FEDERAL BYTES

Technophobia for all ages

At a hearing last week on electronic funds transfer a representative from the American Association of Retired Persons explained that elderly people sometimes have difficulty using new technology. That is something that should be taken into consideration when the government starts using EFT in January 1999 for all its federal payments except tax refunds the representative said.

Rep. Steve Horn (R-Calif.) chairman of the House Government and Reform Oversight Subcommittee on Government Management Information and Technology said frustration with technology is not limited to a certain age. "I didn't have to be 66 to be frustrated with voice mail " he said. "I got frustrated with that years ago."

Sleeping with the enemy

When accepting an award last week from the Coalition for Government Procurement on behalf of his boss Al Gore Greg Woods related how he left a cushy job in the private sector for a less luxurious lifestyle as deputy director of the National Performance Review. Woods a Republican said he received a call about five years ago from a friend who asked him to come to Washington to help Gore "reinvent" the government.

Intrigued but not quite certain whether he should leave the private sector Woods told his wife about the offer. Somewhat to his surprise his wife did not hesitate in telling him he ought to accept the job.

Only later did he figure out there was a hidden agenda behind his wife's eagerness. "For years we had been canceling each other's votes out at the ballot box " Woods said. "She was hoping this Gore guy would turn me away from the dark side."

Evening the (golf) score

A couple of weeks ago when the U.S. Open came to the Washington D.C. area an FCW reporter who attended the tournament contacted Federal Telecommunications Service commissioner Bob Woods from the clubhouse to get comments for an article on one of the General Services Administration's telecom programs. Knowing Woods' love of golf the reporter was surprised to find Woods in his office instead of at the golf course.

But Woods (no relation to Tiger) did not waste the opportunity to point out that the reporter would have gleefully noted Woods' presence at the golf course in Federal Bytes if it had been Woods who had called from the tournament. OK Bob this one's for you.

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