Technology in Utah  

News related to the growth of technology-centric ecosystems in the State of Utah

David Fletcher's Government & Technology Weblog
State of Utah

Utah .Net User Group Blogs

Phil Windley
T. Jacobi
John Gotze

Utah is no longer the only state with a spyware bill. California's governor signed their spyware bill this week. Ben Edelman posted an excellent summary of the bill and suggests that it falls short in addressing the more controversial issues.

  posted by David @ 11:53 AM

Saturday, October 02, 2004  

Utah CIO, Val Oveson, was recently announced as a new officer in the National Association of State CIOs (NASCIO). Val has been Utah's CIO since January 2003. At the NASCIO convention in New Orleans, David Osborne, the author of Reinventing Government, suggested that the best way for states to address fiscal woes is not to increase taxes, but to improve upon their use of technology to drive down cost. We did this in the Utah Dept. of Administrative Services over the past 12 years with some good results. Right now, we need a new phase of innovation and coordinated efforts to reach a little higher if we are going to remain among those states recognized as the best for fiscal and technology management.

Osborne also suggests that IT policy-making should be separate from IT operations. This is the way that it has been in Utah and most IT directors in the state agree with the model, although there is a move to consolidate the two organizationally. Perhaps I'll pick up a copy of his book: "The Price of Government: Getting the Results We Need in an Age of Permanent Fiscal Crisis." It looks like it has some good ideas for the presentation I need to make to the Utah Technology Commission this month.

  posted by David @ 11:33 AM

An article on CNN reviews Utah's new spyware law and asks if it can be successful. The article, written by the Univ. of Washington's Anita Ramasastry builds on Ben Edelman's treatise on the subject.

Ramasastry has written some excellent articles on government technology issues, including this one on MATRIX, although I do not necessarily share the same concerns.

  posted by David @ 8:16 AM

Saturday, June 05, 2004  

Enterprise architecture is being championed in today's world by state governments in the United States. In conjunction with FEAPMO at the federal level and a few advanced nations, U.S. states have breathed life into the discipline and produced a wide variety of published material on the topic. In addition to the Chief Information Security Officer, the Enterprise Architect is probably the most prominent enterprise level position to follow on the heels of the CIO as new positions within the discipline of information technology at the state level. In Utah, we now have both - officially or de facto.

The EA momentum is being heavily supported by the state CIOs, in addition to NASCIO.

  posted by David @ 11:41 PM

Friday, June 04, 2004  

Secure Authentication Infrastructure

Many Dutch are concerned about pushing for more egovernment services until a secure common authentication architecture can be put in place.

  posted by David @ 3:40 PM

Sunday, May 02, 2004  

Golden Shield's Internet Censorship

Xiao Ming of the Epoch Times reports on China's "Golden Shield" program which has clamped down on internet usage throughout the country.

British Telecom's promise to deliver 512K speed broadband is being questioned as some look at what France is doing across the sound and rolling out a service 12 times that speed over existing copper phone cabling. Meanwhile Qwest's promise to speed up the delivery of 256K DSL has derailed UTOPIA's promise of fiber to the home in some areas of Utah.

  posted by David @ 3:35 PM

Humans in the Portal

In an article (in WebProNews, popular columnist Gerry McGovern asks, "How much human support should your website need?" He answers the question with an example from Utah,

"In 2003, was named the best state government web portal in America by the Center for Digital Government. "Our goal is to use technology to make state government services more efficient and accessible," said Governor Mike Leavitt. "This award shows we're making real progress in our efforts to move more government services online instead of in line."

Utah sees its website as a way to deliver better services while at the same time saving money through greater efficiency. A key feature of is its '24/7 Live Help' service. I tested it on a Saturday morning in Ireland. Within seconds I had a friendly reply. I asked if lots of Utah citizens availed of such a service. I was told that it was very popular. "

The value of live help service can be difficult to determine. It worked well in Utah by coordinating it with other 24x7 service support.

Utah boat owners can now renew their boat registration online.

  posted by David @ 12:40 PM


Just finished the morning's first session, on cybersecurity. The presenters were very general and didn't provide a lot of new or detailed information that might help states structure or enhance their cyber-security efforts or even coordinate more effectively with the federal government. Hamit Yurin of the NCSD mentioned that they have 4 million subscribers to the National Cyber Alert system. Indiana said that they have been able to access $1 million from ODP funds for intrusion detection. I would love to get 1/10th of that. Indiana's cyber security efforts are supported by an organization called CERIAS that is run out of Purdue University. In responses to the online poll of CIOs, only 18% said that they were familiar with the US-CERT definition of cyber-security.

