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(The New York Times)   The Federal Register, the government's official publisher, accepts material on floppy disks but not material on flash drives or SD cards. When asked about this at Congressional hearing, agency head said "And get off my lawn"   (nytimes.com) divider line 148
    More: Dumbass, Federal Register, get off my lawn, congressional hearing, GPO, United States government, professional services, federal government  
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8512 clicks; posted to Main » on 08 Dec 2013 at 2:25 PM (36 weeks ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



148 Comments   (+0 »)
   
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2013-12-08 01:25:58 PM
We have a military industrial complex to feed. The rest of the agencies can fight over the scraps
 
2013-12-08 01:29:16 PM
Why would you use any physical media to accept content to be published on a web site?
 
2013-12-08 01:34:41 PM

Peter von Nostrand: We have a military industrial complex to feed. The rest of the agencies can fight over the scraps


That's not it.  The government is a huge organization, and the people making decisions are often completely out of touch with what's actually going on in them.  I can guarantee you, no one at the top of the GPO or the Archives had thought about whether the low level employees were using flash drives.  They probably assumed that they were already.  But the low level people can't upgrade until Congress tells them they can.  The high level people don't think to ask Congress about something as trivial as floppy disk or flash drive - it doesn't occur.  And so the technology gets older and older.  The low level folks beg their bosses for upgrades.  Those people then ask their bosses for the three most important things on their list.  They ask their bosses for their 3 most important, and so on, up through about 17 levels, and the upgrades get lost somewhere around step 8.

Honestly - this is how many things work.  The rules have agencies - and the contractors that work with them - hamstrung.
 
2013-12-08 02:28:04 PM
I suppose email attachments or FTP links are totally out of the question, eh?
 
2013-12-08 02:29:56 PM
Most of the Federal Government has restricted the use of Flash Memory or have none of you ever heard of stuxnet
 
2013-12-08 02:31:00 PM
I have an old Compaq/Windows 2000 machine out in the garage that I could donate. It has those new-fangled USB thingies.
 
2013-12-08 02:31:09 PM
Well, they've seen "The Net" with Sandra Bullock. Floppy disks cannot be duplicated, unlike SD cards or flash drives.
 
2013-12-08 02:33:46 PM
"Meanwhile, experts say that an administration that prided itself on its technological savvy has a long way to go in updating the computer technology of the federal government."

"Ms. Bunk said that although many agencies did use the secure email system, The Federal Register could not require it until Congress made it compulsory by law."


Ummm...
 
2013-12-08 02:33:55 PM
FTFA, "But the secure email system - which uses software called Public Key Infrastructure technology - is expensive..."

No it isn't. It's free.
 
2013-12-08 02:34:08 PM
Do they use 5.5"floppies or hose newfangled 3.5"floppies? I'm a reel to reel man myself.
 
2013-12-08 02:37:23 PM
Amateurs....I get all my information from Gopher.
 
2013-12-08 02:37:25 PM
if it ain't broke....
 
2013-12-08 02:37:35 PM
Gubmint is our shepherd, we shall not want.  Gubmint j=knows what's best for us.  I can't wait until Oobama Care takes health care back to the 1980's!
 
2013-12-08 02:38:20 PM
I wonder how much it would cost to bring all the government computers "up to date."  And then how much more would it cost to update them every 2-5 years?
 
2013-12-08 02:39:27 PM
And many of the notices are still riddled with errors. The folks at GPO cannot correct even the simplest, most blatant typo. The copy from the source agency is certified as the original, and the Register has to publish it like that.

/hey, I get it. You stare at your work so much you lose the ability to see your own errors.
 
2013-12-08 02:39:43 PM
Which kind?

mybox.din476.de
 
2013-12-08 02:40:38 PM

Oldiron_79: Do they use 5.5"floppies or hose newfangled 3.5"floppies? I'm a reel to reel man myself.


Pfft.  Punch cards are the wave of the future!
 
2013-12-08 02:41:07 PM
I imagine floppy disks are a bajillion times more secure than flash drives, simply because there are so few machines that will take floppies anymore. Anyone who steals a floppy disk has to find a machine to run it on. Good luck!
 
