United Airlines’ computer systems, website shut down
United Airlines passengers faced delays and long lines after some of its major computer systems and its website failed Tuesday afternoon.
The glitch was another in a long string of technology problems that began when it merged computer systems with Continental’s in March.
United acknowledged at least 200 delayed flights. Its passenger reservation system and website stopped working for about two-and-a-half hours on Tuesday afternoon, although the precise cause wasn’t known.
Passengers in several United hubs reported very long lines at ticket counters. During the outage it stopped sending planes to its hubs in Newark, N.J., and San Francisco.
United said it will not charge the usual change fees for passengers on affected flights who want to cancel or rebook their tickets. It apologized for the disruption.
Lexmark pulling the plug on its inkjet printer business
SAN FRANCISCO – Lexmark is jettisoning its inkjet printers and laying off 1,700 workers as paper becomes increasingly passe in an age of ever-sleeker digital devices and online photo albums on Internet hangouts like Facebook.
The shake-up announced Tuesday is the latest fallout from the growing popularity of smartphones and tablet computers that make it easier to store and retrieve content from anywhere with an Internet connection. As a result computer printers are used less frequently, especially at home.
That’s hurting printer makers, whose revenue is falling at the same time profit margins are being squeezed by fierce competition.
“It’s a declining market with far too many players,” said Gartner Inc. analyst Federico De Silva. He estimates the number of monthly pages printed by the average consumer has fallen by more than 40 percent in recent years.
Lexmark International Inc. responded by pulling the plug on its inkjet business. The company will stop making inkjet printers that were primarily sold to consumers and instead focus on more sophisticated machines aimed at offices and customers that still produce a lot of content on paper, like advertisers and catalog publishers.
People who already own Lexmark inkjets should have no immediate worries. Lexmark plans to sell replacement ink cartridges and other supplies for its obsolescent machines for several more years.
Cyclist Armstrong’s charity showered with donations
NEW YORK – Lance Armstrong’s reputation may be permanently stained but in the eyes of corporate and individual donors, his charity still wears an unsullied yellow jersey.
Armstrong announced last week he would no longer fight the doping allegations that have dogged him for years. He was subsequently stripped of his record seven Tour de France titles and banned from professional cycling.
But in the days following the announcement, the Lance Armstrong Foundation was showered with donations and pledges of continued support for its mission of promoting cancer awareness and research.
Public relations professionals say that while the famous cyclist and cancer survivor remains a polarizing figure, even his naysayers will have a hard time turning their back on the foundation and its trademark Livestrong yellow bracelets.
Armstrong’s decision not to contest the doping charges may allow both him and his charity to finally move on, they say.
“He never said he’s guilty, he said he’s sick of fighting,” said Peter Shankman, a vice president at the public relations firm Vocus Inc., noting that none of the allegations against Armstrong has been proved. “He becomes a hero in this.”