Coping: Where is ONLINE Government?

imageBeing a (semi) retired management & software “slinger” it’s fun every so-often to see if one “still has it.

So there we were, Sunday morning, coffee on the deck… and we hear noise at the local gravel crushing site down the road from us.

Crap!  It was supposed to be closed by now.

Here I was, thinking I would not really have to go through with my promise to run for County Commissioner if nothing was done to improve the state of local roads.

So far, nothing has changed but I was cool with “letting the clock run.”  Until Sunday morning at a quarter to 8 when heavy equipment noises including the obnoxious back-up beepers started going, again.

What to do?

Well, off to the web services provider.  Bought a website domain name and the cheapest possible hosting plan I could find.  $27 and change for the whole thing. First month of hosting included and $8 a month thereafter.  Works for me.

From there, it was a matter of…

  1. Installing the publishing framework.
  2. Writing some content
  3. Going out and taking some road pictures
  4. Adding the pictures to the website  (which meant optimizing and various  monkey-motion)
  5. Finishing the optimizing process  (Ure, the speed-tuner)

The result of 5-hours of “Ure-time” may be seen over at www.fixandersonroads.org

Not like the local powers (that want to) be aren’t in the dark about what’s going on here.  In fact, I sent a nice email to the County Judge advising him (and the editor of the local paper) of my intentions to get serious on the campaign. 

None of which matters a bit to anyone outside of Anderson County, Texas, except it explains why everyone hereabouts drives a pick-up truck:  It’s slightly faster than driving a Caterpillar D-6 into town, although that’s really a better choice, until you get up to the noisiest piece of road ever driven, which is the local Farm to Market road.  Abbreviated in Texas as an “FM” road, as opposed to a County Road which goes as a “CR.”

But there is one little item that slapped me in the face yesterday as I was screaming through content-generation.  In the tradition of Barrack Hussein O, let me quote from myself here:

The Ure Vision

Pronounced “Your Vision”

  1. Money should be spent based on numbers of users.  Busy roads should get more, quieter roads should get less.  Businesses that damage roads (overweight trucks) should be required to post a damage bond.  The County should allocate funds on condition and traffic counts.  Ever see a traffic counter in Anderson County? I’ve been looking for one for 12-years now!
  2. Faster fire, EMS. and Sheriff response times.  Greater community EMS involvement.
  3. Online Government:  If your bank can provide critical and confidential services, have you ever wondered why local government can’t?  Answer:  Power-hungry, egocentric, non-responsive office-holders, that’s why.

Aw, come on, don’t look so surprised.  Ever wonder how a Congressman gets elected, goes to Washington, and gets RICH?  Ever wonder why county-level “climbers” are trying to build regional empires?

Look, folks:  This ain’t that hard.

Government can be online and responsive to the people any damn time it wants.

Fact is, it doesn’t want to.

Democracy talks a good game.  But when the rubber meets the road, do we hook up online and vote or at least spend a few minutes a week on surveys of how we want local government to help us?

No, sir.  Government depends on Facebook, Twitter, and Tinder to keep we the  people distracted.

One of the reasons that we don’t have online government is that banks (however crooked) are somewhat more organized than government when comes to being web-savvy.  This is why you can “bank online” but we can’t all meet-up and do government online.

Now, here’s the thing:

In the real world of competitive web development and design, there are only a few things that matter:  Content, responsive (phone-friendly images and resizing), and brutally fast, well-optimized code.

Again, in the “real world” we measure this how?  With tools like Google Page Speed Insights.  Another good one, which I used as part of the development process for this little 5-hour miracle of mine at the Fix Anderson Roads website is www.gtmetrix.com.

And here’s how local county government looked from a competitive standpoint: (best of 3)

image

Yee gads!  Kerosene-powered servers, or what?

Now, in fairness, this is only one testing service (GT Metrix).  But there are others, as well.

For example, Google Page Speed Insights scores the local county government website at 62 mobile and 66 for desktops on a scale of 100.

