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Obligatory (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36476934)

I love my Zune! [youtube.com]

Re:Obligatory (1)

bennomatic (691188) | more than 3 years ago | (#36477754)

Didn't notice that was AC. Long time since I've been Rick Rolled!

It's a problem in most governments (3, Informative)

milbournosphere (1273186) | more than 3 years ago | (#36476956)

but at least people are starting to realize it: http://www.sacbee.com/2011/06/09/3687455/jerry-brown-confiscates-more-than.html [sacbee.com]

Re:It's a problem in most governments (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36477032)

So Slashdot I need some help. I recently came in possession of a sex tape involving Rob Malda and his wife. Now this is not what you may think. In this video, his wife is being plowed by 50 men while Rob plays the part of the fluffer. My question is: Do I try to sell this tape and market it myself or do I sell it to someone like Vivid where I might get less money but it would have more guaranteed sales? Thanks in advance!

Re:It's a problem in most governments (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36477316)

Market it yourself, and post clips to get people interested.

Re:It's a problem in most governments (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36477304)

These could have been for parts of government which work with kids. It may not have been as abusive as it initially appears. I can think of numerous way in which such purchases would be legitimate government purchases. The PS3 for instance has been used in large scale super computing projects. Not for actual gaming. The military may have some similar use. I object to the non-free software aspects so I am not thrilled with the government purchasing these devices. That being said it still may not be a waste of tax payers money. We have already accepted (for better or worse) that the government has a social responsibility to the population besides defense and security. Everything from social security and Medicaid to public schools.

Re:It's a problem in most governments (1)

fahrbot-bot (874524) | more than 3 years ago | (#36477676)

We have already accepted (for better or worse) that the government has a social responsibility to the population besides defense and security. Everything from social security and Medicaid to public schools.

So... you're not a Republican. :-)

Re:It's a problem in most governments (1)

alen (225700) | more than 3 years ago | (#36477808)

i remember life before my blackberry when only PHB had it. go out for the whole saturday and check email at night and there are 5 emails from PHB with 4 of the being why someone didn't respond. sorry, don't have a blackberry like you do so no email on the road.

now with AT&T and VZW both going to tiered data expect the peons to stop putting work email acccounts on their iphones unless the company picks up part of the tab

Re:It's a problem in most governments (1)

jd (1658) | more than 3 years ago | (#36478204)

$100 million on gadgets. How much has the GAO identified, over the same period, as having been misspent on military credit cards (such as on strip clubs), or having fallen off the books entirely and having no accountable use?

Yes, this is wastage*, but the question is whether this is a significant amount of wastage compared to other forms. Chasing down fraud is ultimately about ROI. You invest a certain amount on cleaning this up, but you want to deal with issues that give you the greatest returns first.

*XBoxes? They could at least have bought gaming PCs with Linux installed. XBoxes aren't CC-rated and therefore can't be legitimately used in a government setting, but Linux gaming machines are and can.

the government is kind of large (5, Insightful)

Osgeld (1900440) | more than 3 years ago | (#36476974)

sure ps3's and xboxes sound silly for congress or the DOJ but it could be going to our troops, like that ps3 supercomputer ... but TFA is obviously out to state an agenda, so nothing to see here unless you want some rant by what seems like a child

Newsflash (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36477098)

Spending money makes the business of government bigger and more lucrative for those at the top -- the elite who hold the ability to exploit that cash flow for personal gain. It hardly matters where the money goes or even whether the plan "succeeds" or "fails" -- what matters is that your budget is bigger this year than last year. The secret is that government failure is only failure outside the business of government. When you're spnding other people's money, failure to achieve the supposed objective only matters if it impacts your cash flow next time around.

Re:Newsflash (2)

Osgeld (1900440) | more than 3 years ago | (#36477314)

did you even read the summary? over a decade for the united states government that's piddle squat amounts of money, fuck we spent more than that to watch worms fuck in space during the last NASA mission alone!

so relax

Re:the government is kind of large (3, Informative)

RobinEggs (1453925) | more than 3 years ago | (#36477160)

It could also be going literally to our troops. I've heard some military installations, especially foreign operating bases, have very nice digital entertainment options to take the stress out of being in a contested zone (and take the boredom out of being on a military base).

