Most techno-savvy White House evah can’t figure out e-mail

posted at 11:30 am on January 27, 2009 by Ed Morrissey

The excuse?  Antiquated equipment used by the Bush administration is so low-tech they can’t understand it.  No, really:

It’s more than five hours and counting now since the entire White House e-mail system went down.

Press Secretary Robert Gibbs announced the technical snafu at his 1:30 p.m. briefing, apologizing to the media for the e-mail silence this afternoon.

The result is maddening for the new White House team, which already has been frustrated with the archaic communications gear they discovered when they arrived at their offices. …

Both outgoing and incoming mail are out, the result, an aide explained, of an outage with the Outlook server. The aide said the outage goes beyond the press shop. The first lady’s office is also without e-mail, as are other offices.

Outlook isn’t exactly “archaic”.  Many organizations use Outlook to handle e-mail, scheduling, and other tasks.  It’s not my favorite program, but it works, especially for large organizations.  Or at least large organizations that know what they’re doing.

This follows on the heels of their inability to get the voice-mail system to re-open the White House Comment Line.  Bush staffers got the blame for that, too.  Last week, they were bitching to the Washington Post about having to use PCs instead of Macs:

One member of the White House new-media team came to work on Tuesday, right after the swearing-in ceremony, only to discover that it was impossible to know which programs could be updated, or even which computers could be used for which purposes. The team members, accustomed to working on Macintoshes, found computers outfitted with six-year-old versions of Microsoft software. Laptops were scarce, assigned to only a few people in the West Wing. The team was left struggling to put closed captions on online videos.

Six-year-old Microsoft software?  In other words, they didn’t upgrade from XP to Vista, a wise choice under the circumstances.  Not only did it save the White House some money, it probably saved them untold headaches, too.  Maybe someone on the Obama transition team should have checked the platform and started advising people to brush up on their PC skills.

Team Obama has been in office a week.  At what point will they stop blaming Bush for their troubles and take some responsibility for themselves?  2012?  After all, the supposed technological Neanderthals of the Bush White House managed to keep the Outlook servers and XP computers in operation until January 20th.  (via David Knowles at AOL Political Machine)

Update: As several commenters have pointed out, there are no Outlook servers.  Outlook uses Exchange servers.  That may have been a mistake by the Post rather than the White House, though.  Since the reporting doesn’t use verbatim quotes, it’s impossible to determine.

Update II: So now we have a Treasury Secretary who can’t figure out his own taxes and a White House that can’t deal with e-mail.  So much for competence.


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Comments

MobileVideoEngineer on January 27, 2009 at 1:41 PM

A most excellent idea!

dmann on January 27, 2009 at 1:50 PM

PWND!!!1!!

kirkill on January 27, 2009 at 1:51 PM

I had to think whether or not it was still safe to say black around black people, even if referring a color.

I say black around black people all the time, so do just about all of my White, Asian, Black, Filipino, Croatian, Russian (especially the Russians) friends. Most whites I know are very comfortable speaking plainly. My experience is that guilt breeds fear.

Stop being guilty if you didn’t do anything. You don’t owe blacks anything. You don’t have anything to fear for just being white. Just be honest. Even if that means you use the word “nigger.” I know some whites who use the term freely because they are not guilty and because they are unashamed of their feelings. I have friends who use the word “nigger.” But they aren’t pussies like some of the lames in here.

If anyone black or otherwise says something to you about using the descriptor “black,” please give them my cell phone number. I’m serious, I’ll post it on my site in a couple of weeks. I would love to interview someone bothered by the color.

The Race Card on January 27, 2009 at 1:52 PM

Who in the HELL is their network admin
Send him nasty ass to me..
I will straighten his ass out..

Morons..

jcila on January 27, 2009 at 12:55 PM

This is not a case for a network admin/engineer. This is a case for a systems engineer, or a Messaging admin. Network engineers are substantially more precise in their work (due to the black and white world of networking), and it is highly unlikely that their equipment is in err.

