Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Military Grade Laptops

CmdrTaco posted more than 11 years ago | from the when-cpu-comes-second dept.

Hardware 296

bllb writes "Slate has an article about the "waterproof, vaporproof, shockproof" laptops the military is using. It's not at the cutting edge of performance, but it's nice to see some bombproof hardware." Most of the laptops I've owned over the years died through dropping or drowning, so maybe I should look into something a little more sturdy ;)

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

Military Grade First Post! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5573869)

more like celda

Vaporproof (Re: Easy Karma) (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5573943)

So these things aren't susceptible to running Duke Nukem Forever, eh? ;)

Re:Vaporproof (Re: Easy Karma) (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5574063)

oh ha ha

PENIS IN EAR = DANCE ALL NIGHT (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5574048)

first ghost (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5573875)

boo

Yes, but... (4, Funny)

dooby (579019) | more than 11 years ago | (#5573879)

Will they survive 20 minutes in a 400 degree oven?

Re:Yes, but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5573918)

If you're referring to the alleged TiBook surviving in one, it's Urban Legend. Nothing more than a few doctored pictures has ever come up about that. There is no way in hell an LCD could survive those temperatures for that long.

Re:Yes, but... (4, Interesting)

dooby (579019) | more than 11 years ago | (#5573947)

I was thinking more of the baked Powerbook G4 [mac.com] , but anyway, the article implies the 'GoBook MAX' will survive an oven...

Re:Yes, but... (3, Informative)

stratjakt (596332) | more than 11 years ago | (#5573949)

"We drop each one 54 times from one meter, bake it in an oven, chill it in a freezer, vibrate it, and submit it to a shower of hurricane proportions,"

Apparently so.

when was the last time you hosed off your ibook? (5, Informative)

w1r3sp33d (593084) | more than 11 years ago | (#5573950)

My wife used to work for Itronix and these will run indefinetly at 140 degrees (the official numbers.) While I was in the infantry I once spent the month of August in Death Valley and I can tell you we NEVER hit 140, 127 with MOPP4 and kevlar is no picnic, but it wouldn't of phased this laptop. They don't have the high end horse power of the p4 laptop I am on right now, but knowing what these things can go through, they are amazing.

Sad news ... Stephen King dead at 55 (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5573880)


I just heard some sad news on talk radio - Horror/Sci Fi writer Stephen King was found dead in his Maine home this morning. There weren't any more details. I'm sure everyone in the Slashdot community will miss him - even if you didn't enjoy his work, there's no denying his contributions to popular culture. Truly an American icon.

Re:Sad news ... Stephen King dead at 55 (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5573896)

In case anyone is new around here - this is bullshit

third (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5573882)

world war...what? did you think i was going to say post?

Be more careful! (5, Funny)

name_already_taken (540581) | more than 11 years ago | (#5573883)

Or buy a Panasonic toughbook.

Seriously though, I've owned laptops for about ten years now and I've never dropped one.Stop coating your hands with butter before you pick the laptop up!

Re:Be more careful! (3, Insightful)

MyGirlFriendsBroken (599031) | more than 11 years ago | (#5573908)

Some of us are just clumsy though, and live in clumsy households. I have been known to break bits of my flat such as doorframes with my flailing limbs so I'm sure my iBook has a MTBA (Mean Time Between Accidents) of about 24 months, even without butter!

Re:Be more careful! (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5573967)

That is what the Canadian Army uses. Rugged especially the CF-27 although the 28 is a bit less rugged.

I wonder. (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5573886)

I wonder if this'll be the first comment. Hmmm...

Re:I wonder. (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5573895)

I hate to be the bearer of bad news to myself, but I'm a goddamned newbie.

wtf?? (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5573893)

"We drop each one 54 times from one meter, bake it in an oven, chill it in a freezer, vibrate it, and submit it to a shower of hurricane proportions,"

Who the fuck would buy a beaten up piece of shit like that??

Re:wtf?? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5573899)

your parents. they bought you didn't they?

54 times? (5, Funny)

sczimme (603413) | more than 11 years ago | (#5574057)


We drop each one 54 times from one meter

This seems rather time consuming. Why don't they just drop them once from a height of 54 meters? That would be the same, right?

