Circuit

Printing Office gives IRS shelter from the storm
The Government Printing Office took in 35 Internal Revenue Service employees in Washington, D.C., after a deluge resembling the biblical flood displaced them. The IRS headquarters may be closed for as long as a month while workers clean up a flooded basement, collapsed windows and damaged computers.

GPO officials released a statement in which they offered “free” temporary office space to the IRS Media and Publications Division staff.

“Like the IRS, the GPO has to maintain a service to the American people,” said U.S. Public Printer Bruce James. “We are happy we can help one of our customer agencies assure their business is secure and operations continue unaffected during this challenging time.”

FCW in the news
We heard from a little birdie that at an Office of Personnel Management panel on security clearance processes, Kathy Dillaman, associate director of investigations at OPM’s Federal Investigative Services, told a group of contractors and federal security officials July 11 that the agency convened the panel partly because of little old us.

“The idea for this came two weeks ago, [when] we read the results of the survey conducted in Federal Computer Week magazine,” she said.

In perusing FCW, a few things hit her:

1. There’s information out there.

2. There’s some bad information out there.

3. There’s also an opportunity to bring together contractors and federal security officials, who have a lot of information to share.

4. There’s no doubt that contractors and federal security officials have a lot to share.

Smithsonian partners with PhotoStamps to archive citizen postal art
Federal employees, next time you whip out the camera phone for a candid shot of your boss at the holiday office party, save it.

PhotoStamps, a service that lets customers customize legal stamps by submitting digital photos, is starting a contest in which the best stamps will be preserved at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Postal Museum in Washington, D.C., as part of history, of course.

In August 2007, the Smithsonian will display the top three designs of the year in the museum’s collection. If you order a sheet of PhotoStamps, your image is automatically entered into the competition.

Even if you don’t win, you don’t lose. You can use the stamps for holiday cards.

Supercomputer scans for potential risks aboard Discovery
NASA supercomputer Columbia, named in memory of the crew that died in the 2003 Columbia space shuttle disaster, is now on call to support astronauts on the Discovery space shuttle.

Columbia has assessed images of debris that affected the shuttle during its ascent. If necessary, NASA workers will add data from launch camera images, radar and in-flight inspections to the Columbia’s models.

“The Columbia supercomputer is playing a major role in assisting the Discovery mission in real time,” said Eugene Tu, director of the Exploration Technology Directorate at NASA’s Ames Research Center at Moffett Field, Calif., which houses Columbia. “So far, so good,” he said.

The Columbia system is ranked fourth on the Top 500 list of the world’s fastest computers.

Hey Fort Myers, nice angles
The commercial real estate industry has presented the U.S. Courthouse government building in Fort Myers, Fla., with The Office Building of the Year (TOBY) Award. The structure, which is managed by the General Services Administration, earned the nod for its eco-friendliness and nice angles.

Late last month, industry experts from the Building Owners and Managers Association honored 15 North American properties with TOBYs for excellence in categories such as energy conservation, accessibility for people with disabilities and evacuation procedures.

The courthouse’s recycling efforts and indoor air quality drew positive remarks. Other building inspectors were in awe of the decor. “Love the vending machines and gym,” notes one judging sheet.

But three of the four judges wanted more details about the building’s evacuation procedures, especially for hurricanes.

Got a tip? Send it to asternstein@fcw.com.

FCW in Print

In the latest issue: Looking back on three decades of big stories in federal IT.

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