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October 8, 2007

If I was to tell you I was on dial-up internet working from a dark room on a federal holiday, what would you guess I was doing?

1) Sitting somewhere in Cambodia running a bootleg software company
2) In the movie “Hackers”
3) Working on an IRS project in the year 2007

Yes, #3 is the correct answer.

What?

I don’t know. This job has a lot of things that seem pretty fucked up considering the amount of money that has to be pouring into it. Today I walked in and there was only 1 security guard. She is from somewhere in the Caribbean and is almost impossible to understand. I was able to use context clues and lip reading to determine that she was trying to tell me the x-ray machine used to scan bags was broken. As best as I can, this is what it sounded like…just try to imagine someone from those funny rum commercials working this desk:

No-ah no-ah no-ah. Dah mashin no workeeng. Walkaron an open yar bahg heeyah.

Except this lady was not funny. She was loud, abrasive, and nearly impossible to understand. Once I filtered through her accent, I had to contend with the monstrous echo in this lobby. I finally managed to figure out what she wanted. I was then ordered to open my bag…ummm, well, just the top part. She looked at the top of my laptop and apparently that’s it. Because I can’t hide bombs in the other parts of my bag? I don’t know. After she investigated my bag 4 dudes came up, threw me in a bobsled, and pushed me to the elevators.

The best part of this is that I’m pretty sure the x-ray machine was working fine. She was just the only security person there and didn’t want to have to run that and sign people in. I can’t exactly blame her, but what the fuck…this is an IRS building. You’d think the government would care enough to pay the x-ray monitor dude time and a half to work that thing today. Maybe they aren’t worried about the IRS being incinerated because they’ve got a nifty backup plan?

Oh, also, to obtain an actual data line (I’m hesitant to assume it’s a “high speed” internet connection), you have to pass a security clearance, which makes sense. One of the guys I work with who’s been here a few months just got his this past Friday. I was standing at the printer waiting for 300 pages of tax forms to print out and I overheard a conversation between the “IT guy” and my coworker. Apparently you cannot saturate this line in the least. Along with the deadly obvious no downloading music, videos, porn, etc., he proceeded to lecture my coworker about not going to any viral video sites. No Youtube, Google Video, College Humor, CNN Video, ESPN 360, streaming European sports (http://www.myp2p.eu) because they’re on at 10am Eastern time, etc. Oh, also, no streaming radio (which is what…a 30-50k feed?). Absolutely nothing that would tax the line in the least. This is just so fucking overboard I don’t even know where to start. You’d think if anyone had the pipe to handle workers dicking around on the internet, it would be the IRS.

This has an interesting unintended effect: I’ve seen quite a few employees that have wireless broadband aircards from Verizon, Sprint, and Cingular. So, since workers can’t do anything they probably want to do on the wired network, they’ve taken to seriously unsecured wireless transmissions. Excellent.

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