:-)

Re:54 times? (4, Funny)

No. 24601 (657888) | more than 11 years ago | (#5574192)

and I'd be interested to find out what happens on the 55th drop :)

Why 54 times? (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5574184)

.... does this mean that if you drop it fifty FIVE times it will smash into itty bitty pieces?

Damn it Taco (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5573897)

Let someone else post a story... Stop whorzering the front page.

crazy price... (3, Insightful)

hatrisc (555862) | more than 11 years ago | (#5573898)

the fact that you can buy 4 new laptops equivalent in speed, ram, hdd space, etc almost makes it not worth while. i think i'd take 4 new notebooks than one that's heavy clunky and extremely well designed.

but hey, what do i know, my laptop weighs 9 lbs and never leaves my house.

Re:crazy price... (5, Insightful)

pbranes (565105) | more than 11 years ago | (#5573916)

Well, if you believe that, then the laptop isn't for you. They say in the article that it is meant for people who work in hazardous areas and need a working laptop that can stand up to whatever they can throw at it, not a fast & cheap laptop.

I don't think I'd buy one of these laptops either because I'm not likely to be fighting a chemical spill or a fire while working on my laptop.

Re:crazy price... (1)

chrisseaton (573490) | more than 11 years ago | (#5573934)

They say you can easily drop it 1m 54 times. So if you were planning to use it in that kind of enviroment, you would have to take a _lot_ of replacements.

Clearly you don't understand (4, Insightful)

Gekko (45112) | more than 11 years ago | (#5573954)

You obviously don't understand the NEED for rugadized computers. What good is 4 crappy comercial laptops when your on a ship that is torpedoed or a plane that crashes? Those four laptops will be toast, but a properly rugadized computer has a good choice of still running. This is important when your LIFE may depend on that laptop.

Re:crazy price... (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5574045)

That is because your data is 100% worthless. Even to you by your own admission.

The panasonic toughbook and the military units contain priceless data and in the military people will DIE if it fails.

you are a consumer with absolutely useless and value-less data.

it is not for you.

I don't know about you... (3, Informative)

The Tyro (247333) | more than 11 years ago | (#5574225)


But I've always dropped my laptops while carrying or transporting them, never while actually using them... so I went a different route.

Try getting a regular laptop, and putting it in one of the cases made by these guys [pelican.com] (No, I don't work for them)

I've taken my laptop to all kinds of places, including some inhospitable places in the very area of the world where lots of bombs are currently being dropped; no problems. Those cases come with a lifetime warranty... they're waterproof, shock-resistant, dustproof (VERY important in the desert), and have automatic pressure relief valves for that unpressurized tactical airlift you're sometimes required to use.

They cost about 150$, but that's chump change compared to the price of a Mil-Spec computer; the money difference is much better spent upgrading the actual laptop.

YMMV, but that's the way I solved the problem.

Re:crazy price... (5, Informative)

Longing (23218) | more than 11 years ago | (#5574236)

I'm a professional soldier, so here's what I have to say.

If I'm called on to go to visit my colleagues who are already in Iraq, I'll be carrying over 130 lbs of protective gear, weapons, ammo, rucksack and equipment, and the bulk of it goes on my back. A plane and a parachute gets me to my DZ and I walk from there.

Military equipment is bulky and heavy. Take the PLGR [dla.mil] (Precision Lightweight GPS Receiver). The last picture [si.edu] shows it's size. This puppy weighs 2.75 pounds and is huge. Compare to any Garmin, Magellan, Lowrance and others whose products weigh less than a pound and are a quarter of the size. (Blah, blah, Selective Availability. Another discussion.)

Another example: The Mortar Ballistic Computer [155.217.58.58] weighs 7 lbs and makes my Gameboy Advance (cheap entertainment in the field) look like a Cray Supercomputer. Oh, and it's roughly 20x larger than the GBA.

So if I had the room in my ruck for a laptop (I don't), and I could justify spending $4500 on it - four months' pay (I took a slight paycut when I quit my sysadmin job in Silicon Valley for the opportunity to get gassed in Iraq), you could bet I'd be buying one of these and not FOUR pieces of crap that are going to break when I hit the DZ.