2013-12-08 02:42:03 PM
Jeeze, if I had to read a floppy now I'd be in trouble. I kept a few drives in a box somewhere just in case, but I don't have a FDC controller board any more, so that would be a big problem. My TRS-80 model 4 in the basement is going to be hard to resurrect too, so I don't know why I'm saving it.  My plan is to wait until I'm 90 and then fire it up for laughs.
 
2013-12-08 02:42:39 PM
I worked at NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center Years ago and we had a boss who went absolutely ape because his underlings had moved data off floppy disks (and not just 3.5 inch floppies but old 5.25 and even 8 inch diskettes) and old reel tapes (including some ancient 7 tracks) onto new media because all the data fit on a couple of physical disks instead of all the old media, but since there were fewer physical pieces that meant they had lost all the data.  I mean you could literally not explain it to this guy, he just knew that things were lost.  Folks like this just cannot be reasoned with, they just need to be fired or more likely (due to their lack of tech savy) retired.
 
2013-12-08 02:43:51 PM
Close door to continue
 
2013-12-08 02:43:53 PM
Flash drives are major vector for viral infections, because Windows runs autoload code as soon as one is inserted.  Same thing with CDs.  As far as I know, it doesn't run anything special for floppy disks.
 
2013-12-08 02:44:09 PM
i1079.photobucket.com
Floppy disks are pretty expensive...
 
2013-12-08 02:44:13 PM
blog.dk.sg
 
2013-12-08 02:44:38 PM

Mock26: Oldiron_79: Do they use 5.5"floppies or hose newfangled 3.5"floppies? I'm a reel to reel man myself.

Pfft.  Punch cards are the wave of the future!


Back when computers really where a series of tubes.
 
2013-12-08 02:44:43 PM

Brick-House: Most of the Federal Government has restricted the use of Flash Memory or have none of you ever heard of stuxnet


I've heard of this thing called anti-virus and trusted sources.  It's quite remarkable.  You see, there's a registry of drives that can be used on the network.  Each drive holder is responsible for ensuring the drive is only used for the assigned purpose.  That way there's no outside vector for the drive to become corrupted, it exists within a contained system.

The military is just fine with using controlled-access flash memory within the network.  So is the FBI, CIA, DEA, ATF...etc...etc.  It's the use of  outside drives that pose a threat.
 
2013-12-08 02:46:22 PM

nytmare: [blog.dk.sg image 640x480]


That right there is nightmare fuel.
 
2013-12-08 02:47:39 PM

oukewldave: Which kind?

[mybox.din476.de image 800x389]


upload.wikimedia.org

www.barthworks.com

www3.pcmag.com
www4.pcmag.com
i.imgur.com

For lulz.
 
2013-12-08 02:51:05 PM

nytmare: [blog.dk.sg image 640x480]


Tell me that is fake...please....
 
2013-12-08 02:53:25 PM
Quantum Apostrophe,
[2" floppy.jpg]
for lulz.

I love obscure PC stuff, and got me with that. I want one at my cube.
 
2013-12-08 02:54:24 PM
ecx.images-amazon.com


Only $14 on amazon.  Lots of choices there.  Floppies are still really common in industry.  Lots of 1990s era million dollar CNC machines in use load their instructions from floppies.
 
2013-12-08 02:56:14 PM
Hey now, I've seen enough 80's movies to know that you can fit all the secrets of the universe and all military info on a floppy disc. Take that, modern technology!
 
2013-12-08 02:56:45 PM
i.imgur.com

Take a look at some of the statements made by the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology.
 
2013-12-08 02:57:05 PM

Bennie Crabtree: I imagine floppy disks are a bajillion times more secure than flash drives, simply because there are so few machines that will take floppies anymore. Anyone who steals a floppy disk has to find a machine to run it on. Good luck!


Easy to find old towers with floppy drives on Craigslist for nothing.
 
2013-12-08 02:59:59 PM

Oldiron_79: Do they use 5.5"floppies or hose newfangled 3.5"floppies? I'm a reel to reel man myself.


As of 5 years ago they still accepted both. No idea if things have changed since then.

/yes we had floppy disk drives just for that reason at our office.
 