Re:the government is kind of large (1)

Leekle2ManE (1673760) | more than 3 years ago | (#36478362)

When I was stationed at a base in Kuwait back in '98, the recreation center had a number PS's and Nintendo 64's. There were also several computer games accessible through the base network (nothing like fragging the base commander in Quake 2 to lift your spirits) and a surprisingly extensive video library (though all VHS). Updating the systems to PS3s and XBoxes just makes sense in my book. I'm just a little surprised they haven't purchased more Zunes as this would give each remote base a virtual library soldiers could access without having to move a ton of books to each base.

Re:the government is kind of large (4, Insightful)

Ephemeriis (315124) | more than 3 years ago | (#36477202)

sure ps3's and xboxes sound silly for congress or the DOJ but it could be going to our troops, like that ps3 supercomputer ... but TFA is obviously out to state an agenda, so nothing to see here unless you want some rant by what seems like a child

Even if they aren't going into a cluster/supercomputer, I'm not sure that I have a problem with it. Sure, maybe our congresscritters can just go home and play on their own console system... But folks who've been deployed don't really have that option. And I'm certainly not going to begrudge the soldiers who are keeping me safe the cost of a few game systems.

Re:the government is kind of large (2)

sg3000 (87992) | more than 3 years ago | (#36477392)

Various government labs have the need for large banks of computing nodes for supercomputing purposes, so it wouldn't surprise me if the large number of PS3s were being used for that. Another proof point: there's a wide discrepancy in the xbox numbers. If they were being used as game machines, you'd think the xbox numbers would be comparable (or even higher). When the PS3 was introduced, it at the time offered a great price to performance ratio, so research labs in different countries bought them for that purpose. The software has been out for a while and has been government certified already, so it remains a solution today.

Re:the government is kind of large (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36478160)

GPU stacks are more cost effective for this kind of thing.

The folding@home project does make good use of PS3's, but this is different because they are using idle time of a device that was purchased with the purpose of entertainment. To go and buy up a bunch of PS3's to do number crunching 24/7 is silly, when there are more cost effective ways to accomplish the same thing.

Re:the government is kind of large (2)

maxume (22995) | more than 3 years ago | (#36477488)

Right. For comparison, it would be interesting to see how much the government is spending on peanuts.

Re:the government is kind of large (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36477928)

While it would be nice to have a point of comparison, obviously no news source could possibly provide any sort of context as it might make it easier to see how inflammatory and misleading their argument is.

Re:the government is kind of large (2)

interkin3tic (1469267) | more than 3 years ago | (#36478206)

I'm reminded of when Bobby Jindal made fun of "Volcano research" [cnn.com] and then a few weeks later a volcano erupted [nola.com] .

Nearly any spending can be made to sound wasteful when you gloss over important details. The government spent $47k on nintendo Wiis? I don't know what that's about but here's two wild guesses:

1. The government funds some services for children, like orphanages, hospitals, day cares, holding facilities, and schools, and someone thought that spending $200 on a wii to pacify the kids was a good investment (compared to maybe the kids getting bored and causing damage to the facilities in vandalism, costing more.)

2. A massive conspiracy in which congressmen and women and their staff do nothing but play videogames, made in some backroom deal with Nintendo.

Probably number two now that I think about it.

At any rate, lets not be simpletons and start foaming at the mouth because a valid reason for some of these expenditures don't immediately pop out at us.

kudos (4, Interesting)

yagu (721525) | more than 3 years ago | (#36476994)

If you compare that money against the total government expenditures, I'd guess percentage-wise they're spending far less on gadgets from their budget than the average consumer. Maybe we should be congratulating them.

Of course, there may be buried beneath all the other expenditures many gadgets that don't show up as itemized and measurable.

Re:kudos (3, Informative)

MozeeToby (1163751) | more than 3 years ago | (#36477532)

I can't imagine a news item being less news worthy... there are 2.5 million full time federal employees. That means that the federal government spends on average $4.70 dollars per year, per employee on phones (including for service). Somehow that doesn't seem at all unreasonable to me. I'd presume iOS devices are almost exclusively phones (~1 per 50 employees), perhaps with some company use tablets thrown in as well. As for the rest: PS3s are used all over the place to make cheap super computers, and I'd guess xBoxes and Zunes would be either for the troops or for performance giveaways. Yes, lets all be upset that they spent half a penny per employee on Zunes.

