Federal Bytes

Adjusting to automation

Getting used to a new boss is never easy. But Sandy Bates second in command at the General Services Administration's Federal Technology Service has found the management style of her new boss almost completely different from that of her former boss.

For one thing Dennis Fischer the new FTS commissioner loves e-mail can't do without it in fact. Former commissioner Bob Woods was less reliant on electronic communication according to Bates.

Now Bates said she has to get used to communicating with the boss via computer whereas she previously knew she was needed when she heard "Bates!" yelled from behind Woods' office door. She had no comment on whose method was more effective.

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Disaster films

At a recent meeting sponsored by the Association for Information and Image Management Leo Campbell manager for electronic commerce at the U.S. Postal Service noted that his agency is one of the few that have capt ured the minds of Hollywood's elite. Specifically he mentioned the new movie "The Postman " in which actor Kevin Costner delivers the mail in a post-apocalyptic world.

''I don't think this is the first movie about a government agency " Campbell said. "I think there was one done about the IRS but I can't remember what it is called." Then almost as if on cue someone shouted from the audience: "I know! 'Titanic.' "

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Time for a boost

The National Institute of Standards and Technology is doing its part to help Americans improve their punctuality. The standard time and frequency radio station controlled by NIST's atomic clock in Boulder Colo. has more than doubled its broadcasting power. The signal is broadcast at the low frequency of 60 KHz and is receivable anywhere in the continental United States. It can be used to set the exact time in clocks radio-controlled wristwatches VCRs and other appliances. But that doesn't mean you can simply turn on your radio to set y our watch to the precise time. The time signal cannot be heard and requires special receivers to decode.

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Big iron and the gridiron

The concept of commercial satellite services in the military environment proved to be a winner in a recent demonstration according to Michael T. Smith the chairman and chief executive officer of Hughes Electronics Corp. The Navy used a commercial service to broadcast the Army-Navy football game live to an aircraft carrier in the Mediterranean. "Since the Navy trounced the Army 39-7 most people in the Navy considered this a good use of the service " Smith said.

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