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Obama To Agencies: Optimize Web Content For Mobile

samzenpus posted more than 2 years ago | from the phone-of-the-people dept.

Government 322

CWmike writes "President Barack Obama has ordered all major government agencies to make two key services available on mobile phones within a year, in an effort to embrace a growing trend toward Web surfing on mobile devices. Obama, in a directive issued Wednesday, also ordered federal agencies to create websites to report on their mobile progress. The websites are due within 90 days. Innovators in the private sector and the government have used the Internet and powerful computers to improve customer service, but 'it is time for the federal government to do more,' Obama said in the memo. 'For far too long, the American people have been forced to navigate a labyrinth of information across different government programs in order to find the services they need.'"

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That'll go well. (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40099337)

This president sure has some really scatter-shot priorities. It's like he's just shooting at everything and hoping that by the time he's out of office, SOMETHING is going to stick.

I'm sure this will be entirely reasonable, too. It won't be broken like ready.gov and all the other sites they spent tens of millions on. And I'm sure it'll only cost tens off millions more to make the accessible via mobile.

Also . . . I can get EVERYTHING via my iPhone, as long as it doesn't use flash. This isn't 2001, when phones required customized web-content to display it properly. This is just a giant hand-out -- to some buddy, no doubt. Bush had Haliburton to hand sweet deals to and Obama has... whoever.

Re:That'll go well. (5, Insightful)

coinreturn (617535) | more than 2 years ago | (#40099581)

Oh, quit your hate rant. He's trying to drag the government into the 21st century. He knows that mobile phones are everywhere and wants to make the government more accessible.

Re:That'll go well. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40099605)

All hail King Obama! Americans are getting so subservient especially the young ones, more so on here.

Re:That'll go well. (-1, Flamebait)

thomasw_lrd (1203850) | more than 2 years ago | (#40099635)

I wish people would make fun of your "religion" like they do mine.

One more "religion" to add to the list, AGW, anti-AGW, Anti-Nukes, and Obama.

The OP didn't say anything that people didn't say against Bush, hell he even said something bad about Bush.

Re:That'll go well. (5, Insightful)

coinreturn (617535) | more than 2 years ago | (#40099939)

I wish people would make fun of your "religion" like they do mine.

One more "religion" to add to the list, AGW, anti-AGW, Anti-Nukes, and Obama.

The OP didn't say anything that people didn't say against Bush, hell he even said something bad about Bush.

WTF are you talking about? I didn't make fun of any "religion" - unless your "religion" is one of spouting hate - the only thing I put down. If you think there aren't Obama haters out there - who will say anything no matter how ridiculous - then you must have your fingers in your ears and your your eyes closed. I don't think that this tiny detail is worth ranting against ANY president.

Re:That'll go well. (1)

thomasw_lrd (1203850) | more than 2 years ago | (#40099975)

And you missed the point.

Re:That'll go well. (1)

coinreturn (617535) | more than 2 years ago | (#40100061)

And you missed the point.

Which was?

Re:That'll go well. (0, Offtopic)

cayenne8 (626475) | more than 2 years ago | (#40100087)

If you think there aren't Obama haters out there....

I don't think most of us hate Obama. Heck, I think most of us would likely enjoy his company for a couple of beers...he seems like a nice guy.

He just makes for a LOUSY president.

While I like him as a guy...I'd vote for a small soap dish over him in the upcoming election. Anybody but Obama.

Re:That'll go well. (2)

arth1 (260657) | more than 2 years ago | (#40099717)

More likely, he's mostly accessing internet from his smartphone, and is looking out for number one.

If he were genuinely interested in making the government more accessible, he would have told them to adhere to strict HTML standards without vendor extensions, and W3C accessibility guidelines, so they work with any browser, whether mobile or not, or not even existing yet, instead of tailoring it to specific clients or types of clients.

But as I said, he cares about number one and not the public. He's a career politician, for cripes' sake, so that should go without saying.

Re:That'll go well. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40099795)

Do you really not suspect that you're completely out of your mind with Obama derangement syndrome?

It's absurd to suggest that the change was mandated so that he could personally access stuff from his phone.

Re:That'll go well. (5, Insightful)

jdgeorge (18767) | more than 2 years ago | (#40099829)

Any president would do this, regardless of party, for the same reasons Obama is: People want it, it's entirely reasonable, it's politically inoffensive, and both parties support it.

Re:That'll go well. (1)

AtomicAdam (959649) | more than 2 years ago | (#40100165)

Any president would do this, regardless of party, for the same reasons Obama is: People want it, it's entirely reasonable, it's politically inoffensive, and both parties support it.

Sounds like a disaster in the making.

