FEDERAL BYTES

Donkey network

Forget being an Olympic sponsor. Bay Networks Inc. has been named the "Official Local and Wide Area Network Provider" for the 1996 Democratic National Convention.

Bay Networks designed and implemented the convention's data network infrastructure, which will connect computer systems based in three locations, supporting 5,000 delegates and up to 15,000 members of the press. It also will install an Internet gateway to provide access to the DNC home page, which will for the first time have video and audio.

Casting call

As more agencies ask for video presentations in lieu of written proposals, contractors are becoming more nervous.

That was evident at the Electronic Industry Association's 8th Annual Five-Year Forecast of Federal Information Systems Opportunities conference last week.

"If we have more of these," quipped Robert Patterson of Boeing Information Services, "we may become known as Hollywood East."

Just as TV had an effect on politics by putting an emphasis on a politician's "on-air presence," video proposals may cause vendors to choose program managers based on a good video presence, joked Judy Mopsik of Vitro Corp.

We just hope we don't see vendors start wearing sunglasses inside, kissing each other on both cheeks and ordering sparkling water.

FSS: It slices, it dices

We must say we've been impressed with the boffo marketing job the folks at the General Services Administration's Federal Supply Service have been doing lately. At a recent press conference held by FSS commissioner Frank Pugliese, reporters were issued items such as a slick brochure on outsourcing that blossomed into three dimensions when opened (like the "pop-up" books of our youth); laminated cards featuring the FSS customer-assistance number; and a brief videotape extolling the virtues of the multiple-award schedule program.

We'll know FSS has gone too far when we see Pugliese on late-night TV infomercials.

Mandating knowledge

Not satisfied with their colleagues' knowledge of the ways of the Internet - and unhappy with some of the policies that have resulted from their lack of Net savvy - Rep. Rick White (R-Wash.) and Rep. Rick Boucher (D-Va.) are trying the not-so-subtle approach.

A resolution they offered recently expresses "the sense of Congress that members should understand and use the Internet to improve the democratic process" and "communicate with the Internet community." It goes on to note that Congress should "advance the United States' leadership in the digital world by avoiding the passage of laws that stifle innovation and increase regulation of the Internet."

If the nonbinding resolution passes, then they all get to agree that they should understand the Net without having to admit that they don't know a home page from a hyperlink.

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