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LudditeCare: A Federal Agency
That Still Uses Floppy Disks

PJ Media, by Ed Driscoll

Original Article

Posted By:Judy W., 12/7/2013 5:09:15 PM

Last month, the New Yorker made rare sport of its fellow leftists, by featuring on its cover Kathleen Sebelius crossing her fingers, a pensive looking Barack Obama with Gordon Gekko’s giant mid-’80s brick of a cell phone, and a pocket protector-wearing young nerd (Jay Carney?) inserting into a White House computer equipped with a sclerotic CRT monitor, yet another piece of technology from the early pioneering days of personal computers, a floppy disk. As Malcolm Muggeridge noted a half century ago, there is no way for any satirist to improve upon real life for its pure absurdity. Yesterday, the New York

      


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Reply 1 - Posted by: Bohallx, 12/7/2013 6:13:17 PM     (No. 9644644)

Yup, pretty much the story.

Now, about cell phones, most Americans who use cellphones probably imagine that there´s just one system, but different marketing companies who package and repackage the same old same old so they can charge more and make the big profits.

Actually, there´s a set of standards, and not all these guys are "the same". Even some units in the same company umbrella operate according to different standards.

Fortunately cellphone software has only a small base of legacy software with which to contend.

I suspect Obama´s use of a blackberry ~ even if a modified blackberry ~ is symptomatic of the way he thinks about computer based systems ~ that there´s some central system that controls the whole thing.

There are stories about that ~ because Blackberry operates that way, and that´s exactly why they ended up having sufficient market share to make the big bucks necessary to stay in this business. He may be unable to think outside the Blackberry box.

The gub´mnt legacy systems lurking in the background of ObamaKKKare are similar. Although ´central´ in nature, that´s mostly reflected in their code these days and not in the computer systems they rely on. The term the writer of the piece missed was BATCHPROCESS.

Most still extant public contact gub´mnt owned computer systems have graphical interfaces that may lead everyone to believe they are working in what used to be called ´real time´ but they usually fake it with plenty of cache. Outside of the FAA vacuum tubes the bottleneck for Obamakkkare is residual batchprocessing and for some of those systems it really is nearly impossible to bring them into a distributed processing environment.

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Reply 2 - Posted by: Bohallx, 12/7/2013 6:15:04 PM     (No. 9644646)

NOT ´sufficient´ ~ but ´insufficient´ ~ need to practicing thinking my way through the double negatives.



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Reply 3 - Posted by: snakeoil, 12/7/2013 6:30:51 PM     (No. 9644655)

Well I use floppy disks with Windows 8 all the time. Of course, I had to buy a USB floppy disk. Zippy needs to update from an 026 to an 029 card punch. And remember to clear the accumulator.

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Reply 4 - Posted by: Philipsonh, 12/7/2013 6:31:29 PM     (No. 9644657)

It is a fact that a floppy disk created on one computer may well not work when inserted into a different computer. If the formatting is just a tad off, just use the disk for a drink coaster. How the Government could ever use such an outmoded product is unfathomable.and when the disk´s data does not open, what does the recipient do / Stick it in a drawer and forget about it.

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Reply 5 - Posted by: horacer, 12/7/2013 6:54:15 PM     (No. 9644671)

I´ll wager that you could find quite a few agencies using IBM selectrics. Time for Al Gore to reinvent government again.

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Reply 6 - Posted by: HicksvilleKid59, 12/7/2013 7:19:23 PM     (No. 9644686)

What difference does it make (hey, who said that?) if the government is inefficient? They are only going to hire more people to do the job no matter how efficient they are.

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Reply 7 - Posted by: frede, 12/7/2013 7:33:07 PM     (No. 9644701)

For many applications, it is totally adequate. It can also be used repeatedly without creating any waste.

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Reply 8 - Posted by: KTWO, 12/7/2013 9:38:10 PM     (No. 9644791)

Yes, personnel costs are higher when staff productivity is low. But staff costs may not be a great part of total costs.

If what the employees are attempting to do is not desirable or damaging it can be better to let them doze until retirement.

In many cases the country is better off while government employees can get nothing done at all. This may be one of those times.



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Reply 9 - Posted by: Bohallx, 12/7/2013 11:28:03 PM     (No. 9644851)

Years back we hired in a guy who was really really really super proficient with computer communications.

He was regularly debriefed by the folks from various federal intelligence agencies regarding how he so casually broke into their in-house computer systems.

He used a selectric.



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Reply 10 - Posted by: Charactercounts, 12/8/2013 1:42:30 AM     (No. 9644903)

#9, I seem to recall reading recently that the Russians have purchased thousands of typewriters (Selectrics?) to type their classified documents: a reaction to what Snowden has released.

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Reply 11 - Posted by: Country Boy, 12/8/2013 2:29:12 AM     (No. 9644924)

Most people probably have forgotten that the 3 1/2" disk is that size so it can fit in a geek´s shirt pocket. What a truly sexist and old fashioned idea.

I still have a shoebox of them, with no drive to put them in. Good old days.

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