By comparison, my tiny 5-hour project www.fixandersonroads.org was showing 98 mobile and 97 desktop (best of 3)…which I suppose I could  improve on a bit, but there is more to life than leveraging one’s skillsets in computers into politics. Besides, we have to go to Shreveport today to get a new key made for the 10-year old Lexomobile.  (Panama has guard duty here at the ranch tonight.)

The other fact is, by the time 3 PM Sunday rolled around (and I was five hours into this little project), I said screw it.  The Sunday afternoon martini overtook web optimization on my priority list.  (Can’t imagine how this happens, but it does, sometimes.)

I’m still debating whether I should point any of this out to the County government types.  What they may not appreciate is that just “being on the web” is a so-what, know-nothing deal anymore.  What should cause the Fix Roads website to rise in Google and other search engines when people go looking for Anderson County online is that web site speed is a critical indicator of where a website will display in search results.

Why am I telling you this?  Well…

Like I said before, web site speed and mobile-friendly is what works. Speed and code is a measurable performance metric.  We can argue test design, but numbers is numbers, kiddies.

Knowing that websites can be an indicator of general management awareness and mindset, you may find the following GT Metrix results of interest:  (Default Vancouver B.C. server, ad blocking off, emulating Firefox desktop…)

Donald Trump:  Page speed 94, Y-Slow 91.

Ted Cruz:  Page speed 86, Y-Slow 65

Marco Rubio:  Page speed 50, Y-Slow 81

Jeb Bush:  Page speed 94, Y-Slow 68

On the other side of the aisle:

Bernie Sanders: Page speed 93, Y-Slow 77

Hillary Clinton:  Page speed 80, Y-Slow 74

There are, of course, many strategies to optimize web site performance:  One example is use of HTTPS (where the S stands for “secure socket layer”).  Some search engines will give a few bonus points for this.

Another factor in some speed ratings, just as  Google’s Page Speed Insights will penalize a website for off-page loading times.  For example,  UrbanSurvival gets a penalty that takes this site down a bit with Google because we use Google Adsense to serve our ads over on the right side of the screen, there.

I know this sounds odd, but think about it: Google’s Page Speed Insights seems penalize Google Adsense which has always popped up in our Page Speed Insights reports.  I’ve pointed this out to Google a couple of times, but that’s why knowledgeable people use multiple tools. 

[IOW:  We have, as the old Monty Python bit used to go, “No time Toulouse!” in our hyper-caffeinated rock’n and roll’n  MSH (make’n shit happen) hours of financial consciousness.]

All of which brings us to our astounding bottom lines thanks to Mrs. Olson:

1.  George’s political website ($27 and change out of pocket) smokes the local county website which admittedly is more complex.  (On the other hand, did I mention there is one of me?)

2.  Based on my simple little website test, Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders seem to have the best web performance.

3.  What did you get for the billions of our tax dollars spent on the Obamacare website?

www.healthcare.gov was showing a Page speed of 88 and a Y-Slow of 66 on GT Metrix this morning.

Last, but not least, when I ran GT Metrix against the www.whitehouse.gov website what did I get?

Page speed 78, Y-Slow 74.

BTW:  If you don’t put the “www” in front of Whitehouse.gov on GT Metrix, you might get a “certificate error.”  Hmmm…certificate error from the Obama WH…who’dah thought?

IRS?  Page speed 69, Y-Slow 68.

ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement)?  Page speed 31, Y-Slow 74.  (GT Metrix popped up an “F” for their page speed.  Maybe they missed the WH memo on slow is required by the brass at ICE, yah think?)

This last reading, in particular, underscores this morning’s wild and crazy idea:  That web speed performance may be more on an IRL (in real life) indicator of whats-up than most of us might otherwise think.

In general, if a page isn’t loaded in 2 or 3 seconds, people will click on to something else.  ADHD runs rampant here in the Divided States.  Load time for ICE.gov was running about 7-seconds this morning.

And that, in excruciating detail is why your bank can deliver you information about how much the wife spent shopping at Kroger’s in town before she’s even home with the groceries.

While government can’t effectively poll the real residents of a county commissioner or Congressional district.

It isn’t that the technology isn’t there:  It’s that the customer awareness isn’t. 