Cheers! :)

STUPID YANKEES! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5573903)

Hey, this is something you STUPID AMERICANS can suck!

:=======)
Oo

Re:STUPID YANKEES! (-1, Offtopic)

Dugsta (651396) | more than 11 years ago | (#5573919)

I say old chap, thats a jolly dodgy ascii penis you have there

Nice! (3, Funny)

fredrikj (629833) | more than 11 years ago | (#5573906)

But does it survive a BSOD?

Re:Nice! (0, Funny)

Ari Rahikkala (608969) | more than 11 years ago | (#5573927)

I guess it was inevitable. Be happy for being the first one to post that, fredrikj, because the joke of the reliability of this laptop being compromised by it running Windows will be reiterated here approximately... hm... * glances at the clock * 1716 times.

Oh, and to the mod who just said that the parent was overrated... it started at 1 and wasn't moderated yet. Redundant, perhaps, troll, yes, but it's not really overrated yet :p.

Re:Nice! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5574082)

I hear you can increase the durability of these laptops EVEN MORE by carrying them in the Itronix ActionBag.

Great for porn browsing! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5573909)

I know no one wants to admit it, buy you've gotta admit, this thing would be pretty cool for browsing porn.

Military computers... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5573911)

I remember a Washington Post Article where some Marine Private was evaluating his 733t new computer. "I could beat someone to death with this battery pack..."

Makes sense (4, Interesting)

SlimFastForYou (578183) | more than 11 years ago | (#5573913)

My laptop just took a lil fall and the screen went cracky cracky. I can still read what the screen says, but its too bad that this laptop wasn't the one I dropped.

I wonder how they have the hard drive set up, or if they use flash. Normally, any hard drive experiencing even a small shock can be easily destroyed if the head is reading.

700 MhZ isn't too great but you could always take it in the shower for some good 'ol pr0n. ;)

Re:Makes sense (3, Informative)

Sam Nitzberg (242911) | more than 11 years ago | (#5573938)

Some rugged / military notebooks or other systems subject to shock have dampening systems for their hard drive mountings.

But, you probably don't want to shell out the $$$ for most civilian uses.

Sam Nitzberg
http://www.iamsam.com
http://www.Nitzbe rgSecurityAssociates.com

Hardened hard drives (5, Interesting)

87C751 (205250) | more than 11 years ago | (#5573971)

Hard drives can be made to withstand a lot of punishment. 10 years ago, I saw a demo at a trade show where a 2.5" HP hard drive was attached to the end of a 30" bar. A motor and crank lifted the end of the bar 18" above a steel plate and then dropped it. There was an O-scope hooked up to the read channel, and it barely fluctuated at impact.

Granted, I don't expect consumer-channel equipment to be that strong.

Re:Makes sense (1)

becauseiamgod (559722) | more than 11 years ago | (#5573979)

I was also thinking how they had the hdd set up. Im sure its the same-ol disk platter drive, they just have it incased in some sexy way.

toughbooks (5, Interesting)

hawwy (235434) | more than 11 years ago | (#5573921)

wired ran an article [wired.com] a few weeks ago about how the army was using rugged panasonic laptops [panasonic.com] for operations. one of their gis guys was having trouble manipulating huge images with them and had the government ship over a titanium powerbook which is apparently holding up fine.

How cool do they run? (1)

RLiegh (247921) | more than 11 years ago | (#5573923)

Or do they come equipped with heat pads for our boys' laps? ;)

Be careful of what you ask for. (1)

Seahawk91 (585715) | more than 11 years ago | (#5573924)

My "military style" computer is a Dell Pentium 400.

president bush deat at 53 (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5573925)

just heard the news on talk radio. president george w bush was gunned down by an assasins bullet a short while ago.

he won't be missed. truly an american asshole.

Re:president bush deat at 53 (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5574166)

roh roh roh... you so runny... SOOOOOO RUUUUUNNNY!!!!

-Your real Chinese father...

"waterproof, vaporproof, shockproof" (5, Funny)

Black Parrot (19622) | more than 11 years ago | (#5573928)


OK, what about aweproof?

Thief proof? (1)

gilesjuk (604902) | more than 11 years ago | (#5574037)

Won't stop them being stolen or left in a taxi.

