In the coming months, the world’s major PC makers plan to introduce a new generation of quick-start computers, reports the New York Times–a move that could prove very useful in classroom settings, where time is at a premium. "It’s ridiculous to ask people to wait a couple of minutes [for computers to boot up]," said Sergei Krupenin, executive director of marketing of DeviceVM, a company that makes a quick-boot program for PC makers. "People want instant-on." Hewlett-Packard, Dell, and Lenovo are rolling out machines that give people access to basic functions such as eMail and a web browser in 30 seconds or less. Asus, a Taiwanese company that is the world’s largest maker of the circuit boards at the center of every PC, has begun building faster-booting software into its entire product line. Even Microsoft, whose bloated Windows software is often blamed for sluggish start times, has pledged to do its part in the next version of the operating system, saying on a company blog that "a very good system is one that boots in under 15 seconds." Today only 35 percent of machines running the latest version of Windows, called Vista, boot in 30 seconds or less, the blog notes. (Apple Macintoshes tend to boot more quickly than comparable Windows machines but still feel glacially slow to most users.) There is nothing new about frustration with start-up times, which can be many minutes. But the agitation seems more intense than in the pre-internet days. Back then, people felt less urgency to log on to their solitary, unconnected machines. Now, the destination is the vast world of the web, and the computer industry says the fast-boot systems cater to an information-addicted society that is agitated by even a moment of downtime…

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