Missed it by that much

We all know that Web addresses can be difficult — miss it by one letter and it is all for naught. Last week, the National Archives and Records Administration missed it. The agency sent out an e-mail announcing Internet access to Supreme Court nominee John Roberts' papers only to recall the Web link a day later. That is how long it took officials to realize the URL did not work.

The bad link: news/john-roberts.

The real deal: john-roberts.

The correct URL offers a glimpse at about 50,000 pages from Roberts' tenure as a senior adviser to the attorney general during the Reagan administration. About 350 of those pages, from a file titled "John G. Roberts, Jr. MISC," are available in PDF format. They are memorandums, notes and letters that Roberts sent to the attorney general's office.

As senators prepare to question Roberts, they are anxious to get hold of any clues to his opinions on hot issues, such as abortion and civil rights.

So far, NARA's Ronald Reagan Library in Simi Valley, Calif., has released about 5,500 pages from Roberts' service during the Reagan administration.

Archivist Allen Weinstein said that reviews typically take three to four months. NARA is aiming to finish reviewing Roberts' papers by the middle of the month.

No word on when, if ever, we'll see those 49,650 pages online. They are paper documents from the 1980s and would have to be scanned.

We'll post the URL on Download's Data Call to avoid further confusion.


You can do just about anything online these days — pay taxes, make airline reservations, write to your representatives. And now high school students can even take gym classes online.

In Minneapolis, physical education has joined a growing number of online courses for high school students. The course allows students to meet requirements by exercising how they want and when they want.

The course requires students to work out hard for 30 minutes four times a week and report to their teachers via e-mail. Parents must certify that students did the workouts. It's a great deal for students who don't like to change clothes once they get to school and for parents who hate doing their smelly laundry.

Help wanted

Even the FBI needs help sometimes. And this time the bureau has gone outside for what it wants.

The FBI has hired an executive search firm to find candidates for its chief human resources officer. The qualifications include significant experience transforming HR processes in a large organization. Change is definitely coming.

Big Brother

We told you last month about a Web survey by America Online and that shows that American workers admit to wasting 2.09 hours per day at work, not counting lunch. The survey found that the public sector ranks No. 2 among time-wasting industries, losing 2.4 hours on average, right behind the insurance industry.

One crafty vendor used the survey to suggest that organizations use software that can track what workers are doing online.

"The problem is much worse than most businesses could possibly imagine," said C. Douglas Fowler, president of Spectorsoft, which makes software that can track unauthorized Web surfing, e-mail and even keystrokes.

A Federal Computer Week story last year reported that the government has prosecuted people for unauthorized Web surfing that crossed the line from unproductive to illegal when users viewed child pornography on government computers.

English to remain official language of Internet addresses

Vint Cerf, head of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) and the father of the Internet, said recently that the expansion of domain names to non-English characters will likely be delayed because of phishing e-mail scams. Phishing involves con artists who use official-looking e-mail messages and Web sites to try to trick Web users into giving information such as bank account passwords or credit card numbers.

Internet engineers must now spend time "trying to winnow down, frankly, the number of character [sets] that are allowed to be registered," Cerf said.

Demand for non-English domain names is high outside the United States, and a U.N. panel studying Internet governance said in a report that insufficient progress has been made toward incorporating other languages. It cited a lack of international coordination and technical hurdles among the problems.

"In some of the early tests ... it became clear we had opened up the opportunity for registering very misleading names," Cerf said in a conference call wrapping up ICANN's meetings recently in Luxembourg. "This kind of potential confusion leads to parties going to what they think are valid Web sites."

ICANN has yet to approve domain names entirely in another language; for now, all addresses must end with an English string such as .com.

Got a tip? Send it to [email protected].


  • FCW Perspectives
    remote workers (elenabsl/

    Post-pandemic IT leadership

    The rush to maximum telework did more than showcase the importance of IT -- it also forced them to rethink their own operations.

  • Management
    shutterstock image By enzozo; photo ID: 319763930

    Where does the TMF Board go from here?

    With a $1 billion cash infusion, relaxed repayment guidelines and a surge in proposals from federal agencies, questions have been raised about whether the board overseeing the Technology Modernization Fund has been scaled to cope with its newfound popularity.

Stay Connected