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MPs lost for Word over creaking Microsoft packages

And politicos want YouTube exposure

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MPs have logged a massive support call with Microsoft after they ended up at the wrong end of the tech world's fitful migration to Office 2007.

Meanwhile Westminster’s hapless Web 2.0 foray continued this week with politicians lobbying to place clips of themselves in the House of Commons on YouTube.

Microsoft is working with Westminster’s tech support, the Parliamentary Information and Communication Technology service (PICT) to enable MPs and peers to open Word 2007 documents in their Office 2003 software.

Compatibility is causing a big headache among politicians and civil servants who are unable to access some correspondence because the documents were created in Word 2007.

According to the “Information Committee Annual Report 2007-2008”, released on 25 November, the lack of compatibility “will be resolved in conjunction with Microsoft”, which is currently working with Westminster’s technology bods.

PICT, which was established on 1 January 2006, has come under sharp criticism in the past from cheesed-off politicos who have fulminated against the “poor” service.

MPs have also complained about their email inboxes being overstretched, as a result the Committee confirmed that the size of “Members’ email boxes [sic]” would be increased.

In the meantime, parliamentary types are also keen to grab some Web 2.0-stylie limelight.

Some MPs want their appearances in the Commons Chamber to be shown on video-sharing websites such as YouTube. Peers in the House of Lords have also expressed interest, the Committee said.

Others would like users to be able to embed Parliamentary footage into their own blogs and websites. However, under the terms of the current Parliamentary Broadcasting Unit Ltd (PARBUL) licences, embedding is forbidden.

The PARBUL director is mulling the possibility, according to the Committee’s report.

The Committee added it “welcomed a wide range of improvements to the parliamentary website,” and said it’s “excited” by the programme of virtual tours being developed. ®

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