Federal Bytes

SEAT MANAGEMENT: YEAH, BABY! The General Services Administration's Seat Management contract may never achieve the popularity of "Star Wars." But the program drew a comparison to "Austin Powers" last week.

Federal agencies' reaction to the Seat Management desktop outsourcing contract has been as diverse as that of a parent and a child going to see the latest "Austin Powers" movie, said Yong Kim, president and chief executive officer of User Technology Associates Inc., speaking at a roundtable discussion last week.

Parents are a bit wary of the film and its low-brow humor, Kim said, while children are eager to see it. But in the end, everyone comes out having had fun, he said.

That's the kind of happy ending that the other panelists at the roundtable - such as the head of the Seat Management contract and a representative of one of the winning vendors - hope for as agencies give the outsourcing program a try.


WE SWEAR, WE ARE NOT MAKING THIS UP. At FCW's Federal 100 awards banquet last week, humorist Dave Barry opened his speech with this greeting: "My topic is federal information technology. Zzzzzzzzzz."

He soon veered off topic but managed to throw in a few sarcastic comments directed at the federal audience gathered for the dinner.

For example, Barry noted that before last week's banquet, he had been "somewhat concerned" about the Year 2000 problem. But after spending some time with some of the federal officials in charge of addressing the problem, Barry decided he was "extremely worried" about Y2K.

As for potential Year 2000 problems, such as airplanes not running on time and federal benefits being delivered late, Barry said no one would be able to tell the difference.


MORE Y2K JITTERS. Paul Cosgrave, the chief information officer at the Internal Revenue Service, told a group of information technology industry leaders that he knows exactly what he will be doing come Jan. 1, 2000 - and his wife isn't too happy.

"I won't be flying," Cosgrave joked. "My wife wants to go to the islands. I don't think that's a good idea."

Instead, Cosgrave will be spending the holiday weekend with IRS technology gurus, administrators and facility workers to make certain the tax agency's computer systems make a smooth transition to 2000.

But Cosgrave could be persuaded to go somewhere else if he had a better offer. "I'm waiting for President Clinton to invite me to the [New Year's] gala," he said.


A TOP-DRAWER PERFORMANCE. Mark Breier (at left), president and chief executive officer of Beyond.com, last week appeared on CNBC's "Squawk Box" wearing

Beyond.com boxer shorts that were emblazoned with the words "Exposing the Power of Digital Download."

The stunt was intended to highlight the company's recent $120 million contract with the Internal Revenue Service to deliver software electronically to more than 130,000 desktops.

It's always nice to see federal contractors who have not lost their enthusiasm for winning contracts.

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