November 1, 2012

One of the ‘trending’ words of 2012 in the IT world appears to be ”ecosystem’ and I am tired of seeing it already…

The Wikipedia definition, for want of a better, is: “an ecosystem is a community of living organisms (plants, animals and microbes) in conjunction with the nonliving components of their environment (things like air, water and mineral soil), interacting as a system.” So why is it appearing in the IT literature? For example – ‘UK open standards and the proprietary ecosystem‘, ‘Privacy by Design and the emerging Personal Data Ecosystem’ etc.

Information technologies are not living organisms! Can we stop misusing the word now, please!


Key areas of attention remain

September 25, 2012

The Federal Computer Week has brought my attention to a report from the Government Accountability Office in the USA entitled “ELECTRONIC GOVERNMENT ACT Agencies Have Implemented Most Provisions, but Key Areas of Attention Remain” (PDF, 574 Kb, 50 pages), hardly a slick title but it summarises the report in a long breath. The report talks in fairly woolly terms about how the OMB (Office of Management & Budget) and other federal agencies have taken actions to comply with the ten-year-old E-Government Act but concludes that:

“However, key areas of attention remain to accomplish the act’s purposes of promoting electronic government and use of other technologies. For example, while the federal government continues to take actions to improve transparency through various websites, we have reported on concerns with the accuracy and reliability of this information. Also, OMB has not met the act’s requirement for establishing a website and repository that are to provide information about research and development funded by the federal government, which would assist the public in tracking the government’s investment in basic research.”

The first issue is a matter related to on this blog before that open data is only of value if it is accurate and timely, it also needs to be of value to the citizen or those ensuring accountability. It is no good publishing data if its resultant analysis is of little or no value to the citizen. The second one will be of wider interest, although I am sure substantial duplication and waste would be revealed.

Fascinatingly for those in the UK the report also reveals that “according to a report published as part of the .gov Reform Initiative 56 agencies reported maintaining 1,489 domains and an estimated 11,013 websites” [Emboldening mine]. Although it admits most get to them via search engines, as if the quantity of sites that require maintenance, licensing and hosting does not matter! My personal issue when reading the report was that the action of the OMB issuing a memorandum requesting actions to be carried out by federal bodies would appear to be satisfactory, whether or not they occurred – has anybody checked? The fact that the OMB issues a memo requiring privacy or usability to be suitably managed appears to be enough, whilst I would hope at least a sample (out of the 11k plus) are physically checked for some consistency and compliance.

However, whilst drafting this a Tweet from Alex Howard (aka @digiphile ) points me to another new report – “Civil Society Progress Report on the US National Action Plan” (PDF, 650 Kb, 24 pages) which considers the government of the USA is at least partially meeting most of its targets, although it doesn’t mention opening up spending data on R&D investrments. This report, at least, makes a pretty good summary and advisory note of what to press on with federally in the e-government nation.

Lost in Spain

April 19, 2010

Following the Ethicomp 2010 conference which was a splendid a splendid success, the author like many other delegates is stuck in Spain. There is lots to repeat from the two inch thick conference proceedings, but I can’t do it all on my netbook wandering from hotel to transport operators. So watch this space…I’ll be back shortly

Vote for the Great E-mancipator

October 8, 2009

Vote for the Great E-mancipator in the Computer Weekly 2009 Blog Awards

Vodpod videos no longer available.

more about “Vote for the Great E-mancipator“, posted with vodpod


Digital self-exclusion

June 11, 2009

A new (10 June 2009) report is hot off the Ofcom press. Research by Ipsos Mori on behalf of Ofcom has looked at: Accessing the internet at home A quantitative and qualitative study among people without the internet at home

The 184 page document examines in great detail a statistically significant population, whilst proposing different options  that might encourage people to take up computer usage and broadband. Of the estimated 30% without access it appears that in 42% of cases there is no interest and of the adults who do not have access to the Internet, 43% would remain unconnected even if they were given PC and connection for free.

Whilst nothing to celebrate, these figures do confirm the need to maintain other channels or mediated services through e-channels for the foreseeable future.

Get satisfaction

April 8, 2009

If you go to some companies on the web you will find a satisfaction monitor called “Get Satisfaction“, it describes itself this way: “Get Satisfaction is a community that helps people to get the most from the products they use, and where companies are encouraged to get real with their customers. ” Its a bit like Zendesk, a sort of SaaS (software as a service). There’s a review of this new style of software on ReadWriteWeb.

The other thing I discovered when dealing with one of the companies using this approach was the “Company-Customer Pact“, a little bit like the pledges the police are now using and some other approaches to agreeing a way forward.

Computer Weekly blog awards

August 27, 2008

Despite being shortlisted, the blog didn’t make the top two in the Computer Weekly Blog Awards for 2008, but never mind! Interestingly the winners were both from education with the Microsoft Schools News taking the ‘gold’.

In the meantime I’ll keep up my campaign around metrics in local government service delivery, particularly electronic service delivery and with three dates for presentations already provisionally on the books:

Ethicomp 2008 – University of Mantua, Italy (not me though!)

ESD-Toolkit – Customer Satisfaction work group

EiP Conference – a little session on service delivery sophistry

This should all help develop phase 2 of the research! so please keep comments dropping in!