Obama Staffers Find Technology at White House a Little Dated
The last time a new U.S. presidential administration moved into the White House, eight years ago, some staff members serving George W. Bush found the W's on their office keyboards missing. As legend has it, the cause was a bit of tomfoolery on the part of outgoing staffers who had served Bill Clinton and (defeated presidential candidate) Al Gore.
This time, there have been no reports of pranks involving PC keyboards, but some incoming staffers are grumbling a little about the equipment itself. To be blunt, they think it's old.
An article in today's Washington Post chronicles a number of problems faced by aides to the new president on their first day at work: disconnected phones, outdated software, missing security codes, and so on.
Overall, though, the Post article described a mood of disappointment yesterday among the plugged-in presidential support apparatus. These folks, after all, were responsible for using their state-of-the-art technology skills to get Barack Obama elected in the first place, using online social networking to raise vast amounts of money and staying in touch with their constituency around the clock with the latest electronics devices and software.
Now in charge in the most powerful office in the world, these staffers find themselves confronted by what can only be described as culture shock.
"It is kind of like going from an Xbox to an Atari," Obama spokesman Bill Burton told the Post about his workplace technology.
In something of a stretch, the newspaper account notes that the new White House Website had not been updated as of last night with the latest presidential orders from the historic first day, due to software glitches. Rest assured, though, it's working fine today.
And, in perhaps the most telling piece of a cultural disconnect between the Bush administration and the Obama one, it turns out that the new regime are Macintosh users, who are used to working in the latest OS X flavor, as opposed to the Windows XP machines they find themselves inheriting.
"It is what it is," a new White House staff member, speaking off the record, told the Post.
Those are words that should sound familiar to anyone starting a new job and finding a really old PC left behind by the last person.