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Union games at NVISION

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Protests at technology events are extremely rare. I know I've seen a few over my career but can't remember the last one.

So seeing people all over the place at the NVISION 08 show was really surprising. The show is spread out over a number of buildings, rather than contained inside one like most shows. With people walking around outside, this gives the flier-floggers plenty of opportunity to hand out their sheets.

The bright yellow pages ready "Find the flawed chip..." followed by two pictures of a potato chip and a third pic with a laptop in it. Below it read "... and you could get nVidia FAIL!" The front of the page rants about the chip problems in notebooks using nVidia chips, while the back has a full page copy of a Wall Street Journal article on the subject.

It left me utterly confused. nVidia has had an exceptional track record, yet these people are making it sound like a few laptop chips are the new Ford Pinto. And these people were everywhere, with thousands of pages of paper. Who could organize something like this?

Turns out there is more than meets the eye. A source told me here at the HOT CHIPS show at Stanford University that a food worker's union is trying to organize the dining facilities staff at nVidia's corporate offices, and the staff is resisting. So the people "protesting" at nVidia's show are actually from a food service union, trying to hassle the company for not unionizing. You wouldn't know it from the fliers, but as it turns out, there is full disclosure on their blog, called My NVIDIA Fail.

Talk about FAIL. Most people know that the problems with the laptops are not the chips but the heat sinks on them. Not to mention this is an nVidia show. Do they really think they can sway anyone? You'd have as much luck selling Windows Vista at MacWorld Expo.

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