Re:That'll go well. (0, Offtopic)

BlackSnake112 (912158) | more than 2 years ago | (#40099911)

He definitely cares about himself first. He care about getting reelected. He wants the younger generation vote. The younger generation is more likely to use smart phones. Obama is probable thinking if I do something that the younger people like/want they will vote for me.

I doubt Obama is reading slashdot but anyway...

It is the economy! Work on that first!

Re:That'll go well. (1)

LoadWB (592248) | more than 2 years ago | (#40099617)

Also . . . I can get EVERYTHING via my iPhone, as long as it doesn't use flash. This isn't 2001, when phones required customized web-content to display it properly. This is just a giant hand-out -- to some buddy, no doubt. Bush had Haliburton to hand sweet deals to and Obama has... whoever.

I recall that the EBS is to be retired from TV and radio, which are ubiquitous technologies, to cell phone communications, which are not. If that does happen then cell phones will become a safety necessity and more phones will have to be given out (subsidized.) More than likely, these won't be Android phones or iPhones but rather feature phones (which still exist in 2012 and still hold a large part of the market) which do not have full browsers built-in. To accommodate those phones and provide essential gubment services to the masses, the websites will have to offer mobile versions.

Then the masses will have quick access to features such as flag@whitehouse.gov and so on.

Re:That'll go well. (1)

jc42 (318812) | more than 2 years ago | (#40099681)

Also . . . I can get EVERYTHING via my iPhone, as long as it doesn't use flash.

Yeah, you can get it, but there are still discussions about how the iPhone's Safari screws up ordinary text. My wife has an iPhone, but doesn't use Safari much because of this. The problem, of course, is Safari's practice of formatting a text page for a window a lot bigger than the iPhone's screen, then shrinking it to fit, making the font size so tiny as to be illegible. Or you can enlarge it, but then you have to pan left and right for every line of text, making reading it a PITA.

When the first iPhone came out, I noticed this quickly while testing sites formatted for mobile devices, and asked about it on a number of forums. The only "solution" anyone knew was to test the UA string for "iPhone", and if found, add a <meta name="viewport" content="width=320"> to the header section. This worked as long as all iPhones had the same screen width, though it only worked for portrait layout, and gave an too-large font size for landscape. But eventually, new iPhones appeared with smaller pixels, so that kludge no longer works.

So is there a known fix for this problem with current iPhones? If the web had been developed by a sane community, we'd have long ago required that graphical apps like browsers send their window size to the server, but that has never been done. We'd also refuse to call things that misrender text this badly a "browser", since the primary design goal of the original browser was to format text legibly in whatever screen space they had available, but that seems to have been forgotten.

In any case, the iPhone's default browser fails the "It Just Works" test for ordinary text, and nobody seems to know how to fix it. Of course, I could be wrong, and a fix exists now. I'd be happy to hear this, if someone could tell me (or my wife ;-) how to make it work right.

(I've heard rumors that with html5, JS can detect the window size and adjust for it. I'm currently trying to discover how this can be done, but I haven't yet stumbled across anything more that claims that it's possible. That isn't very useful if you can't find the details that make it work. If it is doable, that would be yet another reason to switch to html5 right now. ;-)

(I've also encouraged iPhone users to install Opera, which doesn't have this problem, but only a few have paid any attention. "I don't listen to Opera music." ;-)

Re:That'll go well. (1)

KlomDark (6370) | more than 2 years ago | (#40100135)

The answer to your question is CSS3 Media Queries, which allows you to determine the viewport size and use CSS specifically designed for that viewport size.

I know this will twist your iPhone into knots, but here's a good walkthru (including iPhones and Androids) on Microsoft's site: http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/magazine/hh882445.aspx [microsoft.com]

Re:That'll go well. (4, Interesting)

Sloppy (14984) | more than 2 years ago | (#40099711)

I'm sure this will be entirely reasonable, too. It won't be broken like ready.gov and all the other sites they spent tens of millions on. And I'm sure it'll only cost tens off millions more to make the accessible via mobile.

Actually, if there's a silver lining here (which happens to address that very point), it's the 90 day deadline. One thing I've learned is that if something needs to be ready in one year, it is pretty much guaranteed to suck and overrun its deadline (i.e. it won't really be ready in a year) and have its best features neutered and a lot of worthless crap done to it.

OTOH if someone needs something in two weeks, the techs just say "well, we have to do this, and we're already running out of time" and get it done and there aren't any meetings and expansion and nobody gets to add delays to it.

90 days is a bit long for this kind of thing, but it might be short enough that the job can get done. (30 days would be better, though.)

