Happy New President Time

Obama in the Oval Office

This is perhaps one of my favorite pictures from Obama’s first official day on the job. There’s just something so awe-inspiring about that huge desk. So everything that room has seen, it always impresses.

When I was 9-years-old, I wanted to be President when I grew up, and Obama gives me hope that maybe might pipe dream is a possibility for someone like me. (Though I seriously doubt I will ever be president.)

Some of what the President is doing is already very exciting. Check out the Obameter, which tracks what Obama promised, what his team is working on, and what he’s already passed. Some highlights in less than a week are the repeal of the global gag rule and orders Guantanamo’s closure.

While the economy is still depressing, I’ve been enjoying listening to news and hearing good things. Hearing the effectiveness of a government. Hearing a hopeful message.

However, as I was looking at the picture above, I realized something was missing. Granted, it was the first day and everything might be moved in, but not in place. For contrast, check out my desk at home.

Yeah, for a President addicted to his Blackberry, a computer or any technology is missing from the picture of the office. Traditionally, presidents have chosen not to use e-mail due to it being subject to National Archiving and can be subpoenaed in court. However, Obama won that battle and will be using his Blackberry. Though with a limited scope of who can access it, and the National Archive has said that they won’t archive personal things, or as I like to think, the cute little messages he sends to his daughters.

However, it’s not just Obama that’s going through tech withdrawal. His very tech-savvy team is horrified about how draconian White House technology is. The White House has PCs running Windows XP compared to their slick Macs. White House web filters block Facebook, MySpace, and personal e-mail among other sites. Sites that Obama’s staff used to help him win. Access to instant messaging forbidden. Even the phones didn’t work.

On a side note, I’ve heard government filters are extremely strict. I have a friend who works for the Washington State Patrol, and if he surfs to a blocked site — like Facebook — his web browser locks and he has to have his supervisor come over and unlock it. 0_0

As some tech blogs noted, Welcome to the Corporate World as many of the Obama staff’s problems are familiar to anyone who’s worked a desk job. However, I would say that I’m looking forward to Obama’s people upgrading the White House. (I’m sure Apple would not turn down the pr opportunity to show the shiny Macbook in the Oval Office.) The White House just isn’t another corporation. It’s the government. Supposedly, the most powerful government in the world, and personally, I want to them to have access to the best technology that they can.

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