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Mastering the Web: An Old-Fashioned Notion?

by David Kitzmiller, Internet Working Group Chairman
August 12, 2010

[[wysiwyg_imageupload:161:height=100,width=70]]Dammit Jim, I’m a Webmaster, not a Digital Government Web Content Communications and Application Development Knowledge Management Specialist! ...or am I?

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Is the term webmaster an accurate description of the responsibilities of today’s web professional, or is that moniker just a quaint artifact from the simpler, earliest days of the web where someone akin to a similarly quaint notion of a Ringmaster juggled a circus of unwieldy text, spinning logos and blinking text?

Those were the 1990’s, and while the profession is still undecided on what to call it’s folks formerly known as webmasters, the web community has in fact moved on to figure out that it takes an entire web village – and now even other villages near and far – to run a modern web presence. This seems to be the consensus from recurring threads on the Web Content Managers Forum, the leading forum for  government employees who manage the content of government websites. This blog highlights many of the themes from those on-line discussions.

One comment in particular on the Web Content Managers Forum illustrates the incongruity of the old, one-person web shop by comparing the web to traditional print media processes. Does the IT staff of a newspaper or magazine manage the design and layout? Do the newspaper’s reporters deliver their stories to the paper’s back-shop IT for editing? Of course not.

These mismatched roles and responsibilities in the web world are the inevitable result of attempting to use limited resources to cover all of the various job titles depicted in the illustration. The titles in the illustration are all really just focused on two broad categories: content and technology, which can be broken down into the following basic components of running a modern website:

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The Disaster Information Reporting System and the Status of Communications Systems in Disasters

August 11, 2010

Unfortunately disasters happen.  Government agencies including the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the National Communications System (NCS) and the Office of Science and Technology Policy in the White House need to know the status of communications systems and services during and after a disaster. The FCC’s Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau developed the voluntary Disaster Information Reporting System (DIRS) to collect this information during major disasters.
When a disaster strikes, the FCC asks wireline carriers, wireless carriers, broadcasters and CATV providers to provide information on the condition of their systems in the disaster area.  This includes information on switches, E 9-1-1 call centers, broadcast stations, and fiber-optic cable routes. The DIRS system organizes the information into tables, charts and maps that will accurately depict the status of communications in the disaster area. This information can be used to determine which communications service providers might need assistance with restoration efforts. Although the information provided by companies into DIRS is treated as confidential, DIRS has been set-up to provide aggregate information almost instantaneously to those Federal agencies with a need to know.

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Top Ten Things You Should Know About Filing Comments on the FCC's Data Review

by Greg Elin, Chief Data Officer
August 9, 2010

[[wysiwyg_imageupload:43:height=100,width=71]]Post: FCC Data Innovation Initiative Journal, Day 41, Washington DC. For Comment: Media Bureau MB Docket No. 10-103; Wireline Competition WC Docket No. 10-132; Wireless Telecommunication Bureau WT Docket No 10-131.

Resources: reboot.fcc.gov/data/review

If you've given any thought about data at the FCC and filing comments on the opening round of the FCC's Data Innovation Initiative – the Public Notices of Data Reviews released by the Media, Wireline Competition and Wireless Telecommunications Bureaus - this blog post is for you. Initial comments are due this Friday, August 13.

Though the scope of the Public Notices is significant and welcomes comments on any or all of 340 data sets across three bureaus, filing comments does not have to be a major project. You can make a difference with as little as 15 minutes of effort. The following Top Ten Things You Should Know explains why.

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Haitian Art and the Learning Power of Information and Communications Technologies

by Mindel DeLaTorre, Chief of the International Bureau
August 6, 2010

[[wysiwyg_imageupload:98:height=100,width=70]]Recently, I visited an art exhibit in Washington, D.C. featuring the works of Haitian children.  If you live nearby or are coming to the capital for a visit, I encourage you to visit the exhibit. It’s called the “Healing Power of Art: Works of Art by Haitian Children After the Earthquake.” (The physical exhibit is at the Smithsonian Institution National Museum of African Art, but you can also view the pictures on-line.

The artwork is mostly colorful, though especially the early pieces have some dark hues, undoubtedly reflecting the feelings of loss, fright, and sadness that hundreds of thousands of young Haitian children have experienced. At the exhibit, I saw in the children’s pictures some of the same things I’d seen in Haiti in January – images of crooked buildings, collapsed houses, helicopters overhead, dangling wires, a U.S. Navy ship in the port -- and some signs of hope like yellow suns. 

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The earthquake took a heavy toll on schoolchildren and all elements of education in Haiti.  The exhibit noted that, on January 12, 4,000 Haitian children died while in the classroom, many others died elsewhere, and 500 teachers were killed. The earthquake destroyed 90 percent of the school infrastructure and now 1.2 million children are out of school.

