It’s up for debate how advanced the United States government is with regards to technology. Word on the street is it's been having a fair bit of trouble with its new healthcare website. Conversely, it did invent spy satellites.
Well, at least one federal agency is definitely behind on its technology. The Federal Register, a.k.a. the United States government’s daily journal, is a pretty important agency. It keeps the interested public (whatever depressingly small segment that is) up to date on executive orders, rule changes and other public government notices.
The folks who work at the Federal Register are dealing with a lot of data each day. Kind of like, I don't know, a bleeding-edge tech blog. As I happen to work for one of those, I speak with confidence that we deal mostly in Internet storage. Not the government. Much of the information Federal Register employees receive is on 3.5-inch floppy disks.
“You’ve got this antiquated system that still works but is not nearly as efficient as it could be,” Stan Soloway, chief executive of the Professional Services Council, told The New York Times.
You think? Let’s ignore the fact, for a moment, that most computers made today don’t have a slot to stick floppy disks (please save your dirty jokes). It’s an astoundingly inefficient means to store data. “Not nearly as efficient as it could be” might stand as this year’s crowning understatement.
Part of the problem is the Federal Register itself. It accepts documents on CD-ROMs and floppies but not on flash drives or SD cards. Which is insane. They can use a secure email system, but not all government agencies have one due to cost. Feeling good about your government yet?
We don’t know how many other agencies are still on floppy disks, but feel free to guess in the comments.