On a side note, John McCain can’t type an email because of his war injuries, what’s Obama’s excuse?

leetpriest on January 27, 2009 at 1:54 PM

They have Bigger Problems then Technical Issues…Rod Blagojevich is starting to get some traction in the Media.

http://youhavetobethistalltogoonthisride.blogspot.com/2009/01/blagojevich-impeachment-neil-cavuto.html

Dr Evil on January 27, 2009 at 1:58 PM

Race Card

Let me clarify. I was in no way to attempting to reference BO. (While I do hope against hope that he fails in his policies, it has nothing to do with his skin.) I was simply acknowledging Limey’s reference to a movie. You are welcome to attempt to analyze why I chose the quote I did. Knock yourself out.

P.S. If one of my two african-american brother-in-law’s uses the n-word around his sons while shooting the breeze with one of his college buddies(which I have heard him do before) do I need to pull his boy’s (one of which is my god-son, in addition to being my son’s best friend)off to the side to make any explanations?

Goody2Shoes on January 27, 2009 at 1:58 PM

I say black around black people all the time, so do just about all of my White, Asian, Black, Filipino, Croatian, Russian (especially the Russians) friends. Most whites I know are very comfortable speaking plainly. My experience is that guilt breeds fear.

Stop being guilty if you didn’t do anything. You don’t owe blacks anything. You don’t have anything to fear for just being white. Just be honest. Even if that means you use the word “nigger.” I know some whites who use the term freely because they are not guilty and because they are unashamed of their feelings. I have friends who use the word “nigger.” But they aren’t pussies like some of the lames in here.

If anyone black or otherwise says something to you about using the descriptor “black,” please give them my cell phone number. I’m serious, I’ll post it on my site in a couple of weeks. I would love to interview someone bothered by the color.

The Race Card on January 27, 2009 at 1:52 PM

I’m with you. The appropriate term and scientifically correct term for a person who is of “black” pigmentation is Negro. Anyone who refers to me as “Caucasian” who is of this pigmentation has invited me to refer to them as “Negro”. If they call me “white” they’re “black”.

People of the previously described pigmentation are not “African-American”. These people were not born in Africa, and it’s likely that they haven’t even visited Africa. Just because some Jackasses great grandpappy got sold into slavery by his own people over 200 years ago doesn’t entitle him to hyphenate his nationality.

leetpriest on January 27, 2009 at 2:00 PM

P.S. If one of my two african-american brother-in-law’s uses the n-word around his sons while shooting the breeze with one of his college buddies(which I have heard him do before) do I need to pull his boy’s (one of which is my god-son, in addition to being my son’s best friend)off to the side to make any explanations?

Goody2Shoes on January 27, 2009 at 1:58 PM

This “African-American” person that you reference….Was he born in Africa? If not, he’s simply “American”.

leetpriest on January 27, 2009 at 2:02 PM

And they had the audacity to make fun of McCain for his e-mailing skills…?! HE had a legitimate excuse.

fiscallyconservative on January 27, 2009 at 2:03 PM

Team Obama has been in office a week. At what point will they stop blaming Bush for their troubles and take some responsibility for themselves?

The point of a terrorists sword at a local mall could do the trick.

But that’s not a certainty either.

fogw on January 27, 2009 at 2:10 PM

I don’t feel guilty about saying black. I’m saying it’s getting a bit ridiculous that we constantly have to be worried about who we might offend.

The catholic school we send our kids to had T.V’s on in their rooms (1st & 2nd graders, mind you) all day during the inauguration. Administrators justified it because it was historic. The First Black President. My kids are told that we should not judge people by the color of their skin, but yet, according to our school, this day is Historic because of the color of his skin.

I bet you dollar to donuts they didn’t spend anytime teaching my children about The One’s E.O restoring federal funding to abortion-rights organizations. And, that it was done the same week that our catholic schools sent our students to DC for the March for Life.