Waterproof, Vaporproof, Shockproof (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5573929)

Shockproof, eh? But is it aweproof?

Re:Waterproof, Vaporproof, Shockproof (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5573946)

Such wit, but och, what timing. That Same Exact Joke was made just 60 seconds ago!
So you must live with teh sad knowledge taht YOU FAIL IT and fail it most horribly
Now eat this for your consolation prize: ;======D

Reliable Hardware Platforms Deserve Solid Software (5, Insightful)

n9fzx (128488) | more than 11 years ago | (#5573931)

Reliable hardware is of course a Good Thing, but without some improvements in software reliability, you're buying a HumVee when a Yugo would do. The old Bell Labs standard called for 1/3 of system faults to be ascribed to hardware, 1/3 to software, and 1/3 to operator error. Most available operating systems clearly aren't there yet, and can't even match the reliability of existing off-the-shelf motherboards and power supplies.

Having said that, it's also clear that some operating systems, owing to their monlithic architecture, will never improve. At least with Unix, you can discard what you don't need, reducing the volume of code that has to be checked. That's a major reason why Microsoft's "Trustworthy Computing" initiative is such a joke -- you can't get rid of the crapola, heck you can't even see the crapola!

Re:Reliable Hardware Platforms Deserve Solid Softw (1)

Superfarstucker (621775) | more than 11 years ago | (#5574129)

You are a fool to say that, just because normally maybe "1/3" of all errors should be contributed to hardware doesn't mean when you're out in 100 deg. weather or in a hazardous area that it will be. Hardening a PC against physical damages obviously has its uses otherwise there wouldn't be any suppliers. I see this just as an attempt to justify bashing M$... Typical /. reader base I suppose

I think you mean 'open' (4, Insightful)

dan g (30777) | more than 11 years ago | (#5574153)

I'm not sure what you meant by the term, but if you are talking about operating systems and kernels, Unix systems are generally monolithic whereas windows (nt and on) are microkernel(ish) architectures.

You say that on Unix you can throw away what you don't need but that on Windows you "can't even see the crapola". You certainly can't open up Solaris, cut out what you don't need, and recompile for a leaner version so I assume you meant Linux or BSD. But obviously you can only do that with those OSes because they are open source, it really has nothing to do with their architecture.

dan.

Can too see the crapola (1)

A nonymous Coward (7548) | more than 11 years ago | (#5574182)

It's called BSOD.

tasteless (-1, Offtopic)

SegaVegas (653741) | more than 11 years ago | (#5573939)

right now, this article is pretty tasteless!

Military Quality Testing (4, Funny)

hillct (230132) | more than 11 years ago | (#5573940)

Ss you want to sell laptops to the US Army?

Yes, would you like to test it out?

Yes, Put it over there.

[Officer aims a rifle at the laptop and puts a hole the size of a small tangerine through the case]

I'm sorry. Your product has failed our quality inspection. Have a nice day.

Re:Military Quality Testing (1)

PhxBlue (562201) | more than 11 years ago | (#5573986)

Does the Army trust its officers with rifles? I thought they only got to play with the M9's. . . :)

Re:Military Quality Testing (2, Funny)

AHumbleOpinion (546848) | more than 11 years ago | (#5574228)

[weak humor]

They get non-functioning replica's so they don't stand out to the snipers.

You might think that's unfortunate since now a hardworking NCO or private may get hit. However if officers stood out we'd soon run out of West Pointer and 90-day-wonders from ROTC and then some NCO would get a field promotion, have to fill the whole in the org chart, and we'd start loosing the really useful people at too high a rate.

[/weak humor]>

iBooks... (4, Interesting)

Squidgee (565373) | more than 11 years ago | (#5573942)

FYI, iBooks are also very, very sturdy. Mine took a leap from a table (~3ft up) due to dog, and survived. And it was on, with the screen open, and CD-ROM drive out (It shootso ut form the side). And it landed on its side.

My friend also sent his for a trip down the stairs (Screen open, iBook on), and it still works A.O.K.

So, you could also buy an iBook, and it will survive the same falls.

Re:iBooks... (1)

flewp (458359) | more than 11 years ago | (#5573968)

Until you drop it the second time. Or you're just not as lucky as with your experiences.

