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$10,000 Prize For Connecting Businesses With Government Data

samzenpus posted more than 2 years ago | from the working-for-the-man dept.

Government 45

First time accepted submitter InsertCleverUsername writes "The Department of Commerce has announced a $10,000 contest for developers making apps to utilize Commerce and other publicly available data and information to support American businesses. Developers must use at least one Department of Commerce dataset to create an application that assists businesses and/or improves the service delivery of Business.USA.gov to the business community. Developers may choose any platform. A list of developer-friendly data sets can be found on the Business Data and Tools page of Data.gov."

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Just in case you wondered (1, Funny)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 2 years ago | (#39239087)

what government needs all the info about you for.

Woohoo $10,000 (3, Insightful)

GeneralTurgidson (2464452) | more than 2 years ago | (#39239091)

To do a $50,000 contract job plus on ongoing support hours. This is a pretty shitty IT bailout

Re:Woohoo $10,000 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39239111)

To do a $50,000 contract job plus on ongoing support hours.

This is a pretty shitty IT bailout

You mean design a $50,000 contract job, then doing it.

We've paid consultants ~10 g's just to come in and tell us what's possible and available.

Re:Woohoo $10,000 (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39239129)

It's even less than that. $5,000 for first prize, $3,000 for second, and $2,000 for third. So the DOC gets three applications on the cheap. $5,000 is a lot of money in India, but it's chump change in the US.

Re:Woohoo $10,000 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39239235)

$5,000 is a lot of money in India, but it's chump change in the US.

Only if youre filthy rich.

Re:Woohoo $10,000 (1)

Anonymus (2267354) | more than 2 years ago | (#39249961)

For the amount of work required and the skills necessary to build this, a $5000 first prize is chump change. That's about the price something with a chance of winning would be if you were to build it for a paying client, unless you've already got some genius yet simple ideas for government datasets.

You're not guaranteed to win, however. You're not even likely to place. So you've sunk several days or weeks worth of work on something for a very slim chance to get a normal wage for it.

Re:Woohoo $10,000 (1)

Anonymus (2267354) | more than 2 years ago | (#39249995)

I should add, however, that you would get some free advertising/bragging rights for winning something like this, so it could still very well be worth it. Especially if you do get a genius idea for a simple little app you could knock out in a few hours.

It's better than $0 (1)

sirwired (27582) | more than 2 years ago | (#39239491)

Hey $10,000 isn't too bad for the work, at least if you compare it to other things, like the X-Prize.

Re:It's better than $0 (1)

Mariomario (2558403) | more than 2 years ago | (#39241863)

Its not like they are asking for a full program, just a small app. So even 5k is enough.

Re:Woohoo $10,000 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39246661)

$50k to do a simple Google maps mash-up from an XML feed? ...and then Slashdotters, befuddled, wonder why companies outsource development work.

Web services (5, Insightful)

Nerdfest (867930) | more than 2 years ago | (#39239113)

Wouldn't they be further ahead to just publish their data as simple web services as a starting point? I see that some already seem to be, but many are just CSV files, zip files, etc . You never know when new data is available, or there's corrections, etc. It's also a little surprising that the number of downloads for the first file I tried was zero.

Re:Web services (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39239601)

Yes, should not most of the government data be web services?

Re:Web services (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39240243)

Quick'n'dirty solution :) https://developers.google.com/fusiontables/

Wikileaks? (4, Funny)

Alex Belits (437) | more than 2 years ago | (#39239145)

I mean, they do it already.

Did You See the List of Judges? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39239223)

Vivek Kundra is a judge. Enough said.

And? (1)

sirwired (27582) | more than 2 years ago | (#39239535)

I'm not quite sure what you are getting at, AC. So no, enough isn't said.

Re:And? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39247673)

So clearly the contest has no integrity. Vivek Kundra is in no position to judge anything except a bullshitting competition, worm your way out of corruption scandals, and perhaps the best ways to advance you career through schmoozing.

