Campus Notebook: An Apple a Day

Posted October 22, 2008 at 6:13pm

The iPhone may be on every gadget-lover’s Christmas list, but Members could be stuck for a while using their BlackBerrys for House business.

[IMGCAP(1)]The reason: The House’s secure server won’t allow the iPhone to access official e-mail, and changing that infrastructure would take significant time and money.

But the Office of the Chief Administrative Officer still tested out a few iPhones recently — sans e-mail. Now, if Members decide they want to forgo a BlackBerry for a House-issued iPhone, they can get the pros and cons of the phone from CAO employees.

If they do get an iPhone, however, they won’t be able to check their e-mail without physically plugging the phone into their House computer, CAO spokesman Jeff Ventura said.

“Quite honestly, we have not had an outcry of demand on the Member level,” he said, but they decided to test a few because “it’s sort of the phone du jour.”

It’s uncertain whether Members will ask in the future for the CAO to take the necessary steps to connect the phones to the House servers — such as preparing a cost estimate and studying the phone’s security.

But as the go-to place for House technology questions, the CAO’s office will be able to offer advice on the iPhone and its compatibility for House work.

“If a Member asked the CAO today, ‘Hey I want an iPhone,’ well, clearly we’d get them an iPhone,” Ventura said. “ But in order for us to roll this out as an option to the House community, there are so many steps that have to be taken.”

Mysterious Threats. The Capitol Police were still investigating bomb threats to five Senate offices as of Wednesday evening.

Police spokeswoman Sgt. Kimberly Schneider wouldn’t give specifics on the threats or name the offices that received them, citing the ongoing investigation. Most were calls, with at least one e-mail.

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