Bobby Caudill

August 7, 2009

Social media for government is here, so what’s all the fuss about??

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Should government use Twitter? Can you really say ANYTHING in 140 characters? Facebook, how can that be a business tool? It’s for college kids to share stories and pictures about their drunken exploits. And blogs? Well, who cares what I have to say?!? (spoken from the perspective of potential government bloggers)

Here’s some more FUD (fear, uncertainty and doubt for the acronym challenged):

* Social media is insecure!
* What a time waster!
* I know my employees are going to say something they shouldn’t!
* Eh, this technology is for kids, mine use it at home every day.
* I can’t be bothered to learn yet another technology

Ok, so, I’m sure you get the point. Anytime something new comes along, there will be those who will do all they can to put up road blocks. It is a common response from some people when facing something unfamiliar. However, on the flip side, there are the innovators and early adopters to balance the FUD with hype. It’s this community of people who typically believe so deeply in a particular idea that they tend to see it as an answer to all things! Of course, over time, as a new idea becomes more acceptable and adopted for use by a larger population, the fear begins to minimize along with the hype.

6:42 AM Permalink
June 16, 2009

PDF and XML – They compete don’t they?

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As an employee of Adobe and a LONG time user of the Internet, I am a big fan of PDF. I wanted to make sure I made that point clear right up front. However, as a technologist and a LONG time user of the Internet, I am just as big a fan of XML! And likewise, I wanted to make THAT clear as well.

Before jumping in, I would like to refer you over to a couple, somewhat more historic blog entries from one of my colleagues, Jim King. Jim is a PDF Architect and a Senior Principal Scientist for Adobe and most certainly knows this topic better than most anyone I know. Check these entries out – XML forXML Documents. I bring these ideas back to the forefront as it seems perhaps the lessons need to be revisited within the context of open and transparent government.

9:16 AM Permalink
February 4, 2009

A Renewed Focus

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As we all know, FOIA has been with us for many years, over 40 years in fact, and while it has always been taken seriously, the Obama Administration’s focus on transparency has given this long-standing act a boost. As I was cruising the news this morning, I came across an interesting article from FederalNewsRadio (http://tinyurl.com/deanrd). In this interview with Linda Koontz, the former Director of Information Services Issues with the Government Accountability Office, she pointed out that GAO has difficulties measuring an agency’s compliance with the FOIA laws. She also mentioned backlogs measured in months and years. I guess I can think of valid reasons for such backlogs, however, I can also think of possible solutions to help speed the process, as well as make it more accountable for compliance purposes.

2:35 AM Permalink
January 26, 2009

Small packages…..

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I was reading this article earlier today and it sparked a few thoughts about netbooks. I’ve been in the tech industry for over 25 years now and I’ve witnessed so many innovations. Today, we have a very interesting combination of powerful, yet flexible ‘servers’ or services (feel free to substitute your favorite term here), powerful yet highly mobile devices, relatively stable (at least in the more populated areas) and affordable wireless networks and access to ubiquitous ‘client-side’ technologies (Yes, I’m referring to Reader, Flash and AIR!) that enable the creation of sophisticated, yet easy to use applications.

11:04 AM Permalink
January 23, 2009

Are Federal Web Sites Really Bad?

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As I was cruising the news this morning, I came across an article on nextgov.com referring to the quality of federal web sites. (http://tinyurl.com/d7uq93) In the article, Allan Holmes discusses a few of the challenges that face government agencies as they take services and information online. Mr. Holmes also presents somewhat opposing views from other bloggers on the topic. Rather than debate or comment on the views presented, I’d like to make an additional point, specifically regarding experience, user experience to be precise.

12:15 PM Permalink
January 18, 2009

Not all ‘old’ ideas are bad!

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Since the election last fall, there’s been a deluge of information, opinions and speculation regarding the priorities of our new administration. As a citizen of the United States, I have my own thoughts and opinions on what the administration should concentrate on first, the areas of the agenda that I personally think will have the greatest positive impact on our society and, well, me and my family in particular. At the end of the day, it will be folks with much larger voices than mine that truly dictate the priorities, however, that will not prevent me from sharing my thoughts.

As a technologist, in particular, a solutions architect, I am generally predisposed to looking for common use cases, patterns, and the ability to reuse anything of value that currently exists. Why recreate the wheel, right? So, from this perspective I dove into the wide array of potential initiatives that have been discussed in the past months. I cruised back through magazine articles, blogs, forums, Change.gov, anyplace that could offer ideas to toss into the mix. If you’ve been following the various discussions, you will not be too terribly surprised with what I pulled out. Here are a few of the ideas and challenges that seem to getting the most press:

* Heathcare – Electronic Medical Records
* The Economy – address the credit crisis, help for homeowners
* Veterans needs – faster benefits delivery
* Work/Life balance – more time with family
* Homeland Security – information collection and sharing
* Technology – cybersecurity, social networking
* Green – telework, environment
* Increased Efficiencies AND Increased Effectiveness – more with less, lower cost

8:42 AM Permalink
September 25, 2008

Adobe and geospatial? Really?

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So, Adobe and geospatial? Is Adobe really thinking of jumping into the geospatial market to compete with the likes of ESRI and Intergraph? Well, of course not. However, when thinking about Adobe’s focus on engagement and our mission to revolutionize the way people interact with information, it really makes sense that our technologies become interesting and useful to those needing to share and use this kind of information. For today’s entry, I’m going to begin setting context for you by outlining the various types of users in this community. I am going to generalize the users into three categories; geospatial experts, intermediate geospatial users and casual users and then provide a high level overview of who these people are and what they do, geospatially speaking of course.

11:57 AM Permalink
September 8, 2008

Who needs to address the Engagement Gap?

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Previously, Rob Pinkerton wrote our first installment on engagement for government. Rob mentioned how the topic is somewhat abstract so I’m opting to share the story of how we came to the conclusion that engagement is important to government. Winding back the clock almost two years, there was a small group of people at Adobe investigating the concept of “engagement applications”. I recall many meetings, each starting in the same way, with the need to define the idea because there was someone new in the room. The idea was very fresh and came at many of the challenges in government from a very different perspective, primarily from the perspective of the citizen experience. At first, it seemed like an uphill battle, most people would eventually “get” the idea, but, not without a considerable amount of discussion.

12:51 PM Permalink