Federal Bytes

Event of the season?

You've got to hand it to AT&T it knows how to throw a party. The company sponsored a shindig in San Francisco last week at which hundreds of its FTS 2000 customers were treated to an array of goodies ranging from pasta prime rib and seafood to chocolate-covered strawberries and Ben and Jerry's ice cream. Entertainment included a troupe of Chinese drummers and acrobats gyrating dancers who were dressed as if they had just escaped from the set of "The Mod Squad " mock pirates with live macaws and - we're not making this up - a woman dressed up as a plate of spaghetti.

The band covered oldies from artists as disparate as the Tijuana Brass and AC/DC inspiring dozens in attendance to crowd the dance floor. The party may have reached its height when Federal Telecommunications Service commissioner Bob Woods began bopping on the dance floor to the tune of "You Shook Me All Night Long."

A nutty thing to do

In a speech the morning after the party AT&T vice president John Doherty said he told his 9-year-old daughter about how AT&T Government Markets president Dick Lombardi along with Bob Woods held nuts in their mouths and allowed the aforementioned macaws to remove them with their beaks.

Doherty said his daughter replied that it was a "gross" thing to do. Eager to defend his boss and his biggest customer Doherty explained to his daughter that it wasn't really disgusting because they were very clean birds to which she retorted "No it was the birds I was worried about."

Top billing

At a Senate Governmental Affairs Committee hearing held early this month on high-risk areas within the Defense Department Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) told Defense Department panelists in jest that if she were they she'd start referring to the Clinger-Cohen Act as the "Cohen-Clinger Act."

Collins didn't need to explain to the witnesses that the "Cohen" part of the act's name refers to Secretary of Defense William S. Cohen the former Republican senator from Maine and Collins' former boss.

That's entertainment

At last week's SIGCAT show in Reston Va. vendors and federal CD-ROM developers packed meeting rooms to learn all about Digital Versatile Disc (DVD) which is the next generation of disc technology. For agencies the high-capacity discs have the potential to make storage and distribution of large databases cheaper.

But conference attendees mainly wanted to know about the intricacies of playing DVD movies - the first major application for the technology.Could this mean agencies are going to start producing films of say the latest public hearing on the Year 2000 crisis? Guess it will depend on viewers' ability to withstand disaster movies.

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