Uh huh (1)

BonThomme (239873) | more than 2 years ago | (#39239261)

"well, we held this competition, and no US citizens applied, so we must have a huge skills shortage...."

One $5k winner? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39239265)

Cheap investment on the government's part.

how about just doing your jobs? (3, Funny)

decora (1710862) | more than 2 years ago | (#39239341)

the way i hear it, thousands of government bureaucrats get a $40,000 "prize" every year, whether they actually accomplish this goal or not.

Re:how about just doing your jobs? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39239945)

Hatred of the government runs deep with this one. Would you rather them hire developers for this tasks? Do you for some reason assume the government bureaucrats should just instantly know how to do this? It seems like a pretty cheap way to get the task done. Companies in the private sector frequently spend more than that to accomplish the same thing.

Re:how about just doing your jobs? (1)

superwiz (655733) | more than 2 years ago | (#39241693)

If one developer can do the job that 5 bureaucrats cannot, then why not fire 5 bureaucrats and give their salary to 1 developer? Or is it written somewhere that bureaucrats must remain employed while developers must continue working for peanuts?

Re:how about just doing your jobs? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39241837)

Or is it written somewhere that bureaucrats must remain employed...

Yes, it is written. Thank their union for that.

Re:how about just doing your jobs? (1)

Dutchmaan (442553) | more than 2 years ago | (#39241905)

Just need to play devils advocate here, so I guess it needs to be said that maybe the five bureaucrats, might be in charge of more than just the development of one app. Now I'm all for efficiency in government, but it seems there's no pleasing some people. You want government to spend less, you got it, can't complain about overspending. so then you move onto something you CAN complain about. Just cut to the chase already and say you want government for defense and nothing more and save everyone some reading and typing.

Re:how about just doing your jobs? (1)

superwiz (655733) | more than 2 years ago | (#39242265)

But this isn't government spending less. This is government employing highly-paid bureaucrats (and they are highly paid at this point) to figure out how to pay less for highly skilled private sector work. They are not replacing people with lesser skill by people with higher skills (that would be efficient). They are offering peanuts for mundane work (ie, nothing innovate there) which requires professional experience. It's one thing for the government to sponsor basic research (because business won't invest in that which won't be profitable for another 50 years). It's quite another to try to create illusion of attempting efficiency while maintaining and increasing the earnings of all those entrenched in the apparatus. They are doing the latter here. Instead of hiring someone to think of ways to get free tech work, why not fire those who can't do tech work and hire those who can do tech work and can think of ways to use tech to make government more efficient? In other words, replace some dead wood with someone who can code this problem up.

Oh, THAT will NEVER happen... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39246389)

The "billionaire boys club" cliques that "run the show" out there nowadays ( & right into the ground) will NEVER "give up the ghost" on their cushy billet(s).

From THEIR "pov"? It's like this:

"Why know how to do something yourself" (especially if you're a supervisor, who SHOULD know the job as well as or BETTER than subordinates in MY book @ least, hence WHY he's a "superior") ", when you can 'delegate authority'" (same as a babysitter & just about as skilled/educated too) and NOT HAVE TO KNOW HOW TO DO A DAMNED THING?"

In fact, I confronted a 'superior' of mine about 12 yrs. ago & said:

"How the HELL are you my 'superior' when you can't even DO THIS JOB YOURSELF?"

His answer? See the above on "delegating authority"... a stack of TRULY, dead-wood, just like you said... & it's ALL OVER THE PLACE out there - goofs like that?? They make HUGELY shitty decisions, because they do NOT understand what it is they are "managing"...

E.G.-> It would be much like placing myself into a surgeon's shoes & being told "perform this coronary bypass"... well, heck - the poor bastard on the table would DIE were I "@ the wheel", & the same with our "fine leadership" (especially in the information systems/comp. sci. area, largely - no, not ALL cases, but the majority & this is myself speaking from professional experience in this art & science since 1994).

* The world today is more than ever "It's WHO YOU KNOW, not what you know" b.s. & look @ the results!