Unfair analysis?  You bet! 

But like I said, there’s one of me.

If they can’t manage their websites, WTF makes us think they can manage a whole country?

Bottom Line #2:

I believe that online governance can work out fine.  So much so that we will be going over it on Peoplenomics.com this week or next.

Don’t suppose I should mention I just bought the domain name “alternativegovernment.org” should I?

Write when you break-even,

George   george@ure.net

Comments

Coping: Where is ONLINE Government? — 15 Comments

  1. J Epley… Also, are you a Peoplenomics subscriber( one who helps pay for this website) or a typical free rider?

    • Hey ned schlosser thanks for the insult and no YOU totally miss the point! Really, you are the free ride and everyone can tell by your big mouth remark slamming him for wanting to do something about roads and the inefficacy of government and also now from your insults because everyone knows if your opinions had any merit you wouldn’t have to resort to insulting me but I’m sure that too is lost on you!

      If I felt the need to compare tax bills I win on property taxes alone and since I am a small biz owner that I built from zero and I am scarred beyond belief with a slew of other taxes, fee’s etc.… spread across multiple states, Really the list of taxes and fees monthly/anually is to long for here as ANY business owner knows but at least I’m smart enough to not be in a state with state taxes, so I pay AT LEAST my share +++ AND I create jobs (47 to be exact) who in turn also pay taxes big mouth so I can BMC all I want. But not really the point.

      Lost on you is he is willing to do something about it regardless of how much of his “whopping tax bill goes towards it”!

      So long as government can continue to go back to the tax farm for money any time it wants and so long as the public does nothing and (YOU NED) is focused on ( who pays enough (3-4 months of your annual income / and 3rd highest corporate rate in the industrialized world isn’t enough? Really?) They will never be forced to be efficient. EVER!

      Your argument seems to be that his tax bill isn’t large enough to make him relative or to make the assumption that there is no money left over (which there probably isn’t) but that is only because government at all levels is extremely inefficient BECAUSE IT CAN BE (see tax farms, NED types, barriers to entry, laws allowing govt’t graft and good ole boy network etc.…)

      Maybe focusing on efficiency would reduce your $9500 bill as well as the other taxes especially in your state. Paying 2.8 on property AND a state tax of 4-6.5% plus federal. Good grief when is tax freedom day now?! Really if you would of got my point its exactly about that. You want to compare tax bills instead of reduce them or at least get your money’s worth? WOW!

      As far as being a subscriber you are using the same shame argument (“George, remind us again how much of your whopping yearly tax bill goes to road maint????”) you types use, , to shut people up about wanting less tax and more efficient use of what they do pay in Like he should just shut and deal.

      Really Ned YOU are the problem because you will never get it you just keep paying and then try and shame anybody that wants to stand up and do something about it. Just keep send em’ checks NED somebody else will handle it!

  2. JEpley… You miss the point… I live in the city of Milwaukee and pay 9500 on a home assessed at 330000. ( you can verify that online)That does not include water/sewage … 900 a year is a joke for police and allthe other government services ( schools etc…Remember he is an ex teacher) Georgie his wife and tenant suck up..I am not a govt lover nor employee…BTW what do you all pay big mouth???

  3. Went to your road whatever web site. One more hit for the counter. I’m all for anything that slaps government in the face. Maybe one of the folks in it will actually wake up … before it’s too late. And, some of the more violent types finally start gathering the rocks from the torn up roads in the wake of government’s “well doing” and start boinking some of those folks on the head with said rocks.

  4. “Government depends on Facebook, Twitter, and Tinder to keep we the people distracted.”

    They also serve as a safety valve and an intel source from which the government can gauge the things that people are complaining about.

  5. George, you might want to obliterate the annoying banner at the top of the page regarding javascript being disabled(on the new web site). Many of us disable js by default, and no website should use it unless there’s a clear need. Your website looks the same on my machine with or without js.

    I commend your efforts, but is it worth putting yourself in an adversarial position to local government? The quarry must be a real nasty for you to do that. Good luck.

    In a situation like yours, I’d always ask myself: “What would Trump do?”

