Software // Information Management
Commentary
5/14/2009
12:58 PM
Bob Evans
Bob Evans
Commentary
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Andy Rooney On Why $200-Million-A-Day CIO Needs More $$

While I'd rather chew off a couple of fingers than listen to Andy Rooney, I have to channel the daffy curmudgeon on this one: 'Didja ever wonder why the federal government needs $200 million every single day just to run its computers? And while the rest of us regular shmoes cut back, dontcha think it's a bit much for the feds to tell us that $200 million a day isn't enough, and instead they'll need $215 million a day??'

While I'd rather chew off a couple of fingers than listen to Andy Rooney, I have to channel the daffy curmudgeon on this one: 'Didja ever wonder why the federal government needs $200 million every single day just to run its computers? And while the rest of us regular shmoes cut back, dontcha think it's a bit much for the feds to tell us that $200 million a day isn't enough, and instead they'll need $215 million a day??'And about that extra $15 million each day - I mean, isn't $200 million a day enough for this federal CIO whatchamacallit? Jeepers, when I was a kid, $15 million was enough money to buy a whole company, but now it's just spare change tossed into the piggy bank to run some computers that often don't work. How d'ya think that happened? Can't they just ask Bill Gates to come fix them? Or if he's busy they can ask my grandkids - they LIVE on their computers and their Facebooks and iPods! And about that iPod - why do they capitalize the "P" but not the "i"?

So then there's the story in the paper this morning about the government wasting $440 million each year on printing stuff that it just throws away - now, I'm not perfect, but even I don't just print stuff just so I can throw it away. What's the point? Doesn't the government have any rules about that sort of thing? And dontcha think they could just use that $440 million to fix their computers or buy new ones instead of telling the rest of us that we have to cough up another $5 billion a year because they say that $70 billion a year isn't enough to run those darn computers?

And is it just me, or isn't that new head-computer-guy-CIO they hired - you know, the one they hired, and then he disappeared for a while, and then he came back - isn't he supposed to oversee how the government spends money on computers and didn't he say he was going to try to spend less instead of more because everybody said that he's so smart that he'll figure out how to run the computers better? I dunno…it just seems like it's a funny way to spend less money when the first thing you do is go out and say you'll need 7.2% more money, which adds up to $5 billion, even though at first you said you'd spend less money. Is that just me?

Didja hear about the guy whose wife got a letter from the Social Security Dept. saying he was dead and so they were going to start sending her checks each month? He tried to tell them they'd made a mistake and that he wasn't dead and they shouldn't be sending his wife Social Security checks but the government people said, "You must be mistaken. Our computer says you're dead and that we should start to send your wife these checks, so that's what we're doing. And while we're at it, since you're dead, stop sending us letters because the computer doesn't know how to file letters from a dead person." Now seems to me that's a pretty serious problem, but golly, $200 million every day seems like it should be enough to fix it.

And a friend of mine who knows how to use the email said he say a story in the paper about how the government said it needed the extra money for something called cloud computing. Cloud computing? What the heck is that? I remember in science class we learned about nimbus clouds and cirrus clouds and cumulo-stratus clouds, but I sure don't remember anything about cloud computing. But gosh, way back when I was in school we didn't even have regular computers - you know, the kinds the government has that break a lot - let alone these cloud computers. Why do they call them cloud computers anyway? Are they like Apple computers? That one puzzled me, so I asked my grandson to do a Google about it and he did and the Google said that one of the computer companies is called Stratus Computer - is that what cloud computing is? And is the government going to get into the computer business by guying Stratus computer to give it cloud computers?

Oh well - I have enough trouble with figuring out how to make the gosh-darned coffee machine work, so what do I know about computers? But I still say that it's an awfully peculiar way for the government to spend less money on its computers by coming out at the very beginning, right after they said they'd try to spend less money than the $200 million a day they're already spending, and instead say they need another $5 billion. On the other hand, maybe if that $5 billion will help that guy who's not really dead from getting more Social Security checks because the computer says he's dead, it'll all be worth it.

From up in the clouds, this is (fake) Andy Rooney.

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