The constants above are obviously an over-generalization; the Apollo Program couldn't be done in 90 days better than in one year, though doing it in one year just might be better than doing it in ten years. But for making websites modern-touch-mobile friendly/formatted (as opposed to merely "working") setting the deadline to a few weeks is .. about right.

Re:That'll go well. (2)

million_monkeys (2480792) | more than 2 years ago | (#40100017)

Actually, if there's a silver lining here (which happens to address that very point), it's the 90 day deadline. One thing I've learned is that if something needs to be ready in one year, it is pretty much guaranteed to suck and overrun its deadline (i.e. it won't really be ready in a year) and have its best features neutered and a lot of worthless crap done to it.

OTOH if someone needs something in two weeks, the techs just say "well, we have to do this, and we're already running out of time" and get it done and there aren't any meetings and expansion and nobody gets to add delays to it.

That's a great point. I've noticed that as well. Only objection I'd raise is that injecting a project with a short deadline causes delays in every other ongoing project as people have to stop whatever else they were working on to get this done. Of course if you happen to have people sitting around doing nothing, then you're not interrupting anything.

Re:That'll go well. (1, Troll)

cayenne8 (626475) | more than 2 years ago | (#40100149)

90 days is a bit long for this kind of thing, but it might be short enough that the job can get done.

90 days? Are you insane???

90 days is barely enough time to gather up some people to form a committee to pick the board to evaluate the letter head logo design contractor bids (ensuring , of course...that these contract bids being considered are ONLY from minority, female owned companies)....

What are you smoking??? Care must be done to do this correctly....the Federal Way!!

Where the US Gov uses SWF (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 2 years ago | (#40099719)

Also . . . I can get EVERYTHING via my iPhone, as long as it doesn't use flash.

Guess what the National Weather Service's radar loops use.

You seem to want to imply they use flash.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40100101)

Also . . . I can get EVERYTHING via my iPhone, as long as it doesn't use flash.

Guess what the National Weather Service's radar loops use.

From the looks of things [weather.gov] , they're nothing but animated GIFs [weather.gov] .

Re:That'll go well. (4, Interesting)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 2 years ago | (#40099793)

Yes every decision the president makes has this huge political meaning...
He was probably at a meeting, and one of his aids tried to look up the data on his phone and couldn't access it because it was flash... And Obama was like. Why don't we make sure all the government websites work on mobile browsers?

When asked people they didn't come up with a good argument against the idea so he put it into practice.

Re:That'll go well. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40100069)

He was probably at a meeting, and one of his aids tried to look up the data on his phone and couldn't access it because it was flash... And Obama was like. Why don't we make sure all the government websites work on mobile browsers?

So we're going to waste a couple billion dollars to work around the fact that Apple is too cheap to license Flash for their overpriced smart phone?

I have a better idea, how about we just mandate people use cell phones that support the actual web, and if assholes want to use iPhads, they can just fuck off. Saves a couple billion in federal money, too! It's win-win!

Why do I have this image... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40099347)

Obama said in the memo. 'For far too long, the American people have been forced to navigate a labyrinth of information across different government programs in order to find the services they need.'"

Dance the magic dance... -David Bowie

Re:Why do I have this image... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40099599)

"Hogwart!"
"It's Hoggle!"

treat the symptom not the problem... (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40099353)

The fact that users are forced to navigate a labyrinth means that the government is trying to do to much.

Foresight? (1)

mcwop (31034) | more than 2 years ago | (#40099357)

"I applaud the government for having the foresight and initiative to develop a comprehensive strategy to advance of some of the most attractive attributes of today's communications solutions," he said in an email. "The strategy that they have developed, in collaboration with industry, clearly emphasizes the need to provide reliable, secure, and cost effective access to mission-critical and citizen-centric services anytime, anywhere."
.
Dude, the mobile revolution has been going on for years.

Re:Foresight? (2)

Grave (8234) | more than 2 years ago | (#40099633)

Yeah, a couple of years. Not decades. By government standards, taking action now is actually pre-emptive!

Re:Foresight? (1)

Jack9 (11421) | more than 2 years ago | (#40099647)

> Dude, the mobile revolution has been going on for years.

This is not a long time in terms of technology maturity. This is not a measurable amount of time in the eyes of the US Government.

Re:Foresight? (1)

mcwop (31034) | more than 2 years ago | (#40100115)

I would disagree. 1) Been 5 years since the iPhone came out. 2) Mobile growth has been exponential both in adoption and pace of innovation compared to almost any personal technology I have seen. Sure we are still in the early innings, but I hope anyone involved in tech recognized the potential at least one year after the iPhone release.

