FEDERAL BYTES

The Speaker in Cyberspace

Marshalling the troops in the Republican revolution has apparently kept Newt Gingrich and his staff so busy that the technophilic speaker of the House has not yet had the chance to mount a home page on the House's vaunted World Wide Web site. An aide said one is in the works, though he wasn't sure when it would be done. Someone did find the time to build a home page for Gingrich's congressional re-election campaign, though. It is located at http://www.newt.org.

Although the more than 100 House Republicans and Democrats who have a presence on the House Web site are certainly posting information that puts them, and their agendas, in the best light, there are some things they can't do with taxpayer-funded technology—such as ask for volunteers and money.

Lucid Signals

Astronaut Shannon Lucid, in orbit on the Russian space station Mir until August, is communicating with family and friends using—yes, you guessed it—the Internet.

Well, that is, sort of using the Internet. Neither the Mir space station nor the U.S. space shuttle has ever operated with a direct connection to the Internet.

But Lucid's laptop computer, now parked at the Moscow Mission Control Center, receives her Internet e-mail. The NASA flight surgeon at the Moscow MCC checks her mail and periodically uplinks and downlinks messages to and from Lucid's correspondents.

Talk about special delivery.

Fax Link to the Internet

The Census Bureau, promoting what is new on its Internet site, sent reporters a fax telling them about it.

"For a complete listing of what we are now carrying on the Internet," the release said, "call the 24-hour fax-on-demand number and request the document" to be sent.

We guess that's what happens when you're also trying to promote your new fax-on-demand service.

Nature or Nurture?

The truth is out about the Defense Department security community. According to a DOD official, security experts are not happy about some aspects of DOD's plan for migrating from the World Wide Military Command and Control System to the Global Command and Control System. "But we don't pay them to be happy," the official said. "In fact, we give them `mean pills' and pay them extra to be unhappy."

A Hefty Proposal

Nichols Research Corp. last week won a $159 million contract to run a Defense Department high-performance computing center at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio.

The contract was big, but check out the size of NRC's proposal. "Huge" was the word NRC's Michael Solley used. "We think the core proposal was about 3,200 pages, and the overall proposal, including plans and drawings and definitions, was 10,000 pages of material," said Solley, who added that NRC "had to charter a plane to get some of this stuff to Washington." So much for streamlined proposals.

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