Also, to really put this in perspective. At the height of the Iraq war, a single day's operations cost more than 5.5x the 10 year 'gadget budget'. 4.5 hours of operations in Iraq, 10 years of gadgets for every federal employee.

Re:kudos (1)

operagost (62405) | more than 3 years ago | (#36477700)

there are 2.5 million full time federal employees

There lies the problem. US population: 311 million.

Re:kudos (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36477764)

The study said that there are about 150 people you can have a trusted relationship with before things break down. 311 million / 150 is about 2 million; given that the federal employees are likely to have an inter-employee relationship with a subset of the 2.5 million people, i'd say that's nearly as efficient as possible. Remember if it were less than 2 million, we'd probably have a total banana republic type of country.

And how is a Blackberry a gadget for them? (1)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | more than 3 years ago | (#36477634)

To me, a gadget implies something that is a fun toy, but not really needed. I would call my Kindle a gadget, but not my stove, for example. My Kindle is a fun toy but my stove is fairly necessary.

Well guess what? To do their job effectively, many government workers need a good mobile communication device. They need something they can get calls and messages on, and they need something with FIPS compliant encryption since the law requires that. Hey, turns out the Blackberry fits the bill! What a coincidence.

While a smartphone might well be a gadget for someone who doesn't do any work with it, it really isn't when used for a job that requires you to be in communication.

I don't at all mind my tax dollars going to pay for effective communication devices for our government workers.

Re:And how is a Blackberry a gadget for them? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36477776)

To me, a gadget implies something that is a fun toy, but not really needed.

Okay, so you have your own personal definition of gadget. Maybe some of your friends even use it. But what's that got to do with the subject - are you just complaining that other people aren't using your definition or is there some deeper point?

Re:kudos (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36477882)

It's called stepping over a dollar to pick up a dime.

There is so much Waste, Fraud and Abuse in military (and homeland security and...) procurements and contracts, but a $million here or there on trivial programs becomes such a huge deal in the Kabuki theater known as Congress and Fox News...

Re:kudos (1)

Rolgar (556636) | more than 3 years ago | (#36478100)

Government budgets include salaries. Average consumers don't have salaries as a line item in their budget.

Thats all? (3, Insightful)

kelarius (947816) | more than 3 years ago | (#36477002)

Over 10 years that really isn't a whole lot, especially when you're talking about the government. I think many corporations end up spending more on the BB phones/plans ALONE than the gov spent on all of that, and considering that many of those PS3s/xboxes/zunes/iOS devices probably went to the military to entertain deployed troops (or in iOS case, to be used functionally in the field) I don't really consider those bad investments.

Re:Thats all? (1)

DerekLyons (302214) | more than 3 years ago | (#36477350)

Seriously - it sounds more like the author is trying to drum up outrage/page hits/ad revenue rather than actually examining the situation. Just enough about the vets and the USAF supercomputer to seem 'fair and balanced', countered with nothing but bile.

Re:Thats all? (2)

afidel (530433) | more than 3 years ago | (#36477502)

Yeah, my little 1,000 employee company has probably spent $4M on Blackberries, ipad's, and cell service over the last 10 years (our AT&T bill alone is ~$25k/month and they only have ~80% of our business). The government has a hell of a lot more than 25k employees so if anything the numbers seem rather small to me.

Re:Thats all? (4, Insightful)

Rob the Bold (788862) | more than 3 years ago | (#36477760)

Over 10 years that really isn't a whole lot, especially when you're talking about the government. I think many corporations end up spending more on the BB phones/plans ALONE than the gov spent on all of that, and considering that many of those PS3s/xboxes/zunes/iOS devices probably went to the military to entertain deployed troops (or in iOS case, to be used functionally in the field) I don't really consider those bad investments.

