn freely, and something like a $2500 system is really appreciated?!? Maybe we force all other high tech firms to do this, and we sell more product! Oh, how evil! Maybe Andy & Craig have installed secret SW to monitor and track what porn all the employees download, and track those who read alt.sex.hamster.love? I'm sure they and the rest of Intel "management" have nothing better to do than monitor their employees 24x7. I always wondered who trained that racoon to knock over my trash can on Tuesdays and eat the foodstuffs, thanks to /., now I know, Intel's secret police... Here's a clue. what we do outside of work is our own thing. another thing. Intel's a high tech company, like the other thousands out there. Some of the people who work there are great, some aren't. Some are great managers, some suck. Some of the benefits are super, some of the rules aren't fun. I've worked in many high tech firms, before coming to Intel 3 years ago. I'm actually having a blast. Yes we work hard, no it doesn't mean we're always working 60 or 70 hour weeks. Unlike everyone who posts at /., we sometimes get behind schedule, and have to put in some serious time at the end of the project. I've never had to do that any other place I've done SW development... yea. Someday I'm hoping we get to CMM level 5, so all our projects will be scheduled down to the day... please do keep up the posts, they really are quite fun. thanks!
  • I don't go digging up people's emails myself, so I don't know what most isps do, but I do know that businesses often keep backups of everything going back a long time. IIRC, that's how the Microsoft memos got unearthed. They were deleted off the senders' and recipients' computers (and off the mail servers), but were still recoverable from the server backups. (I would be amazed if most isps didn't keep nightly backups on tape or something for a few weeks, at least, but I don't know so I can't say.)

    In any event, the point is that unless you KNOW for sure that there isn't a backup or other record of anything anywhere on an unpredictable chain of computers, you can't say that your mail is unrecoverable. It's always going to hinge on a computer you can't control and probably don't know the configuration of. It's certainly totally naive to think that if I do my best to nuke the mail off my hard drive, that means nobody can read it anymore.
  • With the problems they've been having meeting demand and with yields on high frequency chips, maybe they could substitute Athlon 800's for the PIII's.

    At least they'd be sure to have enough free PC's to go around ;-)
  • hhmmm I bet they will not have a problem with shipping :/ unlike the rest of us.
  • If you were building The Matrix: NT or Unix? (I thought so :)

    Winner of my own personal ".sig of the week" competition :) Nice one...


    # Using Linux in the UK? Check out Linux UK [linuxuk.co.uk]

  • If one of their employees used this system to hack a site, would Intel be liable for damages? Hmmm... (insert slow goatee massage)
  • Dude, you're from Lambertville? I'm from Monroe. I didn't know tere was another Slashdot reader within 100 miles of here!
  • No, that wasn't what happened at all.

    Northwest was suing individuals believed to have coordinated an illegal work action (sick-in). They obtained a warrant to check for material of their opponents in the suit.

    Furthermore, Northwest was not allowed to look at the computers. An independent accounting firm was brought in to find the material covered, and turn over nothing else.

Syntactic sugar causes cancer of the semicolon. -- Epigrams in Programming, ACM SIGPLAN Sept. 1982