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Tesco online shopping pilot crashes PCs

Too much plug and not enough play as shoppers have to swap devices around

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UK supermarket chain cum-ISP Tesco has denied that its online retailing trials have suffered hardware problems causing shoppers' PCs to crash. A report in New Scientist claimed that e-shoppers who used a barcode scanner plugged into their PCs to compile their shopping lists were up in arms over the service. The glitch revolved around exactly where the barcode scanner was plugged. Apparently, it came fitted with a serial port plug, most often linked to the modem, instead of a Universal Serial Bus (USB) plug. This meant users had to swap devices all the time and this continual plugging and unplugging caused PCs and Macs to crash because their operating systems couldn't figure out what was plugged in where. But the allegations have been dismissed out-of-hand by Tesco. It claims the trial of handheld scanners is going swimmingly. According to its research, 84 per cent of the people two hundred or so people taking part would recommend online shopping to a friend. "They wouldn't say that if it caused their computers to crash, would they?" said a spokesman for Tesco. ®

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