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Clearing the Cache: Got One

BY Nancy Scola | Wednesday, September 2 2009

  • The White House calls a close to August with a Flickr photo dump.
  • For a few hours yesterday, Gmail went down, throwing users into a fit and sending them scurrying to Facebook and Twitter to, well, complain about how Gmail was down. But what happens when what you're using the free Gmail service for extends beyond keeping your personal life flowing to keeping the United States government up and running? NextGov's Gautham Nagesh wonders if the great Gmail crash draws into question U.S. CIO Vivek Kundra's vision of a government run on cloud computing and free services. The question is well work asking, but as a former employee of the federal government, take it from, it's not like those systems always hum along without problems. Many hours were spent deleting old emails so as to avoid the wrath of network administrators, who weren't above threatening to shut down your account for non-compliance -- a problem I've never run up against with Gmail, and I don't delete a thing.
  • Jon Henke, a political consultant who writes on the Next Right blog, has drawn the ire of World Net Daily's readers for suggesting that "respectable" Republicans disassociate themselves from the publication in response to their colorful commentary about Barack Obama's birth and government plans to put dissenters in concentration camps. Henke's calling for those on the right who have rented WND's email list -- including the RNC -- to stop the practice.
  • The great success of the color-coded threat level system has spawned imitators, in the form of a Digital Transparency Index for Congress. The new project features a groovy little sliding bar that ranks members of Congress, but otherwise it's a curious approach. The scale assess politicians on how much they're using Twitter, YouTube, and other social media. That's an indicator of something. But when we consider all the legislative drafting, vote trading, and negotiations that go on on Capitol Hill, using Twitter use as a proxy for "transparency" is questionable. How about including in the grading whether or not members of Congress post their full voting records for all to see?
  • Others have made the point before, but that an Federal Communications Commission official would blog about Mint.com as an example of how a smarter energy grid should work shows a fluency with the modern world that seems to have overtaken Washington.
  • Finally, video gamers make an easy target in politics, whether it's Hillary Clinton's crackdown on Grand Theft Auto or Barack Obama's call for kids to lay off gaming. Gamers in the United States number in the many millions, but there's been no real public face for the constituency. Until now. The Entertainment Consumers Association, or ECA, is calling for gamers to make videos demonstrating how gaming has improved their lives, families, and communities. The best video earns two tickets to the 2010 Penny Arcade Expo East.

(With Micah Sifry)