Federal Bytes

It's trick photography

A working group composed of 23 Bell Atlantic employees and four government officials got to rub elbows last week with actor James Earl Jones when he presented them with one of Vice President Al Gore's Hammer Awards honoring them for their work on "The Blue Pages " a joint endeavor between Bell Atlantic and the General Services Administration's Federal Telecommunications Service. The group was being recognized for redesigning government listings in local phone directories to make it easier to locate needed contacts.

Sources who attended the ceremony at GSA headquarters were suitably impressed by the actor's famous booming voice. But although Jones' voice may be larger than life apparently the actor himself isn't. According to one source who shook Jones' hand: "He's not real tall. It's kind of surprising."

We interrupt our regular program...

A hearing held last month by the Senate's Commerce Science and Transportation Committee on the Transportation Department's poor management of information technology projects was about halfway through when one committee member Sen. Spencer Abraham (R-Mich.) finally arrived. Abraham apologized for not arriving earlier but explained that he was actually watching the hearing on TV.

"But about five minutes ago it suddenly disappeared and the Home Shopping Network came on " he said. "I just came over to make sure I heard the rest of this."Where's a V-chip when you need one?

Windows beware! Unhappy NASA staff says 'Mac off!'

It's no news that some folks at NASA's Johnson Space Center are unhappy about being forced to give up their beloved Macs to join the PC world. But apparently they now have statistics on their side to back up their complaints.

One disgruntled NASA source pointed our attention to an article published in the "JSC Roundup" newsletter which reports that help-desk calls at the center have increased from 68 000 in 1994 to 142 000 in 1996. According to the articles available on the Web at www.reston.com/rif/jsc/04.25.97.roundup.html the increase in calls began at the time JSC began deploying Microsoft's Windows 95 and Office 95.

"If this is called saving us money please stop saving us money " our frustrated NASA source pleaded.

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