It’s very disheartening.

Goody2Shoes on January 27, 2009 at 2:11 PM

Oh, Lord. The Leader of this bunch has his finger on the red button. Hope he doesn’t decide to see if it might not be working and drops a three-pointer in Putin’s lap.

Yoop on January 27, 2009 at 2:15 PM

leetpriest on January 27, 2009 at 2:02 PM

Actually, one in Long Beach, son of a minister. The other in New Orleans, raised by his mother and grandmother. Proud to have them both a part of our family.

Anyhow… Is African American out? Is it person of color now? Help me out. Maybe I should just call my BIL and ask.

Goody2Shoes on January 27, 2009 at 2:21 PM

leetpriest on January 27, 2009 at 2:02 PM

I’m guessing they would refer to themselves the same as I do to my self. Americans!

Goody2Shoes on January 27, 2009 at 2:22 PM

As an email admin I think they mean Exhchange server. Outlook is a mail CLIENT. Huge difference.

The client wouldn’t be the problem if their email system is down.

Any messaging tech that would have the bona fides to manage the white house mail system should be able to manage a 6 year old (probably exchange 2000 if it is indeed the microsoft product)system.

@[email protected] on January 27, 2009 at 2:32 PM

Why, “come on?”

According to you, it’s funny, every time.

Yeah, the way Mel Brooks did it. Get in your time machine and talk to him.

Jim Treacher on January 27, 2009 at 2:34 PM

“Isn’t somebody going to help that poor man?”

LimeyGeek on January 27, 2009 at 12:17 PM

“Hush, Harriet, that’s a sure way to get him killed! “

Kai on January 27, 2009 at 2:43 PM

The team members, accustomed to working on Macintoshes, found computers outfitted with six-year-old versions of Microsoft software.

What? Liberals use Apple and live in their own little world oblivious to anything else? Shocking!

clearbluesky on January 27, 2009 at 2:44 PM

Unlike Barry’s staff and their inability to operate MS office, it seems like JMac’s staff has figured out that new fangled Internet thing…http://www.politico.com/blogs/glennthrush/0109/McCain_Twitters.html

Illinidiva on January 27, 2009 at 2:49 PM

I wonder how much of Bush’s team not upgrading anything had to do with the Plamegate fiasco and the accusations that the White House was deleting emails?

groovygrl on January 27, 2009 at 2:52 PM

Also, you can’t expect these people to know what the real names for these systems are. I mean for goodness sake there’s not even an ‘i’ in front of the name. I mean at least they know that an iPhone is a phone and that an iPod is a “pod” that holds iTunes (which are tunes).

Ah, so many people are stupid. It’s the ‘i’ generation now. The sad thing is that the people in this ‘i’ generation is is my age group (I turn 26 at 3:13 am EST).

MobileVideoEngineer on January 27, 2009 at 2:55 PM

“Hush, Harriet, that’s a sure way to get him killed! “

Kai on January 27, 2009 at 2:43 PM

See, now that’s what I should have wrote.

my bad!

Goody2Shoes on January 27, 2009 at 2:55 PM

iNept.

Jim Treacher on January 27, 2009 at 2:56 PM

Hope he doesn’t decide to see if it might not be working and drops a three-pointer in Putin’s lap.

“As Putin rears his head and comes into the air space of the United States of America, where– where do they go? It’s Alaska. It’s just right over the border.”

We’re very lucky to have her.

Vernon Hardapple on January 27, 2009 at 2:58 PM

C’mon people. Y’all know that this email system ate emails during the Bush era, so it being down must mean there is a bunch of emails needing VANISHED.

James on January 27, 2009 at 2:59 PM

iNept.

Jim Treacher on January 27, 2009 at 2:56 PM

LOL, either you are a really fast typist or you had the same idea that I did.

I literally can’t stop laughing at this.

