Interior Dept blocking blog access
The Federal Times is reporting that Interior Department is blocking access to blogs.
Gad--they just had their internet access restored, after years offline. (Background: Indians sued Interior about a decade ago, alleging that over the years several billion dollars in their trust funds had been diverted or otherwise vanished. The suit is still ongoing. There is good reason to suspect that whoever diverted the funds -- if they're still alive, and this involves many, many years -- would have reason to delete any evidence. Years ago, the judge was informed that the relevant accounts could easily be hacked via internet, and ordered Interior off the net until it was fixed. Justice figured to stonewall, insist that the cutoff was hurting the department, etc.. Didn't work, and it took them offline for, oh, five years or so).
Anyway ... I'm surprised they even know about blogs. In my day (1982-1992) there was no department-wide IT dept, at least that I knew of. Our own office had a tech branch that knew nothing of computers. As in -- one of the persons sent to advise us did not know the difference between memory on hard drive and RAM. They thought fifty megs was an enormous amount of memory for a network, since "that was as much as a hundred computers have," and I couldn't explain the different concepts of "memory" to them. THey also didn't know what a hard drive was -- they only knew that data went into a big metal box (the server) and was somehow stored there.
Our office system was something called an Aquarius, which was totally incompatible with anything. Its only virtue had been that the salesman was buddies with a then-deputy head of the office. It could not format a floppy, specifically so that you had to buy pre-formatted 5.25 floppies at ten dollars each. No kidding.
One day they actually bought one of the computers that could run DOS as well as Aquarius. I tried to use it and reported ... it had no OS. The answer was that they didn't buy the operating system, but if I had DOS on a floppy at home I could bring it in and run the office unit on that.
Old memories -- the bean counters decided to make themselves look productive, while shifting the work to everyone else, by compiling a briefing book for high officials on all our court cases. It must of course be on a precise format -- one page to a case, no matter how complex. They thought we had some few hundred cases, and told the field offices to send theirs in via modem.
It turned out we had over 20,000, and the resulting transmissions at 300 or 1200 baud tied up the system for 48 hours. From then on, the field offices were to send them in on those $10 floppies, sent overnight mail. HQ (guys like me) were then detailed to look at each one and ensure it was perfect, not a single typo permitted. But since the original files on the field office computers were unchanged by our edits, that meant next month's reports would have the same typos in them.
Ah, the memories! At the bottom of each page was, for example "for further information contact John Smith at 208-6012." In bureaucratese, that does not mean contact him, it just means he's the fellow handling it. But Secretary Lujan actually read his briefing book (which had by now become six big ring binders holding 20,000 pages). He found some interesting, and called the attorney direct, just like it said to.
Management went ballistic. The Secretary himself was getting direct information from someone who knew! He's supposed to go thru the chain of command, and a week later get a document that gives the "position" of the office, carefully examined and massaged to omit anything he shouldn't know (i.e., something that might give him "ideas). We, grunts, finally got written orders that if the Secretary called us, we were to refuse to answer any questions and tell him to go thru the chain of command. (The orders could be enforced because our head, the Solicitor, had been personal atty to the President in private life, had been put there by the White House, and thus didn't really have to worry about what the Secretary thought).
At about the same time, another cabinet Secretary got a story in the WashPo about what had happened when they just decided to leave their office, go wandering the halls of HQ, and drop in on their employees and chat some. After HQ staff discovered they were missing and wandering around, they sent out search parties thru the building to find them and urge them to "come home." They were not supposed to be talking to people in their building -- who knows what they might find out!