Capitol Hill is rejecting the BlackBerry Storm. The Storm is the touch-screen incarnation of the portable email device which has become the bane of existence for the significant others of those who use them, the BlackBerry.
Apparently, when BlackBerry released this little technological marvel, many Members of Congress and their staff suddenly needed a touch-screen interface to answer their email. But now, since the touch screen doesn’t work exactly like they’d hoped, they are trading their Storms in for older models.
These folks get their equipment from the Chief Administrative Office (CAO). In other words, like almost everyone else carrying these things around Washington (myself included), the denizens of Capitol Hill have their work pay for it. But because these are elected officials and their staff, the Storm surge on Capitol Hill was – you guessed it – your tax dollars at work. So were the tutorial classes the CAO set up on how to use the Storm.
TechRepublican’s Chad Miles blames the difficulty on a disconnect with technology among many on the Hill who may be of a more advanced age. That’s probably a big part of it. But some of it is the lack of risk – BlackBerries are consequence-free. (I’ve known people who have lost their BlackBerries in airports or after a night on the town, and their companies have sent brand new ones.)
If you or me were to buy a mobile device, and then decide a few months later we didn’t like it, we might be stuck with it, depending on our service plan. We might try a little harder to make it work. In fact, we might not even buy it in the first place – we’d have to think long and hard about spending our own money first. Members of Congress and their staff have no such trepidation when spending your money.