back to article Decades-old UK government papers show that they tried to roll out a 'Cab-E-Net' system in the '90s. It was crap

A batch of UK government Cabinet records from late last century has revealed that difficulties in getting users to accept new systems is nothing new. "Dave from Manchester" tipped us off about the opening of the records, part 4 of a collection of UK civil service documents dating from 1995 to 1997 and made available in PDF …

  1. osakajin Bronze badge

    "Unfortunately in its present state it does not achieve that goal."

    And no gov IT ever will

  2. Mark 78

    Joined up thinking

    I think the line "1/2 a foot by 12cm" describes exactly the problem.

    1. Korev Silver badge
      Coat

      Re: Joined up thinking

      It looks like they were inching forward with metrification...

    2. monty75

      Re: Joined up thinking

      “Jimbo!”

      https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jimbo_and_the_Jet-Set

      1. AW-S

        Re: Joined up thinking

        Jimbo - missed that one. Good call.

        "The premise of the cartoon is that Jimbo was originally intended to be a Jumbo Jet, but his designer could not tell the difference between inches and centimetres, resulting in his diminutive size"

        Watching the episodes now..

        1. monty75

          Re: Joined up thinking

          I'm sure there should be something more important lodged in that corner of my brain than 1980s kids TV shows set on the premise of mixing up measuring systems but we are where we are.

          1. MyffyW Silver badge

            Re: Joined up thinking

            Well there was that Mars mission .....

  3. IanRS

    The giveaway!

    "doing IT in government properly might result in fewer MPs"

    So every government IT project ever since has been doomed.

    1. FatGerman

      Re: The giveaway!

      Never has an MP exhibited such levels of self awareness as the one who was afraid he could be replaced by Lotus Notes.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    KILGETTY _might_ of been a full disk encryption dreamed up by the boffins in CESG.

    1. HildyJ Silver badge
      Boffin

      It is a full disc encryption written by Software Box Limited in two versions - KILGETTY 2K and KILGETTY PLUS NT4 (presumably the one they used).

      https://www.ia.nato.int/niapc/Manufacturer/Software-Box-Limited_19

  5. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

    When "lessons will be learned" are never learned, vulnerabilities to constantly exploit remain

    Heaven forbid that one should feel compelled to share anything of any significant importance with the current No 10 tenant/squatter via its internet provided providing portal. Goodness know how many anonymous minions are responsible for ensuring that doesn't cause any problems with their vetting of suitable/unsuitable messages to be shared, or not, with the principal.

    If one concludes that it is practically useless with particular regard to that singular task, it is only logical to expect something significant to be then made quite public, rather than be treated any further as private, so that ignorance is no longer available as an excuse for government indolence on any specific peculiar matter which may be of great interest.

    1. Korev Silver badge
      Coat

      Re: When "lessons will be learned" are never learned, vulnerabilities to constantly exploit remain

      Heaven forbid that one should feel compelled to share anything of any significant importance with the current No 10 tenant/squatter via its internet provided providing portal

      It's fair to say that America trumps Britain here...

  6. monty75

    I’d expected Cab-e-net to be a prototype Uber and was momentarily impressed with the government’s foresight.

    1. 2+2=5 Silver badge

      > I’d expected Cab-e-net to be a prototype Uber and was momentarily impressed with the government’s foresight.

      Every time I read "Cab-e-Net" in the article I couldn't help but imagine a Rab C Nesbitt spoof "Rab-e-Net".

  7. MJI Silver badge

    Major, Portillo

    Oh for MPs now of that quality.

    Did anyone ever think they would be thinking that?

    1. John H Woods Silver badge

      Re: Major, Portillo

      Yes. No.

    2. MyffyW Silver badge

      Re: Major, Portillo

      Well I was mighty glad to see the back of 18 years of Tory rule, but:

      John Major - the nearest we ever got to a normal human being running the country.

      Michael Portillo - one of my favourite train enthusiasts. Michael, it's never too late to come out ...

  8. Mr Dogshit
    FAIL

    Locust Notes

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Griefwise (Groupwise)

  9. Rufus

    Cab-E-Net promo video

    The following webpage has some promotional videos taken from the government.direct green paper CD Rom. Including [Lord] Michael Heseltine using Cab-E-Net.

    https://ntouk.wordpress.com/2019/03/20/remembering-government-direct-the-first-interactive-green-paper/

    *Warning - page may not suitable for graphic designers of a sensitive disposition*

  10. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    "augments a paper diary which the Secretary of State's diary secretary is completely wedded to."

    I can guess why. Diary secs are reputed to use pencil so the diary can be frequently updated. It wouldn't take long before there were shouts of "Which is the correct diary.doc?".

  11. Danny 2 Silver badge

    Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose

    That phrase was coined in 1849 by Jean-Baptiste Alphonse Karr. But if nothing changes then what was the idiom for nothing changing in 1848? Were things assumed to change before that expression of ennui?

    In 1988 my French pal proudly showed me his Minitel which could "make online purchases, make train reservations, check stock prices, search the telephone directory, have a mail box, and chat in a similar way to what is now made possible by the World Wide Web".

    He'd forgot I could read French even if I couldn't speak it. All his messages were to a text version of Tinder. Hooking up was more a matter of good writing rather than being good looking and swiping right. A kiss is still a kiss, plus ça va .

    1. Jan 0 Silver badge

      Re: Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose

      That sounds like more fun than using Primos commands to hack Prince Phillip's mailbox in Prestel!

  12. Sparkus

    Some determinations are forecer

    "to argue that Microsoft's resources, direct support and commitment could be bettered by a third party..."

  13. aregross

    Lolz

    "although I was originally assured this was possible."

    'Ahhhh, I see you've already met the Marketing department then!'

    As a Field Service Tech, I LOL'd at that... a Bunch!

  14. deadlockvictim Silver badge

    John Major

    For those who miss John Major, a time when it was hard to have strong feeling about the PM, here is Rory Bremner:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8Eqr44ytH30

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