Thursday, November 15, 2007

DOT Leader Gets An Earful

by Bruce Siceloff - November 9th, 2007 - News & Observer

There was serious talk about low pay and environmental stewardship. But it was a plea for new software that rocked the room with applause.


Scott Walston, a transportation planning supervisor, ignited the hottest topic when he complained about weak information technology support for DOT workers. When computers in his office were replaced with newer ones, he said, their Windows XP software was replaced with an older version, Windows 2000.

"We're operating with Microsoft Office 1997, and there are several versions that have come out since then," Walston said. "Our e-mail system is pathetic. We're using Netscape 2001."

This is insane, but not surprising. While the rest of the world is worrying about how to move from Windows XP to Windows Vista, the North Carolina Department of Transportation is moving backwards. Windows XP is itself an Operating System whose life is coming to an end, having been around since 2001 in an industry that usually has a shelf life for software of a maximum of 5 years.

XP has survived this long only because it is very good. Much better than Windows 2000 which had so many shortcomings it only lasted 1 year. That it only lasted 1 year and then was replaced with Windows XP should be all the knowledge it takes to realize no one should be going back to Windows 2000. In the article the DOT Information Technology representative is talking about moving to Office 2003 next year, in 2008. With the vastly superior collaboration tools of Office 2007, which is now starting to get a reputation for stability since it has been out a year, why are they looking to go to an old version of Office? Office 2003 is good, but it is 4 years older than the current product.

At the same time we get an article about the Department of Corrections paying 3 times as much for pest control as necessary because the owner of the firm winning the bid is Jim Black's son,
"Blacks son bid high but got jobs". In a department spending as much money as the Department of Transportation, what chance is there that the corruption so prevalent in our state government is not prevalent here too?

Does anyone think that the Democrat Party raid on the highway trust fund of $170 million per year is not indicative of the fact that they see all public money as simply sources of payola? In fact how many doubt that the reason for the problems in this department are not directly related to the $170 million raid on the higway trust fund?

North Carolina is the most socialist state in America. Like the Soviet Union, that means it is the most corrupt as well. I never thought I would have to acknowledge it but North Carolina has overtaken Louisiana as the state people think of when they think about corrupt government here in America. Why do people think that unless they punish the Democrat Party and vote them out, this will not continue?


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