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Gadgets for the Lazy 233

Posted by Zonk
from the worse-or-better dept.
theodp writes "The Pentagon has found the perfect way to demonstrate it's purely the thought that counts - 700 bugle emulators which sit in real bugles and play 'Taps' at military funerals. The Ceremonial Bugle is just one item in Wired's collection of Gadgets for the Lazy."
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Gadgets for the Lazy

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  • by 2.7182 (819680) on Saturday April 29, 2006 @09:50PM (#15230191)
    are diapers with an IP address, so I can log in to them. Not for my kid, for me.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    No need to read the article! The entire article is in the summary!

    The editor's are getting the idea now!
  • Bugles (Score:5, Informative)

    by Chrismith (911614) on Saturday April 29, 2006 @09:52PM (#15230201)
    Didn't read TFA, so I don't know if it mentions this, but the Taps-playing device is not for the lazy, but rather because there is a shortage of actual trumpet players for military funerals. A lot of burials are having to resort to using CD players; at least with these gadgets some of the ceremony is retained.
    • My grandfather had a military burrial, I can tell you those recordings are really horrible, not to mention that it's pretty strange watching someone pretend to play the trumpet at a funeral..
    • Re:Bugles (Score:3, Informative)

      by darkstar949 (697933)
      Concur, and further more there is a shortage of honor guard members available to do funeral details as well. Case and point - when Air Force veterans (anyone that has received an honorable discharge from the military is a veteran of their service) are buried at Ft. Sam Houston National Cemetery [va.gov] the military honors are provided by a team from either Lackland AFB, Randolph AFB, or Brooks City-Base. Even with the military population in San Antonio available there is a shortage of personnel that are willing (an
    • I think the main point is that people would like to see the demand for bugle players to go down. Trying to find a solution to a lack of bugle players by finding alternative bugles isn't the solution people are looking for.
      • I think the main point is that people would like to see the demand for bugle players to go down. Trying to find a solution to a lack of bugle players by finding alternative bugles isn't the solution people are looking for.

        So... Just ask all those aging WW II vets to quit dying then? Good idea!
    • Didn't read TFA, so I don't know if it mentions this...

      Don't feel bad, you actually did read the "article" seeing as the blurb in the submission WAS the whole article. Must be a slow newsday on /.

  • by Local Loop (55555) on Saturday April 29, 2006 @09:59PM (#15230235)

    As an unemployed bugle player, I find this disappointing. :)

    Seriously though, trumpet is one of the most common instruments taught in High School, and bugles are super easy to play (for a brass player). I'm positive they could find people to do this, they just don't care enough to even look.

    I'd rather have a bad bugle player at a funeral of a friend, then some stupid souless gadget..

    • They can't. I head a story about it a while back on NPR (a year or two maybe). I don't know if it is because you have to attend all those funerals, because of all the practice, or what but they just can't find enough people who know how to play the bugle or will learn.

      They could fix this by ordering people to learn and play at the funerals, but they don't do that (I don't think they should).

      As another poster pointed out, this is better than a CD player (ceremonially).

      • but any brass player can play a bugle - at least well enough for this purpose.
        A bugle is pretty much the same as a trumpet, cornet or flugelhorn (closest to the flugel), but with no valves, so it's actually _easier_ to play......
        • by fm6 (162816) on Saturday April 29, 2006 @10:29PM (#15230334) Homepage Journal
          I suspect this is part of a cultural shift in the military. Traditionally, ordinary soldiers have had a lot of time on their hands, because their jobs mostly consisted of practicing their shooting and waiting for the next war. That's why military life is so full of complicated rituals — it used to be difficult to keep all the grunts busy. Bugle playing is not only a good adjunct to rituals, it gives the bugle players something to do. Of course, bugles used to be valuable battlefield communication tools, but that hasn't been the case for almost a century.