MobileVideoEngineer on January 27, 2009 at 2:59 PM

Vermin Roadapple hates women.

Jim Treacher on January 27, 2009 at 2:59 PM

I bet you dollar to donuts
Goody2Shoes on January 27, 2009 at 2:11 PM

That phrase is going to look silly in not too long. Heck, donuts are almost a dollar already.

Count to 10 on January 27, 2009 at 3:06 PM

Pretty much every company I’ve ever dealt with has used Outlook, and excluding the multimedia-producing wings, almost no one uses Macs. It just sounds to me that, like the rest of this administration, the Obama tech people are incompetent.

Sign of the Dollar on January 27, 2009 at 3:22 PM

I thought the wizards of smart used magic computers like they have on the crime shows on tv. You know, the ones that have rotating 3d hologram projectors and huge transparent display screens and can go through millions of fingerprints and find a match in about 5 seconds. But I forgot they are socialists – of course they use Macs.

darwin-t on January 27, 2009 at 3:27 PM

They should just call George

http://chroniclesofgeorge.nanc.com/

If they are havening a bad day.

darwin-t on January 27, 2009 at 4:24 PM

government should just use linux. free, secure, and rock solid.

Xolom on January 27, 2009 at 4:25 PM

Are these the same guys who made fun of McCain over email in the campaign? Too bad about this honeymoon thing or we could have some good late night jokes… oh wait it’s Obama what was I thinking?

petunia on January 27, 2009 at 4:45 PM

Update II: So now we have a Treasury Secretary who can’t figure out his own taxes and a White House that can’t deal with e-mail. So much for competence.

Ed, Ed, Ed… you’re overthinking this. Just sit back and chant “hope”, “change”, “yes we can” like a zombie and everything will be okay. Haven’t you heard?

RightWinged on January 27, 2009 at 4:53 PM

Umm…has anyone asked why we should turn over our banking systems, health care and healing the global climate to a group of people trying to fix “Outlook Servers”?

sabbott on January 27, 2009 at 5:17 PM

It won’t be universal health care, it’ll be iHealthCare. We are trying to stop the iStimulus package.

MobileVideoEngineer on January 27, 2009 at 5:21 PM

We have the most inane and weasely trolls on this site.

Gnats are more curageous.

Entelechy on January 27, 2009 at 5:22 PM

Team Obama has been in office a week. At what point will they stop blaming Bush for their troubles and take some responsibility for themselves?

Trick question, right?

The filthy bastard can’t even sign an Executive Order for his (utterly corrupt) administration without a tirade that bashes the outgoing team. Not only is it low class but it is clearly the filthy bastard’s excuse for anything that isn’t rainbows and unicorns in his own, already failed, era of bad stewardship.

*I deem the filthy bastard a failure already because he didn’t live up to his campaign promises of new voices and higher ethical standards.

highhopes on January 27, 2009 at 5:23 PM

Umm…has anyone asked why we should turn over our banking systems, health care and healing the global climate to a group of people trying to fix “Outlook Servers”?

sabbott on January 27, 2009 at 5:17 PM

I’m waiting for the “only one able to do the job” Secretary of the Treasury having to admit the deficit is a gazillion dollars because he forgot to carry the two when doing up the budget.

highhopes on January 27, 2009 at 5:25 PM

So, what did they do during all that transition time?
Just measure the drapes?
Check out the rug in the Oval office?

right wing chicky on January 27, 2009 at 5:31 PM

So, what did they do during all that transition time?
Just measure the drapes?
Check out the rug in the Oval office?

right wing chicky on January 27, 2009 at 5:31 PM

Nope, they used it to find the secret escape tunnel so they could find a way into the Smithsonian so they could steal the Hope Diamond.

MobileVideoEngineer on January 27, 2009 at 5:35 PM

In the Name of Obama, the Most Merciful, the Most Compassionate, I present greetings and blessing upon you.

