How dumb is the government when it comes to technology?
Jul 06, 2010, 12:33 (13 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols)
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"Back when I was a younger man, I was a Beltway Bandit.
What that means is that I worked as a technical contractor for the
federal government. In my case, I worked for several years for NASA
and NAVSEA (Naval Sea Systems Command). Then, I worked with
numerous bright developers, network engineers and system
administrators. Unfortunately, we often worked with federal
staffers who were often, ah, clueless. Since then, things have only
gotten worse. Much worse.
"Then, we usually only had to contend with managers who didn't
understand the technology, but were capable of giving us realistic
goals. For example, one NASA executive knew that the agency wanted
a way to keep track of the current status of all telecom and
datacom links to the STS (Space Transportation System, or space
shuttle to you), but he didn't know how we would do it -- a
combination of C and Datatrieve running on VAX/VMS and AT&T
Unix systems, as it turned out -- and as long as we delivered the
goods, he was happy."
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