Federal Bytes

It seems some folks in Hollywood have an odd idea of what public/private partnership might be like in the next century. ~Astute movie-goers will notice that in the sci-fi remake "Lost in Space," the Robinson family's mission to another planet is sponsored by the Army and Silicon Graphics Inc. But the mission— as you might guess— ends up hopelessly lost. Not exactly something you want your name attached to. Guess somebody forgot to yell, "Danger, Will Cohen! Danger!" ~~Order yours today~ Deborah Roche Lee, who this month retired from her job as assistant secretary of Defense for reserve affairs, said in a speech last week that the Defense Department has been using a new technology to train its recruits: a computerized treadmill that simulates the terrain of an urban warfare site. ~Lee said the treadmill simulates conditions similar to those of a city under siege, creating "a virtual Baghdad or a virtual Sarajevo." Sounds great, but it raises the unsettling specter of Chuck Norris selling these gizmos on late-night infomercials. ~~Magnifying their problems~Microsoft Corp. officials recently visited Washington, D.C., to tout the company's efforts to make its software more accessible to the disabled. They seemed well aware they were in the shadow of the Justice Department, which has accused the company of unfair business practices. ~While talking about a screen magnifier that will be part of the upcoming Windows 98 operating system, one official explained that the feature— which will increase print size up to nine times— was only for "occasional" use and was not designed to compete with standalone magnifier software already in the market. ~Given DOJ's case against Microsoft's integration of Internet Explorer into Windows— a move that set off a "browser war" with Netscape Communications Corp.— no doubt the company wanted to avoid any appearance that it planned to start a "magnifier war." ~~The greatest technology~Vice President Al Gore last week kicked off a new Federal Aviation Administration safety initiative that will use technology and other tools to help prevent aircraft accidents. ~Pushing the theme that even the most efficient workers need help from technology, Gore recalled a story about boxer Muhammad Ali, who was seated on an airplane that was preparing to take off. "When the flight attendant asked [Ali] to fasten his seat belt, he said, 'Superman doesn't need a seat belt.' The flight attendant replied, 'Well, Superman doesn't need a plane either.' "Botched mission

It seems some folks in Hollywood have an odd idea of what public/private partnership might be like in the next century.

Astute movie-goers will notice that in the sci-fi remake "Lost in Space," the Robinson family's mission to another planet is sponsored by the Army and Silicon Graphics Inc. But the mission— as you might guess— ends up hopelessly lost. Not exactly something you want your name attached to. Guess somebody forgot to yell, "Danger, Will Cohen! Danger!"

Order yours today

Deborah Roche Lee, who this month retired from her job as assistant secretary of Defense for reserve affairs, said in a speech last week that the Defense Department has been using a new technology to train its recruits: a computerized treadmill that simulates the terrain of an urban warfare site.

Lee said the treadmill simulates conditions similar to those of a city under siege, creating "a virtual Baghdad or a virtual Sarajevo." Sounds great, but it raises the unsettling specter of Chuck Norris selling these gizmos on late-night infomercials.

Magnifying their problems

Microsoft Corp. officials recently visited Washington, D.C., to tout the company's efforts to make its software more accessible to the disabled. They seemed well aware they were in the shadow of the Justice Department, which has accused the company of unfair business practices.

While talking about a screen magnifier that will be part of the upcoming Windows 98 operating system, one official explained that the feature— which will increase print size up to nine times— was only for "occasional" use and was not designed to compete with standalone magnifier software already in the market.

Given DOJ's case against Microsoft's integration of Internet Explorer into Windows— a move that set off a "browser war" with Netscape Communications Corp.— no doubt the company wanted to avoid any appearance that it planned to start a "magnifier war."

The greatest technology

Vice President Al Gore last week kicked off a new Federal Aviation Administration safety initiative that will use technology and other tools to help prevent aircraft accidents.

Pushing the theme that even the most efficient workers need help from technology, Gore recalled a story about boxer Muhammad Ali, who was seated on an airplane that was preparing to take off. "When the flight attendant asked [Ali] to fasten his seat belt, he said, 'Superman doesn't need a seat belt.' The flight attendant replied, 'Well, Superman doesn't need a plane either.' "

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