2013-12-08 03:00:03 PM
FTA:  experts say that an administration that prided itself on its technological savvy has a long way to go in updating the computer technology of the federal government.


This would require billions of dollars in contracts and the cooperation of the executive and congressional branches.  At this point, I'm not sure God himself could get this job done.

Recently I've begun using the copyright office's registration system, which has its own byzantine way of working.

As inscrutable as healthcare.gov is, it is amazing that it works as well as it does in as little time as they have had to make it go.
 
2013-12-08 03:00:08 PM

Bennie Crabtree: I imagine floppy disks are a bajillion times more secure than flash drives, simply because there are so few machines that will take floppies anymore. Anyone who steals a floppy disk has to find a machine to run it on. Good luck!


Best Buy.  You can get stand alone floppy drives that plug into your computer via usb.
 
2013-12-08 03:01:07 PM

Oldiron_79: Mock26: Oldiron_79: Do they use 5.5"floppies or hose newfangled 3.5"floppies? I'm a reel to reel man myself.

Pfft.  Punch cards are the wave of the future!

Back when computers really where a series of tubes.


And when debugging actually meant cleaning out the dead bugs.
 
2013-12-08 03:01:51 PM
Do they get a free toaster with each shipment of floppies?
 
2013-12-08 03:02:59 PM

Enemabag Jones: Quantum Apostrophe,
[2" floppy.jpg]
for lulz.

I love obscure PC stuff, and got me with that. I want one at my cube.


I think they were used more for synthesizers than PCs. But check this out

www.bobmockford.co.uk

I have one.

What I really want is a 1960s terabit archive system.

upload.wikimedia.org
 
2013-12-08 03:04:56 PM
I didn't know you could get USB floppy drives. Thanks!
 
2013-12-08 03:05:12 PM

Mock26: I wonder how much it would cost to bring all the government computers "up to date."  And then how much more would it cost to update them every 2-5 years?


Considering many departments still use computers with that new fangled MS DOS on it, I would say a fair bit. Some of the custom software they have to use would have to be totally recreated to work on 32 bit machines.

Not every department gets the latest stuff. It is the shame problem with infrastructure across the country. The idea of taxes are so repugnant that nothing hardly gets upgraded unless it is to cover someone's  butt in a congressional district or a lobbyist wants to sell the new system and bribes the right people.
 
2013-12-08 03:06:02 PM
"You've got this antiquated system that still works but is not nearly as efficient as it could be," said Stan Soloway, chief executive of the Professional Services Council, which represents more than 370 government contractors. "Companies that work with the government, whether longstanding or newcomers, are all hamstrung by the same limitations."

It's not efficient at all. How much do you guys pay for the warehousing of all that?

Oh and.... Got it for $12 at Staples. 32GB. Would you like me to throw in some of those freebee crypto/security things you think are....expensive?

img.fark.net
 
2013-12-08 03:06:55 PM
Also embroidery machines use floppies.  Probably not the latest ones, but that's the kind of device that still works fine 20 years later.

It's going to be a very long time before floppies disappear.
 
2013-12-08 03:07:08 PM
Headline: Federal Register accepts material on floppies.

Article: ...or CD-ROM.
 
2013-12-08 03:09:06 PM

italie: nytmare: [blog.dk.sg image 640x480]

Tell me that is fake...please....


There are a few googleable sources saying it would take thousands of disks. Fake.
 
2013-12-08 03:10:22 PM

serial_crusher: Why would you use any physical media to accept content to be published on a web site?


Why wouldn't you?
 
2013-12-08 03:10:27 PM

UsikFark: italie: nytmare: [blog.dk.sg image 640x480]

Tell me that is fake...please....

There are a few googleable sources saying it would take thousands of disks. Fake.


On the disks it says disk 1/3711, and i assume that, if this were real, the box would be full of floppies
 
2013-12-08 03:11:49 PM
Ah, bureaucracy.
 
2013-12-08 03:12:24 PM

OgreMagi: FTFA, "But the secure email system - which uses software called Public Key Infrastructure technology - is expensive..."

No it isn't. It's free.


I don't think they're refaering to the cost of the software, but rather of the total cost to implement it.

I guess they'd need some training etc.
 
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