Federal Bytes

HAVE A COW. Moo-ve over, Gateway. Edge Technologies has taken the cow theme to bigger pastures.

Edge operates a cow-mating service on the Internet to help farmers find the perfect bull - genetically, that is - for their cow. Edge collects data from the Agriculture Department and other organizations to "populate," so to speak, the database and then sells the service to farmers. The company was highlighting the service at the ComNet show in Washington, D.C., last month. Quite a moo-ving experience for show goers, we imagine.

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NOT BRAINWASHED YET. Microsoft Corp.'s decision to change the name of Windows NT 5.0 to Windows 2000 has everyone confused, even Microsoft employees who are charged with explaining the ins and outs of the new operating system line. One engineer, speaking at the Microsoft Explorer '99 conference in Washington, D.C., last week, kept alternating between the system's old and new monikers.

He even apologized in advance for his mixing of terminology. "It's going to take a couple months to brainwash myself," he said, which may have struck some of the more paranoid audience members as confirmation that Microsoft really is out to brainwash society.

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YOUR CALL DID NOT GO THROUGH. The General Services Administration's Federal Technology Service, which provides telecommunications and IT contracts to the government, last week changed to a new phone system at its offices at Skyline Center in Falls Church, Va. Everyone at the office received new phones and phone numbers.

Unfortunately, the recording that informs callers of the change does not always work, and even employees are having trouble figuring out the kinks in the new system, which is further proof that even the people who handle the telephone contracts have trouble with their systems.

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GOOD DOG! The White House home page's section for kids (www.whitehouse.gov/WH/kids/html/home.html) is full of tidbits about the White House and presidential trivia.

Take this item from the section on White House pets: "Rex, a King Charles spaniel, came to live with the Reagans when he was a year old. Rex often pulled too hard on his leash and would drag the Reagans away from reporters and photographers before anyone could ask the president any questions!"

Of course. Blame the dog.... Blame the dog.

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MORE KID STUFF. The General Services Administration has posted a children's World Wide Web site on the Year 2000 computer problem. It, however, is not as robust as the White House kids site.

In fact, the GSA site has only a single Web page, as far as we can tell. And except for a few images of clocks, it lacks the cyber eye candy that usually attracts kids. Actually, the Y2K for Kids page may be a good primer for adults.

The site resides at www.itpolicy.gsa.gov/mks/yr2000/kidsy2k.htm.

***

MAY THE FARCE BE WITH YOU. And while we're on the subject of the Year 2000 problem, we read this item on the Internet recently: "Did you hear what Dan Quayle said about Y2K? He said that besides Chewbacca, Y2K was his favorite 'Star Wars' character."

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