Obama Staff: White House Tech Is "Atari" Level

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Obama Staff: White House Tech Is "Atari" Level

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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 Twitter updates and Facebook rallying as it was by TV spots and stump speeches, and have promised a new age of informational transparency spearheaded by a new media approach. Used to having a Macbook Pro handy at all times, members of the White House's new media team came into work and found themselves staring into what looked like a Comp USA liquidation sale circa 1994, the Washington Post reported: "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 and not a PS3 or 360 then.

[Via MTV Multiplayer]

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Wow...the White House is behind on technology? Yeah, totally no problems there...

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

I'm not really surprised.

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

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.

Clearly they were all just waiting for Windows 7 and still holding on to Windows XP like everyone else :P

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

This is exactly what I thought while reading this.

Noo.. but.. the cylons!

xitel:
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

Obama brought a Wii...my faith in him is completely shattered:-P

I am not surprised at all, what the hell was Bush doing in there???

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

The secret service liked to play pranks on Bush.

ThePlasmatizer:

xitel:
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...

Keane Ng:
"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.

Macs, really? They can do better than those glorified paperweights!

I don't trust the fate of my government to Macs. No, not ever.

doxcology:
I am not surprised at all, what the hell was Bush doing in there???

Tic Tac Toe.

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.

Jared Rea:
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???

Hmmm...now should I move to Canada, or England..

"In any case, I guess this means that the White House does not have any HDTVs. Good thing Obama brought a Wii and not a PS3 or 360 then."

Keane Ng:

Jared Rea:
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???

I second that :)

MaxTheReaper:
Hmmm...now should I move to Canada, or England..

Didn't you hear? Your generation doesn't get to make hypothetical white-person threats anymore. Not until Obama pulls a double-reverse-secret-nazi and takes us to war with China, Russia and the moon. Only then can you make the grand threat.

Jared Rea:

MaxTheReaper:
Hmmm...now should I move to Canada, or England..

Didn't you hear? Your generation doesn't get to make hypothetical white-person threats anymore. Not until Obama pulls a double-reverse-secret-nazi and takes us to war with China, Russia and the moon. Only then can you make the grand threat.

...B-...but...but that's not fair! I demand a lawyer! And a puppy!

as i read this i saw Obama hunched over, grimacing and trying to type in the Nuclear Bomb launch codes into one of those 1970 style machines complete with dot matrix printer and green screen.

Geoffrey42:

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.

It's not the connectivity or the basic program that Obama's Mac-using staff find difficult.

Their problem is right-clicking.

Yea this is pretty crazy. Amazing the white house has such outdated technology. I was just telling a friend about a picture of Obama at his desk with no computer. Ha crazy.

NoSeraph:
It's not the connectivity or the basic program that Obama's Mac-using staff find difficult.

Their problem is right-clicking.

Welcome to the 21st Century, where multi-button mice on Macs have been common for more than a decade. Enjoy your stay.

lightingbird:
Yea this is pretty crazy. Amazing the white house has such outdated technology. I was just telling a friend about a picture of Obama at his desk with no computer. Ha crazy.

Hmmmmm what if Obama played Brawl? What character would he choose? Dedede???

Hold on -- if the twenty-first century started in 2000, and we just started 2009

segmentation fault (core dumped)

Sorry for the nitpick there. I know what you meant, but I would have exploded if I had let it stew inside me.

Macs?

So what, are they looking for the Whitehouse to be cracked in two minutes?

I heard the same thing about capitol, the wole building is prehistoric

It's all the geezers still there that can't set the time clock on their VCR still.

Can you imagine most of the 60+ year old Senators trying to handle email? My guess is that no one considered it important during the last 8 years.

This story reminds me of the 1994 pilot of 24.

If

Keane Ng:

lightingbird:
Yea this is pretty crazy. Amazing the white house has such outdated technology. I was just telling a friend about a picture of Obama at his desk with no computer. Ha crazy.

Hmmmmm what if Obama played Brawl? What character would he choose? Dedede???

The fucker would get his own special copy of the game that included himself with a cape.

It would be like playing Sonic only if you were always stuck in super sonic mode.

Chaos Marine:
Macs?

So what, are they looking for the Whitehouse to be cracked in two minutes?

probably sooner.

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