By Mike Gifford on 03/01/2009
So I decided it would be interesting to do a bit of a search within the Government of Canada's public pages for use or mentions of wiki's.  There's been quite a lot of discussion on this front in 2008, so wanted to see where things stood at the beginning of 2009. 
Unfortunately there were only 404 references to the term wiki within domains with a * domain.  Most wiki's aren't public so that isn't too surprising, and the two big instances of wiki implementation within the Government of Canada (GCpedia & NRCan's wiki) certainly aren't visible outside of their networks.  Most of these...
By Mike Gifford on 04/12/2008
I spent two days earlier this week in presentations to largely government employees about accessibility issues. It was organized by GOL Communications and we were invited largely to do with our work on the working to establish a collaborative CLF themes. 
There were more presentations about WCAG 2.0 than I'd ever heard prior to this event, and it was interesting to have it broken down int for principals that were pretty understandable.  We must all strive to make websites perceivable, operable, understandable & robust.  Surely focusing on those priorities as content developers would make...
By Mike Gifford on 28/11/2008
I just had a meeting with my representative from the CFIB, I am certain that without receiving information from them I would never have known about the requirement that the Ontario Ministry of Labour places on employers.  Apparently, the Ministry has an additional 200 staff to enforce the requirement that all work places display the latest Employment Standards Poster.  Now, the fines that they are issuing for not posting the latest version of the poster are not insignificant, so this certainly feels like a cash grab by the government. I think that the assumption is that if you are a business...
By Mike Gifford on 02/10/2008
I had to write a short note about a concern that was passed along to me about having public facing websites having databases on them.  The opinion passed along to me was that it was insecure to have a database driven dynamic website for a public government department because the database made the whole system less secure. 
I just needed to state clearly that it is the scripting languages that interact with the browser that are the main point of concern, and these are well used in most GoC sites.  Yes, if the .asp or .php scripts that are driving a page were badly written or just not monitored...
By Mike Gifford on 17/07/2007
Well, for any number of applications, one might find oneself in need of the contact information for our federal politicians. There are any number of ways you can do this, including going onto a government web page like this, and manually copying and pasting the information.
"dude, manual data input is sooooo last decade!"
Or of course, you could screen scrape this data into a basic csv.
DISCLAIMER: while normally my scrapings are done in the likeness of ninjas robbing a museum, this time around I resorted to some pretty hacky antics. This means that there is no one way to do this. Rather I...
By Mike Gifford on 17/05/2007
Being based in Ottawa, it is hard to ignore the opportunities available in providing services to the government. With federal, provincial & municipal governments all with offices in the city there is a huge opportunity for innovation and cooperation between different departments. Most Canadians don't realize this, but our country's largest single software producer is our public service sector and yet the experience, tools and intellectual property developed by government workers is rarely shared with other divisions let alone with the citizens who paid for its development.
I have received...