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Tablets Are Game-Changers For Special Needs Kids

Soulskill posted more than 3 years ago | from the pushing-the-right-buttons dept.

Education 174

theodp writes "The rise of mainstream tablets is proving to have unforeseen benefits for children with speech and communication problems and may disrupt a business where specialized devices can cost thousands of dollars. iPad apps like Proloquo2Go ($189) aim to help individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), cerebral palsy, down syndrome, developmental disabilities, ALS, traumatic brain injury, aphasia, apraxia, and more. Even Steve Jobs didn't see this one coming: 'We take no credit for this, and that's not our intention,' said Jobs, who's been touched by email he gets from parents of special needs kids for whom the iPad is proving to be a life-changer. 'Our intention is to say something is going on here,' Jobs added, suggesting that researchers should 'take a look at this.' Even though they might cost significantly less than dedicated devices, SUNY speech pathologist Andrea Abramovich explained Medicare doesn't cover consumer tablets because they could be used for non-medical purposes."

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174 comments

Icrap is kid friendly (1, Interesting)

alen (225700) | more than 3 years ago | (#33918424)

I have a 3 year old who knows half the alphabet, can count to 10 and knows all the basic shapes. We have 3 iPhones in the house and there are hundreds of educational apps in the app store

iPad - exciting new product for retards (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33918484)

Who could had guessed?!

Go Fuck Yourself (-1, Flamebait)

jamrock (863246) | more than 3 years ago | (#33918522)

No wonder you posted anonymously you smegma-munching flatworm.

Re:Go Fuck Yourself (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33918592)

Says the person who posts using a handle rather than their real name.

Re:Go Fuck Yourself (4, Insightful)

jamrock (863246) | more than 3 years ago | (#33920022)

My eldest niece is now 25 years old and suffers from cerebral palsy. It's easy to make fun of people with special needs, but it's an insulting slap in the face to their heroic caregivers. When I think about the endless love, countless hours of attention, and enormous amounts of money my brother and sister-in-law spent on their child and the heartache they endured, to have some smug, basement-dwelling maggot going for the cheap laughs enrages me to the point that I want to rip their eyeballs out through their assholes.

Oh, and fuck you too.

Re:Go Fuck Yourself (1)

bhartman34 (886109) | more than 3 years ago | (#33919754)

+1x10^1000

Re:iPad - exciting new product for retards (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33918544)

One can see how Steve Jobs don't want to admit this was the idea the whole time...

- It wasn't designed for the hordes of mentally challanged people!

Re:iPad - exciting new product for retards (1)

bhartman34 (886109) | more than 3 years ago | (#33919744)

You do realize that the mentally handicapped (i.e., "retarded", as you call them), aren't the ones benefiting from this, right? "Speech and communications" problems don't mean the person is intellectually subpar. (Making asinine comments on /., however, is a fairly strong indication.)

Re:Icrap is kid friendly (4, Insightful)

Nerdfest (867930) | more than 3 years ago | (#33918590)

It would be nice if they'd allow in one to help people learn to program. As far as I know Alan Kay/MIT's Scratch app is still rejected.

Re:Icrap is kid friendly (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33918614)

That could turn out ugly, if all those patents were revoked after a few years as people start to mature. No can do!

Re:Icrap is kid friendly (2, Interesting)

stephanruby (542433) | more than 3 years ago | (#33919558)

Take a look at Google's App Inventor [googlelabs.com] for Android (for now). It was heavily influenced by projects like Scratch. It's not an app as such, the kid/toddler will still need a PC to "program" with, and it doesn't have an emulator (you must have an Android phone connected to your computer, or connected to the internet, if you want to be able to test your programs, although you can still write one without one), but any changes the kid does to the visual lego-like structure on the screen of his PC will immediately reflect itself into the program logic and display on the phone, which makes it an absolutely fantastic programming environment to work in!

As a developer, I would love to able to use that tool to do fast prototypes, and then have access to the code, so I can further customize it. Unfortunately, it was written in Scheme (LISP), they don't want to give us access to the actual written code (only the visual one, that's what's considered the source), and its developers don't seem to be at all interested in changing the scope of their project -- they are really only interested in targeting kids/teenagers with it.

Re:Icrap is kid friendly (2, Funny)

PPH (736903) | more than 3 years ago | (#33918604)

I have a 3 year old who knows half the alphabet, can count to 10

That's all they'll need for 133tspeak.

Re:Icrap is kid friendly (1)

DNS-and-BIND (461968) | more than 3 years ago | (#33918850)

Bragging about how smart your kid is in public - does it ever get old?

Re:Icrap is kid friendly (1)

c6gunner (950153) | more than 3 years ago | (#33919398)

Bragging? I thought he was lamenting.

Re:Icrap is kid friendly (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33919150)

You may want to get rid of your iPhones then, because your child should already know all the alphabet.

Re:Icrap is kid friendly (1)

Albert Sandberg (315235) | more than 3 years ago | (#33919608)

Are you saying your three year old is about as smart as 95% of the american public? Way to go!

(jeez chill off it's a joke!)

Ha your great medicare (4, Insightful)

JonySuede (1908576) | more than 3 years ago | (#33918428)

Medicare doesn't cover consumer tablets because they could be used for non-medical purposes

Some part of the medical community have this mentality that under no circumstance should a medical treatment be enjoyable even if it cost less or it is more effective...

Re:Ha your great medicare (1)

Lazareth (1756336) | more than 3 years ago | (#33918498)

And god forbid if you should get more out of the treatment than the treatment itself! Not unless they can charge you for it, of course.