It looks like a google search on cybersecurity in government still brings up my other weblog as a top ten result even though I have been less regular in posting to that category lately. And no government entities show up as top search results meaning these entities need to better understand how to get their information out to users who might be looking for it...

  posted by David @ 7:27 AM

Tuesday, April 27, 2004  

April Night in Chicago

I haven't spent much time in Chicago, but it is a much more beautiful than I had anticipated. My room overlooks the Chicago River with a view out onto Lake Michigan. The city lights are spectacular. The air is crisp with an occasional whisp of bakery scents for additional flavor. We spent two hours at the Lucky Strike where they had two sumptuous spreads, one with about a dozen different pizzas and the other, a sandwich and salad bar. Tomorrow, I'll head home after three more NASCIO tech sessions.

  posted by David @ 7:50 PM

Monday, April 26, 2004  

Information Technology and Public Policy

Three state chiefs-of-staff just finished speaking about information technology and its relationship to public policy in the governor's office.

Here are my unedited notes. I will comment later in my Government and Technology weblog.
Toby Roth, Alabama Gov. Riley
Intersection of IT and Pubic Policy
Leaner government - Gov Schwarzenegger,
"We have a typewriter govt. in an internet age."
"Is IT instinctive to policy makers, generally no" - but it doesn't take long for them to realize the importance
"We are just tinkering around the edges of reform if IT is not a central part of our effort."
E-Government is a reiteration of the campaign message
"eGov message did not work well in lean budget times" - why not?, eGov can lead to leaner, more cost-effective govt.
"How's Bubba going to react" - he likes hunting and fishing licenses online
IT Planning -
Estimate that Alabama spends $150-$200M on IT
Executive Order will come out reviving the Office of Information Technology which will require an annual IT budget, require
an annual IT plan, annual technology report, monitoring projects, etc. - this is not an effort to consolidate IT, but
to coordinate it. There is a lot of opposition in Alabama to IT consolidation (that is apparent)
Align policy advisors and CIOs. CIO is a deputy to the Finance Director, not a cabinet member. Demonstrates the weakness
of central IT in the state. CIO is in a merit position. He feels that having an appointed CIO could undermine the longterm
viability of IT policy.
Moved ahead with self-funded egov services which has been one of the successes of the Riley administration.
Alabama has only had one-term governors for twenty years.
No Service Level Agreements at operation IT level to tie it with policy - performance measures.

Bill Goetz, North Dakota
Second longest term for current chiefs of staff.
IT requires a lot of strategic planning and progressive thinking. North Dakota - 65% of citizens have a computer, 70% have
access to internet. High expectation for IT in government. Agencies want their own technology, own hardware, own hardware.
"We have turf, we have a culture" IT dept. actions are viewed as "empire building" by agencies and by legislature.
Governor's policies must be clearly understood. People in IT need to know what the Gov wants to accomplish in econ.
development, education, corrections, etc. We need to think long term in IT. We cannot expect an IT base for CIOs without
support, understanding of policy issues.
He thinks the CIO should be a cabinet position. The IT dept. is not only an area where the technical stuff gets done. Where
are we going with linking higher ed with economic development. CIO is more than a technician, more than an administrator,
more than a politician.
We need a holistic approach to public policy, collaboration between IT, agencies, legislature, and public-at-large.
Functional consolidation - recognize that these functions take time. Need for flexibility.
Successful projects in ND - Connect ND, integrated university and government networks into a "seamless" network. "Will be the
first of its kind in the nation
StageNet - broadband connection to ND communities, libraries, municipalities, state agencies, all shared on the same network.
Legislators must become investors in the process (what process? planning? budgeting? implementing? - he didn't say)
Need to conduct public outreach to get legislative support. Drive the agenda through K-12 education.
(He was quite vague about a lot of things)
Conflict between government and private sector cultures - things take time in government. Says that CIOs need to be more
patient in the public sector.
Comprehensive IT planning and performance measures are reviewed by IT and then by Gov's Office.

Bill Leighty, Virginia
In the third day of a budget impass. Leighty was not present, but teleconferenced due to this. May have to take some proactive steps in shutting down state government - will not have a budget.

51% of CIOs rated their relationship with their chief of staff as an 8 or higher on a scale of 1-10. 35% for their relationship with
the Governor. 26% rated their relationship/access with the Governor as a "2".

No one could answer Gov. Warner's question about how much Virginia is spending on technology. Most governors do not run
on a technology platform.

"Technology is generally not the highest priority unless it becomes a problem." Gov. Warner made it a priority by creating a
central technology organization. Virginia is consolidating through a process - small, then medium, then large agencies.
CIO is in an independent agency (VITA) from any branch.

They had 15 different contracts with Dell with 15 different prices. They expect $100 million in savings through their IT
consolidation process. The problem is, they had more to gain.