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Cybersecurity Certification Blog Post

August 6, 2010

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Being a Chief Security Officer is not easy.  Viewed by many in the business world as gloomy purveyors of doom and spoilers of fun and profit, CSOs are responsible for making sure that an enterprise’s information systems are secure and reliable. Under the best of circumstances, they occupy a lonely perch lacking in the glow that revenue and profit accountability attract. Security is a cost center - the bane of corporate existence. As such, it is under relentless pressure to reduce costs so that more sunlight can fall on the profit centers. This is true of virtually all sectors of the economy, including communications.

The Internet Security Alliance recently testified to the Senate Judiciary Committee that nearly half of all enterprises in 2009 reported that they are reducing budgets for information security initiatives. Hence, despite the wide range of generally accepted best practices and standards on cybersecurity that exist, the FCC is concerned about the extent to which these practices are applied to create a culture of cybersecurity among communications service providers. We are also concerned that consumers of communications remain in the dark about the cybersecurity practices of their communications providers.

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Its about we

August 5, 2010

[[wysiwyg_imageupload:158:height=100,width=70]]This week the Federal Communications Commission, acting as a partner in the National Broadband Map for the National Telecommunications and Information Administration is releasing a transfer data model of the State Broadband Data Development Program data from state ‘Awardees’ to us here at the FCC.  I just want to comment on a couple of things with this news.

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Do you know your cloud speed?

by Johnnie Muongpack, New Media
August 4, 2010

[[wysiwyg_imageupload:197:height=100,width=70]]"The Cloud", the current buzz word running through the Federal government these days. It's helping to change the way we view, manage and access servers. If you are still learning about "the cloud" and want to know how it works, watch this video.
We know how it works, but how do we test the performance of a Cloud service? One new tool called Cloudsleuth (in beta) helps to answer these questions by visualizing the user experience. What it measures are the response time and availability measured by the Gomez Performance Network. This metric relies on two different components of the GPN, Gomez Active Backbone nodes and Gomez Last Mile peers. You can read more about the GPN here.
What's great about the tool is the ability to test the response time of the Cloud. As you know we love to test speeds, try it yourself with our consumer broadband test. For example, since we are located in Washington, DC, the test shows that accessing a cloud in this area yields a response time of .5 sec. But if I had accessed that cloud in Los Angeles, the test shows a response time of 5.5 sec longer. Knowing this information can help your internal workflows or compare performance when choosing a cloud service.
Currently, monitored providers include Microsoft Azure, OpSource, Amazon EC2, GoGrid, Google, and Rackspace Cloud.

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Data Innovation Initiative: Spectrum Auctions - Data, Benefits Abound

August 4, 2010

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Data is important to the success of the FCC in carrying out its responsibilities. One such responsibility is management of wireless spectrum, including the FCC's spectrum auction program. Spectrum auctions are widely recognized as the most efficient, effective, and transparent means to assign initial commercial licenses to use the nation's airwaves. They help to ensure that spectrum resources are put to their best economic use – and wireless service has taken off as a result.

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CTIA, the Wireless Association, estimates that there are now over 285 million wireless subscribers in the US, generating revenue of over $150 billion annually. And, FCC spectrum auctions have generated $52 billion in revenue since the program's inception. When one considers the additional tax revenue from a growing industry, as well as the "consumer surplus" of wireless services, the benefit of auctions look even more significant as a means to facilitate wireless growth.

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/Consumers Guide

August 3, 2010

Earlier this month, we launched the Consumer Help Center. If you haven't already had a chance to explore our key features, this video guides you through some consumer tools you can use, such as how to:

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Foreign Diplomacy In D.C.

by Mignon Clyburn, FCC Commissioner
August 2, 2010

I had the pleasure last week of meeting several distinguished international colleagues, beginning on Tuesday morning, with a delegation from the Comisión del Mercado de las Telecomunicaciones (CMT). Members of the Spanish telecommunications regulatory authority met with various U.S. companies and government agencies to learn more about the U.S. telecommunications market, and specifically, the FCC’s regulatory agenda—particularly in the area of broadband deployment, open Internet, next generation networks, and Internet governance. Then on Wednesday afternoon I had a delightful and informative meeting with Emmanuel Gabla, Commissioner for the Conseil Superieur de l’Audiovisuel (CSA) and his delegation. Among the many obligations of CSA is the responsibility for implementing France’s digital television transition. The French began the switch to standard definition DTV in 2009 on a regional basis and established a 2011 cutoff for all analog TV broadcasts. In France, several agencies govern different aspects of communications policy. Since Commissioner Gabla has worked at agencies that regulate the wireline, wireless, and now media communications, he was able to educate me on the history of a wide-range of French communications policy. I really appreciate the time that these delegations spent with me this week and would like to recognize the tremendous support of Mindel De La Torre and her staff at the International Bureau for making these exchanges possible.

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