Re:Ha your great medicare (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33918526)

It's not the medical community. It's the bureaucratic community combined with the community that gets its panties in a bunch out of government money being "wasted" with spending on things people may not need. So they force untold billions to be spent on documentation and purpose-built equipment rather than more effective solutions. All while complaining about government waste and inefficiency.

The medical community would be fine with doing the smart thing, but when so many people want to have their input, well...stuff like this happens.

It's a collective insanity.

Which would piss off that group I mentioned earlier, because they get all upset about what they call socialist language.

True story. I once had one go off on me because I said I liked the Marx Brothers.

Just didn't believe me when I told them I was talking about the comedy group.

Re:Ha your great medicare (1)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | more than 3 years ago | (#33918600)

It's not the medical community. It's the bureaucratic community combined with the community that gets its panties in a bunch out of government money being "wasted" with spending on things people may not need. So they force untold billions to be spent on documentation and purpose-built equipment rather than more effective solutions. All while complaining about government waste and inefficiency.

So totally this. Yet another case of perfect being the enemy of good.

Re:Ha your great medicare (2, Insightful)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 3 years ago | (#33918668)

So totally this. Yet another case of perfect being the enemy of good.

While I'm hardly a fan of the Medicare regulatory dungeon^Hframework, I think it would be appropriate to give these guys a bit of break. The iPad really just showed up on the market a year? or two ago (time flies when you're having fun) and the applications and more importantly, the usefulness of the applications is just getting some attention.

I would not expect CMMS (Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Security, Medicare's daddy) to rush in and say "OK Ipads are fine, everybody go get one....". I would hope that they would take notice, maybe fund a study to see if they did do everything they are touted to do, that they last long enough to be useful and maybe address the issue of using a medical product to view YouTube or the like.

So, keeping up the pressure is fine but lets not drip hate and vitriol on everything. Just yet. (Sorry for all the parentheses).

Re:Ha your great medicare (4, Insightful)

codegen (103601) | more than 3 years ago | (#33918690)

The problem is that this is not new. There have been many cases recently where custom software on a regular computer would make a world of difference and it is turned down in favour of a much more expensive custom hardware solution because the regular computer can be used for non-medicinal purposes. The inability to recognize the iPad as a fundable solution is just the latest in a sequence of such bureaucratic blindness.

Re:Ha your great medicare (1)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 3 years ago | (#33918916)

The problem is that this is not new. There have been many cases recently where custom software on a regular computer would make a world of difference and it is turned down in favour of a much more expensive custom hardware solution because the regular computer can be used for non-medicinal purposes

No issue with that statement, but (and Christ, it's Saturday and I'm defending Medicare) these rules are a complex interplay of vendor greed, legal blather, unintended consequences, politics and money. Can you imagine the political hay some random congresscritter is going to make if they find out that our precious tax dollars are going to fund for ... iPads? (Yes, I'm sure the federal government is buying iPads for something). It is a much harder decision than it might seem. Personally, I think that insurance ought to pay for the software - this being the hard part now, and have the patient pay for the iPad out of pocket. Open up the Pandora's box of medical insurance paying for COTS computers and you'll likely find that lots of ugly things fly out.

Re:Ha your great medicare (1)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 3 years ago | (#33918942)

Just thought of a way out here. Apple makes a slightly modified version for health care, call it, maybe the 'pPad'. Nobody would want one of those.

Re:Ha your great medicare (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 3 years ago | (#33919276)

I was just thinking of that. Perhaps put in some interface tweaks that are legitimately aimed at making it more useful to that segment, and perhaps license some of the software apps for inclusion. Seems like there'd be no real losers involved. Apple makes more money and there's a cost savings over the current solutions.

Plus Apple is really good at crippling their products for things they don't intend it to be used for.

Re:Ha your great medicare (1)

zippthorne (748122) | more than 3 years ago | (#33919328)

And, most importantly, the case must be colored it in that nausea inducing, medical-grade light beige. And, preferably, the desktop background image, too.

Re:Ha your great medicare (1)

tsm_sf (545316) | more than 3 years ago | (#33919126)

Can you imagine the political hay some random congresscritter is going to make if they find out that our precious tax dollars are going to fund for ... iPads?

I remember Limbaugh going off on a plan to provide homeless people with answering machines a while ago.

Think about that for a minute.

Re:Ha your great medicare (0, Offtopic)

ChrisMaple (607946) | more than 3 years ago | (#33918962)

The surface problem that the bureaucracy faces is the obvious opportunity for widespread fraud. Want an iPad? Get a cooperative doctor to fraudulently document a learning disablility, and bingo! the gov't pays for your new toy.

The deeper problem is that the gov't takes the money in the first place. Have you any idea how rich the average person would be if everyone who got money acquired it through productive work? An appropriate tablet computer and associated software would cost less than a day's wages.

Re:Ha your great medicare (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33919128)

Custom software and off-the shelf computer vs dedicated bundled solution.
How fast is someone going to get slammed with the latest virus while surfing Facebook on their dedicated bundled solution?
Who would be responsible for fixing that when it comes up?

Re:Ha your great medicare (1)

hydromike2 (1457879) | more than 3 years ago | (#33918948)

ipad = 6 months barely, I agree with coldwetdog while still sharing the sentiments of JonySuede.

Re:Ha your great medicare (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33919088)

Just FYI, the organization is Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, and the acronym is CMS, despite there being two M-words in the full name.