Re:iBooks... (5, Funny)

zozzi (576178) | more than 11 years ago | (#5573973)

FYI, iBooks are also very, very sturdy. Mine took a leap from a table (~3ft up) due to dog, and survived. And it was on, with the screen open, and CD-ROM drive out (It shootso ut form the side). And it landed on its side.

Did the dog survive after all this???

Re:iBooks... (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5573984)

Good for you. Most laptops can survive a 3 foot drop. Try doing a google search for laptop + 3 + feet + drop and see all the people talking about all their laptops that they dropped 3 feet and had them survive.

All your ibook has to do now is survive being baked in an oven, chilled in a freezer, vibrated, and submitted to a shower of hurricane proportions, and then it is relevant to this article.

Disclaimer: I own an ibook and am, in fact, typing on it now.

Re:iBooks... (1)

becauseiamgod (559722) | more than 11 years ago | (#5573990)

This person i knew at one point, there was a fire at his house, and his iBook was the only victim. It metlted down most of the body and the lappy looks all soggy-plastic now, but hell, it still works really well from what i saw. Only cosmetic damage.

Re:iBooks... (1)

Mattsson (105422) | more than 11 years ago | (#5573996)

One time is luck.
If it survives being dropped from 1 - 1.5 meters onto asfalt or concrete a few times (say four or five), I'll agree that it's sturdy. :)

Hehe, regarding sturdy laptops (Or rather: Being lucky with your standard laptop)
A friend of mine got mad at his laptop at work, slammed close the lid, dropped it on the floor, stood on it with both feet and shouted at it a few times.
It still worked afterwards, without any errors. =)
On the other hand, we had other laps of the same brand and model that would crap out if you even lifted it in only one corner. =/

Re:iBooks... (1)

Squidgee (565373) | more than 11 years ago | (#5574062)

One time is luck. If it survives being dropped from 1 - 1.5 meters onto asfalt or concrete a few times (say four or five), I'll agree that it's sturdy. :)

Buy me a test iBook and I'll be happy to try it out. ;)

An annoying Slashdot trend: Mac "me-toos" (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5574021)

I've noticed more recently that very nearly every Slashdot article has at least one thread started by some Mac supporter who *has* to chime in about how they can do the same thing with their iBook/G4/XServe/Cinema Display/iPod/Filemaker/OS X/ad nauseum.

I expect this when the topic is some new laptop from Dell or something, but it's getting annoyingly common. It reminds me of some dorky kid with low self-esteem who doesn't get enough attention at home.

Just cut it out.

Re:iBooks... (4, Funny)

evilviper (135110) | more than 11 years ago | (#5574055)

Mine took a leap from a table


My friend also sent his for a trip down the stairs

Come on... admit it... There really is no friend is there... :-)

Re:iBooks... (5, Informative)

edmo (619449) | more than 11 years ago | (#5574086)

To anser all the people asking if the ibook can stand up to more than 1 fall, the anser is yes
there are currently 3 ibooks in my immediate family, and all have been dropped several times(usually resulting from younger siblings wanting a turn). The highest drop mine has taken was about 2.5 meters and there is no notable damage aside from a few scratches here and there.
while I haven't tried myself I do remember reading that ibooks can survive some time in an oven, being run over by trucks, being hit in the screen w/ a baseball bat, in fact I'm fairly certain they can survive water, altho not when on(apples old 5300's could)...

shock and awe (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5573948)

"We drop each one 54 times from one meter, bake it in an oven, chill it in a freezer, vibrate it, and submit it to a shower of hurricane proportions,"

So another words, each one of these laptops receives the same treatment a Dell laptop does from the local courier company?

The Ultimate Portable - THE GAME BOY ADVANCE (4, Funny)

NeoMoose (626691) | more than 11 years ago | (#5573957)

You can drop a Game Boy Advance in the toilet and it will work fine after it dries for 12-24 hours.

Re:The Ultimate Portable - THE GAME BOY ADVANCE (4, Funny)

bogie (31020) | more than 11 years ago | (#5574031)

I'm sure when your friends come over they would find it interesting to know that the gameboy they're holding has been in your toilet.

Re:The Ultimate Portable - THE GAME BOY ADVANCE (1)

NeoMoose (626691) | more than 11 years ago | (#5574098)

Do you really think I would tell them if it has?

What are you doing? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5573965)

Most of the laptops I've owned over the years died through dropping or drowning

What the fuck are you doing with them? Do you use them in the shower. Maybe they need to have one of those moron warnings. Not for use in the shower or swimming pool. Try not to piss on it either, no matter how pissed off you get with it.

Rather impressive but... (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5573977)

That it can be dropped 54 times from 1 meter and still function normally is neat. However, I'd be really impressed if it could be dropped once from 54 meters and still survive.

Slate slashdotted already? (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5573983)

[posted anonymously, no karma-whoring for me :)]

Perhaps msn should invest in some military grade servers, it's already really hard to get trough...

Here's the text for those who can't get it:

The military's laptop of choice provokes shock and awe.
By Paul Boutin
Posted Friday, March 21, 2003, at 2:38 PM PT

Tough enough for war

Just as Desert Storm boosted the sales of Hummers and GPS handhelds, Gulf War II will spawn its own crossover hits, pieces of military equipment that become civilian fetish objects. A prediction: One of the war's big winners will be Itronix's GoBook MAX [gobookmax.com] , a sort of Windows laptop on steroids. The GoBook MAX has already been spotted in video from the front, and Air Force firemen deployed in Turkey have them. If Gulf War II is the first Internet war, then a computer should be its first piece of military chic.

No wider than an entry-level ThinkPad [ibm.com] but much thicker and heftier, the $4,500 GoBook MAX is a waterproof, vaporproof, shockproof piece of field equipment. "We drop each one 54 times from one meter, bake it in an oven, chill it in a freezer, vibrate it, and submit it to a shower of hurricane proportions," crows the GoBook's brochure. Unlike most laptop makers, Itronix [itronix.com] specializes in handheld gadgets for hardhats, not wussy desktop PCs. The GoBook MAX is designed for civilian emergency-response teams as well as soldiers in the field. In my hands-on tests, it easily survived a few tosses across the floor of a local Starbucks--plus a spill of my third double espresso onto its keyboard. Its rubber-gripped handle makes it feel like sports gear rather than fragile electronics.

Itronix says the MAX is big among FBI bomb squads and NYPD anti-terrorist units. For government buyers, the MAX comes bundled with a restricted software package called CoBRA [defensegroupinc.com] (or Chemical Biological Response Aide), a search engine that can identify some 60,000 chemical agents, plus a few dozen biological threats. Select the symptoms of victims at a disaster scene, and CoBRA will tell you how long you have before your hazmat suit craps out.

For civilians, the MAX offers features to rival new Centrino [msn.com] -powered laptops. Its 700 MHz CPU isn't the fastest, but built-in Cisco Wi-Fi and a heavy-duty antenna are available as factory options. Dual USB jacks and aPCMCIA [google.com] slot, protected by sturdy latches, are standard. CoBRA sales reps claim eight hours of work time from one charge to its heavy-duty (and just plain heavy) battery. Chem-bio response teams can't take off lunch to recharge.

But the company's roughneck and military clientele belies its much larger potential market: professional parents. Finally, a laptop worthy of the term "toddler-proof." No disastrous crashes to the kitchen floor. No months of data lost to an incident with the sippy cup. Hazardous materials? Toss it in the dishwasher. Need to get out of the house? The handle flips back to mount the MAX open across the wheel of an SUV for mobile use. There's even an add-on DVD drive for movies.

With the amount of money office workers spend on their cars alone, a couple thousand dollars more for a droppable, dishwasher-safe laptop is a no-brainer bargain in total cost of ownership. The GoBook MAX gives new meaning to the phrase "homeland security."

____________________end copy__________________________ __
Fighting for peace is like fucking for virginity

Why only drop them 54 times? (1, Interesting)

Sheriff Fatman (602092) | more than 11 years ago | (#5573995)

"We drop each one 54 times from one meter, bake it in an oven, chill it in a freezer, vibrate it, and submit it to a shower of hurricane proportions,"

Surely if these things could handle more than 54 'drops', they'd advertise the fact... which implies they *can't* handle being dropped 55 times. Which mean, seeing as they've already been dropped 54 times during testing, one more slip and goodbye laptop...

