Federal Bytes

Slashin' prices

When federal procurement shops pledged to run themselves like businesses we didn't know that meant like used-car dealerships.

One Navy shop recently sent out an e-mail advertising itself as "The Computer Store for the IT Professional." It reads: "Need a statement of work prepared? Let us help! Need access to the best-fit vendor to handle your outsourcing requirement? Call us! Need a supercomputer server PC software or an entire network? We'll get it!"

We can only wonder if should you buy a PC they try to sell it with a pinstripe or offer to steam clean the hard disk drive.

Tough guys

You know recruiting employees in the IT market is a tough business especially when you page through the Washington Post employment section. In one Sunday edition last month Computer Sciences Corp. ran a full-page ad promoting its open positions. In the top corner was a black-and-white photo of four men dressed in trench coats standing in a doorway of what looked like a loading dock for a warehouse legs spread their shadows casting long forms across the concrete floor. One is carrying what seems to be a two-by-four.

According to CSC the group is called the "Hack Pack " which is hired by companies who want to test how hard it is to break into their systems. No wimps need apply.

Say "uncle"

Nobody expects the people who design federal World Wide Web pages to be exemplary writers. But sometimes the errors are so glaring it appears that these sites have been composed by second- graders.

Take for example GSA's IT schedules home page which displays a picture of Uncle Sam alongside the heading "Welcome to GSA's ADP Acquisition Center - You're uncle in the business!" Correct usage of course would be "your" uncle. Even if spelled correctly the slogan is similar to other marketing slogans such as "Coke Is It" or Campbell's "Soup Is Good Food." Try again GSA.

Rockin' with GTSI

One of the best radio stations in town can't be found on the AM or FM band. The only way to pick it up is by calling federal IT reseller GTSI and being put on hold.

In the last few weeks our reporters have been treated to tunes by artists Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers Rare Earth Enya the Gin Blossoms and several other artists we could not identify. Even though you have to put up with an announcer plugging GTSI's products and services we think more IT companies should put a disc jockey on the payroll.

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