Let's just do that math. Looks like federal spending over that time period was a little under $30 Trillion (give or take 3 or 4 trillion). So Blackberry expenditures would be about 4 millionths of total federal spending. Let's see, what do I spend about 4 millionths of my money on? If I somehow spend $100,000 annually, that's 40 cents a year. That doesn't even get me a payphone call -- provided I could find one.

I guess I should put that in the same frame as the summary: $4 over ten years. That's a few orders of magnitude lower than my "gadget" spending.

MS probably bribed them... (-1, Troll)

astrofandot (2278102) | more than 3 years ago | (#36477004)

To buy zunes, because nobody else would... Anyway, in department [aeonity.com] my friend works,, everyone was given an XBOX....
Good to spend public money...

Re:MS probably bribed them... (1)

wmbetts (1306001) | more than 3 years ago | (#36477166)

goatse....

Not just goatse (-1, Troll)

astrofandot1 (2278106) | more than 3 years ago | (#36477250)

But first user to click on my link became by 10,000 victim.

OK, I am kidding. I got 10,013 victims on last link I used. Besides that, I had handfull of links each around 800 victims, handful of goatse links, one with ~2000 victims.
So overall I got around 13,000 victims so far.

Keep clicking...

Re:Not just goatse (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36477672)

I dislike you, but you've shown more than once now how stupid many /.'ers are.

Please attach drive-by viruses to your links and cleanse us of the stupidity.

Okay... (1)

eln (21727) | more than 3 years ago | (#36477016)

Lots of government workers need cell phones for their jobs. As with any other job, if it's required for the job, the employer should pay for it. Now, the government really ought to do something like what my employer does: they'll provide a model good enough for your basic needs for free, but if you want a fancy smart phone, you pay for the actual hardware out of your own pocket. They still pay for the plan, though.

So, I can totally understand why government is paying for (at least part of) this. There's no excuse for buying a Zune, though.

Re:Okay... (2)

frank_adrian314159 (469671) | more than 3 years ago | (#36477186)

There's no excuse for buying a Zune, though.

That's true for everyone, not just the government.

Re:Okay... (1)

CarsonChittom (2025388) | more than 3 years ago | (#36477854)

Actually, the Zunes had a governmental use—they were smuggled to Taliban militants in Afghanistan. I mean, can you think of a better way to sap their will to live?

Re:Okay... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36478192)

I can comment on the zunes. Around 2007-2008, with everyone in suits starting to catch the mobile buzz the military did some research on how useful they would be (kind of like PDAs) with West Point cadets. I think the general consensus was "sweet, thanks for the mp3 player" and "it's totally pointless, let's not spend more money on this thing".

        Btw, they were loaners. People didn't get to keep their's.

So yeah, just sort of an experiment to see if they'd have wider application in the military (kinda like the smartphone for every soldier idea0>

Re:Okay... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36477340)

There's no excuse for buying a Zune, though.

Well, unless you want a high-quality music player or want to use the best music subscription service. Then you can be excused for buying a Zune.

Re:Okay... (1)

mistiry (1845474) | more than 3 years ago | (#36477682)

Citation needed.

Uhh (1)

Tolkien (664315) | more than 3 years ago | (#36477022)

PS3s I understand because of the Condor cluster. Xboxes? Wtf?

Re:Uhh (2)

Osgeld (1900440) | more than 3 years ago | (#36477068)

troops sitting out in bum fuck nowhere middle east. what? do you expect them to play cards and read Archie comics 100% of their down time?

Re:Uhh (1)

Nadaka (224565) | more than 3 years ago | (#36478280)

Also consider that a lot of fun activities like drinking and getting laid are highly illegal in bum fuck nowhere middle east.

Re:Uhh (1)

Dyinobal (1427207) | more than 3 years ago | (#36477080)

US troops do like to play video games. Or should of invested in some board games for them?

Re:Uhh (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36478016)

then get them a nice video card for their computer. Consoles are for 15 year olds.

Re:Uhh (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36478112)

If you're thinking that mentioning board games amounts to a sniggering insult you're in the wrong decade. High quality board games for adults have been increasingly common since the mid 90's, and the cultural center of board gaming happens to be in Germany, the location of our largest overseas base.