APK

P.S.=> Face it, though I *think* you know this already:

The "cliques" ARE in control, the "connected people" etc./et al, & they WILL (and are) running the show into the ground rather than setting things straight!

Simply since "setting things straight" would require that 'superiors' TRULY BE, superior to their subordinates in various departments and that they actually UNDERSTAND and HAVE DONE THE JOB THEMSELVES... largely/again - this is NOT the case, especially in comp. sci. related fields!

(You realize that this is NOT how it really works and WHY things are shitting the bed so badly economically - this goes STRAIGHT UP to the "political level" where perhaps the BIGGEST dunces & fakes exist - hell, look @ them: Barely ANY of them understand economics, & LOOK @ THE RESULTS OF IT!)

That's just largely fact (and a KNOWN weakness of gov't. bureaucracy & leadership - our 'leadership' isn't QUALIFIED to lead us, period - & imo, it's WHY they fear guys like Ron Paul, who actually DOES have a grasp of things @ that level... let a guy like that into office? He'd be killed most likely, because he'd 'upset the easy ripoff profit money applecart' most likely...))... apk

First prize an incredible $5K (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39239401)

I just called my boss and told him I was quitting to work on this competition full time.

Just give me the money (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39239403)

I could do a lot with $10k.

Why should I have to "earn" it by participating in this pointless exercise when people "earn" far more than that for doing far less?

And what is up with all these anti-American stories? It seems like everything on Slashdot lately has been about how retarded Americans are.

Re:Just give me the money (1)

crafty.munchkin (1220528) | more than 2 years ago | (#39242243)

Simple solution, get your retarded country to stop being so retarded all the time! ;)

mod uyp (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39239419)

poor dead last theya are C^ome

Shows what PHB's want to pay for software. (3, Insightful)

fhage (596871) | more than 2 years ago | (#39239481)

6. Intellectual Property Rights: All submissions to the DOC Business Apps Challenge remain the intellectual property of the individuals or organizations that developed them. By registering, consenting to the terms of the challenge, and entering a Submission, however, the Participant agrees that DOC reserves an irrevocable, nonexclusive, royalty-free license to use, copy, distribute to the public, create derivative works from, and publicly display and perform a Submission for a period of one year starting on the date of the announcement of contest winners.

So, for $10k they get bunches of apps which can be distributed royalty-free for a year. If an app is popular, they can change the labels (create derivative works) and continue on. Only 3 developers get any money. Everyone else may have their their app distributed with no compensation.

If you plan on paying off loans or feeding your family by developing software, you should avoid these contests. Leave the submissions to the 9th grade web design classes.

Re:Shows what PHB's want to pay for software. (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39240703)

However, If you wish to make a name for yourself and can create a high quality application that is adopted by the federal government...
I think you'd be showing future employers (or venture(vulture) capitalists) that you have the ability to create stellar applications.

Sometimes doing something for advertising is more important than for the pure profit. Comments like yours never seem to take that into account

Re:Shows what PHB's want to pay for software. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39241493)

Everyone else may have their their app distributed with no compensation.

Kind of like almost all other Open Source projects, no?

Re:Shows what PHB's want to pay for software. (2)

parkinglot777 (2563877) | more than 2 years ago | (#39246373)

So, for $10k they get bunches of apps which can be distributed royalty-free for a year. If an app is popular, they can change the labels (create derivative works) and continue on.

I agree with you all of it but the part when you talk about "derivative works" because it is not correct. You cannot modify a copyrighted work (derivative work) and claim that the new modified work is yours. The copyright law covers that part as well.

NYC did something similar with poor data (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39239865)

NYC had a similar contest. http://nycbigapps.com/ [nycbigapps.com] The data they gave access to was quite useless, though. e.g. a database of city events which only had a bout a dozen entries. These federal datasets look a bit more promising at first glance.

SIGH (1)

koan (80826) | more than 2 years ago | (#39239893)

Ties ins with business and government data, privatized police forces and military, Super PACS, we are living in a Plutocracy.

