Tales of rugged tech survival could win new gear

The Tech vs. Wild contest is looking for true stories of rugged computing devices that survived the worst of times.

Got a good tale of rugged-gear survival? Feds who have experienced the advantages of rugged computing firsthand can transform that experience into shiny new gear though the Tech vs. Wild contest. Although anyone who lives in the United States can enter, the sponsors of the contest are Iron Bow Technologies, a federal contractor, and Dell, which in recent years has started to break into the rugged side of the government market with products like the Ultrabook.

And really, who better than a government person — law enforcement, military, field inspectors — could be in a position to pick up a survival story about rugged gear?

According to contest organizers, all you have to do is submit a story of no more than 500 words about how some type of rugged gear survived when other computer technology would have been toast. You can submit photos, a video or even elaborate drawings to support your rugged tall tale about technology that survived against all odds. And it has to be in by Sept. 30.

Once all the entries are collected, a panel of judges will select the 10 best stories. Those will be posted on the Tech vs. Wild website, and users will vote on which is the best. The winner will receive a collection of rugged gear, presumably because he or she probably really needs it given the abuse the gear takes out in the field.

Depending on where you work, you might want to check to see if your department or agency forbids you from taking part, although the federal government’s rules on ethics notes that “most rewards and prizes in contests open to the public” are allowed.  

One important note is that, even though there is a video on the website showing people doing crazy things like hitting notebooks with hammers and tossing them through basketball hoops, contestants are prohibited from purposely doing anything harmful to the rugged gear just for the sake of their entry. So if you tossed a phone off the roof of the Pentagon just to see what happened, be sure to mention in your story how you tripped and "accidentally" sent the phone flying.

Good luck, and may the best story win!

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