Laura Larimer asked about VITA's independence and if it could lose its correlation with the governor's agenda by being an
independent agency. He responded about that being a good thing, particularly since VA's governor is elected for only
one four-year term. Legislature holds more power over long-term policy.

Absolutely, have performance measures built into VITA so agencies have clear expectations.

Thom Ruble reviewed 44 state-of-the-state addresses and only saw the words "information technology" twice and "e-government"

  posted by David @ 1:36 PM

"Blogs as a Disruptive Technology"

Blawgs have taken off in the legal community. I think that is because many attorneys are more concerned about content/substance than they are about design. Jerry Lawson just published a new article, "Blogs as a Disruptive Technology" in Law Practice magazine.

  posted by David @ 1:28 PM

Technology Champion

Former Governor Jim Geringer of Wyoming received NASCIO's "technology champion" award, a very worthy recipient. Gov. Geringer has long been a great advocate for GIS in government, but has also done much more. He gave an excellent address, among his quotes, "Today (in technology in government), if you're not making decisions, you're not adding value." Then, he quoted Governor Leavitt, "put a face on it (tech issues), connect it with people." And, "data that does not lead to a decision is not very good data." He also quoted his favorite Rock Springs mayor, "If you do what you've always done, you'll get what you always got." He stressed the importance of using web services to integrate data from various sources - leave the data where it is. Overall, he demonstrated a great understanding of how to use technology to improve the process and results of government. Former Governor Engler of Michigan, another good tech governor, was also in attendance for the presentation.

  posted by David @ 11:58 AM

Utah in NASCIO Presentations

In Zittrain's presentation on the internet, security, and privacy, he began with a discussion on the origins of the internet and the initial planning diagram with Utah in the center (Utah was one of the original four nodes of ARPANET - see Vint Cerf's "How the Internet Came to Be")

Later on, Hank Garie, who heads up the Geospatial One-Stop project did a demonstration of using Utah and showed how to add layers of cadastral data and then specific data about the range of the sage grouse. Very interesting.

  posted by David @ 11:50 AM

NASCIO in Chicago

I am at the mid-year meeting of the National Association of State CIOs for a couple of days. The first two sessions have been quite interesting, particularly the keynote by Jonathan Zittrain of the Harvard Law School. He has posted Realvideo of some of his earlier presentations.

  posted by David @ 9:02 AM

Spyware Control Act

Benjamin Edelman has prepared a very thoughtful analysis of Utah's Spyware Control Act.

Related news:
Senate Takes Aim at Spyware
States Join Spyware Battle
Top Web Businesses Oppose Utah Spyware Law
Spyware Act Has Detractors

  posted by David @ 10:33 PM

Friday, March 19, 2004  

E-Government and UTOPIA

An article on Business Wire recognizes Utah for being "ahead of the pack" in online government. Two studies performed by the Center for Digital Government recognize the state for "exceptional management, functionality, and affordability."

Keynote Systems announced a new e-government performance index this week. The index measures the performance and availability of key government services.

This article in the Miami Herald discusses SB66, the anti-UTOPIA bill sponsored by Bill Hickman, that just passed the Utah Senate. Qwest, who is strongly against UTOPIA, has beening pouring money into campaigns and has perhaps the largest lobbying force on Capitol hill.

  posted by David @ 7:26 AM

Sunday, February 22, 2004  

Foxpro Blog

Craig Berntson of Salt Lake City maintains a FoxPro blog. I used to love dBase II back in the early to mid-eighties. I think I created dozens of dBase systems and then even used FoxPro for awhile. I gave it up for MS Access in the early nineties and haven't used any of them much since I became a heavy user of the internet. The FoxBlog does talk about a little more than just FoxPro however.

  posted by David @ 9:08 PM

Saturday, February 14, 2004  

Utah Tech Roundup

UITA sponsored a roundtable discussion with two gubernatorial candidates last week, Karras and Matheson. Karras wants to double the number of high-tech companies in Utah (currently about 2,600).

Lindon-based Helius releases new MediaCore products.

Davis School District puts GeoMax into all its classrooms.

Aradyme, of American Fork, has introduced the Vital Processing Systems transaction gateway into its "Next Generation" database platform. Aradyme will partner with Redcon on the Utah Voter Registration project.

The opening of Northface University's Salt Lake City campus is covered in Information Week.

