Obama’s staff of Mac users find White House mired in Microsoft-dominated technological dark ages

“Two years after launching the most technologically savvy presidential campaign in history, Obama officials ran smack into the constraints of the federal bureaucracy yesterday, encountering a jumble of disconnected phone lines, old computer software, and security regulations forbidding outside e-mail accounts,” Anne E. Kornblut reports for The Washington Post. “‘It is kind of like going from an Xbox to an Atari,’ Obama spokesman Bill Burton said of his new digs.”

“By late evening, the vaunted new White House Web site did not offer any updated posts about President Obama’s busy first day on the job, which included an inaugural prayer service, an open house with the public, and meetings with his economic and national security teams,” Kornblut reports. “Nor did the site reflect the transparency Obama promised to deliver. ‘The President has not yet issued any executive orders,’ it stated hours after Obama issued executive orders…”

“The team members, accustomed to working on Macintoshes, found computers outfitted 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 online videos,” Kornblut reports.

MacDailyNews Take: What’s the difference between a six-year old Microsoft OS and the Microsoft OS most Windows users want to buy today? Nothing.

Kornblut continues, “Senior advisers chafed at the new arrangements, which severely limit mobility — partly by tradition but also for security reasons and to ensure that all official work is preserved under the Presidential Records Act… The system has daunted past White House employees. David Almacy, who became President George W. Bush’s Internet director in 2005, recalled having a week-long delay between his arrival at the White House and getting set up with a computer and a BlackBerry.”

“‘The White House itself is an institution that transitions regardless of who the president is,’ he said. ‘The White House is not starting from scratch. Processes are already in place,'” Kornblut reports. “But there were no missing letters from the computer keyboards, as Bush officials had complained of during their transition in 2001.”

Full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: This would be an interesting headline and story that would likely be worth considerably more in publicity and goodwill than the cost to implement:

Apple CEO Steve Jobs transforms White House technology at no cost to the U.S. taxpayer

Apple CEO Steve Jobs today made good on his offer to provide MacBooks, MacBook Airs, MacBook Pros, iMacs, Mac Pros,several Xserves, and, of course, iPhones to White House staff, replacing outmoded 20th century Microsoft Windows PCs with state-of-the art 21st century Macs and OS X-based devices at no cost to the U.S. taxpayer.

President Obama lauded Jobs while stating, “Finally, we get to use some real computers!” Obama added, “I can’t believe I ever liked using a BlackBerry. Have you seen this iPhone app? Let me show you this one, too. And this one…” Obama also received a fully-loaded 17-inch MacBook Pro with 8GB RAM and 256GB Solid State Drive which hasn’t yet left his grasp. “I’m having Apple stickers placed on every vehicle in the motorcade as we speak,” Obama told reporters.

In other “breaking” news, all Staples and OfficeMax retail stores and warehouses with a 200-mile radius of Redmond, WA were mysteriously emptied of office chairs…

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Maddog” for the heads up.]

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