So? (4, Insightful)

bmo (77928) | more than 3 years ago | (#36477028)

Those figures are over 10 years?

That's not even real money.

Get back to me when we're not spending billions on wars each month that we're losing in the long run.

Get back to me when there is an accounting for the 6 - some odd billion in *cash* we shipped off to Iraq (or was it Afghanistan? Who cares, same thing) that simply disappeared down the rat hole through simple theft.

--
BMO

Re:So? (1)

Kamiza Ikioi (893310) | more than 3 years ago | (#36477952)

Get back to me when you've seen my red stapler. Have you seen my stapler?

Of course they're buying Zunes (0)

damn_registrars (1103043) | more than 3 years ago | (#36477036)

Microsoft is a not-insignificant sponsor of the republocrat party, and must be rewarded as such.

Re:Of course they're buying Zunes (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36477128)

If you think the two parties are the same, you must be another frigging teabagger.

Re:Of course they're buying Zunes (1)

damn_registrars (1103043) | more than 3 years ago | (#36477274)

If you think the two parties are the same, you must be another frigging teabagger.

No. Tea Party hacks believe that both parties are raging lunatic socialists. I'm a real liberal, who realizes that both parties are actually extremely conservative.

For that matter, most Tea Party hacks try to place some great distinction between the policies of President Obama and his immediate predecessor, while the liberals who haven't yet been chased out of this country realize they are interchangeable.

Re:Of course they're buying Zunes (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36477406)

Actually, a ton of conservatives agree with you that they're the same. So much for the hack label, eh?

Re:Of course they're buying Zunes (2)

networkBoy (774728) | more than 3 years ago | (#36477668)

Hello from the other side of the political seesaw.
I find both Obama and GW to be too liberal. It's interesting how different two people's views can be.
The problem is, while I want very hard line conservatism (and you obviously don't) we are both stuck with politicians that give neither of us what we want because they think that they have to straddle the aisle to get any votes. The Tea Party is a good thing for all of us because they are showing the wafflers currently in office that strong political opinions can get votes.
Now hopefully we can also get them to realize that they can disagree but still do things that are for the benefit of the country.
(sadly I'm afraid that's too much to ask)
-nB

Re:Of course they're buying Zunes (1)

damn_registrars (1103043) | more than 3 years ago | (#36478156)

Hello from the other side of the political seesaw.

What's the weather like up there? We've been stuck down here on the bottom for a long, long time now.

I find both Obama and GW to be too liberal

Could you be so kind as to give an example of someone who has (at any point in history) declared candidacy for the presidency who you would consider to not be "too liberal"?

And for that matter, being as the federal government has not in any meaningful way become more liberal in the past several decades, what is it that you want that you are not getting from your government? They have basically been getting out of everything but national defense, which has generally been a very popular thing for conservatives to fund.

I want very hard line conservatism (and you obviously don't)

I thought Reagan was the benchmark for hard line conservatism, no? Being as GWB was a resurrection of Reaganomics, I figured there wasn't much more hard line that the federal government could go (of course the tea party is working hard to find something further to the right). And being as Obama has yet to do anything that GWB would not have done, I don't see how this is not a conservative government in power currently.

Re:Of course they're buying Zunes (1)

operagost (62405) | more than 3 years ago | (#36477964)

I'm a real liberal, who realizes that both parties are actually extremely conservative.

No, we call those "leftists".

For that matter, most Tea Party hacks try to place some great distinction between the policies of President Obama and his immediate predecessor

No, they don't. They realize that W's policies were flawed and he was only doing what Obama is doing at a slower rate. In fact, we've been going in the wrong direction for a long time. TARP was the wake-up call. You're thinking of GOP-sympathetic talking heads and radio hosts. Guess what: you agree with the Tea Party.

Re:Of course they're buying Zunes (1)

hittman007 (206669) | more than 3 years ago | (#36477686)

The two political parties aren't exactly the same. You have the bad one and then worse one. Depending on your point of view which is which can vary...

Unless of course your a hack for one party or the other, in which case you believe your party can do no wrong and the other is the most evil entity that has ever existed...

