Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Future Onion Headline: Contractor Says Government Not "Enterprise Ready"

by Tom Bozzo

Actual headline: NASA grounds iPhone: not "enterprise ready"

Like anyone should listen to those guys...
NASA has ignored flight surgeons and astronauts who questioned others' fitness to fly due to drinking...

A panel that studied astronaut medical issues also found that staff were "demoralized" when their identification of "major crew medical or behavioral problems" were ignored by NASA leadership. [!!!!!1!One!]

The findings suggest that problematic cultural issues remain entrenched at NASA, which has been faulted repeatedly in the past for failing to heed safety warnings through the ranks.
Though NASA's iPhone determination didn't come from NASA brass, quite:

[T]he decision was made by officials within NASA's ODIN program office. ODIN, or Outsourcing Desktop Initiative For NASA, is a program under which NASA is outsourcing computer supply and support to private-sector companies.

The meeting minutes indicate that Jeff Stephens, an ODIN acting project manager who also works for defense contractor Lockheed Martin, broke the news that the iPhone won't fly at NASA. Reached Monday at his office in Washington, D.C., Stephens said only that, "I can't comment on that one way or the other." [emphasis added]

That looks like 10/10 on the Fox Guarding the Henhouse scale — a contractor can serve as "acting project manager" for an outsourcing initiative. (*) It would be hypocritical of me to suggest that there aren't any roles for contractors in the operation of the Federal government, but having Lockheed Martin supplying and supporting desktop PCs doesn't sound like it could possibly be efficient. And you have to love that can't-do spirit of outsourced IT support.

(*) Less sensationally, the guy could be a manager for LockMart's activities under the contract, a role I've filled on what I presume to be a much smaller scale for certain of my firm's contracts.

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Last I checked, the iPhone doesn't support VPNs. That in itself would make it "not enterprise ready."

It doesn't change that the process is broken, of course, but even a broken process is right twice a drunk.
In a world not terrorized by IT departments, it would be up to users to decide whether they could live without the functionality that VPN support would enable.

Lack of access to certain types of e-mail systems could be described fairly as a showstopper (if one that's theoretically a software update away), but not all enterprises fail to work with the protocols the iPhone does currently support.
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