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Computers May Thwart 2010 Census 287

smooth wombat writes "With the Constitutionally mandated census of 2010 just around the corner, it appears the Commerce Department's attempt to use handheld computers to gather census information may not come to fruition. Originally, the contract was awarded at a cost of $596 million to Harris Corporation. However, the GAO has now estimated the revised contract, now costing $647 million, could grow to $2 billion and the equipment may still not work properly. There is consideration that the paper and pencil method might have to be employed to complete the census."

Why OldTech Keeps Kicking 339

Hugh Pickens writes "In 1991 Stewart Alsop, the editor of InfoWorld, predicted that the last mainframe computer would be unplugged by 1996. Just last month, IBM introduced the latest version of its mainframe, and technologies from the golden age of big-box computing continue to be vital components in modern infrastructure. The New York Times explores why old technology is still around, using radio and the mainframe as perfect examples. 'The mainframe is the classic survivor technology, and it owes its longevity to sound business decisions. I.B.M. overhauled the insides of the mainframe, using low-cost microprocessors as the computing engine. The company invested and updated the mainframe software, so that banks, corporations and government agencies could still rely on the mainframe as the rock-solid reliable and secure computer for vital transactions and data, while allowing it to take on new chores like running Web-based programs.'"

Aerial Drones To Help Cops In Miami 274

Catoonsis writes "Reuters is reporting that 'Miami police could soon be the first in the United States to use cutting-edge, spy-in-the-sky technology to beef up their fight against crime.' The police force is planning to make use of a small aerial drone, capable of hovering and quick maneuvers, to monitor the Miami-Dade area and alert officers of potential problems. The device, manufactured by Honeywell, is awaiting FAA approval before it can be put into use. This decision is just the latest chapter in the developing relationship between law enforcement and robotic assistants. 'U.S. Customs and Border Protection has been flying drones over the Arizona desert and southwest border with Mexico since 2006 and will soon deploy one in North Dakota to patrol the Canadian border as well. This month, Customs and Border Protection spokesman Juan Munoz Torres said the agency would also begin test flights of a modified version of its large Predator B drones, built by General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, over the Gulf of Mexico.'"

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Thus mathematics may be defined as the subject in which we never know what we are talking about, nor whether what we are saying is true. -- Bertrand Russell