Re:Of course they're buying Zunes (4, Funny)

langelgjm (860756) | more than 3 years ago | (#36477162)

Actually the Zunes are backhanded gifts for our diplomats to hand out when they want to insult another country's leaders. Kind of like buying someone a really ugly sweater.

Re:Of course they're buying Zunes (1)

Anne Thwacks (531696) | more than 3 years ago | (#36477336)

Wow - a practical use for the Zune - maybe America has not lost all its ingiuity after all.

Re:Of course they're buying Zunes (1)

jmottram08 (1886654) | more than 3 years ago | (#36477498)

No, i think Obama giving the Queen an iPod full of audiorecordings of his own books was insulting enough.

Re:Of course they're buying Zunes (1)

the linux geek (799780) | more than 3 years ago | (#36477416)

I'm pretty sure Microsoft has better things to do than worry about $12k worth of Zunes. This is a company with tens of billions in revenue.

Re:Of course they're buying Zunes (1)

kevinNCSU (1531307) | more than 3 years ago | (#36477606)

Oh yes, I can just see all the backroom wheeling and dealing that went on in order to convince the government to buy enough Zunes over a 10 year period to pay for one fifth of a summer intern's pay.

Re:Of course they're buying Zunes (1)

MozeeToby (1163751) | more than 3 years ago | (#36477650)

If you think that spending $1200 per year on Zunes is enough to make any noticeable change in either MS's or the federal government's finances you're insane. All that this takes is one manager who wants to give a bonus for good performance that isn't cash.

[sarcasm]5 Zunes per year? No wonder our country is going broke![/sarcasm]

So what? (1)

x6060 (672364) | more than 3 years ago | (#36477060)

So in other words the government is providing phones to government workers that probably need them and made a PS3 supercomputer Not too mention that 136 million over 10 years is in the margin of error for larger projects. TFA is retarded.

This is peanuts... (1)

mspohr (589790) | more than 3 years ago | (#36477072)

During the past 10 years, the USG has spent $5 trillion on war! This includes a lot of overpriced tools to kill people. Who cares if somebody got a Zune?

(And we still have to overpay for oil.)

Re:This is peanuts... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36477468)

Maybe they should have armed the troops with Zunes?

Xbox (1)

softWare3ngineer (2007302) | more than 3 years ago | (#36477092)

A $500,000 on gaming consoles is a small price to pay to show our appreciation to our troops.

Only $117 million in 10 years? (1)

KhabaLox (1906148) | more than 3 years ago | (#36477106)

That's $11.7 million per year. Assume $50 per month per Blackberry, that's about 20,000 Blackberries. There are something like 2 million [nextgov.com] federal workers (executive branch only, not including postal workers). Seems like more than 1% of federal employees would be well served with a smart phone.

Re:Only $117 million in 10 years? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36477236)

Mod parent up. Perhaps the news is that $117M is a shockingly small amount.

Re:Only $117 million in 10 years? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36477398)

Why? So they can not-work from home too?

Re:Only $117 million in 10 years? (1)

vux984 (928602) | more than 3 years ago | (#36478274)

Assume $50 per month per Blackberry

Odds are the government gets better rates than that.

How much did they spend on typewriters? (2)

blair1q (305137) | more than 3 years ago | (#36477122)

Did they spend anything on typewriters?

How about filing cabinets?

Any word on semaphore flags?

Pretty sure this is a shift in paradigm in the tools needed to perform the task, not a shopping spree on cool toys.

Re:How much did they spend on typewriters? (1)

thebra (707939) | more than 3 years ago | (#36477684)

Did they spend anything on typewriters?

How about filing cabinets?

Any word on semaphore flags?

Pretty sure this is a shift in paradigm in the tools needed to perform the task, not a shopping spree on cool toys.

I fail to see the relationship. What tasks are being performed by the thousands of game consoles or MP3 players that have replaced file cabinets and typewriters?

Re:How much did they spend on typewriters? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36477786)

The game consoles probably went to 2 places primarily

1) Supercomputers, saving us money buying custom computing nodes: http://www.physorg.com/news/2010-12-air-playstation-3s-supercomputer.html

2) Entertainment for troops who spend 6 months+ deployed at a base in a "country" where they can't even step outside the gates. My brother in law was deployed to Diego Garcia, which is pretty much a sandbar in the middle of the Indian Ocean. He said you had basically 2 things to do: drink or work out. I'm sure there was some video games mixed in there at some point too.

