Thursday, January 22, 2009

Fred Flintstone Tech in White House

I was reading a story in the Washington Post about President Obama's campaign team was met with Flintstone-esque computers and software on their first day in the White House.

It seems that the Mac-loving staffers were greeted by outdated computers running a 6 YEAR old version of Microsoft Word, no cell phones, were forbidden to use outside email addresses, forbidden to use IM, were told they couldn't use Facebook... and were basically cut off from their digital "life lines."

Yeah, that's the kind of welcome you're hoping for after running one of the most tech-savvy campaigns in history.


I can only imagine the let down and the general de-motivation they felt (and probably still are). First of all, for a Mac user to be forced to use a PC is bad enough - but a vintage one running vintage software to boot? Oh yeah, on a DESKTOP machine (whatever that is!) - say it ain't so!

Now, I get the need for the White House systems to be secure, and for there to be processes and regulations regarding what can and casn't be done. I'm also aware that all the "official" work has to be saved under the Presidential Records Act. I have no problem there.

But, one would think that one of the technological superpowers of the world - a country in which the computer revolution was invented - a country that touts one of the most innovative hardware and software epicenters (Silicon Valley) - maybe, perhaps, could get a freaking clue.

After the moronic here's-some-money-with-no-strings-attached bank bailout (version 1.0), and the ill-conceived billions more thrown at antiquated, stupid and wasteful car companies - maybe there's no money left to update the hardware to run Vista - that part I can understand.

However, I'm sure that Steve Jobs, Michael Dell, William Amelio, or Mark Hurd could would be more than willing to cough-up some hardware - and probably Mr. Jobs and Mr. Ballmer would trip all over themselves to offer up a few gratis licenses of their current software.

Make a phone call, people! Oh, that's right - you can't. Well, borrow a quarter, drive to a 7-11 and use something called a "pay phone" ( TIP: Call collect and save the taxpayers some dough, while you're at it) - but make the call.

As for security - we have a couple of little-known agencies called the "FBI" and "NSA" and "CIA" (all with secret budgets, by the way) that just MIGHT be able to help you get some secure phones, secure laptops and can PROBABLY work out how to keep the Viagra spammers from getting the launch codes even though you use Gmail and Facebook. Call them, people!

Barak Obama is the President of the United States of America. One of the most technologically advanced countries in the world. He has promised a new era of transparency into the workings of government, into updating our national infrastructure. We're going to spend over 1 TRILLION dollars helping rescue the economy from the effects of corrupt, stupid and greedy business people - and the Chief Executive's staff can't get a laptop and a cell phone?

Yeah, America - at least we have our priorities straight...

1 comment:

steph20 said...

Bravo sir, you say what so many of us are thinking. How can we be expected to move forward and enact the change that Mr. Obama is trying to initiate when large parts of our government refuse to come out of the horse and buggy days. The idea that if it was good enough for our parents generation it's good enough for us just can't hold up any more. We move faster, do more and interact on a much more global scale than our parents even ever anticipated would be possible.

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