          As time goes by, though, soldiers are less and less ignorant cannon fodder and more and more skilled technicians. Learning all the stuff they need to learn is pretty time consuming. So it no longer makes sense for the miltary to maintain time-wasting rituals, like potato peeling and bugle classes.

          • Considering the various instruments USED to be used for chivalrous/manly announcements of "let the sanctioned slaughters and mayhem commence", to sound taps, and reveille and so on it would not be "dignified" to switch to PRC-25s, clicking the mic button to make music. Neither would pantomiming "hit team" hand signals, darting around tombstones with cammo paint on face.

            Seriously, tho, a nation that can spend BILLIONS on sky, sea, and ground weapons systems can spare a Few people and PAY them. The government
    • Well, there may be plenty of buglers but they aren't enlisting. It's a good gig: you get E-6 almost right away.

      • Well, there may be plenty of buglers but they aren't enlisting. It's a good gig: you get E-6 almost right away.

        It's a real problem for the modern Army. We're moving away from the Cold War structure of having a different MOS for every imaginable job to moving many jobs over to the civilian side of things. Example: when I was in advanced individual training, a guy in my platoon was reclassing from Stinger operator. His one and only job was to hump a Stinger around with him. In his new line of work (and mine,
      • When I was at Scott AFB, we had a band on base (which is getting rare, at least in the Air Force.) In the 1.5 years I was on the Honor Guard, the band was only able to send a trumpet player ONCE, out of the over 100 funerals I was in. The only way to meet the demand would be to have at least 6 players assigned to each base for funerals only. That's simply cost-prohibitive.

        Like others have said, the emulators are much better than the old system. We did literally use a CD player. With these emulators, you can
    • by CombatEngineer (848656) on Saturday April 29, 2006 @10:47PM (#15230397)
      Right now there are about 1750 military funerals per day across the country. In 2008 it will peak at 2100 per day (if the stats are correct). Most state National Guard HQ's run a Funeral Honors program. Volunteers work 7-10 funerals a day and get a stipend of 50-60$ per day to cover expenses, most of the guys that I know that perform the duty lose money by the time they pay for gas, food, dry cleaning uniforms etc. Severice organizations (VFW, AL etc) also provide the service with unpaid volunteers. Finding any kind of brass players for that many funerals is very difficult, we're not talking small numbers here.
    • I'd gladly play taps at any any service member's funeral rather than have some piece of shit plastic gadget insult the memory of someone who risked their life for their country. What a crock of shit.

      Sorry, I'm suddenly pissed off.

      Gah - well, I might as well mention to an above poster that said they play roughly two notes per octave, that's only true in the lowest octave. If I know what I'm talking about, a bugle is roughly equivalent to a trumpet with the first and third valves held down. Regardless of w

  • by caudron (466327) on Saturday April 29, 2006 @10:06PM (#15230255) Homepage
    ...I wonder if they'll get an orchestra to play the theme to the Empirial March or just pop the sound track in the nearest car stereo?

    Tom Caudron
    http://tom.digitalelite.com/politics.html [digitalelite.com]

    P.S. Attended a military funeral a couple of years ago. They played taps on a tape player. This device is a step UP not down from that experience. :-\
  • National Anthem. (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward
    "The Pentagon has found the perfect way to demonstrate it's purely the thought that counts - 700 bugle emulators which sit in real bugles and play 'Taps' at military funerals. The Ceremonial Bugle is just one item in Wired's collection of Gadgets for the Lazy."

    How about a Gadget that you can insert into singers that plays the national anthem correctly at sports events?
  • Shoe dryer (Score:4, Insightful)

    by MichaelSmith (789609) on Saturday April 29, 2006 @10:09PM (#15230267) Homepage Journal

    TFA:

    It's not clear how else you would dry your shoes, but this smacks of laziness.

    Personally I think not riding your bike to work because you might get your shoes wet in the rain smacks of laziness but maybe thats just me.

    • Stuff your shoes with old crumpled up newspaper and your shoes will be dry overnight.

