Federal Bytes

No fun allowed

Who says working for the federal government cannot be fun? Apparently many government workers have been having a ball playing computer games at work. According to a recent issue of CIO magazine users of government computers logged more than 5 000 hours during a recent three-month period on a Web site that offers thousands of shareware and freeware programs. According to statistics from the Jumbo! Web site government workers preferred playing Quake a game in which the user takes the role of a government-appointed warrior. Another favorite was a multimedia scene of cartoon character Homer Simpson belching.However the fun and games might soon be over. Sen. Lauch Faircloth (R-N.C.) last week proposed legislation that would ban computer games in federal offices and require that a person rather than a machine answer phones at these offices. Faircloth proposed the law after his staff took him on a tour of his own Web site and he saw how easy it was to access games via the computer. Spoil sport!

Tempered enthusiasm

You have to admire the mix of optimism and realism that infused the Defense Department's latest pitch for electronic commerce.In a Commerce Business Daily notice last month the DOD EC Information Center warned Defense contractors that they must register with the Central Contractor Registration by Oct. 1 1997. On the one hand sounding like quite the snake-oil salesmen the office advised vendors to register now and "AVOID THE RUSH!" (in capital letters). On the other hand scarcely a sentence later DOD told contractors that they can register not only on the World Wide Web but by calling the EC office for a paper form.

Thumbs down

The General Services Administration's FTS 2001 pre-proposal conference was held in an unusual venue: a movie theater in northern Virginia. While the theater shows movies during the afternoons and evenings GSA was able to secure its use for the meeting in the morning. This led John Okay deputy commissioner of GSA's Federal Telecommunications Service to quip at the end of the meeting that attendees would have to vacate the theater or be charged admission to "The Lost World."At least one member of the audience said Steven Spielberg's latest cinematic epic was probably the only show in town receiving worse reviews than the FTS 2001 RFP.

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