Re:Ha your great medicare (1)

supercrisp (936036) | more than 3 years ago | (#33919220)

Anyone know the status of Medicare/insurance payments for those Wii balance boards or Wii fit or whatever that turned out to be as good as or better than the specialized medical thingummies that cost a mint? I haven't heard about that in some time....

Re:Ha your great medicare (4, Informative)

DrgnDancer (137700) | more than 3 years ago | (#33918800)

The big problem, and it's a legit problem really, though I think it's being blown out of proportion, is that these devices are basically generally purpose computers that can do anything. Unlike a purpose built device that can really only do what it's supposed to do, there's nothing stopping you from saying you want to buy an iPad to help out your developmentally disabled child then actually using it for nothing except surfing porn.

Before they could approve it, Medicare would have to some up with some reasonable way to ensure that the device is being used to do what the government purchased it to do. Now where it gets stupid is people who will undoubtedly say that it should be used *only* for what the government purchased it to do. I personally don't see anything wrong, assuming the device is primarily being used for its stated purpose, with using for other stuff sometimes too. I'm also quite certain that many people would scream about that being "wasteful spending".

Re:Ha your great medicare (4, Insightful)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | more than 3 years ago | (#33918830)

Before they could approve it, Medicare would have to some up with some reasonable way to ensure that the device is being used to do what the government purchased it to do.

No. You totally missed the point. The problem is that the cost of this "ensurance" is too high to be practical. Something like an ipad is ~$400. But a medicare approved ipad is going to be ~$4000 (just look at hearing aids for an example - components not all that different from a blutooth headset but 10x-50x the cost). The answer is to eat the waste of misuse for low cost items because the cost of ensuring that there is no waste is higher than the waste itself.

Re:Ha your great medicare (0, Troll)

Nerdfest (867930) | more than 3 years ago | (#33919272)

generally purpose computers that can do anything.

Unless you jailbreak it, you can currently only do what Apple says you can do. I'm hoping that eventually changes.

Re:Ha your great medicare (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33919620)

Hyperbole much? You make it sound like you're given a very short list of what is allowed, with a security guard staring over your shoulder the whole time and waiting to take the device away.

Re:Ha your great medicare (2, Interesting)

Devout_IPUite (1284636) | more than 3 years ago | (#33919486)

If you had a 50% fraud rate, you'd still save money. That's what matters from a government standpoint. Preventing fraud is nice, but saving money and getting the job done should be the top priorities.

Re:Ha your great medicare (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33920020)

Sadly, it seems like a common viewpoint that stopping a hundred tax dollars lost to fraud is worth spending ten thousand tax dollars in increased costs - can't let those leeches have something for free!

It's the SOFTWARE, Stupid (gov regs) (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33919646)

So why not just get software approved by Medicare? At $190, that would be a helpful break

Re:Ha your great medicare (1)

AnonymousClown (1788472) | more than 3 years ago | (#33918658)

But it' amazing how those same people don't have a problem with Medicare paying for those scooters you see all those obese people tooling around on.

Re:Ha your great medicare (1)

JonySuede (1908576) | more than 3 years ago | (#33918670)

I totally agree, but let me add that there is an overlap between the medical community and the bureaucratic community !

Re:Ha your great medicare (1)

DNS-and-BIND (461968) | more than 3 years ago | (#33918882)

The Marx brothers' humor does not translate well to the modern day. It's just not funny any more, and it hasn't been for a long time. It was one of those "you had to be there" times. I smell the hint of bullshit on the Marx brothers comment. Are you this guy? [theonion.com]

And let me get your story straight - the group that's against more government is FOR more bureaucracy and inefficiency? How's that?

Re:Ha your great medicare (3, Insightful)

hedwards (940851) | more than 3 years ago | (#33919316)

First off, the last time I watched the Marx Brothers it was just as funny as when I was a kid, and while I wasn't there at the time, I'm willing to bet that it was just as funny as it was a half century earlier.

Second off, the the Republicans are indeed for more bureaucratic inefficiency. It's what allows them to rail against the government election after election. Were there to be actual change and efficiency gains they'd have to come up with a new strategy. It's something they figured out during the Regan administration and had to wait for Clinton to be elected to put into play.

There's nothing inconsistent about it, it's a matter of self interest. While it's terrible for the country, it's been a really long time since the Republicans were making any meaningful effort to improve things for anybody else. Ever notice how there's no money for education or the VA, but always plenty of money to start another war?

Re:Ha your great medicare (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33919498)

The Marx brothers' humor does not translate well to the modern day.

Well, some of it is indeed based on references that have faded, but there's plenty of bits that are still quite hilarious. Besides it came out of a discussion on politics, and don't tell me Freedonia isn't still relevant.

And let me get your story straight - the group that's against more government is FOR more bureaucracy and inefficiency? How's that?

Besides the already mentioned value of being able to complain about a problem to stir up interest over actually fixing it, there's just the plain and simple fact that people don't realize how much effort they put into "solving" their problem, to the point where it takes more work to deal with their fix than it does to not even bother. I'm sure there's some clearer way to explain it that's just not coming to me right at the moment, since it's common enough to be one of the eponymous laws (like Murphy's or Godwin's), but I can't think of it beyond the Law of Unintended Consequences, and even that's not quite on the point.

Re:Ha your great medicare (1)

Devout_IPUite (1284636) | more than 3 years ago | (#33919522)

Because they would get the most upset by potential 'misuse' of their tax money. You have a group that gets VERY upset by the idea of unemployment fraud. That mentality of "make unemployment hard to defraud" is what puts in more bureaucracy and inefficiency.

