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Comment Step in the right direction. (Score 5, Insightful) 142

It may just be switching a program from one hand to another, from my viewpoint in the regular military I think it's a step in the right direction. A huge chunk of my coworkers are the "freedom loving gun nut" types-- and regardless of your opinion of the "God Bless 'murrica" crowd, if the order ever comes down to kill Americans, they'll be the first ones to refuse that order. Same goes for forcibly taking guns away, or any other egregious violations of basic human rights.

Comment This actually makes sense. (Score 1) 114

The same thing is happening in the aviation world-- most aircrews are required to carry around several thick, heavy binders around with them all the time, and always keep them up to date by pulling and replacing a bunch of pages every month or two. I'd guess your average pubs bag weighs 30-40 pounds, depending on the aircraft and crew position. iPads are becoming common as a replacement.

This is the sort of thing a tablet is perfect for-- content consumption. In an otterbox it's plenty durable, the battery lasts a long time, it has a big, pretty, readable display, and in the long run it will actually save money over paper. You no longer have to issue a full set of pubs to everyone (initial issue can cost several hundred dollars), updates are basically free, and hilariously there's also a measurable fuel savings due to the hundred-odd pounds of paper you're no longer hauling all over the world. It's not a perfect system, and there's work to do on the updating process and overall formatting (I lose all my annotations every time there's an update, and the PDF files don't come with nearly enough bookmarks), but most of those problems come from the fact that pubs are currently written to be printed. Once they're formatted with a tablet in mind, I expect things to get better.

Obviously the article's implementation of the technology is quite different, but I wouldn't be surprised if there are similar advantages to be had for a police force. Remember that the iPads are likely cheaper than the laptops they are replacing, or if there aren't laptops to replace (the article doesn't say) they are saving man-hours somewhere. Labor is expensive.

Comment Re:What advantage does it have over (Score 3, Insightful) 210

It has several advantages-- gasoline is more energy dense than the food you'd have to carry for a mule, it doesn't get tired, no animal rights issues that would surely result from bringing a mule into a combat zone, and I'm not sure how much your average mule can carry but I don't think it's 400 lbs. The biggest thing is that it's a basis to be improved upon. The next model will be lighter, more reliable, quieter, have more capacity, etc. Give it a few years and I wouldn't be surprised to see civilian applications as well.

Comment Re:Can't wait (Score 1) 347

If a company sets a low price to create a market, it seems to me that they're buying a product at a price. It's not all that different from dumping cash into your advertising department. But my understanding of economics is largely informal, and a bit simplistic, so I'll take your word for it. We're arguing semantics anyway.

Comment Re:Can't wait (Score 2) 347

Sounds like a perfectly functioning market to me, nothing artificial about it. If a government were putting pressure on a manufacturer to increase their price, or speculation caused people to buy up huge stocks in anticipation of a price increase, that would be artificial.

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