White House Email Was Down for 23% of Obama's First 40 Days

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And more than 80 percent of the President's staff's technology was obsolete when he took office.

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Man, you think your corporate email's got problems. In an interview with Computerworld, outgoing White House CIO Brook Colangelo revealed that the official White House email was down for nearly a quarter of the first 40 days that President Obama was in office.

Remember that time Gmail went down a couple times in 2009 and the Internet freaked out? Imagine that happened every three days.

The tech situation when Obama's team entered the White House was worse than even that stat might indicate. The computer that Obama's chief of staff Rahm Emanuel got? It had a floppy drive. 82 percent of the technology in the White House had reached its end of life, Colangelo said.

The White House IT team appears to have improved the tech situation on Pennsylvania Avenue, but it all makes you wonder: if White House comms had a hard time handling day-to-day traffic, what might happen under more strenuous circumstances?

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Alexis C. Madrigal

Alexis Madrigal is a senior editor at The Atlantic, where he oversees the Technology Channel. He's the author of Powering the Dream: The History and Promise of Green Technology. More

The New York Observer calls Madrigal "for all intents and purposes, the perfect modern reporter." He co-founded Longshot magazine, a high-speed media experiment that garnered attention from The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and the BBC. While at Wired.com, he built Wired Science into one of the most popular blogs in the world. The site was nominated for best magazine blog by the MPA and best science Web site in the 2009 Webby Awards. He also co-founded Haiti ReWired, a groundbreaking community dedicated to the discussion of technology, infrastructure, and the future of Haiti.

He's spoken at Stanford, CalTech, Berkeley, SXSW, E3, and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, and his writing was anthologized in Best Technology Writing 2010 (Yale University Press).

Madrigal is a visiting scholar at the University of California at Berkeley's Office for the History of Science and Technology. Born in Mexico City, he grew up in the exurbs north of Portland, Oregon, and now lives in Oakland.

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