Okay, this probably comes as no surprise to any of you who use the Navy Marine Corps Intranet (NMCI), but I feel the need to vent.
First, for those of you who aren't familiar with NMCI, the Navy hired Electronic Data Services (EDS) several years ago to provide and manage ALL of the Navy and Marine Corps' unclassified and SIPRNET (secret internet protocol routing network) computers and networking. It's quite a racket if you ask me. EDS gets ungodly amounts of money from the Navy.
Case in point: If I walk into my local Verizon store and buy a Blackberry, I'd wager money I'll walk out the door in 30 minutes with a fully functional Blackberry - email set up, phone numbers and address book transferred over, full-blown access to the internet. AAAAAAND, I bet you it would cost me significantly LESS than $200.
In order to get an NMCI Blackberry, it takes MONTHS of wading through a dump-truck full of bureaucratic red tape and waiting. Then, when you finally get the Blackberry, it's just like those ridiculous appointments with the cable company where they tell you they'll be there "between 7 a.m. and 10 p.m." and you have to wait with baited breath for them to show up, and while they're in your office for an hour and a half installing the Blackberry software and syncing it up with your computer, you aren't allowed to go anywhere or do anything besides stand guard over the visitor in your office who has unfettered access to your computer.
Then, after standing there waiting for an hour and a half, the technician tells you that he has to go back to the shop to redo your Blackberry setup because they erroneously set it up for Kevin.Lastname. Unfortunately, because there is more than one Kevin Lastname in the Navy, I'm actually Kevin.MIDDLE INITIAL.Lastname in the NMCI global address book, so they set the Blackberry up for the wrong user.
When you finally DO get your NMCI Blackberry, it's severely limited in functionality. It's nice that I can check my work email and calendar, but that's about all it's good for because just about every other feature is locked-down (no bluetooth, most websites blocked, etc).
Oh, and in return for all of this great functionality, EDS gives the Navy a bill for over TEN THOUSAND DOLLARS (for ONE Blackberry).
Jeez, I didn't even sit down to rant about NMCI Blackberries. I just got on a roll when I was trying to give some background information for non-Navy folks to understand what NMCI is.
No, I actually sat down with the intent to write two other relatively quick rants.
Rant #1. NMCI fairly recently installed some new features that cause these text-boxes to pop-up and chastise you if you leave your CAC card unattended. While the programmers who wrote these new updates surely meant well, the practicality of their application fell short of the mark.
For example. If I tell my computer to LOG OFF, then it pops up an annoying little window telling me that my CAC card is still in my computer keyboard and asks me what I would like to do.
The first time this happened, I rolled my eyes and said, "Oh FINE!" and pulled my CAC card out of the keyboard. Then the computer promptly locked itself because I had removed my CAC card. Yes, you read that right, the computer did NOT log off as directed because I had just removed my CAC card.
What it boils down to is this. When I want to log off my computer, I have to leave my CAC card in the keyboard. I have to tell the computer to log off. Then I have to wait for the annoying little pop-up window to appear. Then I have to click on "I want to continue what I was doing" in the annoying little pop-up window. Then the computer will continue with the log-off sequence and I can remove my CAC card and go home.
Rant #2. They tell us to log off our computers at the end of the day and leave the computers on so the administrators can remotely provide software updates and whatnot on the back shift. If that's the case, then WHY on EARTH does my computer perpetually tell me as soon as I log on in the morning that it has an update to apply and needs to reboot??? I thought that was the whole point of leaving the computer logged-off and powered-on all night!
Okay, I'm done ranting now. I'll get off my soap box.