Friday, August 05, 2016

Can a county running on Windows 2000 be called "Tech Savvy?" Uh...yep.

What happens when your county government is found to be running on Windows 2000...fourteen years after the year 2000? When your county 911 system goes down, and two residents calling for help die during the outage...and your Alert Montgomery messaging system doesn't send out an alert until 11 minutes after the outage is over? When your public school system's "secure" student information is held in a database that hasn't been supported by its developer since 2012?

You get an award!
Montgomery County and the Public Technology Institute gave us some much-needed comic relief from the horrors of terrorism and the presidential campaign this week, when they announced that PTI has declared MoCo to be "tech savvy."
You can't make this stuff up, folks.

It's a major award! Seriously, though, what was it that put us over the top?

Was it Councilmember Roger Berliner, when he asked: In the year 2016, when attempting to dial 911 in an emergency - “Would I be looking at my cellphone for alerts? I don’t think so.”

To quote his colleague George Leventhal, in the midst of publicly berating a female County employee on live television, "WHAT YEAR IS IT?! WHAT YEAR IS IT?!"

It's 2016. The same year a state audit of MCPS found that exterior users can gain access to "any destination on the MCPS network." That an insecure connection protocol used by MCPS administrators shows login credentials in clear text. That 86 third-party business partners of the school system improperly have "network-level access to the entire MCPS network." That every computer tested by state auditors was determined to be running an outdated operating system. That 75% of the workstations they tested did not have the latest security updates downloaded. And that 13,000 MCPS computers were determined to not even be compatible with the anti-malware software tool the school system uses.

Was that "tech savvy" enough for the judges?

No, perhaps what put us over the top was the County Council throwing a tantrum that the aforementioned County operating system was so ancient, that it couldn't sync calendars with the fancy new phones councilmembers could afford after voting themselves a 28% raise (don't you wish you could do that at your office?).

Or a tech-based effort to "help" food trucks, which ended with 96% of food trucks either leaving the County, or going out of business altogether. Was that what snagged us the tech savvy award?

Maybe it was the drone adventure by the same County official who helmed Councilmember Hans Riemer's aforementioned food truck fiasco. That former Riemer campaign operative and donor, who was rewarded for his efforts with a $150,000-a-year County position created just for him, spent about $3000 of taxpayer funds on drones without clearing it with the higher-ups. After County Executive Ike Leggett got wind of it, the early Christmas presents ended up as extremely expensive paperweights in the County Innovation Officer's office.

That had to be it, right?

Or maybe it was the County Department of Liquor Control's paper-and-Post-It Notes inventory system, which has restaurant and bar owners taking the lead in efforts to boot the current County Council from office?

There's just so much tech-savvyness here in Montgomery County, it's honestly hard to say.

Whatever "open data" and "big data" efforts that have been made by Montgomery County have simply been aping similar moves by other jurisdictions across the country in that direction. It was just a few years ago that the City of Baltimore, the State of Maryland and Montgomery County were stealing wholesale from New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani with their various CityStat, CountyStat and StateStat programs, without crediting Giuliani, Bill Bratton, or other pioneers in the field.

I recall a consultant standing before the Mayor and Council of Rockville a few years ago, eagerly promoting the idea that he could shift the venerable Rockville Reports newsletter from print to online. Not exactly groundbreaking; should he have received an award?

By the way, in researching PTI, I noticed something else odd: two of the other jurisdictions that received the Tech Savvy award were Evanston, Illinois, and Mesa, Arizona. If you check the PTI Board of Directors list, the City Managers of Evanston and Mesa currently sit on the Board. Can anyone explain that?

67 comments:

Anonymous said...

What would you suggest the county run on their computers?

#dodgingdyer

Robert Dyer said...

5:09: I don't know, maybe a 2016 operating system?

Anonymous said...

So why do you make fun of Leventhal's question that addressed the Windows 2000 issue?

#Birdbrain

Anonymous said...

"96% of food trucks [left] the County"

BULLSHIT.

Robert Dyer said...

5:19: Absolutely true. Anybody who goes out for lunch in downtown Bethesda daily who was here back when food trucks aplenty were parked around Bethesda Row, Veterans Park, etc. is laughing at you right now.

