Discussion about the Welsh Assembly

Friday, July 30, 2004

Show us the data

The ex-IT Manager of Culturenet Cymru is reported as having stated that:

  • The 100 Welsh Heroes poll was fixed
  • The fact of the fix is easily discoverable from the database
  • Someone seems to have used National Library computers to post nasty messages

The response of the Assembly and Culturenet Cymru has been:

  • It isn't true
  • No you can't see the database
  • It still isn't true
  • Anyway we sacked him for gross misconduct
  • No comment
  • No you still can't see the database
  • So there

Seems a reasonable response over a mere £150,000 of taxpayers' money.

Saturday, July 24, 2004

Culturenet Cymru : cleaning out the stables

The Assembly and the Assembly-funded body, Culturenet Cymru, insist that the online poll, '100 Welsh Heroes' was legit and above-board. Meanwhile the ex IT manager of Culturenet has gone public about the seeming misuse of computers at the National Library of Wales.

Culturenet Cymru staff are being very brave by putting their jobs on the line by claiming nothing untoward has happened.

These people work for us and they spend our money. All they need to do is make the database available.

Who is making sure your money is being spent properly?

Bonfire of the quangos

We're equivocal about Rhodri Morgan's announcement that the Assembly would be taking over a number of Welsh quangos. It's not that we think bodies such as the National Museum of Wales, or the Welsh Lanuage Board, are well-managed at the moment - but we don't see any evidence that Assembly Civil Servants will cope any better.

Tuesday, July 20, 2004

Wired News article about AssemblyOnline

Wired News has an article about accessibility activists, particularly the splendid Matthew Somerville and his Accessible Odeon site - but it also mentions AssemblyOnline, the attempt to make content from the Welsh Assembly a little more usable and a little more accessible.

The article says that the website formed part of the recent disciplinary case brought against the developer. Can this really be true?

Nothing would suprise us about the way the Assembly's run but this is incredible news. Talk about shooting the messenger...

Monday, July 19, 2004

More about the National Library

It seems, from the IP addresses recorded, that somebody at the National Library of Wales has been using their computers during working hours to post libellous messages about the ex-IT Manager of Culturenet Cymru, and his girlfriend, on OpenWiki.

Here are three records from OpenWiki:

  • Revision: 44 . . July 19, 2004 08:50 View (diff) . . . . . . 193.61.220.xxx
  • Revision: 41 . . July 15, 2004 09:25 View (diff) . . . . . . 193.61.220.xxx
  • Revision: 36 . . July 7, 2004 17:18 View (diff) . . . . . . 193.61.220.xxx

And you can check the 193.61.220.xxx IP address range here

We are all sure that the Library will pursue an investigation into this. To help out, Watson suggests it's someone who's at his or her desk before 9 and who is smart enough to use OpenWiki but dim enough not to realise they left the Library's IP address behind.

Sunday, July 18, 2004

100 Welsh Heroes

After the revelations that the 100WelshHeroes poll was rigged we have a glimpse of the real top 10 for you:
  1. Tom Jones
  2. Mike Peters
  3. Phil Campbell of Motorhead
  4. Manic Street Preacher 1
  5. Manic Street Preacher 2
  6. A large leek
  7. Manic Street Preacher (dec'd)
  8. Cayo Evans
  9. My granny
  10. Ivor the Engine

We see that Culturenet Cymru says the ITC Manager who blew the whistle on this was sacked for reasons entirely unconnected with the poll. Here are 4 reasons for the dismissal and only 1 of them wasn't really mentioned in the disciplinary proceeding. Can you guess which?

  1. Creating the website ">www.assemblyonline.org
  2. Publishing the site statistics of a private weblog - on the weblog
  3. Mentioning that he was looking for another job
  4. Constantly singing excerpts from Light Opera

Looks to us very much like the dismissal and the way the poll was conducted are connected - appallingly bad management.

Saturday, July 10, 2004

That email about RSS in full:

With reference to the use of RSS newsfeeds and weblogs, I can assure you that Cymru Ar-lein is keen to explore all appropriate new technologies to facilitate and improve service delivery

There are merits in using RSS to drive content directly from our site to recipients automatically, quickly, and without interference from viruses and spam. The combined use of RSS and Weblogs in the education and learning communities is also very impressive and introduces the world to a whole new interactive Internet.

At this stage, however, Cymru Ar-lein is not in a position to do more than monitor the rise in popularity of both RSS and Weblogs. While keen to embrace and promote appropriate new technologies both within the National Assembly for Wales and throughout Wales as a whole. Cymru Ar-lein must move at a pace which is feasible for our customers. Translating the enthusiasm that stakeholders have toward using ICT into their habitual use of the Cymru Ar-lein fora is a slow process, but one that is more about the culture of ICT usage than it is about the nature of the tools used. Thus, promoting the use of the Cymru Ar-lein fora by stakeholders and within the National Assembly for Wales remains a priority

Looks like the Welsh Assembly is not quite ready for RSS. Cloudsoup's doing a good old job of worrying at the tired old bone of Welsh bureacracy but why bother?