Re:How much did they spend on typewriters? (1)

blair1q (305137) | more than 3 years ago | (#36478024)

He was lucky. In Afghanistan, Iraq, and Kuwait (and probably several other places), you can't drink, even though you can't leave the base.

Apparently, owing to the lack of bar culture, the USO is doing a land-rush business on those posts.

Re:How much did they spend on typewriters? (1)

VendingMenace (613279) | more than 3 years ago | (#36477832)

Let's just look at the xbox. Pretend for a second that an xbox costs $250. That means that the US government, over 10 years has bought a whopping 2000 xboxes. The ENTIRE government. Not that much really. I can think of lots of reasons why they might buy them

- gift to a diplomat
- bribes for information
- for use by troops overseas as a moral booster
- a cheap way to set-up a media box for presentations
- etc

I mean, seriously, anyone who is really concerned with why the government bought a measly 2000 xboxes, is a person who has lost all perspective on reality.

Re:How much did they spend on typewriters? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36478332)

The MWR centers in Korea had an xbox and ps3 iirc. Maybe just an xbox360. But yeah, those, a few pool tables, and some board games were our entertainment. Everyone already had their own xbox though so it probably would've been better to send them to Iraq or Afghanistan though. But yeah, not really a big fraud waste & abuse thing.

Re:How much did they spend on typewriters? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36477852)

The Airforce used 1760 PS3s to build a supercomputer.

This was actually pretty smart, as at the time Sony was selling the hardware at a loss.

I can't spe

Re:How much did they spend on typewriters? (1)

GodInHell (258915) | more than 3 years ago | (#36477892)

I fail to see the relationship. What tasks are being performed by the thousands of game consoles or MP3 players that have replaced file cabinets and typewriters?

Keeping bored troops from killing themselves binge drinking and whoring on bases the world over. Entertaining wounded vets in the VA. Being used as cheap hardware for parallel computing systems that are far cheaper than buying a custom super-computer.

Those are some of the uses. $117M in a several trillion dollar budget is shockingly low. Cudous to gov't IT staff for keeping the overhead down.

-GiH

Re:How much did they spend on typewriters? (1)

blair1q (305137) | more than 3 years ago | (#36478066)

Yup. And, the consoles have probably replaced a bunch of Asteroids and Ms. Pac-Man machines. The MP3 players? Dirt-cheap jukeboxes. Also useful for transmitting information.

People need to start questioning missiles that cost $1M a copy, not handhelds that cost $1M a war.

And? (1)

Tuan121 (1715852) | more than 3 years ago | (#36477126)

Those numbers are completely out of context, no idea if that's good or bad. Nice job, summary.

The REAL Story (1)

milonssecretsn (1392667) | more than 3 years ago | (#36477138)

Whoa whoa whoa... the Zune sold $12k worth of units!?

That Ad Is Just A Coincidence, Right? (1)

damn_registrars (1103043) | more than 3 years ago | (#36477168)

I'm seeing a banner ad on the top of the page encouraging me to blame Obama for high gas prices. Certainly, that is only coincidental, right?

Chump change (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36477232)

Chump change. $117 million for blackberries over 10 years is $11million per year FOR THE ENTIRE US GOVERNMENT. This figure includes service plans.

As a gov employee, I know that only mid-higher level management is eligible for a government cell phone. Additional approval has to be obtained for a smart device. You have to balance this cost against any potential improved productivity (e.g. the ability to instantly read and reply to e-mails, confirm calendar appointments, etc. saves employee minutes every day... multiply that by the few dozen employees you are managing and it really adds up). The stat for the agency I work for is that each technical employee costs the taxpayer $250,000 per year (once you add in facilities, secretaries, accountants, lawyers, security, etc. etc. etc.). These devices MORE than pay for themselves!

The xboxes and zunes, on the other hand . . . . no idea.... I know that military recruiting sometimes uses video games. I saw an America's Army booth at an air show I went to a few years back.

