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• Flooding in Thailand this year is causing a serious hard-drive shortage that could raise computer prices here well into 2013. It's one of those occasional reminders we get that no matter how easy it is for us to try to dismiss the presence of the rest of the world, we are deeply interconnected with one another. It's hard to imagine that more than one in a hundred Americans would have even guessed before hearing this news that we rely upon Thailand for things like hard drives.
• Apple's planning a new Bay Area campus that looks like a giant doughnut. Homer Simpson might be proud, but a lot of the design vision is being credited to Steve Jobs. We'll see -- if and when it gets built -- whether it stands the test of time. It might end up looking anachronistic in fifty years...if Apple even survives that long.
• A listener texted us (at 515-989-1040) to ask about tablet computers from Pan Digital. They're deep-discount budget tablets, sold in places like Kmart and Kohl's. While there's probably nothing wrong with them, if you're in the market for a $200 tablet, you're probably better off buying a Kindle Fire from Amazon. Amazon's huge footprint in the market means that there will be (a) applications, (b) an active user base, and (c) product support that we can't guarantee you'd get from other manufacturers. Don't forget about netbooks, though -- they're price-competitive with low-end tablets, but they can do a lot more. And generally coming with ten times as much hard-disk space as comparable tablets, they offer a lot more valuable storage potential, too.
• Speaking of tablets, Australia has lifted a ban on Samsung tablets that was imposed over allegations that the Samsung tablet violated some of Apple's patents. One thing is for certain: All of the big names in computing right now are in legal disputes with one another. It's not pretty. Some of those disputes are more blood-thirsty than others.