Federal Computer Week asked several current and former chief information officers how they felt about using a BlackBerry to manage their time. Here are a few of the answers we heard and reported in the Jan. 9, 2006, issue of the magazine.

Thomas Jarrett, CIO at the Delaware Technology and Information Department
Jarrett said he carries two pagers, a BlackBerry and a cell phone. “I like the diversity,” he said. But all that connectivity back to the office has a downside — actually, several downsides. “Talking on the phone is one thing, but checking messages while you’re driving is somewhat different” and more dangerous, he said. “I’ve caught myself doing it.”

Karen Hogan, deputy and acting CIO at the Commerce Department
Hogan said she carries a blue BlackBerry that she keeps on at all times. “I call it a blueberry,” she said.

“My husband’s jealous of it.”

Robert Otto, chief technology officer at the U.S. Postal Service
Otto said he carries a BlackBerry at all times. So do 5,700 other USPS officers, executives and frontline managers. It is their e-mail, text-messaging and Web access terminal. It is also their phone pager. Executives and managers can use it to approve purchases, travel vouchers and data access requests. “It allows me to have a life while staying in touch with the organization I lead,” Otto said.

Paul Strassmann, former director of defense information at the Defense Department
Strassmann said he is more a foe than a friend of handheld devices. When people reach for their little devices and begin thumbing during a meeting, he is offended.

Pulling out a BlackBerry during a policy review or board meeting shows contempt, he said. Strassmann, an independent consultant, is convinced that CIOs’ reliance on their electronic gadgets often leads to hurried and bad decisions. “BlackBerrys encourage knee-jerk reactions,” he said.

FCW in Print

In the latest issue: Looking back on three decades of big stories in federal IT.


  • Anne Rung -- Commerce Department Photo

    Exit interview with Anne Rung

    The government's departing top acquisition official said she leaves behind a solid foundation on which to build more effective and efficient federal IT.

  • Charles Phalen

    Administration appoints first head of NBIB

    The National Background Investigations Bureau announced the appointment of its first director as the agency prepares to take over processing government background checks.

  • Sen. James Lankford (R-Okla.)

    Senator: Rigid hiring process pushes millennials from federal work

    Sen. James Lankford (R-Okla.) said agencies are missing out on younger workers because of the government's rigidity, particularly its protracted hiring process.

  • FCW @ 30 GPS

    FCW @ 30

    Since 1987, FCW has covered it all -- the major contracts, the disruptive technologies, the picayune scandals and the many, many people who make federal IT function. Here's a look back at six of the most significant stories.

  • Shutterstock image.

    A 'minibus' appropriations package could be in the cards

    A short-term funding bill is expected by Sept. 30 to keep the federal government operating through early December, but after that the options get more complicated.

  • Defense Secretary Ash Carter speaks at the TechCrunch Disrupt conference in San Francisco

    DOD launches new tech hub in Austin

    The DOD is opening a new Defense Innovation Unit Experimental office in Austin, Texas, while Congress debates legislation that could defund DIUx.

Reader comments

Please post your comments here. Comments are moderated, so they may not appear immediately after submitting. We will not post comments that we consider abusive or off-topic.

Please type the letters/numbers you see above

More from 1105 Public Sector Media Group