      I actually jumped in a pool after the last day of school fully clothed with shoes on, and the newspaper thing really works.

      Thanks mom!
  • by Moose,The (971845) on Saturday April 29, 2006 @10:11PM (#15230276)
    From the article: "Due to a shortage of actual bugle players, the Pentagon had already ordered 700 of these to be used at military funerals in 2003." To be used in 2003? Are we a bit late on this story?
    • Coincidentally, 2003 is about the time I first heard about this story. It boggles the mind that Slashdot (and Wired for that matter) is presenting this as a new thing.

      Here's [geek.com] a reference to it from 2002.

      You can even Order your own [ceremonialbugle.com] for the bargain-basement price of $500.

      Search for "digital bugle" on Google...this thing has been all over the Internet for years.
  • uh oh (Score:2, Funny)

    by ninjamonkey (694442)

    I was thinking to myself "how lazy can people be?" when I realized that I was actively using one of the devices in the article:

    http://www.theemptyroom.com/ST_14.jpg [theemptyroom.com]

    : /
  • Bad layout (Score:2, Funny)

    by spikev (698637)
    I hate to prove their point, but i find it annoying to have to scroll down under the text to read about the device. I wish there was a gadget to do it for me.
  • Since when does an AIBO dog count as a gadget for the lazy?

    Gadget for the stinking rich more like.
  • by bstory (89087) on Saturday April 29, 2006 @10:35PM (#15230362) Homepage
    Because of the shortage of available buglers, a group was formed to help aid the military in properly honoring our veterans. If you need their services, or wish to volunteer, go to the website [buglesacrossamerica.org].
  • Damned bugle emulator was playing a pirated mp3 of "Taps".
    • Sue people who are already upset and got loaded guns for the last salute. There are some people you sue, and some who you don't. People who can answer the question "you and what army" fall in the last group.
  • Sigh.... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by rindeee (530084) on Saturday April 29, 2006 @10:45PM (#15230392)
    I have to chime in as this is something near to my heart. In fact, a Navy buddy of mine taught himself to play the Bugle a few years back for exactly this reason. Anyway, I begin my list.

    1. To the smart ass that stated that they "can't be looking too hard if they can't find a trumpet player"...it's a bugle, not a trumpet. While I play neither, it is my understanding that a trumpeter cannot simply pick up a bugle and play it (especially well enough to do funeral detail).

    2. Funeral details are NOT fun. After a while, it gets a little depressing. It is constant (not on weekends for 5 minutes as someone said). You stand endlessly in either blazing sun or freezing cold. You're in full dress (the most uncomfortable uniform ever designed). If you've never been to a national cemetary, then visit. There are funerals going on all day, every day, never ending. Families are limited to about 15 minutes at the graveside to make room/time for those processions scheduled behind them. Blah blah blah.

    3. There is a shortage because the bugle is not a common instrument in band these days. Few people who join the military do so to play an instrument, and fewer still that do want to play funerals. Most do a rotation on funeral honors, but more often than not, the task falls to Reservists and retirees.

    It's sad, but at least having someone stand there and hold a bugle while appearing to play it is better (to the grieving families) than having someone hit play on a boom box. Unless there are plans to have compulsory bugle duty and compulsory funeral detail, I think this is about the best solution that can be reached.
    • Re:Sigh.... (Score:5, Informative)

      by paiute (550198) on Saturday April 29, 2006 @11:01PM (#15230435)
      While I play neither, it is my understanding that a trumpeter cannot simply pick up a bugle and play it (especially well enough to do funeral detail).

      Yes, it is obvious you play neither. I played trombone and taught myself some trumpet/french horn/baritone back in the day. One brass instrument is faily similar to another once you learn slide positions/valve combinations and train your lips to fit the different sizes of the mouthpieces. I can play you taps on the trombone, trumpet, bugle, flugelhorn, baritone, tuba, french horn, etc. Taps is the chopsticks of brass instruments.
      • One brass instrument is faily similar to another once you learn slide positions/valve combinations and train your lips to fit the different sizes of the mouthpieces.

