Federal Bytes

Still a few bugs in the system

The Air Force Standard Systems Group took government-industry relations to a whole new level during its recent Global Combat Support System-Air Force (GCSS-AF) procurement.

As part of a larger initiative to streamline acquisition the Air Force mandated a purely electronic exchange of information during the procurement process. Accordingly the solicitation included a penalty clause for vendors who turned in computer disks or CD-ROMs infected with a virus.

Unfortunately the contract office did not take adequate measures to protect itself and as a result it managed to infect all of the bidders with the Concept virus that attacks Microsoft Word documents. "We have a long way to go in how to handle a purely electronic exchange " one vendor said. The Air Force we imagine is just sick about it.

Nature calls for NOAA

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has an interesting requirement on an upcoming contract for power supplies to support Nexrad radars: electric toilets. The contract is for integration and installation of transition power maintenance shelters to support the radar systems. Each shelter will not only house a transition power source but an electric toilet as well. This contract really drives home the point that some of those radars are miles away from the nearest gas station.

Blinder ambition

Even budget types have a sense of humor. Edward Springer a senior staff member with the Office of Management and Budget's Information Policy and Technology Branch last week pulled out a pair of blinder-equipped glasses as he referred to a Federal Computer Week cartoon [FCW Aug. 12] that depicted an OMB official discussing the Year 2000 issue sporting similar eyewear. Springer spoke last week at a General Services Administration seminar on the Year 2000. His good-humored jibe was well-received by the millennium-weary audience.

True Y2K confessions

At the same Year 2000 conference OMB's Springer asked the audience if there were any former programmers in its midst who were now feeling guilty about their previous employment. Springer said he was once a Cobol programmer who "used date fields for a lot of things." He also noted that he passed along his techniques during a five-year stint as a programming instructor.

CIO cheap shots

As the federal government continues to look for qualified applicants for its open chief information officer slots someone has come up with a new and not so flattering twist on the acronym. According to one source CIO actually stands for "Career Is Over"


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