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Make It Work! White House Adjusts to Outdated Tech

Between President Obama's struggle and sort-of triumph to keep his BlackBerry and the West Wing's faltering email system — yesterday Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said it was down — it's a hardly a surprise to learn the White House is mired in cords and cables and 6-year-old computers.

Staff has traded in campaign MacBooks for desktops fitted with outdated Windows software, and the few laptops available are being rationed to very select staff. No Facebook. No IM. No Twitter. Not even wireless!

For a staff that relied on technology and social networking to win an election, White House employees will have to begrudgingly adjust to the loss of mobility. While it's done partly out of tradition, restrictions also ensure information is protected under the Presidential Records Act. Obama spokesman Bill Burton admitted, "It is kind of like going from an Xbox to an Atari." And that's the official line!

If America is going to lead the world, should its government have access to leading technology?

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reactionary reactionary 7 years
poor guys. switching from macbooks to PCs. they must be miserable. they should be allowed to bring in whatever computer systems they want. if they function better on macs, why shouldn't they be doing so? don't we want our country to function as smoothly as possible? i mean, the campaign team kicked butt. they should be able to do it in the white house now.
reactionary reactionary 7 years
poor guys. switching from macbooks to PCs. they must be miserable. they should be allowed to bring in whatever computer systems they want. if they function better on macs, why shouldn't they be doing so? don't we want our country to function as smoothly as possible? i mean, the campaign team kicked butt. they should be able to do it in the white house now.
kb1gdg kb1gdg 7 years
The lack of Wifi is all about security, and I'm sure anyone who really needs it has an air card. I work for the government myself and will forever be tetherd to a network cable. And as far as 6 year old computers, the programs they really need, word, excel, outlook etc, haven't really changed that much. I'm sure they will get tech refreshed eventually just like everyone else.
SpeakLike-aChild SpeakLike-aChild 7 years
Even though the USA is a very powerful country, the "If America is going to lead the world" is usually annoying, but I think in this case was meant to be ironic.
kasey009 kasey009 7 years
WHY does anyone in the White House need to be on Facebook?!!?!
Jude-C Jude-C 7 years
1cigarrette, normally I'd agree with you, but I think the sentiment in that sentence was pretty innocuous. Anyone wants one's own country to lead. It doesn't necessarily mean at the expense of others, and in this case she's clearly not implying the more typical "America is #1 no matter what" ideology, but questioning whether we have the capability to compete.Oh, and of course the White House should have the best technology available. It only makes sense.
Jude-C Jude-C 7 years
1cigarrette, normally I'd agree with you, but I think the sentiment in that sentence was pretty innocuous. Anyone wants one's own country to lead. It doesn't necessarily mean at the expense of others, and in this case she's clearly not implying the more typical "America is #1 no matter what" ideology, but questioning whether we have the capability to compete. Oh, and of course the White House should have the best technology available. It only makes sense.
1cigarrette 1cigarrette 7 years
What's with the "If America is going to lead the world, should its government have access to leading technology?"... honestly, get the hell over yourself... it america is going to lead AMERICA... not the world... seriously... i find that extremely insulting to all non-americans...
Frank-y-Ava Frank-y-Ava 7 years
How much money would it cost to upgrade the computers???
janneth janneth 7 years
Old technology is a big waste of time in business.
Lukin Lukin 7 years
I'm sure they're just pissed that they did have to give up Facebook and Twitter, so it's hard for me to feel a lot of sympathy... but it's pretty damn sad and frightening that our government is not operating on the most advance (and therefore more secure) operating systems!
Myst Myst 7 years
They should trade those outdated deskptops for Unix based Macs. They're the most secure and almost damn near impossible to hack into, let alone get a virusI'm still upset that Apple went the Intel route. Talk about opening yourself for a can or worms.
Myst Myst 7 years
They should trade those outdated deskptops for Unix based Macs. They're the most secure and almost damn near impossible to hack into, let alone get a virus I'm still upset that Apple went the Intel route. Talk about opening yourself for a can or worms.
wackdoodle wackdoodle 7 years
Tim Gunn stylishly walks into the White House - "People!! MAKE IT WORK! Obama, carry on."Maybe I should sen the White House staff my Commodore 128. That was cutting edge back in the day.
wackdoodle wackdoodle 7 years
Tim Gunn stylishly walks into the White House - "People!! MAKE IT WORK! Obama, carry on." Maybe I should sen the White House staff my Commodore 128. That was cutting edge back in the day.
mydiadem mydiadem 7 years
Maybe we should get together a non-profit to outfit the WH with modern computers and technology? I see groups do it for schools and libraries all over my city...wow, is that really what it would take? I'm getting more depressed.
chatondeneige chatondeneige 7 years
(Also, I have an old (but pretty powerful) router they can use to set up wireless. I will send it to them, free of charge, if they simply reimburse my shipping charges. Priority mail is expensive, you know.) ;)
chatondeneige chatondeneige 7 years
It doesn't surprise me that they can't go to facebook and twitter and that nonsense. But really, I"m with mydiadem, modern technology does boost productivity. I know it's hard to stomach our tax dollars going for something that seems so frivilous, but if you think about it, buy a new, high quality, laptop every month, and you're only spending about $15,000 a year. And within a few years, the WH would be pretty modern.
starangel82 starangel82 7 years
It is kind of sad. It seems to me if it was for security reasons having the most up to date equipment and software would be the best bet.I have no sympathy for no Facebook, no IM, and no Twitter. I can't access any of that at work either.
starangel82 starangel82 7 years
It is kind of sad. It seems to me if it was for security reasons having the most up to date equipment and software would be the best bet. I have no sympathy for no Facebook, no IM, and no Twitter. I can't access any of that at work either.
mydiadem mydiadem 7 years
I read about this last week, and its sad. Modern technology boosts productivity, though I doubt we could convince the general public that funding this for White House staff is a good way to spend tax dollars right now.
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