Hope Springs Eternal, Ala. (AP) - You can special order one from the back pages of a comic book, but most of Miltopia laptop computers go to Afghanistan, Iraq and wherever American combat troops are assigned around the world. They are also the first PC to be built from whatever scraps are in various front yards in Alabama.
These laptops, made for the U.S. armed forces, are tough. Miltopia has discovered that the various metals collected, (i.e. rusted cars, old washing machines, tin cans, barb wire,…etc), has meted another cheap metal, suitable for use by the military.
"We hoped it to be rugged," said Julie van der Biggs, "because we're from Alabama". "Then we go about making them from older computers that we find at the dump or others donate". Only 1 of the 300,000 sold to the military have come back in the past four years, and that one was exposed to "a noo-cul-lar blast", said van der Biggs.
"Frankly, we never want to see the product again," van der Briggs said. "We never set up any kind of quality control department and could care less about the customer". "I guess we were just lucky that the
Government liked the cheap melted metal".
Van der Biggs went on to add, "My cousins Uncle Billy got the idea after he heard the US military was paying $3000 for a toilet seat". ."While the Army thought it was getting some of the most modern technology, we all opened bank accounts in the Bahamas".
Billy Ray 'BassMaster' Miltopia is the mastermind behind "Miltopia 'Puters" . Billy stated," I did a piece of time for Uncle Sam and I saw first hand how much money they'd spend on stuff". "I had always hoped to have my own bid'ness and selling 'puters to the Army is a dream come true".
But Billy Ray's first taste of success came during the first Gulf war. "I was buying up old CB radios, and making walkie-talkies out of them for the kids". "My neighbor, old man Johnsen saw them, and asked me to make him a pair for hunting". "I did so and then
decided to paint them camo-green" "And then it hit me, them military boys could be using them in the desert", lamented Billy Ray.
"I contacted Washington, submitted a proposal and won my first contract. It was later in '95 that I decided to cash in on the new fangled 'puter craze", continued Billy Ray Miltopia.
Right now, the Army pays about $4,500 apiece for the basic computer and nearly $5,800 each for units with extra features like on/off switches and a three pronged plug. A supreme models include an external floppy disk drive, a pair of Radio Shack speakers, a 12.5 kHz modem, and an old black & white TV screen monitor, will cost the army $10,789.38.
A prototype, still in the works, will be battery powered.
But trust Billy Ray to think ahead. "I know how hard it can be to find enough double AA's during a war, so I'm working on a 12 volt model". "That way, them boys
can just use a jeep battery", glowed Billy Ray.