Re:Foresight? (1)

C_amiga_fan (1960858) | more than 2 years ago | (#40099723)

While I think Barack Obama is actually George Bush in disguise, I think you're being unfair. The government started setting-up websites as early as 1995 when nobody was sure if this "web thing" would take off or just be a place for geeks (like BBSes and Usenet had been). I would call that foresight.

Beauacracy (5, Insightful)

MikeMacK (788889) | more than 2 years ago | (#40099359)

'For far too long, the American people have been forced to navigate a labyrinth of information across different government programs in order to find the services they need.'"

Or perhaps we need to simplify the number of "programs", that might help too.

Re:Beauacracy (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40099575)

So which programs do you ditch, and how would it help? How would eliminating farm subsidies help someone find information on WIC checks?

Knee-jerk anti-government responses may be great for karma-whoring, but there's no substance there. There may be a few edge cases where programs aren't pulling their weight and should be cut, but the vast majority of the government's efforts go into very important programs like Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, food stamps, etc. Dragging those programs into the 20th century is commendable.

Re:Beauacracy (2, Insightful)

sycodon (149926) | more than 2 years ago | (#40099613)

People like you have been bitching about knee-jerk anti-government responses for decades.

Now look what we have...an annual budget of over three trillion dollars (thanks to baseline budgeting, it's here to stay).

I have a better idea. How about YOU make a case for the programs you want to keep. All of them.

See ya next decade, 'cause it will take you that long.

Re:Beauacracy (2)

artor3 (1344997) | more than 2 years ago | (#40099735)

People already made the case for them, that's why they're law. If you want to get rid of them, you have to make a case for that. We don't just reset the government every time some asshole demands it.

If you don't like any of it, then you're free to leave. I'm sure you can find yourself a utopia without any government services.

Re:Beauacracy (0)

elgeeko.com (2472782) | more than 2 years ago | (#40099923)

Lobbyists already made the case for them, that's why they're law. If you want to get rid of them, you have to quit voting in the same corrupt politicians who are more than willing to spend money we don't have to make the socialists happy.

FTFY

Re:Beauacracy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40099757)

Other way around, people like YOU have been asking for justification for programs... as if they'll ever come back with one.

While you're waiting for that answer, the spending continues.

You know Popeye the sailor man? He has this friend Wimpy, who goes "I'll pay you Tuesday for a Hamburger today"

You're the guy who keeps waiting on Tuesday.

Keep telling yourself you got a good idea there. He's enjoying his burgers

Re:Beauacracy (0)

thomasw_lrd (1203850) | more than 2 years ago | (#40099643)

Get rid of food stamps.

Re:Beauacracy (1)

Phelan (30485) | more than 2 years ago | (#40099737)

Yeah, screw poor children! Why don't they get jobs.

Re:Beauacracy (1)

thomasw_lrd (1203850) | more than 2 years ago | (#40099849)

Actually my thoughts ate a little more complicated than that.

To get rid of food stamps would actually cost more most under my plan in the short term.

The first step is to hire more social workers to actually visit food stamp houses. They would buy the food for the children and possibly even cook for them. The parents would not be allowed to eat unless they actually needed the food (truly disabled, people who are honestly trying to better themselves,other edge cases) the parents would then be forced to find work, or attend some sort of educational training. 10 to 20 years of this and the food atamp program would be greatly reduced in a perfect world.

Re:Beauacracy (1)

mpeskett (1221084) | more than 2 years ago | (#40100027)

Given a non-zero probability of parents in that situation getting belligerent about the idea of a stranger coming into their home and feeding their children, that sounds like it's fraught with the potential for either abuse/assault of the social workers involved, or at very least for it to be a really stressful situation for them.

You also seem to be assuming that they'd universally have adequate cooking equipment in the home.

I guess you could send someone to drop off pre-made meals, but enforcing a rule of the food being exclusively for children is always going to be difficult if the parents aren't co-operative.

Re:Beauacracy (-1, Flamebait)

cayenne8 (626475) | more than 2 years ago | (#40100053)

Yeah, screw poor children! Why don't they get jobs.

Well, if they can't afford to have kids, they shouldn't have kids.

If they have kids they can't afford to feed, then put child services to good use...and remove the kids from the home. Not feeding your kids is child abuse, no?

Let's quit giving welfare mothers incentive to have kid after kid by different fathers and never marrying....quit giving them money to procreate. If they can't feed their kids....take the kids away. Let those parents work, and when they can earn enough to live without welfare...then maybe they get their kids back.

Re:Beauacracy (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40100063)

Get rid of food stamps.

And tax breaks for capital gains, and bailouts, and subsides, and H1Bs, and rubberstamped patent/copyright laws.

The poor aren't the only ones living off welfare. Feeding the poor is a drop in the bucket compared to the tax dollars spent propping up failed business models.

