[LINK] CSIRO quizzed on $9.47m web site
cas at taz.net.au
Thu Feb 17 19:18:36 EST 2005
On Thu, Feb 17, 2005 at 04:26:19PM +1100, Bernard Robertson-Dunn wrote:
> Eric Scheid quoted:
> > CSIRO quizzed on $9.47m web site
> > BY the time the CSIRO?s new internet presence is operational at the end of
> > April, it will have cost the cash-strapped agency over $9.47 million.
> > The expense, criticised by Labor Senator Kim Carr in Senate estimates
> > hearings yesterday, includes $3.25 million for CSIRO.au this financial year.
> So what would Kim Carr know about the benefit to CSIRO from the
> expenditure of that money?
> If his logic is $9.47 million == a lot of money == a Bad Thing(tm) (and
> my reading of the report is that this is the case) then he is blindly
> doing what oppositions do - ie opposing for the sake of opposing. No
> understanding of the project, just horror that anyone would spend this
> sort of money on IT. Any opposition that just does that can plan on a
> really long time doing it.
a million dollars would buy you a massive load-balanced web server farm AND a
year or two's worth of salaries for a sysadmin and asst, 3 or 4 programmers, 3
or 4 web monkeys, and 1 or 2 people to liase with the various CSIRO
projects/depts/groups and help them get their stuff onto the main site. might
even buy you a good technical manager(*) for the project too - if not, under
$100K or so would.
2 million would fund the whole thing (incl. salaries, hardware upgrades &
replacements etc) for at least 3 years. 3 million should see it through for
at least 5 (probably much longer since you probably only need all of the
programmers and web developers for the first year or so - then cut back to a
maintainence & support team)
i dunno what $9.5M would buy you but it would have to be a lot more than just
one web site (even if it does merge in 250 smaller sites - having run servers
with over 500 sites on them, i can tell you that it's not much harder to
manage 500 sites than it is to manage 1 site....if you have a clue and enough
shell & perl scripting skill to automate the routine/repetitive jobs).
hooray for outsourcing. give millions of public dollars away to overpriced,
underskilled, under-clued "consultants" to end up with a system that is slow,
clumsy, and nobody wants to use. i know what i call this, i call it corporate
(*) a *good* tech manager is one who can actually manage technical people -
this requires reasonable technical knowledge (enough to at least understand
the technology and avoid being blinded by the glare from glossy brochures)
PLUS the ability to just set the overall goals & deadlines and then step back
to let the techs get on with the job without interference. they also act as a
buffer between the techs s/he is managing and the rest of staff & management.
a quite rare combination of skills (even rare than good techs), but worth
their weight in gold if you're lucky enough to find one.
ps: even though truly skilled sysadmins, programmers, and web designers are
fairly rare, i doubt if CSIRO would have difficulty finding appropriately
competent staff - the geek factor of the interesting stuff CSIRO does (or
would be doing if they weren't being corporatised and underfunded) is enough
to attract hordes of geeks.
pps: no need to spend millions on some crappy proprietary CMS, either. a free
CMS package called bricolage runs on apache with mod_perl and postgres. there
are numerous other free software alternatives, too - and most are every bit as
good (or better!) than the commercial proprietary packages (which don't come
with source and are thus difficult, extremely expensive, or impossible to
craig sanders <cas at taz.net.au> (part time cyborg)
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