Slow Food

In 1985, I was a junior in high school and I got my first job at a local chain steakhouse. I ended up staying there for a few years and did everything, including management. This particular location happened to be the busiest store in the chain, which had a couple hundred locations at the time. Basically, we just unlocked the doors and people came in. We often had a line and managers from all over the country came to see how we did business.

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Lock-In

I’ve been a consultant/programmer/integrator/other for over twenty years now. That’s not quite long enough to say I’ve seen it all but long enough to notice a few patterns. Admittedly, I’ve spent the vast majority of that time working in the defense world so the patterns may be heavily skewed to that but I think not.

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The Esri UC So Far #EsriUC

So I’m halfway through the largest geospatial event of the year, attending it for the first time in four years, and I haven’t blogged yet. As always, it’s a busy week. Because this event draws people from all over the country (and world), my dance card fills up pretty quickly. And, by the way, there’s a conference going on.

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Gearing Up for the Esri UC

With a house move behind us and a lot of unpacking and other tasks ahead, I am nonetheless getting ready to head out to the Esri International User Conference next week. This will be my first time attending since 2010 and is the first UC since then that has aligned with my schedule in a way that I can make it. Of course, the price is right this year as well ($0.00).

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CFPB Fellowship Seeking 2015 Candidates

It’s no secret that I am contractor who spends a lot of my time attempting to develop software for defense users. I’ve been doing this for a long time, though I have added other customers to my portfolio over the years. The process of development in this arena gets more frustrating by the day. Recently, for example, a group policy update was pushed that removed any browser other than Internet Explorer from our development machines and rolled Internet Explorer back to version 9. These are just the latest such setbacks to productivity and they represent every stereotype we’ve ever heard about Federal Government computing.

Thankfully, there are countervailing examples which point to how things could be. One such example is the Technology and Innovation Fellowship at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). This two-year fellowship program provides an opportunity to show how Federal software can be developed, with an open-source-first approach, and also how software development can occur, via remote teams and distributed collaboration. These are not new concepts in the overall marketplace but are still fairly exotic in the Beltway region. Ultimately, the fellowship holds out the possibility of building technology that actually helps government work better and shows how modern tools and working arrangements be applied in the Federal Government.

I was clued into this fellowship program via a tweet by Mike Byrne, who has already helped show the way via the National Broadband Map at the FCC, and who is now at the CFPB. There are very few people I’ve met in the Federal Government who have a better vision for modernizing IT development and acquisition, coupled with the ability to get things done. If you’re of a technical bent and looking to work inside the Federal Government, this fellowship program may be something you want to check out.

Where Ya Been?

It’s been rather quiet on the blog for a while. Sometimes the posts have to take a back seat to work and other things. This time of year tends to be busy anyway due to the end of the school year and its related activities, but this year has also included one move, construction of a house, and preparations for a second (final) move. In December we sold our house, which I had lived in for nearly 40 years, and moved into temporary quarters while the next house was being built. The sale of the old place was a pretty smooth experience as all of us, especially me, were ready for a change.

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GovWin Analyzes Federal Spending in the DC Area

GovWin, the procurement research service of DelTek, Inc. recently released a report titled “Federal Prime Spending in DC, MD, and VA” (PDF, registration required) which analyzed federal spending patterns in those areas. The report included the top 20 counties, by total spending from FY10 to FY14. With permission from the GovWin research team, I made a simple interactive map of the data.

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