--

Re:Why only drop them 54 times? (1)

Len (89493) | more than 11 years ago | (#5574092)

That would make sense if they dropped one laptop 54 times for demo purposes and then advertised the fact. But once they found that it's good for up to 54 drops, why would they bother doing that to every one that they make? That would just be a waste of time.

The way it's written, it sounds like this is part of the quality inspection for each unit, so there's probably a good reason for doing it. Maybe they figure that 54 drops will shake loose any bad connections or something like that.

Here's my question: (0, Redundant)

PhxBlue (562201) | more than 11 years ago | (#5574005)

Slate has an article about the "waterproof, vaporproof, shockproof" laptops the military is using.

Are these things shock-and-awe-proof? Or just shock-proof?

Re:Here's my question: (1)

The Cydonian (603441) | more than 11 years ago | (#5574060)

Sorry, Iraqis aren't the target market here. More like, shock-and-awe-capable.

Finally... (0)

wiresquire (457486) | more than 11 years ago | (#5574010)

...a real computer for my Humvee!

I spent 2 yrs playing IT guy for a tank battalion (5, Interesting)

disputin (464508) | more than 11 years ago | (#5574012)

The laptop isn't the problem. Most people are smart
enough to keep it out of the rain and dust. Most of the components are sealed. The real problem was copiers and printers. If someone made a copier or printer that could be bounced around working in heat, cold and dust, they'd make a killing with the US Army.

I don't need a sig - I gave up smoking

Offical Specs (5, Informative)

CyberSlugGump (609485) | more than 11 years ago | (#5574013)

http://www.gobookmax.com/gobookmax/images/gobookma x.pdf [gobookmax.com]

Mobile Pentium III/700, 256 MB of PC100 SDRAM, 20 GB IBM DJSA-200 hard disk, external 10x TEAC USB CD-ROM, external USB floppy, 4MB Silicon Motion LynxEM+ graphics, 10.4in SVGA touchscreen TFT, ESS Allegro PCI audio, integrated mono speaker, V.90 modem, integrated CISCO Wirelsss LAN PC Card, one Type II PC Card slot, plus support for VGA, serial and two USB, Windows 2000 Professional. Dimensions: 284 x 233 x 62mm (W x D x H) excludion handle. Weight 3.3 kg. [7.28 pounds]

Note: The PDF wouldn't let me copy and paste the text, but I think I got it all right.

Re:Offical Specs (3, Interesting)

dsmey (193342) | more than 11 years ago | (#5574221)

Odd. My Sony Vaio came with that IBM DJSA-series hard drive, and it croaked after the first 1-foot drop it took while the PC was running. Sony replaced it with a Toshiba.

I'd have to see the hard drive compartment to believe it.

Check out these mega-lunchboxen. (5, Informative)

LaminatorX (410794) | more than 11 years ago | (#5574033)

Dolch [dolch.com] has been making these sorts of things for years now. Mostly aimed at scientific, construction, and engeneering field work (the military only started widely deploying laptops fairly recently). Their laptops can handle 15G's while running and 50 when turned off.

Anyone else think this would be a good investment? (1)

Rooked_One (591287) | more than 11 years ago | (#5574039)

Stockwise that is? I know out in the workplace construction workers could really start to network operations and be more efficient with a little WiFi in there.

Tears of the Sun (1)

Peeing Calvin (580935) | more than 11 years ago | (#5574041)

Anyone see Tears of the Sun? What were they using in that movie? Toughbooks? Or were they just generic props? They looked like Toughbooks, but there were no labels or markings on the laptops.

I'm surprised the movie didn't take advantage of a golden product placement opportunity.

Bombproof hardware? (4, Funny)

CausticWindow (632215) | more than 11 years ago | (#5574047)

Since the US military never are the ones being bombed, but rather always the ones bombing.. what do they need this for?


Part of their image I guess.. "Oh yes, we're getting bombed all the time".


bomberclaad...

