Standard U.S. Army issue laptop too slow?  Send in the Apple PowerBook

“The U.S. military is shipping a lot of hardware to the Middle East for the impending war on Iraq, but only one Mac.”

“In the entire theater of operations, involving nearly 300,000 troops and hundreds of tanks and aircraft, one lonely Macintosh shipped out, according to the major who took it there.”

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

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

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

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


  1. The devil is ice skating in Hell now since the Army bought that guy a Powerbook. Outside of a few systems running Unix, the Army is a Microsoft world. I have gone through the Toughbook in the desert thing and am just amazed that he got approval to buy an Apple. The downside is that the DOD has a boatload of software that only runs on a Win32 system. Humm, wonder how he gets Falconview to run on that Powerbook??

  2. I would fathom a guess that Maj. Weed would only need to fire up VirtualPC (with any particular OS image needed) to resolve that stumbling block.

    Ponder this……with the extraordinarily well known security liabilities that pervade the MS operating systems, it is incredulous that the Army would be trusting the lives of it’s ranks with such a point of vulnerability. And with that said…..does it surprise anyone that an “intelligence planner” has chosen not to follow the “lemming march” and actually “think different”?

    Honestly….it really doesn’t need to be this difficult. The Army should think about this….and then check on the savings of “bulk Win-based purchases” compared to the cost/value of the training/lives of it’s personnel.

    Hats off to Major Shawn Weed for using his head, and doing the right thing.


  3. Theyve been using microsoft for years-I was surprised.

    They use linux for their supercomputer ofcourse.


    Counterintelligence /Human Intelligence (CI/HUMINT)
    CI/HUMINT Information Management Systems (CHIMS)
    CI/HUMINT Automated Tool Set (CHATS)
    CI/HUMINT All Source Integration System (CHASIS)

    Commercial software capabilities overview. The Hardlock security software provides screen and keyboard security, boot lock, format protection, startup files bypass protection, file access restrictions and audit logs. MGI Photosuite is an image manipulation package for editing and enhancing images from the scanner or the digital camera. The Logitech PageScan software is used in conjunction with the scanner for images as well as OCR text processing. Winzip is a compression utility that allows the user to reduce the size of files and thus reduce transmission times and storage requirements. Netscape Navigator is a Web browser and is also the software required for an interactive connection to a DCIIS server. The system also capitalizes on the integrated communications and networking capabilities of Windows ’95.

Reader Feedback

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.