News Roundup

The Census Bureau has awarded Oracle Corp. a five-year, $12.17 million contract to help
the bureau expand its financial, administrative and survey databases.


The company will make Census databases and other applications available on the Internet
so the bureau’s field offices can share data.


The bureau is licensing Oracle’s enterprisewide software, including Oracle
Database Server, Oracle Parallel Server and Oracle Application Server. The company will
also provide Oracle Developer, Designer and Discoverer tools, company spokesman Michael
Sperling said.


The database servers will provide data access to 6,000 bureau users for logistical work
and support for the 2000 Census, Sperling said. The systems will help the bureau collect,
process, analyze and distribute data, he said.


The National Labor Relations Board’s Web site has a help desk feature that guides
people to the appropriate federal or state agency for answers to job-related questions.
The site also has complaint forms regarding unfair labor practices that users can
download.


The site, at http://www.nlrb.gov, lists 37 topics.
For example, if a user clicks on Pension Issues, the site suggests calling the Labor
Department’s Pension and Welfare Benefit Administration, which handles questions on
pensions, health plans and other employee benefits covered by the Employee Retirement
Income Security Act.


Two million users have visited the site since it went online in April 1997.


The administration is looking for an organization to take over the work of the Internet
Assigned Numbers Authority.


The Commerce Department last month proposed that a nonprofit corporation take over
IANA’s work. IANA supports the Clinton administration’s plan to privatize the
Internet by the fall and will help with the transition.


The group delegates blocks of numeric IP addresses to regional registries around the
world. Uniform resource locators, which contain domain names administered by Network
Solutions Inc. of Herndon, Va., in turn are mapped to the IP addresses.


IANA functions under a government contract awarded to the Information Sciences
Institute of the University of Southern California’s School of Engineering.


The group will post public comments, which can be e-mailed to comments@iana.org, on its Web site at http://www.iana.org.


More than 70 percent of the world’s oil reserves could be at risk if the U.S.
Central Command doesn’t fix its year 2000 problem, the Defense Department inspector
general has reported.


The IG report, U.S. Central Command Year 2000 Issues, found that although CENTCOM has
made progress on its year 2000 work, its job is far from over. CENTCOM, one of DOD’s
nine unified commands, oversees oil operations in 20 countries in the Middle East,
Southwest Asia, Northeast Africa and the Arabian Gulf.


“Unless the U.S. Central Command, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the services and
Defense agencies make further progress, U.S. Central Command faces a high risk that year
2000-related disruptions will impair its mission capabilities,” the report said. That
would make it more difficult for the command to protect oil reserves in the region, the
report said.


The IG recommended that CENTCOM monitor and improve its year 2000 plan, identify all
mission-critical systems and interfaces, test readiness of vendor software, prepare
written interface agreements, develop contingency plans for mission-critical systems,
document test plans and use joint exercises to test year 2000 scenarios.


Service Pack 1 for Microsoft Exchange Server 5.5, which came out last month, does not
correct the installation and Web access security problems that users have encountered with
the e-mail application.


The service pack improves tracking, collaboration and groupware features. Microsoft
Corp. also has enhanced Lotus Notes migration tools in the program. Outlook Web Access has
more contact functions, though fewer than Microsoft Outlook 98, which Service Pack 1
includes as a free client.


For high-level security, users must launch Outlook Web Access with a Microsoft Web
browser. Passwords travel across the Internet without any encryption when non-Microsoft
browsers are used.


Exchange 5.5 must be present to install the service pack. Users who upgrade from a
prior version must disable and uninstall all antivirus and hard-drive utilities first [GCN, Jan. 12, Page 1].


Microsoft plans to release a version of Exchange 5.5 that has Service Pack 1 fully
integrated. The 6.0 version of Exchange will be available 90 days after Windows NT Server
5.0 is released next year.


A new generation of Unisys Corp. shared-memory ClearPath HMP LX5000 servers can run
both Unisys’ MCP/AS and Microsoft Windows NT on the same Pentium II or Pentium II
Xeon server processor.


The MCP/AS software, packaged on one CD-ROM, supports older applications and databases
on standard NT and Intel Corp. processors, said Thomas Freeman, vice president of
ClearPath marketing for Unisys.


A 64-user ClearPath HMP LX5000 server, priced at $86,455, is a relatively low-cost
alternative to midrange Unisys A Series enterprise servers, Freeman said.


“This system will run applications developed in the 1960s, even if you’ve
lost the source code and nobody knows what the object code is,” he said.


Contact Unisys’ federal office at 703-620-7000.


The Federal Trade Commission is searching for a new chief information officer.


Keith Golden, acting CIO at FTC, said there are no leading candidates for the position.
Golden became acting CIO and chief of the Office of Information and Technology Management
in early February when Alan Proctor moved to the Treasury Department to help CIO Council
vice chairman James Flyzik implement the council’s plans. Flyzik is the Treasury CIO.


Golden held the associate CIO position at FTC under Proctor. He said he is not
interested in the job. The CIO position has not been filled because there were more
pressing senior vacancies at FTC, Golden said. The position was posted June 10 and closes
July 29. The salary range is $106,412 to $122,824.


For more information, contact FTC at 202-326-2020.


To save money on photocopying and mailing costs, the FBI is putting its most requested
files on the Web, including reports of UFO sightings and other so-called X-files.


The bureau is required by the Freedom of Information Act to make many of its old case
files public. More than 400 FBI employees work full time to handle the bureau’s FOIA
requests.


Now, anyone can tap into the FBI’s Web site to access 16,000 pages of files drawn
from 37 bureau investigations. Topics include Adolf Hitler sightings and a conspiracy
theory that explains the disappearance of Amelia Earhart more than 60 years ago.
Ultimately, the FBI plans to post all 1.3 million pages of its public files on its Web
site at http://www.fbi.gov.


 


—Frank Tiboni, William Jackson, Gregory Slabodkin, Michael Cheek,
Florence Olsen  and John L. Guerra

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