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The President's revamped mailbox has been hit with a denial-of-service attack, as users rushed to see if the White House's e-mail system is as awful as billed.

John Markoff at The New York Times wrote an article describing the new "hide the e-mail" policy instituted by the White House, and users have reacted in force. In the good old days, citizens could make a simple plea to president@whitehouse.gov. Critical times, however, call for more complicated measures, and the White House has now set up a multi-stage process to e-mail the President.

Markoff does a nice job of explaining the difficult communication system.

"Under a system deployed on the White House Web site for the first time last week, those who want to send a message to President Bush must now navigate as many as nine Web pages and fill out a detailed form that starts by asking whether the message sender supports White House policy or differs with it.

"Completing a message to the president also requires choosing a subject from the provided list, then entering a full name, organization, address and e-mail address. Once the message is sent, the writer must wait for an automated response to the e-mail address listed, asking whether the addressee intended to send the message. The message is delivered to the White House only after the person using that e-mail address confirms it."

Times readers must have rushed to the e-mail site en masse, as it does not appear to be working at any decent speed. Or maybe, patriots across the country were anxious to declare their support for the President's policies on a variety of issues.

Politics aside, the new e-mail system does not appear to be one of the more robust communication solutions around. White House staffers must have contracted the project out to the same disabled, Washington D.C. coders that have helped the RIAA achieve record downtime numbers.

Anytime a White House Web site item pops up, it's always amusing to note the government's use of a Linux Web server. We wonder if SCO has a sent a letter to the Pres, warning him of potential licensing issues. Too bad we can't send an e-mail and find out. ®

Related Link

Markoff's story via CNET

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