Re:Ha your great medicare (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 3 years ago | (#33919266)

Indeed. Around here our unemployment insurance fraud rate is about 1 or 2%, but the amount of time and energy that the employment security department spends on it is, well it's way more than 1 or 2% of the total budget. While it's not quite apples to oranges there, one has to question the wisdom of humiliating and abusing the whole group over what is essentially a non-issue.

Not to mention the fact that the rules have become some convoluted and counter intuitive that it's very hard to avoid getting accused of fraud without really selling yourself short. And good luck getting meaningful help, especially with disabilities, as the state doesn't think that the ADA applies to it.

But as for the matter at hand, it's great to see general use hardware being used for a group that clearly needs more help.

Obligatory response (1)

colinrichardday (768814) | more than 3 years ago | (#33919286)

True story. I once had one go off on me because I said I liked the Marx Brothers.

<response voice="Groucho" prop="cigar">That's the most ridiculous thing I've ever heard.</response>

(their going off on you)

Re:Ha your great medicare (2, Insightful)

aliquis (678370) | more than 3 years ago | (#33918568)

Need hearing aid? Here you go.
Need glasses? I don't give a shit!

Re:Ha your great medicare (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33919170)

Where do you live???

  Here in that great bastion of socialized medicine, Canada, Hearing aids, glasses, and dental care are all considered non-essential "extras".

Re:Ha your great medicare (1)

PPH (736903) | more than 3 years ago | (#33918660)

Medicare doesn't cover consumer tablets because they could be used for non-medical purposes

So, if I find a non-medical use for, say, a wheelchair, Medicare will stop subsidizing their purchase. I know at least one. And its Rule 34 compliant, so the fundy wing nuts should get their panties (probably their wives, secretly worn) in a bunch.

Re:Ha your great medicare (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33918754)

Medicaid and Medicare are NOT the same thing REMOTELY. Do not confuse the two and PLEASE explain what you are referring to.

Medicare: For elderly people in retirement on Social Security Fixed Income. This is what you hear about in AARP ads and stuff.
Medicaid: Medical Insurance for those that cannot afford it, Medicaid can be for children, or adults. This is what Conservatives want to kill.

Easy way to remember: We take care of the elderly and give aid to the poor.

Re:Ha your great medicare (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33918856)

Medicare can be for people that are not old, but are disabled and receiving disability SSI. So it is not cut and dry for Medicare either.

Ha your great military. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33918950)

I wonder if people get upset about the customized devices used by the military?

Need to prevent abuse. (1)

FatSean (18753) | more than 3 years ago | (#33919462)

Sometimes the rules seem un-fair, but you can always donate a tablet or two.

Re:Ha your great medicare (1)

bhartman34 (886109) | more than 3 years ago | (#33919838)

I don't mean to defend the medical community, but this isn't as ridiculous as it sounds, if you know the ropes. Every few years, I have to buy a new wheelchair, and even then I need either a prescription or a letter of medical necessity. Insurance companies are pretty hardcore about not paying for things unless you can show you absolutely need them. (I've often wished that just sending a picture of myself in the wheelchair was enough, but alas, no.)

As was noted in the article, the iPad isn't a great fit for a lot of handicapped people. If someone is using a machine that measures eye movement to communicate, they're not at the level where an iPad is going to help them. You need at least a little eye movement. And the iPad is fragile compared to other devices. So it's by no means a device that's going to replace people's needs for $7000 machines.

Having said all that, it's great to see the iPad being helpful to people with these kinds of disabilities. I'm not a big fan of the iPad in general, but there's no downside here.

Re:Ha your great medicare (1)

hamburger lady (218108) | more than 3 years ago | (#33920096)

funny thing is, if medicare did in fact cover these purchases people would be bitching up and down about 'the gummint handing out free ipads'.

you just can't win.

Well, good riddance (1, Insightful)

Lazareth (1756336) | more than 3 years ago | (#33918456)

Another strike against the so-called "specialist sector" marketing cheap specialized devices at high prices.
As the general accessibility of multipurpose devices increases, the less we have to rely on niche markets with artificially high prices.

I think it is a really good thing that people are able to utilize new consumer products in this way. Personally I don't like the tablet much, but it is nice to see it used like this.

Re:Well, good riddance (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 3 years ago | (#33919344)

I wouldn't say strike, more like more evidence that times are changing. Now that general use products are powerful enough to be adapted to these tasks, the developers will likely start to shift to the software aspect of it. But it wasn't that long ago that you needed the specialization to get it to work at all.

Re:Well, good riddance (1)

Lazareth (1756336) | more than 3 years ago | (#33919716)

What interval of time are you talking about? We've seen quite a few examples of how consumer-grade products can be adapted easily to substitute "specialist" hardware that is sold at high expense despite low production costs. The problem with todays specialist equipment is the bureaucracy surrounding it, that halts this kind of stuff from being utilized.

App for everything? (1)

asnelt (1837090) | more than 3 years ago | (#33918466)

So there is an app for everything? The long list of diseases in the summary did sound like a joke.

Re:App for everything? (1)

aliquis (678370) | more than 3 years ago | (#33918576)

Super mario bros can be enjoyed by everyone!

Unforeseen Uses (2, Interesting)

WrongSizeGlass (838941) | more than 3 years ago | (#33918480)

There are always unforeseen uses of tools, devices and technology. Humans have a natural tendency to find ways to use things that the inventors couldn't imagine. Advanced tool use as 'cavemen' is how we got to where we are today. Not every clever re-purposing of an object requires McGyverism.