        Sorry to burst your bubble, but the bugle has no valves or positions, it's all dependent on the strength of the bugler. So no offense, but I doubt you could do it.
    • Re:Sigh.... (Score:3, Informative)

      by Local Loop (55555)

      I'm that smart ass. At least one of them.

      While I play neither

      Clearly. I play both, and can assure you that they are nearly identical. Bugle playing is trivial for a trumpeter. Low brass players can pick it up in a few days.

      It's a matter of respect. The govt. should be willing to spend the money to get this job done properly, out of respect for the families.

      It's wonderful, inspiring, and beautiful that the VFW folks come out to do this for free. But they shouldn't have to. The govt., with it's b

      • The military can't just hire civilian musicians to play at a military funeral; they have to use enlisted soldiers (or veterans). The idea is that the military saying goodbye to one of its own.
    • The main difficulty for a typical trumpet player would probably be the high expectations that people have for Taps: perfect tone quality, perfect note attack, and oxygen-depriving sustains.

      Merely playing the notes is trivial for a half-decent trumpet player.
  • A friend recently refinished his wooden floors. When it came time to put the final polish and wax on, he bought several dozen terrycloth socks in various sizes and invited every one over for a skateing party. If you have spills to clean up, get a dog or a cat.
  • by swelke (252267) on Saturday April 29, 2006 @11:10PM (#15230454) Homepage Journal
    That's great, but it ruins the whole funeral when the guy pushes the "Revellie" (morning wake-up) button by mistake.
  • Old news, but... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by farmkid (15226)
    This information (about mechanical bugles) has been out there for a while, so this is NOT current news.

    My father is a WWII vet, and for his birthday two years ago, I (an old brass player) bought a repro 1860 bugle and pledged to play Taps at his funeral. This promise was made specifically in view of the lack of military buglists.

    He loved it. And, if I can keep from crying on that inevitable day, and can firm up the embouchour, I'll be proud to lay him to rest.

  • by ckd (72611) on Sunday April 30, 2006 @12:08AM (#15230606) Homepage
    Okay, trumpet/bugle/cornet/etc players. Put your instrument where your mouth is and volunteer.

    Bugles Across America [buglesacrossamerica.org] needs volunteers.
  • What I need is a Productivity Emulator.
  • Wired has a long and annoying history of making kneejerk lists that reflect an ignorance of the world around them, particularly the fact that there are a lot of people with special needs.

    In this article they are clearly targeting, as forms of social criticism against people who are lazy:

    1. The Motor Lounger: something for genuine lazy tards

    2. Ice-cream turner: A gag gift

    3. Computer in bed: Something that any geek who has ever been confined to a bed would drool over (but I guess we don't care about invalid
  • Hnad-washing plastic lenses (which I have a good reason for using) is more delicate work than you might expect, and it has to be done hundreds of times over the lifetime of the glasses. Anything that could keep them clean *and prevent scratches* sounds like a great idea.

    Yes, I have an anti-scratch coating. It does help a little.
  • I have an electric fly squatter at home. A friend of mine always buys crap like on the Wired page, but this squatter is really very handy. Most insects are not immediately killed by it, but they are very easily immobilized so you can kill them at ease and you don't get smudges on the walls.

    I wonder when this friend of mine will buy the eyelash washer for his girlfriend.
    • I wonder when this friend of mine will buy the eyelash washer for his girlfriend.

      Oops, I misread, it's an eyeglasses washer. Maybe there is a market for eyelashed washers though. For girls that cry a lot.
  • Heck, that's been done [goodeatsfanpage.com].

If a 6600 used paper tape instead of core memory, it would use up tape at about 30 miles/second. -- Grishman, Assembly Language Programming

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