Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Singapore Army to equip recruits with 8,000 iPads

The Singapore Army has announced plans to purchase 8,000 iPads for new recruits into the army. According to the Defence Chief, General Neo (no relation to Neo of the Matrix-trilogy, but somehow apt…), he claims that adopting the iPad would enable the Armed forces to harness the technological abilities of the youth. With the built-in camera, servicemen are able to snap photos and video clips in the field that can then be uploaded and could come in handy to carry out post-mission debriefing.

(Photo taken from Asiaone website)

There’s more to it obviously, since I think it would be more sensible otherwise to equip all the recruits with cameras, (which would make for a very strange headline indeed). The iPads would presumably also be useful as a learning tool, replacing paper maps, note-taking during mission briefings etc. But I think the iPad would not be sufficiently rugged nor waterproofed to withstand more than a few hours in the field.

I struggled to think of a similar non-violent gadget that had widespread civilian acceptance and that was subsequently adopted by the military. Arguably, running shoes would fall into the same category – no one expects soldiers to go to war wearing running shoes, but during peacetime training, the comfort and ease provided by running shoes for keeping fit in the army camp can be justified. The second example is that using laptops and powerpoint presentations for briefings are pretty much part and parcel of classroom-based learning in many advanced militaries.

Personally, I think the iPod Touch 4G would be a better choice, given that they are more mobile and less unwieldy than iPads.

This story was reported in the local Singapore dailies here and here.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Trip to Hong Kong: survey of Chinese iPhone magazines

I recently took a vacation in Hong Kong with my family and I was pretty excited to check out the iPhone scene over there. There were several Chinese-language magazines that covered only iPhone and iPad related stuff, but what caught my eye was this magazine called ‘iPhone’. I bought the magazine and snapped a photo of the cover here:

If you were wondering, like me, how the lady sitting on the sports car could be related to the iPhone scene, I can tell you: “Plenty!”.

First of all, she introduced the readers to all the possible ways to charge an iPhone or iPad in your car – you know, for those days when you desperately needed to mount and charge your iPhone or iPad in your car, and I’m guessing it’s for that drive from Kowloon to Hong Kong island.

Then, she appeared in the centrefold to let us know the various apps she could use in Hong Kong to (going clockwise): navigate in Hong Kong or Macau, find a parking lot, locate the nearest gas station, check out traffic conditions, sell her car, and find the nearest servicing center.

I was also quite amazed how versatile the iPhone could be. IK Multimedia has managed to develop a system where you could plug in a microphone into the audio jack and karaoke to the tune that is playing on the iPhone!

The game-changer in this app-accessory package, called the iRig Mic, has to be in its ability to recognise the song on your iTunes and display the correct lyrics with the prompter. The package requires users to download the iRig Recorder app or AmpliTube. It is selling for HKD$599. Their website is over here.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Teenager sells kidney to buy iPad 2 and iPhone

I just saw this news from the main Singaporean english daily, The Straits Times, and thought that it was pretty horrifying at so many levels. And if you think about it, such 'horrors' happen everyday - people sacrificing themselves or part of themselves in an irreversible manner for material rewards that a majority of us would deem unnecessary or overextended. In this case, the incident only made the news because an iPad or iPhone was involved.

The article dated 3 June 2011:

A TEENAGER in China reportedly sold one of his kidneys for 22,000 yuan (S$4,185) so he could buy an iPad 2.

The Global Times said the 17-year-old high school student, identified only as Zheng, had confessed to his mother after she noticed the gadget and a deep red scar on his body, which was from the surgery.

Zheng had travelled from his home in Anhui province to the city of Chenzhou without his family's knowledge, where his kidney was removed at a hospital under the supervision of a kidney agent.

The Global Times said Zheng's mother took him back to Chenzhou to report the incident to the authorities, but the contact numbers given by the kidney agents were not working.

Zheng also bought an iPhone and a laptop with the proceeds from the sale of his kidney, his mother said.

The Chenzhou hospital where the boy had his surgery denied any connection with the kidney removal, but admitted that it had contracted out its urology department to a businessman.