5:15: Maybe because after being in office since 2002, Leventhal only discovered what operating system his government was using 12 years later?

Anonymous said...

Dyer @ 5:28 AM - do you understand the difference between statistics versus anecdotes?

Anonymous said...

Of course, 5:38! Robert's opinions are facts. And everyone else is LYING, their statements and sources are FALSE, they are an IDIOT. Don't you know?

Anonymous said...

What exactly did Baltimore and Maryland "steal" from Giuliani and Bratton?

Robert Dyer said...

5:38: I know facts, and this article states and links to many facts.

6:02: CityStat and StateStat

Anonymous said...

How were they "stolen"?

Anonymous said...

@5:19am Don't bother. Dyer makes up numbers all the time, and has never, ever provided valid sources. Just roll with it.

@6:17 AM Nothing was stolen. Dyer habitually lies to make his own fantasies seem real.


Cherry-picking various IT errors that have occurred is disingenuous, but not surprising for this blog.

For those interested in actually learning about the award, instead of reading mindless nonsense. The criteria is below:

- Adhere to a Stated Standard of Ethics
- Performance Management Practices are Embraced and the Government Uses Data/Business Intelligence to Drive Decision-Making
- Department Directors meet on a Regular Basis and have a Good Flow of Communication, and - - Identify Areas for Collaboration around Technology Solutions
- Professional Development is Encouraged Across the Jurisdiction
- A Jurisdiction-Wide Technology Plan has been Created, Discussed, Documented and Disseminated
- Active Training and Awareness of Cybersecurity and Network Security
- Demonstrated Commitment to Green Technology Initiatives across the Enterprise
- A Culture of Technology Innovation is Embraced
- Adhere to a Stated Standard of Excellence

I would say they qualify, not that it really matters much. The only one making a big deal is Dyer



"in the midst of publicly berating a female County employee"

...says the guy who has a disturbing obsession with berating county officials (male and female, not that it matters)

Anonymous said...

Giuliani and Bratton are software engineers, per Dyer.

Anonymous said...

Why are the trolls so vicious on this blog? I don't get why people (or probably the person) that hates the content so much continues to show up.

Anonymous said...

6:36 AM when did Dyer "berate" a county official?
Covering the county elected officials with skepticism is good journalism.

Leventhal doesn't have the temperament to be country executive, that's for sure.

speaking of food trucks, anyone heard from Dan Hoffman recently?

Wrol said...

Crazy that they are still on Windows 2000. It's expensive though to upgrade and update across so many systems. Tax payer money needs to be spent - we ok with that?

Looks like the federal government isn't too far behind.

http://www.zdnet.com/article/the-federal-government-on-what-are-the-most-popular-us-end-user-operating-systems/

2014 was the supposed Windows XP deadline.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/technology/government-computers-running-windows-xp-will-be-vulnerable-to-hackers-after-april-8/2014/03/16/9a9c8c7c-a553-11e3-a5fa-55f0c77bf39c_story.html

Robert Dyer said...

6:36: You don't consider the Washington Post a valid source?

The points laid out in my article decisively show why the County does not meet the criteria you quoted for the award!

Sorry, Mr. Alinsky, but I've never "berated" a County employee - Mr. Leventhal has, and the video is linked to in the article for any who doubt it.

Robert Dyer said...

7:49: It's not expensive anymore. Microsoft now sells cloud services, so you no longer need to buy a physical software package for each workstation or device. Of course, our tech-challenged County Council may not be aware of this yet.

Anonymous said...

Is it the responsibility of the council? Is there a department managing all of this?

Anonymous said...

@ 8:13 - #ScaryJewishName

Anonymous said...

Even Berliner's flip phone could receive text alerts. I wonder what the devil he was talking about. Is he advocating pulling the plug on Alert Montgomery?

Anonymous said...

Dyer, saying the magic word "cloud" doesn't mean that you don't have to undertake any upgrades on the thousands of individual workstations in our County government.

#Birdbrain

Anonymous said...

"Our tech-challenged County Council"

Says the guy writing on Blogger from Mom's basement, who can't even get the time stamps to show the correct time zone.