There isn’t enough money in the bailout plans (any of them, or together) to make me use Exchange server. Evah.

I R A Darth Aggie on January 27, 2009 at 5:39 PM

They should do what any tech administrater worth his salt would advise them to do.

Turn it off, then turn it on again…

Christ, people , this isn’t rock science (as Jessica Simpson would say)

mathscience41 on January 27, 2009 at 5:45 PM

Ed, Ed, Ed… you’re overthinking this. Just sit back and chant “hope”, “change”, “yes we can” “si, se puede” like a zombie and everything will be okay. Haven’t you heard?

RightWinged on January 27, 2009 at 4:53 PM

FIFY.

platypus on January 27, 2009 at 5:53 PM

Turn it off, then turn it on again…

mathscience41 on January 27, 2009 at 5:45 PM

Exactly how do you do that? Can you show us?

/sarc off

platypus on January 27, 2009 at 5:57 PM

This is so ridiculous. These morons sound like the typical cube dweller who can’t remember his password and then blames “computers” for being so complicated.

In the grand shceme of any organization, email is about the easiest thing to keep going. Exchange server of today are more or less the same as they were 10 years ago. If Obamanation can’t even run an Exchange server, then holy shit we are in for a lot worse than I ever imagined.

angryed on January 27, 2009 at 6:01 PM

…That includes Obama himself. Quite the executive, eh? They’re all Community Organizers!

Brat on January 27, 2009 at 12:25 PM

EXACTLY!

This is the audacity of a gaggle of community organizers, none of whom have had a day of solid EXECUTIVE experience, including the Exalted Leader himself, to think that they can take over the most important executive office in the world with nary a hiccup.

They all probably watch “24” to prepare for the next day at the office.

Woe is us.

fred5678 on January 27, 2009 at 6:16 PM

It is very telling the detailed planning.

Many reporters complained that obamas camp couldnt
even print out the next days itinerary.

But mccain to his credit could..

So here again the one drops the ball.
I am not being mean here.
anytime you take over a network you need to
organize and understand all that you are getting into
So i can understand they missed the boat

but what makes me mad is when
they start to BLAME president Bush..

I mean come on here
i am pretty sure President bush Didnt claim to run the network in the whitehouse..

who unlike obama didnt claim to be a technical wiz.

jcila on January 27, 2009 at 7:07 PM

I mean at least they know that an iPhone is a phone and that an iPod is a “pod” that holds iTunes (which are tunes).

Oh…iSee.

uncivilized on January 27, 2009 at 7:08 PM

I’m waiting for the “only one able to do the job” Secretary of the Treasury having to admit the deficit is a gazillion dollars because he forgot to carry the two when doing up the budget.

highhopes on January 27, 2009 at 5:25 PM

…and then blame it on his copy of “TurboTax – Federal Budget Edition”.

uncivilized on January 27, 2009 at 7:10 PM

The Obama campain had the money to buy top of the line computers, servers, IT people, etc…

The WH probably has not updated in 8 years.

getalife on January 27, 2009 at 7:11 PM

I wonder how much the Messiah and staff will charge the People to change all the White House stuff to Mac? And then they will realized that, golly gee willikers, most of the world and businesses use Microsoft?

Seriously, they aren’t smart enough to use XP? Seriously? Not a whole lot of difference between 2000 and newer versions, at least for the basics. Though 2007 Powerpoint and some other stuff is a friggin pain in the …. I refused to let them upgrade my laptop when it got the blue screen of death.

William Teach on January 27, 2009 at 7:17 PM

I want to second everything that jcila just said… I’m in IT as well and I’m a little shocked and disturbed the administration has no one in it capable of doing what I do in my underwear everyday (budding MSP business). Maybe I should email them a quote… oh wait, they wont get it! LoL…

liquidflorian on January 27, 2009 at 7:23 PM

Your Treasury Secretary blames Turbo tax and the O Press office blame smicrosoft the most dominant computor platform that probably 95% of people learned computors on. No wonder their Stimulis bill is so crazy. We can’t figure this out,itis too hard so let’s just through money at it!!!

