WASHINGTON -- While her antitrust lawyers are delving deep into the computer industry, Attorney General Janet Reno has forsaken her personal computer and returned to paper and pencil.
She told her weekly news conference Thursday that confusion over learning a new computer system drove her from cyberspace.
As she spoke, her antitrust chief Joel Klein and three state attorneys general assembled two floors below in the Justice Department to negotiate a truce in their investigation of software giant Microsoft. The deal at least temporarily delayed release of Microsoft's new Windows 98 product and an impending government lawsuit alleging the company has illegally defended its monopoly in computer operating systems.
"I was doing okay with the office computer in Miami," said Reno, who was the state's attorney there before becoming attorney general in 1993. "I was getting fairly fluent with it. And then I came to Washington and had to learn anew. I didn't do a very good job of it."
"Then it got so confusing, as to what was on the computer or what wasn't on the computer, what was on the hard drive, what was on the soft drive, that it made it easier for me just to do my work with paper and pencil so I could figure out what I had and what I didn't have," she added.
Under Reno, the Justice Department has set up several Internet websites for adults and children who use computers, but she said, "At this moment I do not have a personal relationship with a computer."