Only problem is .. not really clear it has one.

For my call to expertise on such issues, the first stop is always Michael Geist’s Blog.

In his comments following the recent policy decision:

It seems appropriate that on the day the CRTC released its decision, a new study was published that found Canadians now spend more time online than watching television. While the world is increasingly moving online, the CRTC decision acts as if the Internet scarcely exists.

In a pure ‘value for money’ look, it is very hard to justify a $60 to $100 cable bill. The limitation seems to be live events such as sports. Short of those, there really isn’t anything on the TV that can’t be had in a more convenient form elsewhere. has gone Drupal. After months of planning, says an Obama Administration source, the White House has ditched the proprietary content management system that had been in place since the days of the Bush Administration in favor of the latest version of the open-source Drupal software, as the AP alluded to in its reporting several minutes ago.

via Goes Drupal [Updated] | techPresident.

While the utility of Open Source software has always been clear,  public sector organizations have not adopted them due to concerns over supportability and the vagaries of the procurement process.

The old joke used to be ‘no one got fired for buying IBM’ – this was the sense that going with a name brand was insulation from getting caught with a non-functioning product. In the incredibly risk-averse government sectors this is still a common attitude.

The second problem is the procurement of ‘solutions’. Government purchasing has frequently been tainted by claims of incompetence, ineptitude to down right corruption. Most of this comes from criticism of ‘bad procurement choices’. The fact it government procurement is seldom anyones ‘choice’ it is a competition where the scoring mechanism are set up ahead of time. At the end, you look up at the scoreboard and whoever has the most points wins.

This works well for hard goods, commodity items, and services with simple deliverables. It is not great for complex solutions where the best way to do something is not always clear before you look at the alternatives. To write a procurement after reviewing the options tends to look, to an outside critic, as bid fixing.

Open source solutions, where consulting services are your biggest cost doesn’t fit into this procurement model. It is much simpler to ask for a finished product and score the solution on what you see. In reality these ‘off the shelf’ solutions are seldom ‘off the shelf’. They need modification and configuration to work in an enterprise environment. It has only been recently that the idea of a procurement where the end result is not pre-defined has become an option. So called Joint-solution Procurements allow the selection of a provider based on capability then work with that provider on a solution.

Hopefully this high visibility endorsement of an open source solution will signal the build vs buy decision is again a legitimate question.

The long running story of the San Francisco Network Admin continues. 12 months in jail awaiting a trial because bail was set at $5 Million. Now all the hacking charges have been dropped only one charge regarding withholding password access remains.

A San Francisco judge tossed out three hacking charges Friday against a jailed former San Francisco city computer engineer, but preserved a lone count that he deliberately locked authorities out of the city’s main network last year.

via Judge tosses much of S.F. computer-hijack case.

First one to make a “Quality adjusted life year” calculator app for the iPhone wins a free doughnut.

Credits to Talking Point Memo and Daring Fireball

The U.K.’s National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) basically figures out who deserves treatment by using a cost-utility analysis based on the “quality adjusted life year.”

via Editorials, Political Cartoons, and Polls from Investor’s Business Daily — How House Bill Runs Over Grandma.

Starting to see stuff out for the upcoming Provincial Election. Following the recent US E-lection, it is safe to say that we are going to get more web-friendly electionering this time around.

In addition to the first online registation system for voters, the regular web will provide a large chunk of the information delivery. I’m a fan of as the home of all the ‘inside Victoria” stuff. The regular media outlets, the party web sites, and Google News round out the top hitters here.

The online sources, whether the more classic website or the more blog-like commentaries, should be well represented across the whole political range.

Probably the most hyped technology from the US election – Twitter – will make a appearence in force in the next 6 weeks. I’ve updated my twitter to follow @ publiceyeonline and @VaughnPalmer
The local newspaper (or at least someone who reads it) has done a great job with updates @timescolonist

If you want a different point of view there are a number of electronic publications such as The Tyee .

The sleeper technology is going to be the media (audio and video). Will podcast and livestreaming become part of campaign coverage? Will it be generated by the parties, the large media outlets, or relatively independent third parties.

Next: The online candiate checklist.