Kevin in Southern Illinois on January 27, 2009 at 7:33 PM

Obama’s plan for Homeland Security:

Create a National Infrastructure Protection Plan: Develop an effective critical infrastructure protection and resiliency plan for the nation and work with the private sector to ensure that targets are protected against all hazards.

Except email.

pain train on January 27, 2009 at 7:39 PM

Obama quotes (not what you think):

“There is not a sense of urgency in this administration to get this done”

“You get a sense that will has been lacking in the last several months.”

pain train on January 27, 2009 at 7:47 PM

I emailed Obama a suggestion about the “stimulus” yesterday.

It was auto-responded with:

PLEEZ EXCUSE HOUR EMAIL SNAFU. ZIMBABWE TEK SUPPURT ISS OHN IT.”

profitsbeard on January 27, 2009 at 8:23 PM

So, what did they do during all that transition time?
Just measure the drapes?
Check out the rug in the Oval office?

right wing chicky on January 27, 2009 at 5:31 PM

Didn’t you see the nifty seal, and all the press conferences? They were too busy to make sure the tech details were taken care of.

Besides, Booosh should have bought and installed their preferred hardware/software before he left office.
/sarc

cs89 on January 27, 2009 at 8:33 PM

I run a mail system for a major federal agency. I can tell you what happend. The morons sent out a press release that crushed the mail system. O has a very chatty public affairs staff and they were probrably sending out a large press release and failed to do what every tech savy company does and use a remailer service to handle the surge.

I guess they will only make that mistake once. It just shows how inexperienced thier staff is. I am scared….They are now running my country. I hope they do better with the CIA.

triumphus on January 27, 2009 at 8:41 PM

There are planty of IT techs in the government fully capable of explaining something as easy as Outlook.

Perhaps Obama should have had his transition team actually work on the most common transition issues during his transition preperations?

(I have no patience for those pretentious fools that buy Macs… the least useful computers you can buy.)

Jones Zemkophill on January 27, 2009 at 9:10 PM

Hhmmm… lack of a tech-savvy White House… plus DDoS attack… equals yes, profit!

Cr4sh Dummy on January 27, 2009 at 9:26 PM

Hey now, ya’ll take it easy on the Mac crowd! I’m in the process of exiting the M$oft world and bought an iMac for my wife to replace the failing laptop. While the hardware reliability has been troubling (2 failures within the first year so far — power supply and network card respectively), OS X is a very competently configured OS, the software that comes with the system is very well suited for what a home user would do (movies, photos, etc.). OpenOffice is a very reasonable alternative to Office, especially after that butt-ugly ribbon interface change with Office 2007.

I’d put my conservative and free-market credentials against the most right-wing here. Doesn’t mean I need to continue to support a big-business bully like M$oft. I’m using Linux for my own PC and have been doing so for the past year and a half. It has some sharp edges, but it also offers a lot of freedoms that aren’t available in the locked-in world of Windows.

AZfederalist on January 27, 2009 at 10:20 PM

Took out the garbage for ya!

The Race Card on January 27, 2009 at 12:49 PM

Definitely not garbage — at least not after I’ve put in my own custom php mods. You log in using your e-mail address and when you send e-mail it doesn’t say what internal machine generated the e-mail.

Why, do you know a better webmail package? If you do, tell me the name and I’ll give it a try.

unclesmrgol on January 27, 2009 at 10:31 PM

I run a mail system for a major federal agency. I can tell you what happend. The morons sent out a press release that crushed the mail system. O has a very chatty public affairs staff and they were probrably sending out a large press release and failed to do what every tech savy company does and use a remailer service to handle the surge.

