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Circuit City shuts doors on i-Opener $99 PC hack

Spoilsports, American-style

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Circuit City, the US giant computer retailer, has issued an email memo to staff, announcing that orders for multiple units of the I-Opener Net appliance would be cancelled, due to "increased demand" and limited availability. Circuit City had been selling the I-Opener, made by Texas company Netpliance, as a $99 loss leader, reducing the retail price from $299.99, assuming t would receive a slice of subscription fees, from customers who signed up with Netpliance as their ISP for $21.95 per month. However, a hack of the unit enables the user to choose a different ISP. Even better, with minor modification, the I-Opener can be turned into a fully-fledged, if rudimentary PC. Sales of the i-Opener at Circuit City have been "surprisingly brisk," according to our informant, who says: "I wouldn't be surprised if all open orders, which can't be filled for a couple of weeks at least, are cancelled". On Saturday, news of the hack was posted on Slashdot by discoverer, Ken Segler, an electronics engineer, of Las Vegas, and picked up by the New York Times. So that looks like the end of the game for wannabe $99 PC owners. You can see how it was done at linux-hacker.net/iopener. ® See also NY Times (reg req'd): From geek improvisers, a $99 Personal Computer How to hack Tesco's DVD player -- Register readers write PlayStation 2 can play US DVDs - apparently Sony may fix copy protection in mass PS2 recall

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