Federal Bytes

WHAT'S THIS THING CALLED SEAT MANAGEMENT? After all the buzz surrounding the General Services Administration's Seat Management program, it's disheartening to realize how many people still have no idea what the concept of seat management is all about. In fact, Chris Wren, who runs GSA's program, said at a conference last week that he gets calls from furniture companies seeking to use the program to sell chairs to federal agencies.

Of course, Wren must then explain that seat management involves outsourcing desktop maintenance, and has little to do with the apparatus on which the user sits.

To drive the point home, IBM Corp.'s Gabbie Kirvonack told conference attendees that she asked some people at a recent party if they knew what seat management meant.

The answers varied widely.

One man thought it was a new system for trading and selling tickets at the Kennedy Center. A woman figured it was a new diet that manages calorie intake based on hip size. A politically minded person thought it was a method for completing the census to favor incumbent seats in Congress.

Ironically, the incorrect guesses sound more interesting than the mundane truth.

A DEMONIC STORY. Terry Tychan, deputy assistant secretary at the Department of Health and Human Services, got things rolling at a recent Armed Forces Communications and Electronics Association breakfast with a little techie humor.

As Tychan told it, an unnamed AFCEA member arrived at the Pearly Gates and ran into St. Peter. Because St. Peter couldn't make a clear-cut decision on where to send the guy, he told the AFCEA member to visit both heaven and hell and choose for himself where he would like to spend eternity.

So the AFCEA member visited heaven, and it was just as he had expected: Everybody was happy, the place was beautiful and peaceful, and life was good. Then he visited hell and found a similar scene. After thinking a moment, the member choose hell. "People seem to be having a little bit more fun there," he said.

So off the AFCEA member went to hell. But when he arrived, he noticed immediately that things had changed. There was fire and brimstone, and people were miserable. "What happened to the happy scene I saw before?" the member asked the devil. "Oh that?" the devil said. "That was my demo."

THE PENGUIN GAFFE. Magic Software Enterprises last week announced that it has made a $10,000 donation to the Wildlife Conservation Society for the preservation of penguins and stated it will no longer use live penguins to promote its Linux products. Though penguins have come to represent the growing operating system, Magic created quite a flap recently when it used two live penguins at the LinuxWorld Expo in San Jose, Calif., to introduce its new business-to-business e-commerce solution for Linux.

The problem started when Magic brought the two penguins, named Jeffrey and Lucinda, to the San Jose Convention Center to help introduce the company's demonstrations of its new eMerchant solution.

The next thing they knew, show attendees were calling animal rights groups complaining of the unfair treatment of these fine creatures.

To help the penguins recover, Magic may want to consider issuing Jeffrey and Lucinda tickets to FCW's annual Federal 100 awards gala in Washington, D.C., where the gross number of poorly fitting penguin suits might make them feel like less of a sideshow.

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