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Tuesday November 18, 2003
05:39 AM


[ #15837 ]

Fedayeen Software Systems (FSS) announced their first Mac OS X application, iMortar, before the 200 paramilitary soldiers left in their organization. While many of the jihadi do not have shoes, winter coats, or a place to sleep, FSS hopes that they will have iBooks sometime after Ramadan, pending a grant from an unnamed Saudi benefactor.

iMortar provides a slick, Mac interface to 60, 80, and 88 millimeter mortars that have USB ports, with 120 mm compatibility expected to roll-out in the next quarter. Although almost all of the mortars the Fedayeen use are so called "dumb" mortars, a tube and stand with no internet connectivity, FSS thinks they will be able to buy some network-enabled mortars from Syria after the next round of financing.

The "smart" mortars have two to four USB 2.0 slots, 802.11b Wi-Fi, GPS, MSN Instant Messenger and Outluk For Terrorists (40-bit encryption only, MS is the only company that offers site licenses for foreign paramilitary groups). They operate on 110 or 220 volt power sources, with an adapter for car cigarette lighters.

The developers of the smart mortar and iMortar say that they are really "indoor terrorists" and that sleeping outside, not showering, and being killed by Americans is not for them. "We like to think of our brothers-in-arms as internal customers", said the project manager, "and we are not providing them a quality experience if we spend our debugging time shooting at the infidels."

Users with the smart mortars have not been able to do much with them because they do not have a terminal or any applications for the high-tech devices---until now. No "smart" users were available for interview since they were at a company team-building retreat, said a hooded spokesman.

iMortar will allow soldiers to connect, via Wi-Fi, to other mortars in their area. "We use to have a problem shooting at the same target, but once we network the mortars, once you select a target, other mortars in your network will not shoot at the same target", said an FSS spokesman wearing a black mask. "Can I have your shoes? I have none."

The application can also perform many of the calculations necessary to hit the target, which has been an ongoing problem with most mortar teams. The "Convert Map" feature can translate a crude drawing with pace counts into a precise layout with GPS coordinates.

"We just set up the tube thing in the back of the truck and Ahmed drops the shell in. Then we drive away really fast. We usually don't know if we hit anything." said one soldier through his interpreter. "I don't know maths very well. Do you have anything to eat?"

iMortar's avatar, a mortar round with a face, will have a happy face when the mortar is aligned properly, which makes it easy to use. When a mortar hits the intended target, the avatar shouts "Bush suck!"

With the email and chat features, the users can talk to other users outside their cell to coordinate future attacks. If captured, the soldier might give up several user names, but users can mitigate that risk by using several screen names, changing names frequently, and pretending to be other people.

With its AppleScript interface, users can repeat fire missions instantly, saving them several seconds which may allow them to escape the counterbattery fire or helicopter assaults launched within seconds of a mortar attack.

"I am really hungry and filthy", said one smart mortar trainee, "and I have not seen my family in 8 years, but I hope to get an iBook soon so I can use iMortar. I like the scriptable interface."