I guess they will only make that mistake once. It just shows how inexperienced thier staff is. I am scared….They are now running my country. I hope they do better with the CIA.

triumphus on January 27, 2009 at 8:41 PM

We had an engineer get in hot water a few years ago. He kept doing mass mailings of large files. Easy to click send… to all!

RalphyBoy on January 27, 2009 at 10:39 PM

This is so ridiculous. These morons sound like the typical cube dweller who can’t remember his password and then blames “computers” for being so complicated.

One of the IT guys at one of my previous jobs used to describe this phenomenon as there being “a short somewhere between the keyboard and the chair.”

I work in new media and I’m primarily a Mac user. In defense of Macs, the operating system *IS* as stable as advertised and — until yesterday anyway — virtually impervious to viruses, spyware, etc. They’re also really cool to look at. ;) However, any design professional worth their salt is capable of working easily on either platform. Perhaps in the highest echelons of the field, in the most elite of interactive agencies, no one ever touches a PC but for those of us bread and butter designers out here, we HAVE to know both. For the simple reason that you never know what kind of work environment you’re going to end up in. Plenty of in-house design groups — like at the White House perhaps? — work on PCs. If you don’t know how to use one, then you’re only shortchanging yourself. When you use a machine that only makes up about 10% of the market share, you can hardly expect the rest of the world to bend to your petty artistic whims. Even Apple knows this: That’s why they developed the Bootcamp software, so you can run Windows on your Mac. I wonder of the techie wunderkinds in the Obama White House have even heard of it.

NoLeftTurn on January 27, 2009 at 10:47 PM

You have absolutely no idea what you are talking about in that statement. None. Do your homework on each of those systems and then lets talk.

The whitehouse and Bush administration has been plagued with problems since they switched from Domino to Exchange. Lots of email was lost in the process. My guess is that the whitehouse got a sweetheart deal on the microsoft software after Bush took office and the ongoing monopoly/antitrust investigation of Microsoft in the 90’s went away with Janet Reno and the Clinton administration.

Now we have supposedly “tech saavy” in-duh-viduals in the whitehouse and they get tripped up with corporate email systems…. you elect a n00b with ZERO real world experience and this is what happens.

maineconservative on January 27, 2009 at 1:24 PM

OK, you are certainly welcome to your opinion that Domino is the greatest thing since sliced butter. But I’ve got a slightly different opinion, having admin’d both, plus sendmail/imap, Novell GroupWise, Eudora, and Quickmail to boot, in my years, both as edge and internal servers. Like GroupWise, Domino ran like a slug, DB2 (the backend database) frequently crashed, and the “archival capability” wasn’t much more than a database export in a proprietary format. That’s why the Bush Administration had such trouble importing (not that Exchange was easy to import into) and wound up with that stupid calendar and log stuff. It’s exactly the kind of stovepipe that the Clinton people became known for — right up there with writing your CGI scripts in Lisp (which they did).

That Bush’s guys lost e-mails is less due to Exchange than to their attempts to save bucks by reusing old backup tapes, not realizing that some of the data on those tapes was unique.

Obama’s crew inherited something for which good admins are a dime a dozen, and still managed to screw it up.

Far better than either of them is sendmail/IMAP — you can configure an archiving milter on the backend to dump your mail records to either Postgresql or MySQL databases, and those have well known backup tools which emit the archive in ASCII, as well as available tools to search the archives and emit matching emails in .eml format. Hell, if you want to go whole-hog, you can even use Oracle, and then you can grow the database forever just by adding clusters via clsetup. The rig is fully Sarbanes-Oxley compliant, for whatever that’s worth. I have my users’ email archived by year, with each user’s data in a separate table, and the whole thing both on tape and on a RAID6 device.

Maybe Domino has improved since the ’90’s when I used it, but I’m not taking chances. My feelings don’t extend to all IBM/Lotus products — I use WordPro, preferring it over any version of Word I’ve ever tried. Hell, they even had to pry my cold dead fingers from my OS/2 keyboard.