Re:Beauacracy (1)

MikeMacK (788889) | more than 2 years ago | (#40099701)

My response was not anti-government, it is pro-efficiency. I was simply responding to what the President said. He is saying that someone has to get "information across different government programs" in order to find the info they want. I don't see how creating mobile apps helps that, seems like simplifying the number of programs a user interacts with would. As to which to "ditch", that's a completely different argument and one we've all been having for decades, and probably will continue too.

Re:Beauacracy (1)

RobertLTux (260313) | more than 2 years ago | (#40099745)

it would help if the different agencies had a single Standard Form and did things like share info (as required) where they overlap. What needs to be done is map the different agencies as to what they do and if an agency has say 85% of its duties done by other agencies then close that agency (reassign the balance to one of the other ones).

Re:Beauacracy (4, Insightful)

cpu6502 (1960974) | more than 2 years ago | (#40099883)

If you look at Ron Paul's plan to cut 990 billion dollars, that's essentially what he does. The bulk of the savings comes from stopping the killing of foreigners, while the last third comes from merging departments together for greater efficiency.

But ya know..... Paul is nuts. Why would we listen to a nutty idea like promoting peace & increasing efficiency? It's craaaaazy. So the Cable News tells me. ;-)

Re:Beauacracy (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40100013)

Impossible. The Cable News are part of the media, and the media are purposely not covering and reporting Paul and keeping people in the dark.

Or so the Paulites on slashdot tell me. They're focusing on the delegates man!

Re:Beauacracy (5, Insightful)

Anon-Admin (443764) | more than 2 years ago | (#40099799)

So which programs do you ditch, and how would it help?

How about all of them?

We de-fund all of them, then each program has to come back to congress and justify it's continued existence. It has to provide supporting data that the job it is doing is needed and accomplishes the goals it was created for.

Farm Subsidies and WIC are easy things picked by most people as an example. Take a look at The U.S. Agency for International Development, Or the federal grant for $765,828 that was given to bring an International House of Pancakes franchise to Washington, D.C, and there are thousands more. The number of wasteful programs outweigh the number of good ones.

Re:Beauacracy (1, Insightful)

cpu6502 (1960974) | more than 2 years ago | (#40099817)

>>>Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, food stamps, etc.

One simplification is to make SS and M like the food stamps program..... a needs-based system designed to help the 20-30 million poor persons. Those of us who have money will buy our own retirement through saving, our own medicine/insurance, and our own food at the store.

Re:Beauacracy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40100085)

Rob the middle class so the rich can have even more tax cuts.

Re:Beauacracy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40099729)

So now they can find this information in double the number of sites! The man is a genius!

Re:Beauacracy (1)

Scarred Intellect (1648867) | more than 2 years ago | (#40099771)

I just changed my mailing address with the VA. The phone call took me over an hour (had to wait a half hour on hold only to make an appointment for them to call me back later). The man informed me to change my address for any medical benefits or education benefits, I'd have to call them (was a bit vague on who "they" were..) because it's three separate databases.

WTF?! It's all the Department of Veterans Affairs! Why do they have my data stored in THREE different databases?! And why can't this guy submit the request for it to be changed in all three?

Re:Beauacracy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40099931)

WTF?! It's all the Department of Veterans Affairs! Why do they have my data stored in THREE different databases?! And why can't this guy submit the request for it to be changed in all three?

Each sub-agency does everything it can to retain its history. These are people trying to justify their staff, so that their own positions are justifiable. They have no concern for you or anyone else they are told to help.

If done properly, over 50% of the bureaucrats in the US could be fired and have no loss of performance, but if you let those currently in charge of those organizations decide the cuts, a loss of 5% of staff will have a dramatically higher loss of performance.

Re:Beauacracy (1)

JestersGrind (2549938) | more than 2 years ago | (#40099805)

Beauacracy: governed by boyfriends?

90 Days!? (1)

na1led (1030470) | more than 2 years ago | (#40099361)

What a Laugh! The Government can't even update their websites in less than 90 days. They are too inefficient to complete a task like this within a few months.

Re:90 Days!? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40099435)

Exactly, I'm sure many areas would have meetings for that long to try to puzzle out how to move away from IE6 still (I wish I was joking)

Re:90 Days!? (1)

Billly Gates (198444) | more than 2 years ago | (#40099443)

Why?

All they need to do is create CSS for mobile apps. Now their internal apps that require IE 6 ... that is a different story.

Re:90 Days!? (1)

armanox (826486) | more than 2 years ago | (#40099557)

For some offices that shoudn't be a problem. Some of them (or at least part of some of them) I can say with confidence no longer require IE at all, and give the users a choice of IE or Firefox (and supporting IE6 was dropped as a requirement over a year ago!).

