FEDERAL BYTES

A silver lining

If you're looking for a good solution to all those pesky electronic records management problems, not to worry. One is at hand, joked Government Information Technology Services Working Group honcho Jim Flyzik during a National Archives and Records Administration-sponsored panel on intergovernmental records management last week. "The IRM people took care of them," he said. "In the Year 2000, they will all be unusable anyway."

And then take a right

Navigating the Web these days is somewhat like driving your car. If you want to get somewhere, it helps to have an address. So last week, OMB analyst David Childs considerately offered directions to the Web site where the agency has posted copies of its new outsourcing guide.

But, like those of us who get to Aunt Sally's by looking for the green house with the flamingo out front, Childs stumbled trying to recite the path from memory. "Maybe it would be better to call me," he concluded finally, and ask for a copy the old-fashioned way. We decided to take a little drive and found the document in two formats at http://www.whitehouse.gov/WH/EOP/OMB/html/index-procure.html. Take a left past the big maple tree. You'll know you've gone too far when you get to the elementary school.

Who needs government when there's cable?

If a little knowledge is a dangerous thing, none at all can be even worse. Just ask NASA administrator Daniel Goldin.

At last week's Armed Forces Communications and Electronics Association/TechNet '96 convention, Golden described NASA's efforts to understand the intricacies of the global climate as part of its Mission to Planet Earth. In the long run, NASA hopes to extend weather forecasting to the long-term, global level, making it possible to anticipate droughts and other dangerous phenomena.

That's all fine and dandy unless Congress wants nothing more than a three-to-five-day forecast.

"A congressman recently said, 'We can shut down the whole government space program because we have the Weather Channel,' " Goldin related. "Think about it."

Just think of it as a 1990s' reading of Bob Dylan's dictum, "You don't need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows."

The automated revolving door

Speaking of AFCEA, the organization's TechNet '96 convention last week gave a new definition to "shopping around."

In addition to the extensive list of vendors demonstrating new products and technology at the exhibition, around 50 vendors also had booths at a job fair sponsored by AFCEA and the Washington Post.

Government workers can begin by finding a private-sector job at the job fair, then go to TechNet proper and find a computer to take over their existing job.

Office automation never sounded so reasonable.

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