The Week That Was

White House Needs New IT Manager

On Friday, according to a USA Today report, the White House disclosed to a Federal court how it handles important data, like e-mail, when diligently replacing older computers. The older hard drives are sent away to a secure location and physically destroyed. Is the information backed up? Apparently not all of it, possibly missing millions of e-mails from 2003 to 2005. This might come handy when controversial investigations call on important White House e-mail content. An improved data back-up plan was scuttled by the White House several years ago and a new one is still in the works.At a House committee hearing last month, a computer expert who previously worked at the White House called its e-mail system “primitive” and said it was set up in a way that created a high risk that data would be lost from White House servers where it was being archived.OK folks, don’t you think the average computer consumer would do a better job of reliable White House data back up? Perhaps the “In God We Trust” motto should be augmented by “But Not Our IT Manager.” You can’t just blame IT folks for shoddy government data management. An imperfect data management system is handy for governments wanting to keep secrets secret.This reminds me of Nixon’s secretary “accidentally” erased recording parts of audio tape conversations relating to the Watergate scandal. It just goes to show that neither analog or digital technology will keep politicians honest.  

New “old” CBC Archives are a hoot.

Speaking of archives, the CBC Digital Archives Website www.cbc.ca/archives  has just re-launched and is full of some 12,000 free access online radio and television clips.   It sports a fresh new design, new tools and, the CBC Digital Archives Website gives audiences an unprecedented opportunity to relive and share key moments in Canadian history.  Brand new content has been added, including past broadcasts that haven’t been seen since they were originally aired. They include: Stickhandling lessons from Howie Meeker. The Ku Klux Klan on This Hour Has Seven Days. A test flight of the Bell Aerospace Rocket Belt.Lorne Green’s wartime “Voice of Doom”. And Jack Bauer, age 3½. Actually, Kiefer Sutherland, age 3½.Maybe CBC can handle the White House data backup plan!Check it out. 

Lexmark Goes Caveman, Almost

Two hundred Lexmark employees in eight offices across Canada are getting ready to turn off their lights and have candle-lit dinners, play board games camping-style and watch movies at home with friends in support of EARTH HOUR, the press release said. The company (one of almost 3,000 businesses participating globally) is also encouraging customers, family, friends and Lexmark offices around the world to sign up for EARTH HOUR at wwf.ca/EarthHour or earthhour.org and help fight climate change.This first-time global scale incentive happens Saturday, March 29, 2008, 8:00 p.m. Ok, I get the candle-light part Lexmark, but “watching movies” using electricity? Maybe projecting old slide pictures on the wall with a magnifying glass and a candle is more like it, no? 

Gretzky’s Tech Time

You are unlikely to see a newspaper item about the St. Albert Bruins Atom hockey team winning Samsung’s and Best Buy’s Great One for a Day contest. That’s because it falls under the “news created by big electronics companies” category. Still, the Alberta Hockey team get’s to be flown to Vancouver to take in a hockey game and have breakfast with Wayne Gretzky. One might think that Wayne profits from endorsing his name to such contests, but I happen to know Samsung’s bucks go into Wayne’s charity, making his time a win-win for everyone. As a past photojournalist and photo editor for the Edmonton Journal, I have known Wayne, from the first day he played professional hockey in Edmonton, right to his last fourth Oiler Stanley Cup. He is a true gentleman and when he shed real tears as an Oiler announcing his departure for the Kings, he showed that great men can cry too. As my Samsung contacts attest to, you will never meet a more committed and professional athlete, like the “Gretz.” For more information go to: www.samsung.ca/greatone  

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