Re:90 Days!? (5, Informative)

pympdaddyc (586298) | more than 2 years ago | (#40099445)

To be clear, they are not being ordered to implement the new strategy in 90 days, they're being ordered to implement the new strategy in 12 months. The 90 day requirement is to have a page publicly documenting their progress.

That said, I'm still curious whether agencies can move fast enough to get something like this done in even 12 months. =P

Re:90 Days!? (1)

gl4ss (559668) | more than 2 years ago | (#40099565)

To be clear, they are not being ordered to implement the new strategy in 90 days, they're being ordered to implement the new strategy in 12 months. The 90 day requirement is to have a page publicly documenting their progress.

That said, I'm still curious whether agencies can move fast enough to get something like this done in even 12 months. =P

which really might not be enough for some agencies to contract subcontractors for the work of creating a blog.

Re:90 Days!? (2)

Sloppy (14984) | more than 2 years ago | (#40099789)

To be clear, they are not being ordered to implement the new strategy in 90 days, they're being ordered to implement the new strategy in 12 months.

Shit! Oh well, never mind what I said here [slashdot.org] then; it really is a boondoggle after all.

Re:90 Days!? (4, Informative)

47Ronin (39566) | more than 2 years ago | (#40099521)

To be fair, as a supplement to the President's memorandum, the U.S. CTO and CIO are leading programs to stop the proliferation of .gov sites and focus on converting all the PDF and static website content into machine-readable data so public/private services can communicate create content via APIs. Your sites won't need updating if the data coming from the government is being streamed into an embedded visualization app. You'd be able to consume whatever report or graph you need in whatever form you need it in, using the scope you want.

The video for the the CTO/CIO announcement (more for the Slashdot crowd): http://fedscoop.com/video-vanroekel-park-announce-new-government-digital-strategy/ [fedscoop.com]

I think we need more pies (1)

For a Free Internet (1594621) | more than 2 years ago | (#40099385)

Every agenciy could make different flavores of mobile pies delivered to your door! Andthen you will be deported for the beeter security of AMERICA land! Hoorayiy! US.A is the BESTT!!!!!!!

Election year (1)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 2 years ago | (#40099387)

When politicians pretend to care about random voting/donating blocks of citizens, when they really could care less.

I'm all in, but ... (4, Interesting)

medcalf (68293) | more than 2 years ago | (#40099401)

The government's problem isn't technology. You can't automate well a process you cannot do well on paper. The thicket of laws and regulations is such that any government process becomes bogged down in irrelevancies. You WANT a bureaucracy for things like making passport issuance regular, but is our online passport application going to come with a must-accept click-through with a paperwork reduction act notice?

Re:I'm all in, but ... (1)

Billly Gates (198444) | more than 2 years ago | (#40099471)

It is already finished.

This is external websites for the public and not complex intranet apps. They are already finished and just need CSS for mobile to work. The content is standard HTML and the processes are already finished and there. Only the CSS is optimized for desktop work that needs work.

This shouldn't require extra paperwork and website design from scratch.

Re:I'm all in, but ... (1)

dkf (304284) | more than 2 years ago | (#40099747)

The government's problem isn't technology. You can't automate well a process you cannot do well on paper. The thicket of laws and regulations is such that any government process becomes bogged down in irrelevancies. You WANT a bureaucracy for things like making passport issuance regular, but is our online passport application going to come with a must-accept click-through with a paperwork reduction act notice?

Now we're going with apps, we can make it an unskippable video describing how this is reducing paperwork instead. Go, go, government progress!

Just a CSS change, right? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40099423)

It's been a while since I've worked with web technologies. But if it understand corretly, if they designed using web standards, this means they only need a new CSS file for the "handheld" class. Right? Or are people still making different web sites for the same content?

Re:Just a CSS change, right? (1)

game kid (805301) | more than 2 years ago | (#40099733)

The former is how it should and easily can be. Sadly, between the "app" "revolution" and the lack of mention of HTML, I see more sites like m.fbi.gov [fbi.gov] in our future.

A bit more interesting to me is the "requiring agencies to use web performance analytics and customer satisfaction measurement tools on all '.gov' websites" line in the PDF release. Will those be some sort of in-house thing? Will they end up tripping Do Not Track or IE's Tracking Protection because they're sending the info to Google Analytics or whathaveyou? If it's just a glorified hit counter instead of full-on analytics services, then why haven't they already been doing this--do they need a contractor to count their own damn pageviews?

