FEDERAL BYTES

A Few Choice Words?In keeping with its effort to become more user-friendly, the Internal Revenue Service recently began posting its proposed regulations on its World Wide Web site at http://www.irs.ustreas.gov and now offers links to an official comment page for readers to file their opinions on the agency's regulations electronically.

But technology, as everyone knows, also has its downside. No doubt there are more than a few wiseacres who will take advantage of this opportunity to tell the IRS exactly what they think. We hope the folks at the IRS who read the comments have a good sense of humor—and thick skins—to go with their e-mail.

Death, Taxes and the Year 2000

Pushing back the deadline on projects is common practice in government. Maybe that's why the Office of Management and Budget's Bruce McConnell mused out loud recently about the brighter side of the year 2000 challenge facing federal IT personnel, who must rewrite code in preparation for the change of the millennium.

One thing you've got to admit about the initiative, McConnell said, is that "it's a project with a real deadline. No slippage."

Just to Confuse You Further (Continued)

Acronym overlap is reaching a critical stage. Now even organizations in the same field are using the same name. The Data Interchange Standards Association, located in Alexandria, Va., must not be aware that the Defense Department uses the acronym DISA for its information systems organization. The civilian DISA is apparently a standards organization that promotes electronic commerce. Now we need a standards body to regulate acronym use.

Not Your Type

Is that old, beat-up typewriter gathering dust in the office closet underneath your 286? It's OK to get rid of it now.

GSA has officially repealed the regulations for use and replacement of electric typewriters and other electronic office equipment that are not computers. A Federal Register notice says simply that the rules "have become obsolete."

No Oscars Forthcoming

An emphasis on making oral presentations instead of submitting written proposals has turned the procurement process into a Hollywood production, according to one procurement officer. "Times are changing. It's a new world disorder."

Because presentations are videotaped and reviewed by the agencies, vendors now have to worry about whether the lighting is right, whether the numbers are large enough to be read on camera or if the camera is getting the presenter's best side. And no professional actors, please—although we might be more likely to buy a workstation from Anthony Hopkins.

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