High tech Pres in low tech White House


by Ann Treacy • Have you ever been excited to start a new job only to walk in and find that they still have dialup and use Word Perfect? To make matter worse – they hired you because you were good with technology. Well how good are you going to be with those cards?

Blandin on Broadband offers information on broadband use, access, and trends especially in rural Minnesota. Sponsored by the Blandin Foundation and their Broadband Initiative.

According to the Washington Post (and others) it sounds as if the Obama’s Administration may be suffering the same pain. (Staff Finds White House in the Technological Dark Ages – you’ll need to sign up for a free account to access the article.)

The Washington Post alludes to policy issues but also blames the logistics of having so many people start a new job on the same in a necessarily super secure environment. An earlier article in Wired does an even better at outlining the policy issues that are roadblocks to technology use. (I learned about the article on the Minnesota Voices Online list.)

Part of me is glad that the new Administration is running into tech bumps. First: I think that They have been aware of the need to bring the country forward in terms of technology – but the risk of having your Blackberry removed from your clutches is a good reminder of how much time, energy and money are saved by technology and how disadvantaged those without access really are.

Second: I saw how the Ultra High Speed Broadband Task Force was hamstrung in September when they learned of the policy barriers that prevented them from using technology to do their job. Hopefully President Obama is feeling the same pain and figuring out how to eradicate those barriers.

I don’t think it’s worth blaming anyone for the tech issues. It’s just a natural growing pain. It takes a little pain to get us to right the situation. I suspect the same happened when they brought the phone or television into the White House.