Federal Bytes

Invading NASA's privacy

In the tireless government scramble to ensure that Defense systems and military secrets remain safe from electronic intrusions even the slightest technological snafu generates a healthy chuckle.After-hours callers to NASA's Washington headquarters one day last week heard the agency's standard recording detailing its regular office hours.

They were then routed to the agency's internal mailbox and treated to the additional listening pleasure of a message presumably placed by a headquarters employee.

Recording: "Hey it's me again. I'm calling in today because I have to take care of some court business today and yesterday so I'll see you tomorrow."

Well at least it wasn't some agency scientist laughing about "how well that life-on-Mars scam went over."

Paraphrasing Twain

Part of our job at FCW is to set the record straight. With that in mind we are printing a request from Bob Woods Federal Telecommunications Service commissioner at the General Services Administration in regard to reports in another publication that he is planning to retire: "Please tell your readers that reports of my demise are premature."

Enough said.

Mission impossible

Sometimes it hits home how far the government has to go to live up to its grandiose reform plans. Take for example the Government Performance and Results Act which requires agencies to set objectives and measure how well they have achieved them.

Sounds pretty straightforward right? Well according to John Koskinen deputy director for management at the Office of Management and Budget agencies haven't been able to adequately define their missions much less set goals for specific programs.

"People have not sat down and thought about how they would define what their mission is " Koskinen told federal policy-makers at GSA's Information Resources Management Conference held earlier this month in Hershey Pa.

Koskinen's revelation brings new meaning to the phrase "back to basics."

Nap time

IBM Corp.'s teleconference last week heralding its latest mainframe products soon to be on GSA's Schedule A was about 15 minutes late in getting under way. The hold music featured a number of orchestral selections including Brahms' lullaby.

The IBMers must have been confident that the excitement of those S/390s would rouse the reporters from the slumber potentially induced by the somewhat odd musical selection. Unfortunately they must have guessed wrong because only two reporters asked questions at the end of the telesession.

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