What does this even mean? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40099459)

"President Barack Obama has ordered all major government agencies to make two key services available on mobile phones...also ordered federal agencies to create websites to report on their mobile progress"

Two key services? What services? Why? This is just more wasting of the pretend money they print and make-work for the bureaucrats and apparatchiks pretending to serve the people. Where is the Constitutional authorization for this activity I ask? What laws are being enforced by this effort?

Bend over everyone and thank the Obama.

Feh.

The meat of the memo... (1)

xxxJonBoyxxx (565205) | more than 2 years ago | (#40099467)

The meat of the memo is on page 16: Shift to an Enterprise-Wide Asset Management and Procurement Model
http://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/omb/egov/digital-government/digital-government-strategy.pdf [whitehouse.gov]
"GSA will establish a government-wide contract vehicle for mobile devices and wireless service"

The rest of this is just window dressing.

Just create accessible web sites (0)

silas_moeckel (234313) | more than 2 years ago | (#40099485)

If the web site is accessible it will work well on mobile. Ditch the piles of eye candy and put information there and it should work fine. PS flash and java script is not allowed anywhere ever.

Re:Just create accessible web sites (1)

Ultra64 (318705) | more than 2 years ago | (#40099751)

> java script is not allowed anywhere ever.

this isn't the year 2000

Amount of information per page (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 2 years ago | (#40099833)

Ditch the piles of eye candy and put information there and it should work fine.

The problem is that one generally wants to have more information per page on desktop than on mobile because desktop's screen is big enough to display more information.

I couldn't agree more. (1)

JustAnotherIdiot (1980292) | more than 2 years ago | (#40099507)

it is time for the federal government to do more

Too bad this is completely missing the mark.

It makes me proud (2, Interesting)

rssrss (686344) | more than 2 years ago | (#40099533)

to know that Obama can pay attention to the really important stuff while he deals with a trillion dollar budget deficit, a factious Congress, the European Debt crisis, the Iran nuclear crisis, China's disputes with the Philippines in the South China Sea, ...

Re:It makes me proud (1)

Jawnn (445279) | more than 2 years ago | (#40099583)

Suits me fine. If the Republican'ts want to continue their stated strategy of doing nothing whenever possible, let the Executive Branch take initiative where it can. When all parties want to quit the grammar school, partisan bullshit, let's talk about tackling the "more important" issues.

Re:It makes me proud (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40099655)

Maybe you can talk to Reid about moving on all the jobs bills and budgets languishing in the Senate.

While you are at it, ask why he's blocking the bill to prevent illegals from falsely claiming dependents and pocketing $6 billion a year.

Re:It makes me proud (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 2 years ago | (#40099851)

Maybe you can talk to Reid about moving on all the jobs bills and budgets languishing in the Senate.

Is it the fault of Sen. Reid or the fault of enough Republicans to make a filibuster?

Re:It makes me proud (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40099995)

"stated strategy of doing nothing whenever possible"

A. Where is this stated? References please.
B. Actually the state doing nothing is fine by me thank you very much. Keep your statist hands off of my money, my light bulbs, my toilets and my healthcare.

And yes your cutesy use of the term "Republican'ts" shows everyone your level of intellect.

Any other questions?

Re:It makes me proud (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40099631)

Because, of course, the government only does one thing at a time, and the President can't possibly diversify priorities.

You can pretend that a focus on the big stuff is good, but that leads to the small stuff being ignored. Or worse yet, delegated.

Sometimes it's important for the President to check minor things and to lead his support for them.

Besides, this is clearly just a speech or paper, the President probably read the report, signed off on it because it seemed reasonable, and hasn't thought more about it than going to the toilet.

Re:It makes me proud (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40099973)

"while he deals with a trillion dollar budget deficit"

http://www.usatoday.com/news/washington/story/2012-05-18/federal-deficit-accounting/55179748/1

"The deficit was $5 trillion last year under those rules. The official number was $1.3 trillion. Liabilities for Social Security, Medicare and other retirement programs rose by $3.7 trillion in 2011, according to government actuaries, but the amount was not registered on the government's books."

The statist lies as easily as they breathe. In the private sector these people would all be in prison.

Bend over and pay up citizen-Obama-voters!

Feh

Re:It makes me proud (1)

slimjim8094 (941042) | more than 2 years ago | (#40100117)

Frankly, if my President is too stupid to think about more than one thing at a time, I don't much want him as my President. The rest of us have multiple "really important" things that we deal with all the time; the President should be even better at it than the average Joe.

Obfuscation (2)

Art Challenor (2621733) | more than 2 years ago | (#40099539)

An excellent opportunity to double the amount of babble presented making it twice as difficult to find the information you want and hide the fact that many things that we should know are just omitted.