Re:SIGH (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39240813)

Businesses who want the data already snork it in. I worked on a project that used tiger data for years (in about 5 different ways no less). It was one of the main selling points of the software.

To think businesses would not use the data? Hogwash. They will pay someone to type it in if they have to. The gov on the other hand many times makes it extremely difficult to GET the data in the first place. There is still lots of data sitting in cardboard boxes on some shelf in some basement. Most of the digitization of that has happened comes from companies making an effort to 'unlock' that very data.

Re:SIGH (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39260763)

we are living in a Plutocracy.

No call it what it really is. A Fascist State.

Trusting gov for data access is a bad, bad idea (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39239939)

Note: I understand the anecdotal nature of this comment. The problematic, US Government (USG) employees (mentally retired but still obstructing progress) are what we call "institutionalized."

This program, to pay people to develop apps based USG data sets and applications, is not a good idea.

USG cannot and will not guarantee access-to nor permanence-of data and applications.

Engineering firms used data sets and applications via analog or digital files for years. Engineers and firms swapped their copies of data and some programs.

USG decided it would 'help'. USG adopted data sets and applications and hosted them.

Organizations built applications based upon USG-hosted data. Organizations built applications based upon applications built upon USG data.

After a few iterations of Federal employees and administration changes, unilaterally, USG personnel decided either it cost too much to host the data or no one used the data or no one should be allowed to access to the data, and, USG cut off the data and applications. (USG employees exacerbated the problem when they declared public domain data to be proprietary property of USG. "We're not sharing, and, it's illegal for you to share!")

Suddenly, applications around the world crashed. The underlying software crashed because USG-hosted data was inaccessible. The meta software crashed because underlying software crashed.

Users revolted against USG.

USG relented a little. Some data and apps became available - if you applied for access and a USG employee's arbitrary decision deemed you worthy.

However, realizing the unreliability of politicians in charge of data, applications, science, and 'approval', engineers returned to swapping their copies of data and programs.

Trusting USG to guarantee access and permanence of data is a bad idea.

This program, to pay people to develop apps based upon probably transient and spurious USG data sets and applications, is a bad, bad idea.

An independent-host or revolving-host escrow repository of data and source code could be more reliable.

When someone says, "I'm from the government and I'm here to help.", grab you data and source code and RUN!

Why link to the blog? (2)

tomhath (637240) | more than 2 years ago | (#39240453)

The article links to a White House blog, which is nothing more than a parroting and link to the real information [challenge.gov] . Must be an election year.

Only for US "entities" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39242955)

What you failed to mention is that, to be eligible, one has to be a US citizen/resident or company. Why was this info even posted here? This is an international site, or so I thought. Frankly, I don't see many /. posts regarding business opportunities for, say, Saudi Arabian or Uzbekistan citizens.

Re:Only for US "entities" (1)

M0j0_j0j0 (1250800) | more than 2 years ago | (#39243267)

Didn't read the article, but for 10k I actually thought the target was for India developers.

Pocket change (1)

maple_shaft (1046302) | more than 2 years ago | (#39246313)

This amount is laughable. I have a few ideas for web crawler algorithms that can compile specific government data across single US government agency sites. If i were to package them into subscription based web services then I could hopefully make 50 times that by starting a business.

Solving other people's problems is good exercise (1)

anyaristow (1448609) | more than 2 years ago | (#39246573)

I once tried to convince someone trying to get into programming after a career of underemployment that programming was about solving other people's problems. If you can't find satisfaction over solving problems you didn't imagine yourself, you're not going to like programming for other people. As he was coming up with his portfolio project to demonstrate his knowledge I tried to convince him to solve a problem potential employers could relate to. But he thought it more important to bring his vision to the world. So he wrote a web-based dice game.

This is a great project for someone looking to show potential employers they know how to solve problems. Winning would just be gravy.

Conflict of interest? (1)

3seas (184403) | more than 2 years ago | (#39247115)

Perhaps we should change the historic documents to read of the business, for the business, by the business. And the people pay taxes to be the enemy.

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