I watched HMS Illustrious set sail yesterday to flex the British muscles in Gibraltar. Not a mariner myself, even I have to admit that she looks superb, right down to the integrated "ski-ramp" so vital for getting STOL aircraft off her decks. Then I remembered... we don't actually have any aircraft with which to populate "Lusty" capable of taking advantage of the ramp. All the Harriers are long since gone - their replacements? Well we can't actually decide upon an overall specification at the moment because it is difficult to decide which variant is the "most efficient" (cheapest).
This morning, I was informed of the latest (if not greatest) money-saving scheme for the MoD.
It seems that we are using altogether too many CR2025 batteries and their use is to be subject to moratorium, for want of a better word.
Now, as some of you know, I'm a lecturer at the Defence College and, as daily users of the FSAsT (Flight Simulation And Synthetic Trainers) computer suites that we bought, at great cost, to facilitate lectures, we use the supplied remote mouse to enable us to move freely around the lecture hall whilst still being able to control Powerpoint presentations. The remote mouse in question, was supplied as part of the FSasT deal as a single item per suite and they use CR2025 batteries, requiring a battery change once every 8 months or so, even at the rate we use them.
This point was brought to the attention of those with the power to implement such decisions and they agreed that we had a valid point. However, the numbskull who originally came up with the idea of curtailing the use of CR2025 batteries has had his bonus for a good money-saving idea so there will be no reversal of policy regarding the batteries.
As an aside, the procedure for replacing an expired battery is so convoluted and time-consuming (6 to 10 working days) that most lecturers keep a spare battery, bought by themselves from private sources, in their wallets to expedite battery changes should a failure occur during or immediately preceding a lecture. Not a vast expenditure though, these batteries being available at 10 for Â£1.29 with free postage from fleabay.
Anyway, I digress. It was agreed that we had a valid point. Indeed, it was accepted that anybody who required to use Powerpoint presentations as part or all of their job, would have a problem when the CR2025 batteries were no longer available. A solution had to be found, and quickly.
The solution? Each and every member of staff, military or civilian, who are required to use Powerpoint presentations will be issued with one of THESE, which are hideously expensive at the retail price quoted by Kensington. Procurement procedures for the MoD though, means that they will cost the tax payer Â£112 each.
Unsurprisingly, they are powered by... BATTERIES A brace of AAA batteries to be precise, which apparently have an average life span of four to six weeks at the projected rate of daily use.
All the lecturers in my department have unanimously agreed that these are a Gucci piece of kit though In fact, I'll quite happily use mine when I'm lecturing at one of several Universities or when conducting Judicial training, in addition to my duties for the MoD because these have been issued to the individual, for the exclusive use of the individual and are specifically NOT tied to the FSAsT suites
I just can't quite see where the savings will be achieved though