The Apple hidden in the desert

The U.S. military is shipping a lot of hardware to the Middle East for the impending war on Iraq, but only one Mac. In the entire theater of operations, involving nearly 300,000 troops and hundreds of tanks and aircraft, one lonely Macintosh shipped out, according to the major who took it there.

The Mac is a Titanium G4 PowerBook, and it belongs to Major Shawn Weed, an intelligence planner with the Third Infantry Division, which is preparing for action in the deserts of Kuwait.

"It is the only one out here in the desert," said Weed. "The problem with computers in the Army is they are bought by the gross and not necessarily purchased to accomplish certain functions. The Army doles out laptops in the same way we dole out boots, tents or any other class of supply."

According to Weed, he was issued the rugged Panasonic Toughbook, but it didn't work fast enough. Weed declined to specify what he does exactly, but said he works with giant satellite and reconnaissance images, presumably for battlefield planning. When he opened these giant image files on the Toughbook, it would slow to an excruciating crawl, he said.

"Frankly, lives are in the balance here, so the quicker I can get stuff done accurately, the better," Weed said. "The Mac makes this work simple, quick and efficient. The other laptops either can't open the files or lock up halfway through, losing whatever I was working on at the time, and then (I have) to restart the computer and start over."

Weed's PowerBook has a 1-GHz chip and runs Mac OS X. He had to write a special requisition order to get it, he said.

News source: Wired

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