Federal Bytes

ROCKIN' WITH BILL. Last week the Commerce Department awarded governmentwide IT services contracts to 29 small businesses. The contracts were awarded under the auspices of the Commerce Information Technology Solutions program, called "Commits." However, Commerce officials tell us that the acronym is pronounced "comets," not "commits" (as in the Commerce Department commits IT work to small businesses).

According to one highly placed Commerce source, this odd pronunciation will make it easier for Commerce Secretary Bill Daley to launch a 1950s-style rock-and-roll band: "Bill Daley and the Commits."

***

SEARCH ME. Using the World Wide Web has become the answer to many problems, both business and personal. But Vinton Cerf, commonly regarded as the father of the Internet, may be the first to claim that it has helped cure a disease.

After being thanked for his encouragement and help with several Alzheimer groups across the country by one E-Gov attendee, Cerf said that he found the answer to his own memory problems.

He said he has had trouble remembering the names of files and where they are saved on his computer, to the point where he spent several hours the other week looking for a file containing a paper he had published. When he finally went to the Web and did a search on the topic - lo and behold, the fourth hit was his paper!

It may take a while before this capability will be available to the general public, but for a select group it's probably the cheapest cure they've ever found.

***

BYE BYE, BIRDIE. The Air Force seems perfectly capable of beating on enemies such as the Serb and Iraqi armed forces, but the service still is battling a seemingly innocuous foe: birds.

As we've reported here in the past, those pesky feathered creatures have a habit of migrating and getting in the way of military aircraft. The Air Force has increasingly turned to high-tech solutions to deal with this problem, awarding contracts for computer-based bird avoidance models that help air crews avoid birds in flight.

Now it seems the folks at Elmendorf Air Force Base, Alaska, are poised to award a contract of their own for support in their bird-watching activities. In a solicitation issued last week, the service said the contractor will provide databases and other support for "bird detection and dispersal teams" that will patrol flight lines and "utilize both passive and active (including lethal) means to disperse wildlife in the bird exclusion zones."

Sounds a little violent? Well, not as violent as the name of the project: the Bird Air Strike Hazard program, or BASH.

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