Federal Bytes

Switched rates

The General Services Administration's press release a couple of weeks ago announcing the award of the International Direct Distance Dialing (ID3) contract to AT&T included a quote from Bob Woods Federal Telecom Service commish citing some very impressive rates that would be available to agencies using the contract. The press release went so far as to cite rates for average calls from the continental United States to Italy Germany the United Kingdom etc.

There's just one problem: GSA subsequently discovered that the rates Woods cited weren't correct. So faster than you can utter the words "bid protest " GSA called our reporter last week urging him to disregard the figures cited in Woods' quote. The GSA official who called us said some of the rates Woods cited were too high while others were too low. And although he did not say what the correct figures were he assured us the ID3 rates will be excellent. We're still not sure where the mix-up occurred.

Learning what you already know

GSA's IT Policy Office runs a cool Web site appropriately called the IT Policy OnRamp. It features information on topics such as modular contracting performance measurement the CIO Council and lots more.

One of our favorites parts of the OnRamp is a link to "This Week's Top Five Hot Topics." One can often find interesting tidbits among GSA's weekly top five but we were somewhat taken aback by last week's No. 2 item urging Web users to "Visit The GSA IT Policy OnRamp!" We hate to point out the obvious but anyone reading the item would have already logged onto the site.So in the spirit of GSA may we remind you to read Federal Computer Week?

Sound and fury

Computer industry product introductions have become big productions complete with light shows booming soundtracks and a cast of thousands.

Oracle Corp.'s recent Oracle8 debut was no different. The event which was broadcast via satellite from New York City's Radio City Music Hall featured five miles of cable and more equipment than the Grammy Awards presentation according to an Oracle official.

Oracle chairman Larry Ellison was quite theatrical as well trashing a couple of computers to demonstrate a point about the network computer's resiliency. But when Ellison was not destroying computers he was donating them. Ellison announced at the product splash that Oracle is establishing a $100 million foundation to supply computers - those that he has not destroyed for show business' sake - to schools.

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