Boingboing takes a look at a gadget that the Census Bureau isn’t really using for the 2010 census:
They’re not making a whole lot of friends with this new device. Last year, the Government Accountability Office added the 2010 Census to a list of high-risk programs. Basically, it sounds like requirements changed several times, and Harris ended up very late to market, with a somewhat buggy device. This freaked people out, and the Census quickly announced that they wouldn’t actually be using the devices – they’d use them just to conduct the first stage of the census, checking addresses, while the actual census (conducted door to door, of people who hadn’t sent in the forms themselves) would take place using clipboards and paper.
In other words, the relatively lame device my friendly enumerator was carrying, which cost $600 million, doesn’t actually work well enough to use for its intended purpose.
Just to put this in perspective: simply by not purchasing this “chunky crapgadget,” the Census Bureau alone would have saved the government six times the amount that President Obama is ordering his cabinet to trim from the budget.