Does the White House Have Wi-Fi?

So, in case anyone was wondering if the comparisons between Obama and FDR were a little, oh… too soon, I bring you– the YouTube chat.  Perhaps these are not yet as effective as the Fireside Chat FDR made famous, but I think that long term these could be a really good way for Obama to appera accessible, circumvent the pundits, and possibly remain as sympathetic a character as he was on the campaign trail.  In fact, it looks like ChangeDotGov is going to keep its own YouTube channel operating.  I hope they can continue to do this throughout the administration.  However, given the importance of archiving and documentation I worry that these ephemeral forms of media will be too risky for the antiquated archiving system used by the Govt.

Today’s New York Times contained an article explaining the reasons why President Elect Obama will have to give up his Blackberry when he takes office. Obviously, the mishap with Sarah Palin’s email earlier this year seems to indicate that any high-level politician should use only a government account and should sign off from his/her personal accounts (and when I say sign off, I mean fully– not even to talk to kids or buy stuff online).  Shouldn’t the president be able to fire off an email to the chief of staff?  I mean, wouldn’t a more effective internal communication system make the whole place run smoother?

Of course, I’m all about documentation, archiving, and transparency in government.  But to me, transparency in government needs to start catching up to the tech world we live in.  Obama’s campaign was such a success because of their incredibly skillful use of the Internet and (apparently) Obama’s desire to get unfiltered information in real-time via his Blackberry.  The man is making a lot of sacrifices to lead the free world, he shouldn’t have to sacrifice the ability to txt with his daughter too!

I was also surprised, though I can’t say completely shocked, to learn that no president has had a laptop in the Oval Office.  Apparently this is a way to make archiving things easier, but… I mean, I don’t really buy that.  I’d like to see the notes and versions of a document– especially the versions that the president sees.  Just back that thing up all the time, sh*t I can look at my own documents in the Mac “Time Machine,” surely the White House could get something like that going.  I mean, sheish, does the White House even have Wi-Fi?  I mean… it must, right?

Also, what are your thoughts– Obama: Mac or PC?  I say Mac, but I’m not sure.


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Filed under Discourse, Thought Provoking

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