The OLPC Tablet ROCKS! (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33918492)

The new OLPC Tablet will be market changing! It will be everything for everyone and slice bread too! Forget about the iPad or whatever MicroSloth shits out! This thing will be a Socialist panacea for under $100! And Open Source too!

Ho boy (1, Insightful)

paimin (656338) | more than 3 years ago | (#33918528)

iPads are good for "special" kids? This is gonna be a giant troll circle jerk. Okay trolls, let's see who can shoot the furthest.

Re:Ho boy (0, Troll)

monkyyy (1901940) | more than 3 years ago | (#33918606)

i wonder how good ipads r for non-"special" kids

Been waiting for this (4, Interesting)

deathguppie (768263) | more than 3 years ago | (#33918598)

My wife is a speech language pathologist. We have talked about working on projects like this but haven't gotten around to it. I offered to help in an FOSS project that would have done something like this but ended up going nowhere. The only bad thing about this is that the company that produced this app will likely not be interested in making this app available for the cheaper android based tablets, and $200 is still a lot of money for todays middle class. The android tablets would inevitably make this more available to families without the money for an Ipad, but the whole package is still going to run more expensive than a lot of people will be able to afford.

But if anyone is interested in doing the programming I'm still up for doing the artwork, if there is enough love in the community to produce an app like this for free

Re:Been waiting for this (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33918724)

The only bad thing about this is that the company that produced this app will likely not be interested in making this app available for the cheaper android based tablets

Which ones are those?

Re:Been waiting for this (3, Interesting)

jelizondo (183861) | more than 3 years ago | (#33918994)

Darn! I lost the moderation I've done to reply

Anyway, I've been playing around with Android looking for a project, I don't want to waste my time doing the upteenth "fart" app; so I something comes up about your idea, I'm game to do the programming for free.

Cheers

Re:Been waiting for this (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33919264)

Where are these cheaper Android tablets? The Galaxy tab was just releases in Russia (first place to get it) for $1200. No one else is even on the radar.

Re:Been waiting for this (1)

Pinky's Brain (1158667) | more than 3 years ago | (#33919610)

Well PCs can run android, so get an ASUS Eee PC T101MT or something ...

Re:Been waiting for this (1)

ksandom (718283) | more than 3 years ago | (#33919774)

That's a really good point. If the health costs could cover the production of the software, rather than the specific hardware, then this would get around the

non-medical purposes

issue since it's very specific. Potentially the company making the software could strike a deal with the people providing the funding to split the difference (or what ever) and make it work on all sorts of things.

conspiracies not just for nut bags anymore? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33918616)

as for the billions of starving/disabled/dying children around the world, we're sure that they'll be grateful for the chance to help steve sell more gadgets, even if they could be sold for about 1/3 of the cost (steve still raking in millions), & then slightly more available to the kids steve's bragging about 'helping'.

Time to Admit It: It Was Wrong to Invade Afghanistan
by Jacob G. Hornberger

As the killing and destruction in Afghanistan have mounted over the past 10 years, and as they have expanded into Pakistan during the Obama administration, interventionists have tried to justify the massive death and destruction by claiming that the reason the U.S. government went to war against the Taliban was because the Taliban had supposedly been complicit in the 9/11 attacks.

Unfortunately for the interventionists, however, nothing could be further from the truth. The U.S. government went to war against Afghanistan for one reason and one reason alone: The Afghan government (i.e., the Taliban regime) refused to comply with President Bush’s unconditional demand for bin Laden’s extradition.

After receiving President Bush’s extradition demand, the Taliban asked to see the evidence establishing that bin Laden had in fact been involved in the 9/11 attacks. The Taliban also offered to deliver bin Laden to an independent third party for trial rather than to the United States.

The Bush administration refused. Its demand for bin Laden’s extradition was unconditional: Give us bin Laden or else suffer the consequences.

Was the Taliban’s refusal to comply with Bush’s unconditional demand unreasonable?

Well, consider the case of Jose Posada Carriles. He’s the former CIA operative who is widely suspected of planning the bombing of a Cuban airliner over Venezuelan skies. The plane went down 34 years ago this month, killing 73 people on board. Among the dead were 24 members of Cuba’s national youth fencing team.

Venezuela has repeatedly sought the extradition of Posada to stand trial for this heinous crime.

The U.S. government’s response? It has refused to comply with the extradition request. Its reason? It says that it fears that Posada will be tortured if he is returned to Venezuela.

But does that make any sense? The U.S. government supports torture for accused terrorists. That’s what it’s been doing ever since 9/11 — torturing accused terrorists. So, how come the sudden concern the possibility that accused terrorist Posada will be tortured in Venezuela?

The answer might lie in the fact that if Posada was responsible for planting the bomb on that Cuban airliner, it’s entirely possible that he was acting on behalf of the CIA. That is, even though the CIA claims that Posada was no longer an employee at the time of the bombing, that’s what the CIA would say if Posada was acting on behalf of the CIA.

Thus, if Posada were returned to Venezuela to stand trial and face justice, there is always the possibility that he would sing like a canary about his life in the CIA.

If the U.S. government’s refusal to comply with the Venezuelan extradition demand is genuine, then why wouldn’t the same apply to the Taliban’s refusal to comply with Bush’s extradition demand? After all, everyone would agree that bin Laden would definitely have been tortured in CIA custody.

