I just stumbled across the U.S. General Service Administration's Cloud Computing Initiative, complete with an applications website. It's nice to see our government entering the 21st Century.
Cloud what? The concept of 'Cloud Computing' has been around for awhile, but it's been general, fuzzy and/or, well, (sorry) cloudy.
Boring definition #1: “a model for enabling convenient, on-demand network access to a shared pool of configurable computing resources (e.g., networks, servers, storage, applications, and services) that can be rapidly provisioned and released with minimal management effort or service provider interaction". (National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) -- the definition seems to be version 15)
This will probably save a lot of money in the long run. Though... I wonder about some of the "Social Media Applications". If you visit a lot of government sites like I do, you've probably noticed they usually have blogs. Boring, and they repeat what you'll find in the "Press Releases" pages of the website. Somebody's being paid to do that. (Funny, I didn't see any comments on the Homeland Security blog.) Also, government Facebook or MySpace pages remind me of adults trying to be "hep" (heh) by aping Teen Talk.
This is another project pushed by Chief Information Officer Vivek Kundra, picked by Infoworld as one of the best Chief Technical Officers of 2008. One of his first projects after being appointed by President Barack Obama was data.gov a work-in-progress that puts raw government data on the web. Warning: it can be a gargantuan Time Trap if you start browsing through it.
Obama is definitely internet savvy -- I'm still on his email list after signing up during the campaign; I still get pleas for support (and money) for his initiative-of-the-day. (John McCain never got past just having a website with suggested 'talking points' for his supporters.)
The Whitehouse YouTube Channel (Joined January 20, 2009) has cranked out 454 videos as this is being written. It's one of 15 listed on the U.S. Government Channel. The agencies don't draw viewers like a piano-playing cat would (the FDIC?), but there's an audience out there.
I just think it's cool to have all of this stuff at my fingertips, even out on Saipan in the middle of the ocean.
A video on one of NOAA's sites: