Infrastructure // PC & Servers
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2/19/2009
08:16 PM
David Berlind
David Berlind
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Sorry Mr. President (And Staff): You'll Have To Use A Typewriter For That.

And not an electric one. Today, thanks to yet another political inquiry, the White House disposed of all its technology (computers, smartphones, etc.). And thanks to some Draconian law dating back to 1908 (the same one preventing Congress members from parking their goats on Capitol Hill), President Obama and his team will have to rule the free world without the collaborative agility currently enjoyed by teenagers and terrorists alike. After all, that is how I read reports of clampdowns on everyt

And not an electric one. Today, thanks to yet another political inquiry, the White House disposed of all its technology (computers, smartphones, etc.). And thanks to some Draconian law dating back to 1908 (the same one preventing Congress members from parking their goats on Capitol Hill), President Obama and his team will have to rule the free world without the collaborative agility currently enjoyed by teenagers and terrorists alike. After all, that is how I read reports of clampdowns on everything from Obama's BlackBerry to his staffer's use of Gmail.Today, CNN's Martina Stewart reported that:

A California Republican congressman has called on President Obama to put in place a system that ensures all White House e-mails be preserved even if official business was done through private e-mail accounts...

"The use of personal e-mail accounts, such as Gmail to conduct official business raises the prospect that presidential records will not be captured by the White House e-mail archiving system. Consequently Gmail users on the president's staff run the risk of incorrectly classifying their e-mails as non-records under the [Presidential Records] Act."

Those tenacious pesky staffers. What in the world were they thinking?! How dare they skirt regulation to get their work done more efficiently!

I've heard from other visitors to White House that they've got the best of everything there. For example, the coffee is supposedly perfect. I'm imagining that there's one person on the White House staff with all sorts of instruments sticking out of the pockets where nerds usually put their pencils and that person's job is to make sure that the president, any dignified guests, and First Dog can get perfect coffee, on demand (sort of like the perfect e-mail that Gmail could deliver on demand to the White House, if only goats could also be parked on Capitol Hill).

Recently, according to news reports, blogs, and tweets on Twitter (all of which can only be read by White House staff after first being printed), a technology known as social networking has been known to reduce the normal six degrees of separation between everyone on earth to one or two degrees. In some cases, this flattening of the world has actually been responsible for faster business networking and collaboration. But no doubt, just like the perfect White House coffee that makes Starbucks coffee taste like toilet water, they probably have one of 'dem newfangled social networks that makes Facebook look like an Atari game.

Thank goodness. Because God forbid some White House staffer might find that his or her only connection to someone he or she needs to get a hold of is through Facebook and sending a message through Facebook is yet another circumvention of the typewriter room. And the First Dog.

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