I recently ran across a Wired article about technology at the White House. I know that technology moves extremely rapidly and the latest/greatest is never that for very long. But I felt I needed to point out how far out of touch Wired is from the government and corporate world.
I know that Windows XP is Windows 7 or even Windows Vista, but apparently people do not understand corporate or government. According to the article, "The White House's computers are running 6-year-old versions of Microsoft software." Yes, they may be 6 years old, but it is PROVEN technology. They are updated every time Microsoft issues a patch. Everything is as locked down as reasonably possible.
Apparently, people have not worked in a large company with custom applications where the latest (Vista) breaks that application. In addition, upgrading and transferring information from one computer to another may seem like a simple task, but multiple that by the number of people working at the White House. Let's also not forget that most of the people in the White House are not as young as most Wired writers. They do not need the latest/greatest. They just want to get their job done.
Lastly, this is probably an unknown point, but the White House is working with a whole new set of information most Americans will never touch. The White House has classified information that needs to be protected. That is hard to do with a wireless network, which is easily hacked. In addition, that information needs to be classified into various types of classifications.
In addition, I know things are easily transferred with Macs from one to another, but you must also realize that Apple did not start gaining ground until 2000 at the earliest. So Windows had a leg up to in trench itself in the United States government. In addition, Windows hardware is much, much cheaper than most Apple PC's. The government needs to go with the lowest bidder almost all the time. So unless Apple is willing to cut the price for the government, Windows will usually win.
I know that viruses are horrible things, but people have to realize that the White House is not on the same type of network most Americans enjoy at work. They will NOT get access to Facebook, MySpace, or even Gmail (the horror). They will have their tracks traced and stored (or in the case of Bush: deleted later, but that's a different story). Either way, the White House is a totally different animal than small businesses. They have national security to protect. They do not get the fun job of updating your status on Facebook or posting on people's walls. Working in corporate America or the government is totally different than most of the freedoms Americans receive at their jobs.
The downloading of music at work makes sense, but why couldn't Bush do it in his spare time is beyond me. But having iPod's or cell phones in the White House is okay. But you need to remember that there are parts of the White House like briefing rooms that people are not allowed to bring anything. Most of the workers at the White House need to be cleared to enter certain areas. And when you are in those certain areas, there are rules to be followed.
Overall, I find the comments and article to be terribly 1-sided. No thought was put into the various aspects that are unseen by the general public. People need to realize that the White House is place of highly sensitive and critical information. Putting the latest/greatest might be nice, but those items need to protect that sensitive and critical information. At least one commenter, made a bit of sense: "Honestly, I think all that "tired" technology is pretty much common sense." (Anonymous) But on a second glance, seems like Wired was hammered a bit for not thinking outside of the proverbial box :)