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Showing posts from 2015

"IT Leadership and Government Data" - Accepting the Challenge

Courtesy of David Eaves  Reactions to talk by David Eaves about the role of the Government IT Director, in general and specifically for Open data. ************************************************************************************* Disclaimer: All of the ideas expressed in this article are my personal statements and opinions, and do not reflect the opinions/statements of the City of Urbana. ************************************************************************************* Recently I was at a conference, ordering a beer, when I fell into a conversation with the person next to me.  From our name tags, I learned that his name was David – and that both of us were speakers.  My name tag identified me as an IT Director, while David was listed as “CEO/Business Development” for his company.  I asked him about his talk. “My theme,” he said, “is that the IT Director has the hardest job around.”  What could I do but agree?  (It’s nice to be vindicated every now and

To the Vendors, to Make Much of Time

http://www.fabiovisentin.com/photos/world/12_751/pink-rose-bud.ashx Vendors: if you are investing in the sponsorship of a conference, then you must want to market to these customers, right? So when you get a “sponsor slot” to speak to the attendees, don’t waste it!     ************************************************************************************* Disclaimer: All of the ideas expressed in this article are my personal statements and opinions, and do not reflect the opinions/statements of the City of Urbana. ************************************************************************************* I attended a conference recently of IT Directors from cities, counties, and villages around Illinois.  What did we hear about (from a vendor who I won’t name here?): mining social media posts, augmented reality, and NASCAR performance measurement.   None of which mean anything to our problems.   For  that you paid several thousand dollars?  (Plus travel costs for your

Let's Make Software Demos Meaningful

Photo: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ahtZayhxb5U This is my second entry* in a series on the software procurement process.  My examples are going to be governmental administrative systems because that’s what I know, but it applies to any kind of software demonstration.    ( * The first entry was about writing software requirements .) ************************************************************************************* Disclaimer: All of the ideas expressed in this article are my personal statements and opinions, and do not reflect the opinions/statements of the City of Urbana. ************************************************************************************* Two opponents prepare for battle.  On one side is a group of novices unfamiliar with the terrain.  Squared off against them are veteran warriors with dozens of notches on their belt. The point is not who will win, but how did the mismatch get to be so bad? And because the contest is a software demons

How to Watch a Movie (At the Art or Anywhere)

Photo Credit: Christopher M. Carignan “Wait,” you say, “first of all I know how to watch a movie. Second, who the hell are you to tell me how to?” It’s a presumptuous title, I know. But I do have some qualifications. I ran Champaign's Art Theater ( arttheater.coop ) for 33 months as my personal business, during which I was responsible for every aspect of the theater – and that was after five years of planning and research. So please consider me your guide for a behind-the-scenes tour of movie exhibition… Before you go to the movie If you get nothing else from this post, remember this: about 75% of people show up in the last 15 minutes before the movie starts. Want to glide in, get a great seat, and have time to pee without missing previews? Go 15 minutes early. Want to wait in line, miss trailers, and have a crappy seat? Go 5 minutes before the start. So plan ahead. Going to eat before the film? Build in time so that you can finish AND PAY without a rush. D

Open for (Data) Business

Image courtesy of the Internet Sharing lessons learned from launching and marketing an Open Data portal, and pondering the similarities with struggles when I opened a business. ************************************************************************************* Disclaimer: All of the ideas expressed in this article are my personal statements and opinions, and do not reflect the opinions/statements of the City of Urbana. ************************************************************************************* When we launched our Open Data site on February 23, I was hopeful that it would grab our citizens’ attention and that usage would launch like a rocket. Well that didn’t happen. Instead, I found out that launching our Open Data site was only an incremental milestone for a larger effort.   This is not “Field of Dreams”… if you build it, they don’t automatically come. For me, this was a familiar feeling.  In 2009 I made a career shift and pursued a passion – I to

My Jerry Maguire Moment

Courtesy Sony Pictures Show Me the Functional Specifications! The challenge of creating RFP specifications for computer systems that are clear and useful. ************************************************************************************* Disclaimer: All of the ideas expressed in this article are my personal statements and opinions, and do not reflect the opinions/statements of the City of Urbana. ************************************************************************************* For the first twenty years of my career I was a consultant who worked on public sector software projects, and for most of those years one of the tasks I did a lot was respond to checklists of functional requirements from RFPs (Requests for Proposals). I read scores of checklists, answered thousands of individual requirements, and performed hundreds of hours of software demonstrations trying to address them in a real-time environment. From this experience, I want to say that the c

Do You Want More?!!!??!

I haven't moved all of my blog entries to this website yet, so here are links to the others... Sanford's Blog - Supplemental   (5/17/2016) Recently, I wrote a post about “The Room” and made the statement that it was one of the greatest movie audience experiences of my life. That got me thinking about what else would round out my top five.  Originally, this was going to be a footnote in the other blog, but I thought that listing them without context was no fun... so here are the other four... Movie Review: The Disaster Artis t (12/12/2017) It pains me to say this because I don't want to dissuade anyone from seeing movies, but here’s my warning: don’t see The Disaster Artist unless you've watched The Room... Trump Transition E-mails - a Quick Take   (12/18/2017) Welcome to the morass that is Government records retention in the digital age.  Because I deal with these discussions in my day job, I was curious about this developing story and anxious to do a litt