Anonymous said...

Can Dan Hoffman load the Council into a Ride On bus and take them to the Apple store for upgrades?

Anonymous said...

9:34 AM Your "mom's basement" jokes are pretty stale at this point.

A blog is a blog, readers don't care which platform is used.

Robert Dyer said...

9:24: Wrol had asked about the cost - and that is what the Microsoft cloud packages have reduced. They also reduce the number of IT support staff you have to pay, as well.

Anonymous said...

Lol.

Anonymous said...

As an IT professional, the cloud isn't really relevant to the point of the operating system still being Windows 2000. There's a pretty high cost to changeover the OS for an organization as large as Montgomery County.

Cloud services after the fact have made some things more convenient but not necessarily cheaper. You pay a premium for the convenience.

Anonymous said...

Is this the county council's job or is there an IT department?

I don't get your cloud computing comments. Rob, you were talking about the operating system, right? You still have to deploy the OS. And cloud computing doesn't mean there are no associated costs. It's expensive!

Anonymous said...

911 doesn't work, roads jammed, schools failing, county is running on Windows 2000, lackluster economic development and they couldn't build a bus depot right. All we hear from the Council is "it's not my job".

What the heck are we paying them to do?

Anonymous said...

I get the board or CEO of an organization is ultimately responsible, but my question about Windows 2000 deployment is simply asking if the county has an IT department in charge of this kind of thing.

Anonymous said...

@ 1:40 PM - #LitanyOfStDyer by #UnsignedDyer

Robert Dyer said...

10:56: No kidding. I'm simply pointing out that software upgrades and cloud services have lower costs these days - you can get rid of some physical storage space when cloud services are used, and reduce personnel, as was done in the City of Rockville.

But this is not an article about the finer points of IT, which is your area of expertise. Which is why I mention Alinsky's Rules for Radicals - the troll would like to get away from the devastating, factual critique in the article, and divert to a discussion and quibble on irrelevance. Let's get back to why the County is using vulnerable operating systems, etc. while claiming to be tech savvy.

Anonymous said...

I'm not sure using that Conan image is legal. Someone mentioned sending a note to their legal department with a screenshot.

Anonymous said...

1:05 PM - don't expect a technological illiterate like Dyer to understand the distinction between a remote mass storage system, versus the operating systems needed to operate thousands of individual workstations.

Anonymous said...

IT person here. No excuse for the county to be running Windows 2000. Microsoft ended support of it in July 2010, and they provided plenty of advanced notice of this.

What this means by ending support is Microsoft also don't provide patches/updates to address security issues -- that's the big risk. A user of Windows 2000 could go to a website with some malicious code and not be protected against it because Microsoft no longer provides patches for it.

As to there being a cost in $$ and time to upgrade, yes that's true. There's also a cost to upgrade the fleet of county vehicles and schoolbuses, but no one complains about that. Whether it's software or a schoolbus, they do need upgrading from time to time. Any decent IT manager knows you need to upgrade software on a routine basis -- surely the county planned and budgeted for this?

Anonymous said...

4:26pm I'm sending a strong note to your psychiatrist with screenshots of your nutty anonymous comments. You need help.

Anonymous said...

Hopefully they planned and budgeted for it! So who's fault is it they are still on Windows 2000? still wondering who is in charge of this at Montgomery county versus just blaming the council.

Anonymous said...

That's so weird, 6:33. One is talking about an illegal usage of copyrighted imagery. The other is talking about what again?

Anonymous said...

The railway system in USA has deteriorated under Obama
The train from NYC took 5 hours on Friday
When exiting confronted with DC metro delayed for 1/2 hour

The only salvation is DOnald Trump
Hilary will continue the deterioration into a 3rd world banana republic

TRUMP ,

Anonymous said...

@ 7:11 PM - what exactly are Trump's proposals to improve Amtrak and mass transit? Please do share.

Anonymous said...

7:08 PM I hope you're playing dumb and aren't as stupid as you seem. You probably also believe Michael Jordan is suing everyone that uses the crying Jordan meme. Did your mom just buy you a computer and you're exploring the world wide web for the first time?

