FEDERAL BYTES

Hysterical GAO testimony?

The elections are over - well at least some of them are. An on-line publication known as Crypt Newsletter began a vote this month via the Internet for the 1996 Computer Virus Hysteria Awards. The awards are based on the premise that the media and industry have been propagating dire predictions about viruses that never materialize.

Aside from an array of journalist and industry types General Accounting Office information resources management director Jack Brock received a nomination in the Publicity category. Crypt editor George Smith is taking Brock to task for statements before Congress that U.S. adversaries could launch untraceable virus attacks from anywhere in the world causing critical systems to malfunction.

Although we're not quite convinced that Brock deserves such a dubious honor those of you who are sure can vote for him - or other virus commentators - via the Computer Virus Myths home page at www.kumite.com/myths.

Who'da thunkit?

The Defense Department helped develop the Ada programming language around 1980 but - we swear we are not making this up - it was not the first customer for a complete development system.

That honor according to Ralph Krafts at OC Systems goes to a college student who bought the first system in June 1981 using more than $20 000 of money inherited from his grandmother. This young heir "wanted the latest and greatest" in software development Krafts said.

What constitutes the "latest and greatest " in this case was a Motorola Corp. 68000-based computer running at 8 MHz with 256K of memory. The Ada software itself filled an 8-inch 10M floppy disk. The system had a list price of $23 000 but the student got a 10 percent discount because he paid in cash Krafts said.

This makes us wonder where this forward-looking fellow invested the rest of his inheritance. Maybe he threw it into manufacturers of Betamax technology.

Have software will travel

For most business travelers amassing frequent-flyer miles is pretty much a straightforward process. But apparently it gets more difficult when you're keeping track of the mileage of employees within the Office of the Secretary of Defense.

DOD's solution announced late last month in the Commerce Business Daily will be a sole-source award to a company called TravelWare in Midvale Va. The TravelWare Frequent Flyer Travel Management System will help OSD track bonuses monitor awards manage certificates and redeemed tickets and reconcile accounts.

Now if they'd only come up with a system to help people find a decent parking space at National Airport.

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