FEDERAL BYTES

The Only Way You'll Get to Saturn

Maybe you can't fly to Saturn, but your signature can. About a million digitized signatures, captured on a CD-ROM or other digital media, will fly aboard the Cassini mission to Saturn in October 1997.

Volunteer members of the Planetary Society in Pasadena, Calif., are scanning signatures into digital form.

To get on-board, signatures should be sent on a plain post card. Multiple signatures per post card are acceptable. Names will be accepted until Jan. 1, 1997, or until the CD-ROM is full. Send your name to: Suzanne Barber, MS 264-441, Jet Propulsion Laboratory, 4800 Oak Grove Drive, Pasadena, Calif. 91109.

Year 2000: Revelations

The 2000 nightmare—the source of much wailing and gnashing of teeth—seems to grow each day.

For example, the days of apocalypse—Dec. 31, 1999, and New Year's Day—are holidays for many businesses and federal agencies, one DOD official pointed out. This could present another tribulation that you might not have thought about. "A lot of technology people will be spending a lot of that holiday working—if they can get into their buildings, which are [likely] controlled by an automated system," the DOD official said.

How ECS Will Save the Economy

You think balancing the budget is tough? Not so, says GCG Computers Inc., Columbia, Md.

GCG, one of 17 vendors that sell computer equipment through the National Institutes of Health's new Electronic Computer Store, believes the store will make purchasing computer equipment so much more efficient that the savings can be used to balance the federal budget—in just two years!

"Just the hours saved in salaries over a couple of years could feasibly cure the deficit," according to GCG.

We haven't run the numbers on this, but even with a shrinking deficit, we're skeptical.

Project Eagle II

IBM Corp. recently announced a new set of servers tying together Internet, groupware and other services under the auspices of what the company has dubbed Project Eagle. We imagine the folks at IBM are unaware of the connotations this name has for federal computer users.

Only a few years ago, the Justice Department pulled the plug on its own Project Eagle—an unsuccessful attempt to get the latest micro technology into the department inexpensively.

In government IT circles, naming a program Project Eagle might be comparable to marketing a new type of airplane called the Hindenburg. Let's hope IBM can think up another name if it markets this to the feds.

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