I should point out that the U.S. government has indicted Posada, but not for the terrorist bombing of that Cuban airliner but rather for the relatively minor crime of making false statements on some immigration forms. In my opinion, the possibility that Posada will ever serve time for that offense is nil. In fact, given the repeated delays in the case, one might reasonably ask whether the entire proceeding is nothing more than a sophisticated sham to disguise the intentional harboring of an accused terrorist — i.e., the same thing that the U.S. government accused the Taliban regime of doing with bin Laden.

The irony is that there is actually a formal extradition treaty between Venezuela and the United States, a treaty that the U.S. government has chosen to intentionally violate. There was no extradition treaty with Afghanistan.

Thus, two separate questions arise with respect to Afghanistan: (1) Was it right for the United States to go to war against the Taliban based on its refusal to comply with Bush’s extradition demand? And (2) Was it right to use military means to bring bin Laden to justice?

Both questions must be answered in the negative.

The Taliban’s refusal to comply with Bush’s unconditional extradition demand was no different in principle than the U.S. government’s refusal to comply with Venezuela’s extradition demand. A refusal to comply with an extradition demand provides no just reason to go to war against another nation.

Using military means to bring bin Laden to justice has been a disaster. Not only has the military failed to capture bin Laden, it has become the biggest terrorist-producing machine in history. Every time it has killed or maimed people — people who had nothing to do with the 9/11 attacks — it has added more people to ranks of those who hate the United States and seek vengeance.

Contrast how the 1993 attack on the World Trade Center was handled. Some three years after the attack, Ramzi Yousef was captured by the police in Pakistan. He was extradited to the United States, stood trial in federal district court, and given a life sentence.

Wasn’t that a better way to handle things than to invade, bomb, and occupy Pakistan and assassinate Pakistanis?

Another example: Mir Aimal Kasi, the man who shot CIA employees near CIA headquarters in Virginia. He too was a Pakistani. Four years after the attack, he was taken into custody in Pakistan, sent back to the United States, stood trial in federal district court, and given the death penalty.

Again, no invasions, occupations, or assassinations. Just patient police work and judicial processes.

After 10 years of invasion, occupation, torture, killings, incarcerations, renditions, assassinations, death, destruction, anger, hatred, and the constant threat of terrorist retaliation, it’s time to admit that the military invasion of Afghanistan, like that of Iraq, was horribly wrong. Not only did it fail to capture bin Laden, it killed and maimed countless innocent people in the process, placing Americans in constant jeopardy of retaliation.

There is also the possible financial bankruptcy of the U.S. government to consider as well.

It’s time to admit wrong and bring the troops home, immediately.

Jacob Hornberger is founder and president of The Future of Freedom Foundation.

Bureaucrats never surprise me... (5, Informative)

guytoronto (956941) | more than 3 years ago | (#33918648)

I worked at a university in Canada during the rise of the iPhone/iPod touch. Kids (young adults) who were deemed to have a 'learning disability' could apply for funds to purchase technology that would assist them. One of the qualifying technologies was "a PDA, either Palm or Pocket PC device".

I assisted a student in completing a request for a iPod touch instead of either Palm or Compaq iPaq. The students request was denied because the iPod touch "could be used to play games or listen to MP3s".

It didn't matter that the Palm or Pocket PCs at the time could do that as well. They had already been "approved" for use.

Re:Bureaucrats never surprise me... (4, Informative)

Trepidity (597) | more than 3 years ago | (#33918736)

In these cases it's rules imposed on the bureaucrats. When national medical insurance programs started covering take-home "devices", there was controversy over whether that would mean that everyone would just get their doctor to prescribe them "home computer" or something. So to avoid supposed waste, there are rules (in both the U.S. and Canada) against the government medical services paying for consumer devices that have entertainment uses.

I can see why peopled wanted the rule, but it probably costs more than it saves, given how expensive the equivalent specialist devices are.

The government has tons of stuff like that (4, Interesting)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | more than 3 years ago | (#33919110)

I work at a state funded university, so for the government even if slightly indirectly. I'm a salaried employee and while overtime isn't a normal part of my job, I am expected to work extra when needed. Yesterday I had to stay late to video a guest speaker, for example. However I am required to complete a time card every week. If I take any time off during the regular work week, I have to report it. I don't get to report time worked on the weekend or after hours, there is no OT or anything as I'm exempt, however I've got to report time off during the week.

The reason is because they have to carefully track vacation usage and all that. Unlike many professional jobs where you are given a certain amount of vacation per year and then expected to be professional about it and sick days (like if you have two weeks and need to take an extra day that's ok) we are tracked down to as precise as we are willing to report (values are reported in hours, with 6 digits of precision behind the decimal point). We have generous amounts of time off, but it is all tracked.

Why? Well to make sure the state isn't getting taken advantage of. It is supposed to make sure that there aren't employees who just never work and bilk the system. Ok... Except that it really doesn't. Your boss signs off on the time card so you could just claim you were "working from home" or whatever and if your boss says ok, then ok. All it really does is add a massive amount of overhead in terms of documentation and processing for all this. There are people at the university who's sole job is dealing with all the time reporting shit and there's lots of levels of bureaucracy in it (your boss approves your time, the payroll person then approves their approval, that gets sent off to the administrators and so on).

It's supposed to be to protect tax payers but I suspect it does no more than just having managers that watch over things do.

The Good and the BAD (5, Interesting)

zeroRenegade (1475839) | more than 3 years ago | (#33918686)

My cousin has cerebral palsy, and I am amazed at her ability as a user of her iPod Touch. She has fully integrated herself into the world of social media, and as a result has made more friends who can seem to communicate with her more easily in the social media scene, than in a subjective and judgmental school yard.