Anonymous said...

7:11 PM = MoCo Young Dems

Anonymous said...

@ 6:33 PM - the person who needs help is the one who imagines that he is in correspondence with this unknown "psychiatrist" of a random anonymous commenter.

Anonymous said...

I piss on your soul robert dyer - you are worth less than shit.

Anonymous said...

IT guy here for a small bank - a dozen branches or so. We just went through a big OS update. It's a complicated, fairly expensive process to get everyone updated. It's not just the OS itself - everyone has different requirements, different software, different hardware, file backups, etc.

And the cloud has nothing at all do with the operating system. Not sure what the author is claiming with the association. Sure, we have gone more to cloud services later but the OS is not really related. And cloud services are expensive too.

Anonymous said...

Major upgrades to OS (and other software) often require hardware upgrades. Due to the much higher demands on memory and CPU, older hardware won't be able to handle the newer software and will need to be upgraded or more likely replaced completely.

Anonymous said...

Eight AM on a Saturday and this guy's (@ 5:06AM) waking thought is to come here and aggressively insult Dyer.
Why? Who is this guy and what's his back story with Robert Dyer?

Anonymous said...

7:22am the anonymous angry guy will never reveal the genesis of his inner pain or grievance with Robert Dyer.

Anonymous said...

Probably several of them. Weird someone would take such offense to what Dyer has to say. Weird also someone would come to such defense of what Dyer has to say.

Anonymous said...

Interesting how people confuse inquiry and observation with defense.

Anonymous said...

7:30AM - It's gonna be un-believable. Only he can get this started right. So many people are jumping to get involved. It's yuge. Beginning on January 20th, 2017, safety will be restored. ;)

Anonymous said...

Ooops, that was to 7:30PM. Apologies.

Anonymous said...

9:10am nope, same guy using the same tired insults daily. Are all Leventhal & Reamer supporters this nutty or just the most fervent?

Anonymous said...

Why are MoCo Dems so obsessed with Trump? And what is the relevance to all the problems we have in the county?
The Council needs to get to work.

Anonymous said...

Calling trolls out on their bad behavior does not mean one blindly supports Robert Dyer. Apples and oranges.

The purposeful misspellings of Dyer's name and various words is just as lame as #birdbrain. Even more offensive is why you're doing it.

Anonymous said...

12:07 PM - says the guy who purposefully misspells Hans Riemer's name.

Robert Dyer said...

5:39: Never said it was related. Somebody brought up the issue of cost, and I made the point that money can be saved on the software suites used with the latest operating system thanks to the Microsoft cloud packages. It's already been done in other jurisdictions, and could help offset some of costs in updating the operating system.

I'm not sure why defenders of the Council are using cost as an excuse. Those clowns are running $5-6 BILLION budgets these days. If they don't have the money to do the most basic things like keeping computers up to date, WTF are they spending it on?

Anonymous said...

Did Dyer just realize that software upgrades no longer require using floppy disks or CD-ROMs?

Anonymous said...

6:59PM -- I'm the gal at 12:07 and 10:17. The purposeful misspelling posts are not mine.

Anonymous said...

Some of the Federal government still uses 8" floppy disks.

Anonymous said...

Who says no one reads Dyer's Rockville blog?

Anonymous on August 5, 2016 at 12:45 PM

"Robert Dyer user of a Commodore 64 making jokes. Get a life, even geeks and nerds won't go near you"

Anonymous said...

@ 8:15 PM - Does this mean that Dyer will call for the Republican-controlled Congress to be ousted?

Elm said...

Keep the national politics talk elsewhere. We have enough incompetence to cover on the Council. No need to bring Congress into this.

Anonymous said...

7:09PM And it looks like the Dyer dis got a scolding over there too. Guess the Rockville-ites (Rockvillers?, Rockvillese?) don't like bullying either.

Anonymous said...

@ 10:44 AM - Are you that birdbrained "Rockvillite"?

Anonymous said...

No, but I think 7:09PM was showing everyone that Rockvillers (?) don't like Dyer (maybe 7:09 made the post himself?).
And I found it funny that he got "shamed" for it.

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