[Offtopic] Macs in the Whitehouse?

Roland Gesthuizen rgesthuizen at gmail.com
Fri Jan 23 23:21:05 EST 2009

Fascinating story cross posted from the eChalk list. You can imagine
the faces at the whitehouse when they discover sites are blocked,
applications are incompatible, personal computing is banned and old
PC's rule. Recognise the feeling ;-)

I wonder what the place will look like in 4 years time .. what will
our schools look like in 4 years time? Have a great term everybody!

Regards Roland

---------- Forwarded message ----------

Mac-savvy Obama staffers frustrated with legacy White House
by Robert Palmer on Jan 22nd, 2009
According to the Washington Post, the incoming U.S. presidential
administration has inherited quite the challenging IT environment: The
White House.

President Obama's staff -- accustomed to Macs, social media, and
having the latest equipment -- found Windows PCs with Microsoft Office
2003 in their new offices. Laptops were "scarce," apparently, and the
team had trouble finding ways to update the redesigned White House
website and add subtitles to web videos. Perhaps they were misled by
the prominence of Mac hardware in the fictional-but-familiar West Wing
version of the executive mansion.

Valleywag's Owen Thomas suggests that Obama's staff are "whiners."
"Outside the Manhattan media bubble and Silicon Valley's startup cube
farms, this is how most Americans work. Want a Macintosh? Sorry, IT
hasn't approved it. Oh, you need to use Facebook to interact with
customers? Sorry, that site's blocked -- and management suspects that
'social media' is a buzzword which means 'getting paid to waste time
chatting with friends.'"

Part of the reason for the White House's legacy systems is related to
the need to retain all computer records for the National Archives, and
protect all kinds of communication (from emails to IMs to tweets) on
the network for national security reasons. This task isn't impossible
with a Mac -- some might say it's easier to accomplish with a Mac than
with a PC -- but there will be a lot of sleepless nights for the White
House's new IT staff while the new system is set up. Meanwhile, the
tech-friendly new Commander in Chief appears to have won his first
geek battle; he is going to get to keep his Blackberry [or something
like it; Engadget clarifies that we don't know the details yet, but
press secretary Robert Gibbs said it was indeed a BlackBerry during
today's press briefing (his first) -Ed.] subject to a security
overhaul by an unnamed federal agency (assumed to be the NSA).

With the new administration's focus on change, it seems as though a
new tech infrastructure and business rules for the executive office of
the President are in the cards. It remains to be seen if our favorite
platform, though, makes the cut.

Roland Gesthuizen - ICT Coordinator - Westall Secondary College

"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can
change the world; indeed it is the only thing that ever has."
--Margaret Mead

More information about the offtopic mailing list