Fake bomb detectors (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36477244)

This reminds me of the fake bomb detectors scandal http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/programmes/newsnight/8471187.stm

>The Iraqi government has spent $85m on the ADE-651

>The ADE-651 detector has never been shown to work in a scientific test. There are no batteries and it consists of a swivelling aerial mounted to a hinge on a hand-grip. Critics have likened it to a glorified dowsing rod.

>Iraq paid around $40,000 for each device

So that's who bought all the Zunes... (1)

TemporalBeing (803363) | more than 3 years ago | (#36477354)

We always wondered who the idiots were that bought them.
Now we know, and knowing is half the battle.

Ten Years (1)

screwzloos (1942336) | more than 3 years ago | (#36477374)

Ten years is a long period of time to come up with sums like that and expect the number to be shocking or even newsworthy. Yes, Blackberries have been the standard portable media device for government employees for over ten years. Yes, there is a PS3 supercomputer. Yes, both overseas and domestic troops are provided with entertainment systems and mp3 players for downtime when/where it's reasonable to do so.

I'm still not convinced that any of those figures are too high. The almost eight hundred billion we've spent so far on the Iraq war is a bit more of a concern. As a US tax payer, have you gotten your personal share of $2550 worth of value out of it? I don't think I have.

Chump change... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36477412)

The US takes in about 2.6 trillion per year... and spends (according to this summary) about 0.000011 trillion in blackberrys. Snore.

You're on crack... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36477534)

...if you think they've spent $117mil on Blackberrys. Try ten-fold that. One Agency alone (of good size) could spend that much.

What is standing in the way of saving money! (2)

jd.schmidt (919212) | more than 3 years ago | (#36477550)

I unfortunately know why Government agencies don't allow workers to buy their own cell phone for a small reimbursement. Salary, taxes and discovery.

While lots of workers need cell phones, lots don't. so there is a danger of it becoming the "government cell phone benefit". Further it ends up messing up taxes and contract/salary agreements, is it an additional benefit or not?

Worse yet is discovery. If you transact public business on private devices, does discovery apply? Are you breaking laws by texting instead of calling (avoiding the agency email server)? How do you edit out all the call records of personal stuff?

I wish there was a simple way around these problems, I like saving money too, but so far no one has found one.

So the accountability needs of the Government prevent us from saving money. It is too bad however.

The XBoxs I am sure are mostly for the troops.

$12k not that surprising (1)

shumacher (199043) | more than 3 years ago | (#36477602)

After all, Obama has a Zune. [gizmodo.com] Who in the US government is subject to more obsequious underlings?

Hookers and Blow (1)

Nethemas the Great (909900) | more than 3 years ago | (#36477696)

So they spent a bit more than $100 over ten years on gadgets. $1.5M of which on game consoles. Of course you do remember that the military was using game consoles in super-computer projects. But even if it wasn't for that, what's wrong with having an equipped break room? Aside from the usual DoD waste, I'd be more interested in (and probably troubled by) how much of our tax dollars are being spent on the proverbial "hookers and blow."

Re:Hookers and Blow (1)

couchslug (175151) | more than 3 years ago | (#36478020)

"I'd be more interested in (and probably troubled by) how much of our tax dollars are being spent on the proverbial "hookers and blow."

Put THOSE in the breakroom and enlistments will soar!

So they bought all the zunes then (1)

rasherbuyer (225625) | more than 3 years ago | (#36477822)

see subject nothing further to add...

And... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36477958)

...$1.5 trillion on bombing brown people.

Supercomputer anyone? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36478014)

Gaming consoles are popular for making ultra-cheap Beowulf clusters.

Slashdot has even noted it upon occasion. :P

http://games.slashdot.org/story/11/03/23/1948232/Air-Force-Supercomputer-Made-From-PS3s

Re:Supercomputer anyone? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36478238)

xbox beowulf

http://tech.slashdot.org/story/03/08/23/1337228/Supercomputer-Breaks-the-100GFLOPS-Barrier

But the real question for slashdot is this: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36478094)

How much are they spending on bitcoins?

My Goverment iPads... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36478158)

... came in today!
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