    On the other hand, you might get a white Cadillac convertible, a white suit and hat. You could go all in and get elected to be the Boss Hogg of Anderson County.

  6. Here in Idaho, we have a small limestone mountain being taken down and made into gravel so they blast most mornings. It’s about a mile away so the booms are a regular part of life as is the shaking of the ground. You’re not alone but ours was here before we were so we can hardly complain. Then there’s the railroad half a mile west……

  7. george
    best one in awhile, the part about ‘howcome.govisn’tresponsive’.

    and yet we must be to them.

    closer to the prison planet all the time

    aloha
    b

  8. If you are in as rural an area as you say, take the cost of maintaining that road and compare it to the number of people that benefit. I believe you will find that you are asking for a subsidy so you can have your country lifestyle. Cities have finally figured out that suburbs are a negative tax drain. I can imagine gentleman farms that produce nothing are even worse. It’s called FM because the purpose was to get products from the farm to the market.

    And a person who does not even own a smartphone wanting government to go online is just a joke. You are a foreigner to your own (electronic) culture, just as not having a corporation makes you a foreigner in your economic culture. Participating in it vicariously through your kids doesn’t cut it. You can’t even get good internet on your property. And what you get is quite likely subsidized at some point as well. And how about your cell service? Want a subsidy for that too? Did you notice the majority of hits on the website were mobile?

    It’s called infrastructure, and it’s declining everywhere in America, and there are no funds to maintain it. The American lifestyle is sustainable only by exploiting the resources of other countries. And that opportunity is closing fast. In the Ecuador, we are forced to pay the real cost for everything. I estimate your lifestyle is subsidized by exploitation by about 25-30%. In part by corporations that charge more for their products outside the USA and using those profits to lower USA prices. This enables government to tax off more and put it in the pockets of the 1%.

    You still haven’t figured out that the 1% are pocketing so much that it justifies those savings numbers every month. As Jim Willy just pointed out, the federal reserve tecently printed $17 trillion and gave it to their friends at near zero interest rates so when the reset occurs, they will have the cash to buy everything of value at fire sale prices. They hide this in the savings numbers, because this is unsterilized money that has no counterbalancing entry in the accounting system. This is the equivalent of remodeling the fed offices, writing a check for it, and when the check clears, just tearing up the check.

    • Well said. And a good reminder that we ought to be giving back to the world with part of our income here in subsidized ‘merica.

  9. Check and see if your county has a Patriot group meetings. Some do and some don’t. but they are generally filled with local citizens that are tired of the crap your going thru and are doing what they can to change it.
    Remember that joke I sent you are the little boy and the test, and he became a politician? Your up against the typical good old boy politicians so you might need football helmet when you want to butt your head up against the brick wall and a stiff drink afterwards. Good Luck. The patriots’ did fairly well in Bowie & Cass Counties (Texas).

  10. George, remind us again how much of your whopping yearly tax bill goes to road maint????

    • Thanks for asking.
      We pay about $900/ year now, and it was a lot more in previous years.
      In return for this, we get road deterioration and the only other “service” we consume is police (avg 20 min response time).
      Fire dept is volunteer and we pay separate for that.
      We buy in town so there’s the sales tax cut of that and… In our 12 years here, we haven’t consumed anywhere near the taxes paid. And we pay $800-1,000 in sales taxes, too…
      County doesn’t do water…so with mostly vacant land where is the value?

      • Your the one bragging about( and making money off selling books about) living in the cheap seats so deal with it what it entails

      • G
        Great article and always somebody(George, remind us again how much of your whopping yearly tax bill goes to road maint????) will say how much did you pay in taxes, wrap a flag around it or in some way infer the more you pay the better! Never do these types look at how your tax dollars are spent or wasted from government (Usually from my experience they are the ones who don’t pay any or who get it all back plus a bunch at the end of the year)they just want you stop complaining and pay up or pay more! It’s absolutely what’s wrong with paying any taxes. So long as they can go back to the tax farm and get as much as they need they will keep doing what they do. They don’t care about your road really! Really government with your tax money reminds how kids act who do have to earn it and are never told no. Just my 2 taxed cents