Now you can rebut my statements by telling me the secrets that made Domino the sliced butter substitute. I’m all ears.

unclesmrgol on January 27, 2009 at 11:10 PM

I miss Eudora

Jason Coleman on January 27, 2009 at 11:55 PM

My friends, this discussion is ludicrous. All Whitehouse communications are under the technical supervision of the NSA. Now, the NSA is a mainframe organization and always has been (yes, those are the guys with the dumb terminals). However, the NSA employs some of the finest computer professionals in the world, who certainly understand personal computers and their related shaky networks (when you have nitrogen cooled Cray computers you do not have to worry about sending out an “excessive” number of silly emails). If the Whitehouse wanted a truly high-speed, high-capacity email system, they could have the world’s best, instantly. However, I am not sure this would be such a great idea, for the same reason that the security people did not want Barry to use his Blackberry (thank you, Canada, for that fine item).

John Adams on January 28, 2009 at 12:30 AM

Exchange is known for being tricky, and occasionally breaking. Can’t stand it myself. Lotus Notes is far more capable for standing up to heavy loads, in my opinion. If I had my druthers, though, I’d flush both of them and use standard internet mail.

That said, corporations across the country use Exchange (and Notes, for that matter) for the shared calendars. If you don’t know how to manage Exchange, then hire those who do, and believe them when they tell you to spend money on hardware and third-party products to keep it stable and secure.

6-year old software sounds like Exchange Server 2003. It would have been beyond stupid to put in Exchange 2008 last year, before the third-party market to support it matured, and while bugs were still being found. Far better to leave the new administration a functioning system and let them do the upgrade when ready.

It’s one thing to always use the latest and greatest software when you only have one computer. When you’re supporting hundreds of computers, you take your sweet time doing upgrades, usually waiting for a service pack or two to be released.

Bottom line: bunch of whiners.

ThereGoesTheNeighborhood on January 28, 2009 at 12:34 AM

It’s all your fault!
How wise, mature and witty these people are.

PaddyJ on January 28, 2009 at 3:27 AM

Surely the Messiah doth knoweth how to sendeth thee email!

Y’know, ’cause he’s . . . hip. Right? In touch . . . right? Unlike that old fart John McCain, who was attacked because he doesn’t know how to use a computer!

Sarcasm over. I want to puke.

Ryan Gandy on January 28, 2009 at 4:05 AM

Oh yeah and one more thing, they can take their computers and give a good shove.

Ryan Gandy on January 28, 2009 at 4:06 AM

I’m a conservative. I am also an IT professional (Program Manager) consultant and I’ve been in the business for over 20 years. I run a MAC at home. Why? Simple. They are elegant and are engineered on the RISC platform. PC’s run on the CISC platform and you are stuck with Microsoft’s crap. I love the way Apple builds their software and they are bullet proof. Their products are cool and their tech-support is even cooler…although in three years I’ve only had to call once and that was to reset my iphone, and that took 30 seconds.

sabbott on January 28, 2009 at 5:32 AM

I run a MAC at home. Why? Simple. They are elegant and are engineered on the RISC platform. PC’s run on the CISC platform and you are stuck with Microsoft’s crap.

That’s not true any more. They are no longer running on Motorola chipsets. They are also now just GUI’s running on Linux.

Everything that made a Mac, a Mac has died off. No more SCSI, no more RISC, no more MAC OS… it’s just a PC Clone running a Mac shell anymore.

The world still runs on Windows, it may suck, but it’s got the market share.

E L Frederick (Sniper One) on January 28, 2009 at 7:43 AM

Calling in a Mac geek to work on Windows machines is like going to a steak house and ordering fish.

abcurtis on January 28, 2009 at 7:56 AM

Calling in a Mac geek to work on Windows machines is like going to a steak house and ordering sea-kitten.

Love the analogy! That rocks.

E L Frederick (Sniper One) on January 28, 2009 at 8:06 AM