As scientifically minded people, we have tendency to model systems. The only model that really fits most democratic systems is extreme cynicism. The politicians may not be exclusively power- and money-driven with just about total disregard for the will of the people, but if you apply a model based on that you can fairly accurately predict outcomes.

Re:Obfuscation (1)

sycodon (149926) | more than 2 years ago | (#40099693)

To start with, creating a government website is like trying to index the contents of a land fill. So much trash in so many places.

Now, take the task that's virtually impossible with a full blown browser and make it work on a 3"x2" screen with a touch pad interface.

Yeah. All the tech people in the government have a complete WTF? look on their faces.

And for Blackeberry too... (1)

stanlyb (1839382) | more than 2 years ago | (#40099571)

Don't forget, he has BlackBerry Storm. So, guys, don't waste your time for iPhone or Android and instead of, start learning Qnx and BBX (BB10???).

Is this the end of flash, crappy ajax and frames? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40099577)

One of the reasons apps are so popular on smartphones is that so many websites try to be bleeding edge (and fail miserably).

Re:Is this the end of flash, crappy ajax and frame (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40099619)

Flash is "bleeding edge"? Have you been in a coma for the past 15 years?

Re:Is this the end of flash, crappy ajax and frame (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 2 years ago | (#40099875)

Flash is "bleeding edge"? Have you been in a coma for the past 15 years?

SWF is still the fastest way to display vector animation, and Flash is still the best-known way (with I'd guess monopoly market share) to edit vector animation. Let me know when animated SVG comes near the frame rate of SWF for a similarly complex scene. Do you want me to link you some benchmark pages with which to test?

This seems like another make-work project (2)

holophrastic (221104) | more than 2 years ago | (#40099623)

Don't get me wrong, I absolutely love driving your mountain roads that go from nowhere to nowhere and have absolutely zero traffic for hundreds of kilometres. Certainly a beautiful way to waste money. This seems like the very same thing.

Mobile devices such as these have been around for about 5 years. That makes them new technology, especially in government circles. What's going to happen after the 90 days? Will the next order be to improve the sites to support the next big mobile browser? Oh wait, that's what this is -- wasn't it just two years ago that he ordered everybody to make their services available online in the first place?

Government's always been required to make things available to the widest audience. If everyone could access the government services from a desktop, that'd suffice. It needn't be better than functional. You don't need to pay your taxes from your shitty smart phone -- especially because 10 years from now your smart phone won't be so shitty.

Re:This seems like another make-work project (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 2 years ago | (#40099887)

wasn't it just two years ago that he ordered everybody to make their services available online in the first place?

Yes, and a lot of them ended up implemented in Flash, Java applets, or something else that doesn't work on Safari for iOS or Android Browser for Android.

Why is Obama making this announcement? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40099637)

Shouldn't it be the federal CTO issuing this dictate?

Maybe I'm not the norm (1)

sunking2 (521698) | more than 2 years ago | (#40099689)

But personally there is practically zero information that I need to get from the government. I understand there are exceptions, but I think the norm for my government interaction should be filing my taxes and filling in the fasfa for my daughter once a year. I'm probably over stating, but it does bring into question exactly what the return is on spending all of this money.

Re:Maybe I'm not the norm (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40099953)

"Suckle at my teat!" -Obama

more targets for hackers (1)

zeroryoko1974 (2634611) | more than 2 years ago | (#40099767)

Looks like the Chinese, Russians, and Anonymous will soon have more targets to mess with.

Optimize for mobile (1)

Culture20 (968837) | more than 2 years ago | (#40099773)

Doesn't mean "make it 200x300". Make it a normal website, just take out the mouseover crap (this means you slashdot). I can't select text on /. To quote someone when using my iPhone because there's some stupid detection JS when you click regular text.

Coming soon: mobile web sites to access PDF docs (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40099777)

Let's see the health care bill in a form that can be read on a cell phone. Modernizing is great, but "mobilizing" is not always practical. Web sites are the best choice for project tracking either.

Does it really matter? (1)

toddmbloom (1625689) | more than 2 years ago | (#40099853)

Who is honestly THAT bored that they're browsing a government website?

Government is To BIG (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40099913)

What we need is a "Kill Switch" and then the Government could be brought back to a more manageable size.

Two key services to do first (1)

Animats (122034) | more than 2 years ago | (#40100097)

  • The National Instant Criminal Background Check System. [fbi.gov] This is what's used to check who can buy a gun. It's currently a kludge, works differently in some states, and is up only 17 hours a day. (It's down on Xmas.) There should be an app for that.
  • E-Verify [uscis.gov] , for checking whether someone is authorized to work in the United States. There should be an app for that. Then there would be no excuse for not checking.

One app for the left, and one app for the right.

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