Federal Bytes

New name same acronym

GSA's Federal Telecommunications Service formally announced this month it is now the Federal Technology Service and will focus on providing a full range of technology solutions. On hand at the official ceremony commemorating the event were all the top FTS officials GSA's own rock 'n' roll band (Sha Na Na eat your hearts out) and lots of food and drink. The new FTS mascot a six-foot bear named "Techie Teddy " strolled around the premises bothering people.

FTS commissioner Bob Woods told the crowd he had originally interviewed a panda bear for the job but changed his mind when a background check revealed the panda had shot a waiter after enjoying a meal at a local restaurant. Woods said he asked the panda why he did it and the bear told him to look up "panda" in the dictionary. Woods did and found that a panda by definition "eats shoots and leaves."

Amid groans from the audience Woods said "You had to be there."

Need acronym vaccine?

With the Navy and the General Services Administration teaming to spread smart cards throughout the government comes the threat of a new outbreak of acronyms.

The disease was in evidence at the agencies' joint press conference where officials let slip a new creation of the Navy: SCUI (pronounced "skewy"). It stands for Smart Card User Interface but it sounds more like Elmer Fudd's assessment of that famous wabbit.

Grand slam

It's not news that the practice of "slamming" - when long-distance companies subscribe customers to their services without permission - has become a problem. In fact someone told us this month that his home in Western Maryland was switched without his consent by a small telecom company he had never heard of. Adding insult to injury the company billed him for some 900-number calls he hadn't made.

If you have any doubts about this story consider the source: Jerry Edgerton vice president of MCI Government Markets.

Technology limitations

Our reporter made what she thought was a simple request to help manage her e-mail: She asked a vendor's publicist to put a subject line in his messages. But as with so many of the demands we make from technology you can't always get what you want.

The spokesman for the software company said he couldn't comply because he sends his e-mail through the company's application and it doesn't allow him to add the subject to his message. Sounds like something to add to the list of bugs to fix in the next upgrade.

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