Legislative Reference Bureau staffer Stephen Bibbs responded to yesterdays entry, explaining that the move to third-party private hosting services stems from the need for remote 24/7 access required for the current generation of blogs and social media, which conflict with the security requirements of the state’s computer network.
Here’s his email:
You are correct regarding the server moves for iClips and our blog, First Reading. The moves were made necessary for reasonable state server security concerns. All updates to state hosted websites must now be done from state run networks. This would be fine for general website maintenance, however not for the two mentioned services.
The iClips, are done in off hours and remote. I capture most of the national news at publication hours Eastern Time (i.e., our late night) and the local news early morning. The new page is then prepared and uploaded, and email alerts of its availability sent out. The timeliness of this content is part of its value, thus is finished before I come to work.
Our blog utilizes Blogger which previously would post from its remote site to our location on the state server. However, again, no more remote uploading of files is allowed. We can continue to post not only during work hours but off hours whenever a post suggests itself and benefit from the free services of Blogger apps and hosting.
We also have recently begun our Twitter service (twitter.com/lrblibrary). This is hosted of course on Twitter which offers the access and publication flexibility for which it is known.
Thanks much for following our moves.
He continued in a second email:
From what little I know of network administration, security issues (both access and tampering) are a main concern. Because the state hosts servers for much diverse information and activity, closing off remote access seems understandable to me.
I think it is fortunate that web content is moving to the cloud, so to speak. Many federal, state and local governments are utilizing such inexpensive or free application and hosting servers as blogging services, Twitter, YouTube channels, and Flickr. As alluded to in my original response, a commitment to the newer and popular technologies available demands hours spread across the day. As demographics begin to take into account life within the Internet and the second realities, government services must respond. It is not so much government IT policy needing to be updated as government itself adapting to offer a presence where the people are.
Anyway, I myself like the idea of government (and the services they can provide) in Second Life.
Meanwhile, check out this list of U.S. government agencies using Twitter, including everything from the White House, State Department, and the Pentagon to the Peace Corps and a long list of NASA projects. And how about the growing number of federal government blogs?
I was looking for a list of states with blogs or using Twitter, but a quick search didn’t find such a beast.
And newspapers are also having to come to terms with the spread of Twitter and Facebook as common means of communication, and that includes rules for their use, according to a story in Editor & Publisher.
Meanwhile, the cover story in the current issue of Honolulu Weekly looks at the state of Honolulu newspapers. Weekly editor Ragnar Carlson manages to elicit some revealing quotes from his counterparts in the mainstream. Advertiser publisher Lee Webber, for example, told the Weekly he doesn’t know whether there will be a print edition of the newspaper in five years, although he says the Advertiser will still be here.
And Mark Platte recognizes the diminishing coverage as newsrooms pare staff.
Mark Platte, who has been editor of the Advertiser since 2006, acknowledges that something has to give. “Absolutely it does, even for us, and we’re the big gun in town. We don’t cover every beat I would like to cover. We cover hospitals, but we don’t have anyone on health care. We’re not covering higher education. When you reduce the staff, you’re not going to be able to do the kinds of stories you need a lot of time on. Especially the kinds of investigative stories that really take a lot of time and effort.”
And since higher education is a basic building block necessary to sustain a high tech industry or any other remaking of our island economy, the lack of coverage reduces public understanding of our predicament.
Finally, here’s something useful to put in your tool box, a “The Baloney Detection Kit” from the publisher of Skeptic magazine.