Archive for July, 2009

John Suffolk blogging – does he need webby design help?

Props to Ian Cuddy at PSF for spotting that John Suffolk, the UK government CIO, has recently taken up blogging. Its great to see this level of openness from a very senior official (he even has a link for his work email account at the bottom of the page) and also his decision not to follow the crowd and get WordPressing (might upset one or two people…)

But am I being a bit of a webbie pedant when I see that he’s using Comic Sans as his main content font? I mean, its not comic its criminal.

Come on John, smarten up a bit please if only to satisfy the eyes of web developers across Whitehall (if you need the number of one of them for a bit of design advice I’d be only too happy to help). But please, please keep up the blogging.


Craig Newmark on the challenges to transformational government

Craig Newmark, founder of the awesome Craigslist, was in London a recently as part of the Travelling Geeks visit to the UK. I was lucky enough to meet him (briefly) at Reboot Britain. Its not often you get to meet a god of the web…..(Incidentally, Craig gave an interesting talk at Reboot Britain on how the internet aids democracy. Worth checking out – its the sixth vid clip down).

On his blog, and back home in the US, he reflects on the challenges to transformational government in the UK and US (hint, its not rationalising websites). He says something that I am hearing (and agreeing with) increasingly often:

“the tech is the easy part, the real challenge involves professional and emotional buy-in and commitment…”

Though he refers to government tech workers, I think the challenge lies beyond them and points more towards the non-tech literates (or tech illiterates?). In particular, the senior decision makers who have the power to enable change.

If you hadn’t already seen his piece, its well worth a read.

Playing around with Posterous – and finding that it might just work for me

If you haven’t checked out Posterous yet, you should. Inspired by Steve Rubel’s move to this service, I’ve been playing around with it and loving the functionality. In essence its a very simple blogging platform that allows you to post via email, beautifully presents your media content and allows you to syndicate it easily to your other online presences.
I’ve always been a casual blogger (though 150 posts in two years isn’t too shabby, especially as I haven’t really spent much time writing here for the last six months) and before Whitehall Webby I had a few different blogging sites set up that allowed me space to blog about non-government stuff.
Now that I am no longer a civil servant, I’ve been rethinking how I might use this site. I’ve been working on a refresh of the design that is almost complete (guess what webbies. Its the content thats not quiet finished – sound familiar?).
There are a lot of things I want to highlight that aren’t about my work, but Whitehall Webby has always been a space for me to talk about work stuff and I’m not sure that I want to expand that focus just yet (though of course, I’m not working at the moment). Whilst Posterous is incredibly flexible, it doesn’t quite give me enough in terms of customisation that would persuade me to move my main domain there.
But I still want to capture stuff, comment on things, or highlight items of interest to me. So I’m going to give Posterous a go for that kind of content.
I’m cross-posting this but I’m not planning to regularly re-post stuff on Whitehall Webby from my Posterous site.
Whitehall Webby is/ will remain my work thoughts / portfolio / site for the time being. (an old nickname if you want to know) is for the other stuff. You can subscribe to a feed there too if you are so inclined but if you are in any way connected to me online you probably don’t need to.
S’all for now….