Unfortunately, she also watches completely inane news videos online, which do nothing for her development. She constantly asks others to watch these horrible news clips. Her grandmother tells her that she "plugs in" or has "plugged in", whenever she puts her headphones in and becomes dead to the physical world. She hates when her Nan tells her this, and is very impatient with her Mom, brother, and others.

Re:The Good and the BAD (1)

Kirijini (214824) | more than 3 years ago | (#33918884)

Her grandmother tells her that she "plugs in" or has "plugged in", whenever she puts her headphones in and becomes dead to the physical world. She hates when her Nan tells her this, and is very impatient with her Mom, brother, and others.

This is a normal young adult being a normal young adult.

Re:The Good and the BAD (1, Insightful)

zeroRenegade (1475839) | more than 3 years ago | (#33919052)

Man, you have no idea what you are talking about. Unfortunately, she is not a normal young adult. Her oxygen was cut off at birth, and caused additional harm.

You know nothing about her situation, or her reactions due to her impatience.

However, I am not going to discuss anything personal about this here.

People like you rot me, who take away from the significance of a comment by pointing out the obvious without regarding specifics.

Re:The Good and the BAD (3, Insightful)

robably (1044462) | more than 3 years ago | (#33919460)

People like you rot me, who take away from the significance of a comment by pointing out the obvious without regarding specifics.

The specific examples you gave and which he quoted are exactly as he says; a normal young adult being a normal young adult. His reply was also inoffensively humourous. Get off your high horse.

Re:The Good and the BAD (1)

zeroRenegade (1475839) | more than 3 years ago | (#33920056)

I never took his comment as offensive. I took it as being indifferent. There is a huge difference, but I feel it is just as bad.

Get off my high horse? I was just trying to make a post about my experience in my own life. I took the high ground because the Kirijini did not understand my particular situation.

I bet you get so much satisfaction out of making completely useless posts that simply offend others. I realize I was offensive in my second post, but it was due to my hatred of indifference.

I will reiterate. People who take away from the significance of a comment by pointing out the obvious without considering the specifics of the situation really annoy me. I don't even know why I waste my time posting to these threads, since it all falls on indifferent ears.

I actually care about my cousin, so I would like to understand how she may be able to grow up to be a better person.

Re:The Good and the BAD (2, Insightful)

Kirijini (214824) | more than 3 years ago | (#33919496)

I'm sorry. I should have just said "she's being a normal young adult."

All kids/teenagers hate it when their parents criticize their choice of how to spend their time, all kids/teenager hate it when their interests are seemingly ignored by their family, and all kids/teenagers rebel against their family. If her condition magnifies these typical reactions, then, I'm sorry, but "youth rebellion disorder" is an age-old problem that exists even without ipods and even without cerebral palsy.

Re:The Good and the BAD (1)

zeroRenegade (1475839) | more than 3 years ago | (#33919968)

No worries. I'm sorry I was so quick to judge you. But I still think you are completely misguided. It is my point that it is not her condition that magnifies her reactions, but her lack of patience from an obsession with social media. She is not learning the required social skills to learn how to deal with frustrating situations. This is not a common situation, and it is obvious that you have not had to deal with someone with such drastic disabilities, otherwise you would understand my point. I'm not trying to sound haughty, but instead I am just trying to get my point out that media does in fact negatively affect our youth. The influence is just more obvious in some people than others.

Re:The Good and the BAD (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33919090)

"Unfortunately, she also watches completely inane news videos online"

She has cerebral palsy so perhaps these inane videos are an escape from the reality of that condition. You could say most everything is inane given that life is terminal :)

like any other person (1)

osssmkatz (734824) | more than 3 years ago | (#33920054)

If you read David Pogue's "The perfect thing" about the history of the iPod, he discusses this "ipod bubble" phonomenon happening to ordinary people -- able-bodied people. Why should someone with cerebral palsy who moves differently not be allowed to keep up on current events/watch videos like any other person? I don't even care if they listen to MP3s.

--Sam

Tugging the guilt strings... (0)

Ant P. (974313) | more than 3 years ago | (#33918742)

...just so the teacher has an excuse to get one for themselves on someone else's dime.

Re:Tugging the guilt strings... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33918756)

Your post is a TROLL.

Re:Tugging the guilt strings... (2, Insightful)

cyber-vandal (148830) | more than 3 years ago | (#33918854)

Typical conservative. Some people might or do abuse the system so let's get rid of the system.

Re:Tugging the guilt strings... (1)

causality (777677) | more than 3 years ago | (#33919768)

Typical conservative. Some people might or do abuse the system so let's get rid of the system.

That's not conservative (nor is it liberal). It's authoritarian.

Re:Tugging the guilt strings... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33919950)

Hadn't you noticed that modern conservatism in the US is all about authoritarianism?

Nothing new here (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33918930)

The hype over tablet PCs is all nonsense. It was unimpressive when Bill Gates was pushing it, and it is still unimpressive when Steve Jobs pushes it (but now it is shiny). There is no reason these programs cannot be written for a PC. If the touchscreen is what is needed (which I really doubt anyway), you can get a touchscreen for a PC. We are expected to think that if you yank the keyboard and mouse, a computer becomes suddenly much more useful.

A tablet PC is just a different form factor. It is always the software that matters.

Re:Nothing new here (3, Interesting)

Overzeetop (214511) | more than 3 years ago | (#33919124)

Wow, that was USDA Prime troll right up until those last seven words:

"It is always the software that matters."

Bingo. I'm not an Apple fan. I haven't owned one of their computers since 1980. I hate working on a Mac - short of checking stuff on a browser, I won't touch one. But, damn it, the iOS interface is very simple and easy to use. I'm going to say it's not as good as what TiVo has come up with, but it's simpler.

It shouldn't be a surprise that kids with learning challenges find it useful - it can be effectively operated with practically zero experience or maintenance. Why do you think that all those iPhone users can do all that cool shit? Most are still using the DVD drive for a retractable cup holder.

As much as I hate to admit it, the interface - and to some extent the massive price drop (compared to a full-system T/S tablet computer) has vaulted these touch screen devices beyond the specialty market. The switch to capacitive screens was the last barrier. Freeing users from a stylus wasn't enough without making the entire paradigm finger friendly. What you give up in accuracy you gain ten times over in ease of use and convenience to the untrained.

The challenge is that it's ripe for abuse (2, Interesting)

Overzeetop (214511) | more than 3 years ago | (#33918956)

Free/sponsored iPads, that is. The challenge isn't that they are good, but that there will be a scramble to "help" you get one and get it paid for by someone else. It reminds me of handicapped parking hang-tabs. There's no doubt people need them, but a few (some might say many) will abuse the system.

Here's the thing: at the price currently set for consumer items, these probably don't need to be subsidized. We're not talking about a $3000 device with $2500 worth of custom software anymore. The hardware is barely $500. when it comes to medical care, that's not a lot of money for anybody unless you're destitute. The software, OTOH, isn't a portable thing.

I can see it now: iScooterAHDH software you need for $1299 and we'll throw in the hardware for free! We'll even submit your paperwork to Medicaid. We're so confident that once you've completed your over the phone questionnaire, we'll get your full payment price reimbursed or your iPad (excuse me, Software) is Free!

And what "game" might that be? (1)

fkx (453233) | more than 3 years ago | (#33919142)

And what "game" might that be?

Make money off of special needs people with false and misleading claims about non existent advantages?

Ho hum, marketing as usual in the USA

I hope it is clear now (1)

erroneus (253617) | more than 3 years ago | (#33919414)

Insurance companies won't pay for something that might also be used for non-medical purposes. We saw this story quite some time ago when it was about the Nintendo Wii. Now we are seeing it again where it is about the iPad.

It is precisely due to this behavior by insurance companies that medical equipment businesses can charge such an unreasonable amount of money for equipment that may as well been off the shelf. Here we see insurance companies feeding the problem of overly expensive medical services, devices and products.

But as I am sure others are already pointing out, that medical costs are high is most certainly to the advantage of insurers. Why? Well think about it. If people could simply afford to pay for many medical products and services out of their own pockets, then they wouldn't need to buy insurance in the first place. In fact, the government presently recognizes "medical savings accounts" which can be contributed to through pre-tax dollars. If the costs of medical care were reasonable, it is quite likely that the insurance companies would lose out big to people who are more willing to save up money in their medical savings accounts.

It's a big ugly game and the only losers are the people who need medical care... especially those who can't afford it.

Re:I hope it is clear now (1)

istartedi (132515) | more than 3 years ago | (#33920032)

Insurance companies won't pay for something that might also be used for non-medical purposes

uh-oh... [flickr.com]

Always thought this... (-1, Troll)

markass530 (870112) | more than 3 years ago | (#33919418)

I've always thought an iPad was beset suited to someone wit *ahem* special needs. Any Adult, functioning member of society would be better served with just about anything else (netbook, PSP, sheet of paper...)

Yes, but is it dishwasher safe? (5, Informative)

cherokee158 (701472) | more than 3 years ago | (#33919606)

My son is autistic. An ipad with this software would probably have been very useful for him when he was younger, and possibly even now...but only if it was built with mll-spec indestructibility. Special needs kids tend to have severe behavioral problems, and violent tantrums are not unusual. They need to be either tougher or cheaper.

And despite what many people seem to think, five hundred bucks for a gadget, and another 200 bucks for software, is not a trivial amount of money for a family with special needs kids. Having a special needs child almost automatically consigns many families to a single earner lifestyle, assuming their marriages even survive the experience. It always angered me that the 'poster families' the media chooses for its talk shows about special needs cases are almost always photogenic white collar folks whose biggest sacrifice is the extra money they have to spend to let specialists raise their children. If you visit a local meeting of whatever autism or other handicap support organization is in your community, I guarantee this is NOT what you will see. You will meet families struggling to keep their homes and their sanity in the face of impossible demands on their time, health and budget.

This idea is a step in the right direction, but the cottage industry that churns out all these developmental aids need to wake up to the true economics of their prospective customers.

Re:Yes, but is it dishwasher safe? (2)

snikulin (889460) | more than 3 years ago | (#33919914)

Check out otterbox iPad cases. While not the mil-spec, they can take some punch nevertheless.

By the way, in my experience with my 2-years twin boys iPads are better protected than note/netbooks.
It's just a slab of aluminum and glass.
No keys, no hinges, no wires or plastic LCD.

Not iPads (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33919698)

I saw this story on the news. It was awesome. "iPad is God's gift to autismkind." While showing tons of video of kids with 5 and 7 inch 'iPads'.

The rise of the tablets ??? (3, Insightful)

Pieroxy (222434) | more than 3 years ago | (#33919894)

"The rise of mainstream tablets"

Why can't we call the rise of the iPad "The rise of the iPad" ?

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