FEDERAL BYTES

The Golf War

Talk about your mission-critical systems. The Air Force posted a notice in the Commerce Business Daily in January for point-of-sale computer equipment to be installed at Defense Department golf courses worldwide.

The notice said software specs will include conformance to the U.S. Golf Association handicapping algorithm, a tournament module, a membership module, point of sale and inventory control for the pro shop, and the food and beverage service, etc.

We don't know what vendors will be able to meet these rigorous requirements, but we came up with a list of potential, fictional bidders: A-Tee & Tee, Fore! Systems, Fairway 2000, AutoCaddy and Doral Federal Systems.

And just to put your mind at ease, the notice emphasized that "this purchase does not involve federal tax dollars."

Stamp of Approval

It's official. The important role of computers in our country's history has been confirmed.

How do we know this? Because last week the U.S. Postal Service unveiled the first postage stamp to commemorate a computer.

The stamp, which honors the people and technology involved in the development of the ENIAC computer at the University of Pennsylvania 50 years ago, features an illustration of a brain partially covered by small blocks containing parts of circuit boards and binary language.

The ENIAC is generally considered the grandfather of modern computers.

USPS officials at the unveiling of the new stamp seized upon the event's PR possibilities. S. David Fineman, a member of the service's board of governors, took the opportunity to tout the agency's automation activities, including the governmentwide kiosk project and the "electronic postmark" program.

They also said almost every stamp issued is now designed on computer.

Back to the Future

The Defense Commissary Agency gave NCR Corp. a textbook lesson on irony last week with the award of a four-year, $44 million contract.

NCR, you might remember, recently reclaimed its old moniker after a stint as AT&T Global Information Solutions. NCR originally changed its name to AT&T GIS because it did not want to be associated too closely with its long history as the National Cash Register company.

So the first contract the company received after changing its name back to NCR? Point-of-sale modernization, of course. That the company bid the deal as AT&T GIS is only a technicality in the face of some very serious karma.

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