Letter to the Editor

Too little return on computing power.

It appears that we do need speed, according to all of the experts in the department where I work. However, at what expense?

First, is there really a need for state-of-the-art computer equipment that runs at unbelievable speeds when the end users are only using basic word processing and spread sheet software certified for exclusive use within the Labor Department?

And another thing: Just how fast are the agency staff members required to type to keep up with these computers, and will it improve the users' keying speed?

In this department, we have users that only do memorandums and time and attendance, which begs the question, What's fast enough? Additionally, each end user only has access to a small fraction of the hard drive and no access to the power of these computers due to the administrative rights imposed on the end users.

There is no individual initiative allowed when it comes to adding or deleting software. The Labor Department is so security-sensitive that the Defense and Energy departments pale by comparison.

The general public is paying way too much for computing power and getting very little in return. Staffs that have impressive ideas for increasing productivity are locked into frustration and live from crisis to crisis and work in strict reactive mode rather than being allowed to be proactive.

I do believe wholeheartedly that within Labor, automation has come full circle back to mainframe processing. With the introduction of Microsoft Corp.'s Windows NT and absolute administrative control by Labor's information technology policies and procedures, the department's IT has become Draconian.

By the way, don't even try to have public access to the department using the Internet for the purposes of inputting information to the Labor Department. The general public has not been given administrative rights to submit required information online.

Name withheld upon request

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