Obama Staff: White House Tech Is "Atari" Level

Keane Ng

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Obama Staff: White House Tech Is "Atari" Level



Barack Obama's tech-savvy administration staff found itself at a loss yesterday when it moved into the White House only to discover a technological time warp filled with old software, phone lines to nowhere and limited Internet connectivity.

"It is kind of like going from an Xbox to an Atari," Bill Burton, Obama spokesman, said.

Gotta be hard for Obama's staff, who ran a campaign that was fueled as much by reported [http://twitter.com/barackobama]: "The team members, accustomed to working on Macintoshes, found computers outfited with six-year-old versions of Microsoft software. Laptops were scarce, assigned to only a few people in the West Wing. The team was left struggling to put closed captions on videos."

The staff is insistent that things will get better, and a massive shipment of Macbooks is probably being delivered via helicopter at this very moment. Still, for security's sake, the amount of flexibility the staff will get with its information sharing will be severely limited for the sake of security. "The White House itself is an institution that transitions regardless of who the president is," David Almacy, President Bush's Internet director in 2005, said. "The White House is not starting from scratch. Processes are already in place."

In any case, I guess this means that the White House does not have any HDTVs. Good thing Obama brought a Wii [http://www.escapistmagazine.com/news/view/88538] and not a PS3 or 360 then.

[Via MTV Multiplayer [http://multiplayerblog.mtv.com/2009/01/22/obama-rep-white-house-tech-is-in-an-atari-state/]]

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xitel

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Wait a minute, "Phone lines to nowhere"? How do you even have that?
 

Specter_

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I'm not really surprised.

Also it's not the White House, but the Senate, the Internet is a bunch of tubes, right?
 

Virgil

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I suspect that the laws and policies will probably need to be adjusted to keep up with the state of technology today. Given the previous administrations, it was probably not a significant issue before.
 

Anton P. Nym

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xitel said:
Wait a minute, "Phone lines to nowhere"? How do you even have that?
That is, alas, all too easy. I installed phone switch systems for a couple of summers as a student, and it's a matter of one loose or misconnected wire in a jumper box to knock out a phone. I remember crawling along a cable trough with new line bundles behind me, hearing the *crunch-crunch* of abandoned 1920's era cotton-and-ceramic(?) insulated wires under me, and looking at that inch-thick bundle of armoured black conduit with red "911 - do not cut" tags every few meters.

It's going to be tough to bring the White House up to modern standard if it really hasn't been touched since the Clinton years... especially since the NSA, FBI, and Secret Service would experience massive cardiac infarctions if anyone tried to put wi-fi in for the President. All those bloody wires to run in a two-century-old building... *boggles*

-- Steve
 

fix-the-spade

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ThePlasmatizer said:
xitel said:
Wait a minute, "Phone lines to nowhere"? How do you even have that?
The secret service liked to play pranks on Bush.
No no no, those are the President's direct lines to Russia, Engerland, Canadaland, Chinese and Afgraqistan hq. They're satellite phones now, the lines don't have to leave the building see...
 

Geoffrey42

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Keane Ng said:
"The team members, accustomed to working on Macintoshes, found computers outfited with six-year-old versions of Microsoft software. Laptops were scarce, assigned to only a few people in the West Wing. The team was left struggling to put closed captions on videos."
Oh noes!!! Not Office 2003!!! How COULD they...

... I work at a multinational Information Technology consulting firm. We still use Office 2003. This is not unusual.

Not that the rest of their complaints aren't valid, and lack of connectivity is a big issue (but in a highly secure facility, I wouldn't expect a glut of wireless networks). I'm just saying, what respectable company in their right mind, buys new licenses for bleeding-edge Microsoft software before Microsoft forces them to? The Post just seems a little sensationalist in that particular quote.
 

Jared Rea

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When you're a person with responsibilities greater than "play video games," there's no reason to be using a PC in this day and age. Not a single reason.

Most professionals I know, including myself and those in the games business, use Macs. Shocking, I know, but better safe than sorry. Especially when it comes to our government.
 

Keane Ng

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Jared Rea said:
When you're a person with responsibilities greater than "play video games," there's no reason to be using a PC in this day and age. Not a single reason.

Most professionals I know, including myself and those in the games business, use Macs. Shocking, I know, but better safe than sorry. Especially when it comes to our government.
Yeah well how's he going to get the lowdown on how to handle North Korea when he can't even run Crysis???