Used Itronix Available (1)

rlp (11898) | more than 11 years ago | (#5574056)

Computer Surplus Outlet occasionally has old used Itronix units available. I just ordered a P133 color unit with 32 MB and a 1.6 GB drive. I'm hoping I can get the thing to run Linux. It has no floppy, no CD - so I'll either have to find a cheap PCMCIA CDROM, or (hopefully) I can load it via a parallel port Zip drive.

Hmmm... (4, Funny)

Planx_Constant (594897) | more than 11 years ago | (#5574059)

Can they perform "military grade" encryption?

daylight and the screen (1)

Sarin (112173) | more than 11 years ago | (#5574077)

When I use my powerbook in daylight I hardly see anything, ofcourse they must have found something on it, since their notebook is made to last outside, but I wonder how they managed that.

Must be good news for the insurance companies (3, Interesting)

sabri (584428) | more than 11 years ago | (#5574079)

With the amount of money office workers spend on their cars alone, a couple thousand dollars more for a droppable, dishwasher-safe laptop is a no- brainer bargain in total cost of ownership. The GoBook MAX gives new meaning to the phrase "homeland security."

I don't think the TCO is an issue here; I'm sure that most insurance companies (who nowadays pay for broken laptops) will be seeing these robust laptops as a positive development.

Additionally, I really wonder if these laptops are protected against those EMP bombs..

Mobile Use? (1)

AsbestosRush (111196) | more than 11 years ago | (#5574090)

Need to get out of the house? The handle flips back to mount the MAX open across the wheel of an SUV for mobile use.

Does anyone else find this prospect absolutely frightening? I thought that Cell Phones were a distraction, just imagine someone with Kids, a phone, *AND* one of these to manage in one 5000# vehicle.

Does anyone else find this disconcerting? (1)

DCowern (182668) | more than 11 years ago | (#5574124)

From the article:

The handle flips back to mount the MAX open across the wheel of an SUV for mobile use. There's even an add-on DVD drive for movies.

Driving to work in the morning is dangerous enough with people on talking on cell phones, putting on make up, shaving, reading the f*ing newspaper, or eating breakfast (cold cereal with milk...) all while driving. I don't need some soccer mom trying to watch a movie or write an e-mail to Johnny while driving her Ford Behemoth to work in the morning. For real people, the auto industry needs to work on some kind of heads up displaying, voice recognising, hands-free information system for vehicles if people are going to insist on doing things like this while driving their vehicles!

Could they make a faster version? (3, Insightful)

Len (89493) | more than 11 years ago | (#5574130)

Its 700 MHz CPU isn't the fastest...

I wonder if it's even possible to put a P4 in one of these things. If they're sealed ("waterproof, vaporproof") then I don't think they could cool a fast CPU. Even the new Pentium M laptops need fans and air vents.

i build similar machines (5, Interesting)

snyrt (151824) | more than 11 years ago | (#5574136)

i'm a pre-production engineer from technology advancement group, a company in dulles, va. we build systems very similar, though we've moved away from the laptops and build mostly rack mounted systems. our systems are build to be ruggedized from the component level in order to survive more shock than any other system around. all the chassis are custom designed and all components are tested thoroughly. our most impressive test is the barge test. we take our machine, put it inside it's fiberglass case, turn it on and link up to it with a wireless connection. we put it on a small barge in a lake and detonate depth charges beneath the barge. most of the time the barge will fall apart, the machine will go flying in the air and land floating in the water. while all this is happening it is linked to a system on land which is monitoring its work. we don't sell a system unless it can go through this test without missing a step. this is the beauty of ruggedized computers. there's a video of a barge test on our website [tag.com]

But is it EMP-proof? (3, Insightful)

ChefPsyconaut (652061) | more than 11 years ago | (#5574174)

And is anyone else surprised that there have been no EMP 'terrorist' attacks yet? Cheap, simple, minimal training, incredibly effective...

dude.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5574188)

Sir... You're getting a dell!

Ewww (4, Funny)

huhmz (216967) | more than 11 years ago | (#5574227)

Most of the laptops I've owned over the years died through dropping or drowning

Ewww Taco... That's a little more information than we needed thank you very much

*goes to take long shower*

they sound quite nice (0, Offtopic)

joFFeman (574971) | more than 11 years ago | (#5574239)

the riaa probably can't wait to confiscate them, either.
Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?