New engineering majors at the University of Utah increase by 32%.

  posted by David @ 9:03 PM

Monday, February 09, 2004  

UWIN Un-named

I missed this article about UWIN in last week's Salt Lake Tribune (it doesn't mention UWIN, but that is what it is about).

  posted by David @ 10:17 PM

Sunday, February 08, 2004  

Hi Tech Champions Wanted

Lisa Carricaburu writes in the Salt Lake Tribune that Utah is slipping off the map of tech hubs. No longer is Utah home to the corporate headquarters of leading tech companies like Novell, WordPerfect, and Iomega. There are more subtle changes. Regardless, it is critical that the winner of this years gubernatorial campaign place high tech growth as a key to an overall economic development strategy. The Legislature could play a role, but seems more interested in playing to interests like Qwest as evidenced by its attack on UTOPIA.

  posted by David @ 10:31 AM

Utah .Net Users Group

The Utah .Net Users Group has spawned some new blogs, mostly associated with Microsoft technology and Northface University. For example, Don Box is a Microsoft XML messaging architect. Aaron Skonnard, an instructor at Northface, authors The XML Files. Ben Miller is the lead for XML Web Services at Microsoft.

  posted by David @ 10:14 AM

New Utah County Venture

Tuffsafe of Provo now offers several new models of wall safes online.

  posted by David @ 9:00 PM

Saturday, February 07, 2004  

Wavetronix Moves to Lindon

Wavetronix, a Provo company with some terrific traffic sensor technology, is moving to expanded office space in Lindon. The traffic sensors can be managed from a basic Palm device. The company was named as a "top 20" technology company in Utah in 2002.

  posted by David @ 9:04 PM

Sunday, January 18, 2004  

American Fork city has a new website - a MAJOR improvement from anything they have had previously. The still lack online services. And I don't understand why they are picking up Christmas trees on January 26th. That seems a little late to me even though I still have a few Christmas lights to take down. An article in NewUtah compares the AF site with Alpine City's site.

UTOPIA will be a hot topic during the Utah Legislative session which begins tomorrow.

Several Provo residents are arguing against the implementation of iProvo's broadband network.

A new 6,000 square foot home in Park City is integrating a new type of LCD computer monitor into the windows and walls of the home - a prototype for the future.

Utah venture capitalists invest in New Mexico's Exagen.

Aradyme Development, an American Fork high tech company has hired former Siebel exec. Don Hutchings, as their VP of sales.

Aradyme Development Corp. is a "Next Generation" database platform company. It develops and distributes integrated software solutions and services that help companies manage and grow their businesses. It uses proprietary technology to rapidly build integrated database applications in a drag-and-drop environment that are more powerful, flexible and yet more affordable than today's leading alternatives. They also extract, cleanse and prepare data in a fraction of the traditional time for migration to other industry-leading database applications, regardless of the platform or schema. Aradyme-based solutions remain flexible to real-time additions, modifications and changes, allowing applications to continually evolve real-time with business processes. Aradyme is currently involved in custom application development and data migration services in a variety of government and business sectors.

  posted by David @ 7:21 PM


I am in the Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice committee presently which will hear Brad Dee's proposed E-911 bill in a few minutes. H.R. 2898 passed the U.S. House earlier this month and will provide $l00 million a year in matching federal funds for E911 Phase II implementation. Rep. Dee's bill will add a 16 cent fee to fund E-911 at the state level. It also creates a committee that will manage the fund created through collection of these fees. Cathy DuPont drafted the bill and is now discussing changes to the bill to address concerns of the committee.

Rep. Lance Christensen stated his opposition to the bill, stating that he thinks there is a need to explore alternative funding.

When it came time for a vote, Rep. Christensen voted in favor, allowing the bill to pass out unanimously from committee. It will now be forwarded during the 2004 session as a committee bill.

  posted by David @ 10:10 AM

Wednesday, November 19, 2003  

Public Utilities and Technology

I am in the Public Utilities and Technology Interim Committee where Wayne Harper is discussing his Internet Privacy bill. Last year, the bill was vetoed. He is arguing that the State should set a standard for privacy and security that can be a model for business and others. The bill focuses on assuring that all state websites provide a privacy notice. The notice should inform citizens on how their information is being utilized by the state. Rep. Allen asked for clarification on why the bill was vetoed. Rep. Harper said that it was a result of concern over security issues. He said that items of concern have been removed from the bill. The bill also applies to local government and education. Rep. Harper thinks it is a good policy statement for the state.

Doug Foxley spoke on behalf of AOL Time Warner, eBay, AT&T, and Comcast. Last year, he vigorously opposed the bill. He said that a similar bill was a huge problem for Minnesota and they have significant concerns (he was referring to the wrong bill). Now,he has no opinion on this bill. So no one else spoke in opposition. Another legislator was wondering if the bill would affect the Wildlife draw on the internet. Rep. Harper answered that it would not. The committee voted to support the bill as a committee bill.

He then spoke about an identity theft bill that he is proposing for this year which is the one that Foxley was opposing.

  posted by David @ 7:54 AM

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