Archive for May, 2009


UPDATE:

RIP Google Wave

googlepic

I watched the entire 1 hour-20 min not ready for primetime Google Wave Pony and Dance Show.  I must admit, the presentation on the technology was cute!  Success for the the intended audience as the kids are twittering their young fingers on their notebooks and cell phones as I write this post.

Spell checkers all over the world are learning new lingo such as: wavelets, embeded waves, iGoogle gadgets/robots, and blimps.  I was initially distracted because I kept looking at their Google Wave shirts and finally realized they were not sweating and the dark spot in the middle of their chests was a part of the pretty new Google Wave logo?

NoBeef“Where’s the Beef?” as Clara Peller used to say in Wendy’s TV commercials.  As others in the Blogosphere have stated, this looks like it was thrown up against the wall to see if it sticks?  Why present a not-ready-for-prime-time product, or as as Salon.com ask the question no else wants to say: “yet another Googler vanity exercise?”  I also wonder why now?  Is this a 1st shot across Microsoft’s proprietary bow or could there other business reasons?

As a line manager and reviewer of  complex IT proposals, and more importantly, as an investor, I don’t understand why the team had not properly prepared for the demo?  Were they serious that they had not reviewed the demo.  Maybe so, since the mobile devices did not communicate to one another as intended and at times the three team members were not communicating in real-time to one another?  Just plain weird from within a Goggle Data Center?

gwave1

I will leave the review of the product’s technology innovations to others more qualified to evaluate such internet technologies.  Google Wave offers real-time email, SMS, chat, wikis creation, and other GUI browser enhancements to social networking internet experience.  With GW’s open source API, developers will be able to offer extensions for possible enterprise applications.  There are obviously Privacy Concerns with the real-time views of anyone else’s typing, character-by-character and the drop-and-drag file sharing within a Google Wave.

To this writer, Google Wave is nothing more than a pretty email program for the kiddies with Web 2.0 enhanced social networking capabilities aimed directly at Microsoft’s Outlook and Sharepoint.  Google Wave might be very successful for the individual desktop however it has a long way to go for the Corporate Enterprise.   Remember that by most recent estimates, Lotus Notes and Microsoft Outlook  own 92% of the Corporate email systems.

Compare yahoo vs msft (i.e. live) vs google web traffic. It is very easy to see why msft wants to dance with yahoo.

What is Google’s business model?  Where does Google Wave fit into their product line? Looking at Google’s most recent 10-K report, we find the following interesting tidbits:

Intellectual Property:

  • Confidentiality and invention assignment agreements with our employees and consultants and confidentiality agreements with other third parties, and we rigorously control access to proprietary technology.
  • First version of the PageRank technology was created while Larry and Sergey attended Stanford University, which owns a patent to PageRank.  PageRank patent expires in 2017.  Hold perpetual license to this patent.
  • October 2003,  extended exclusivity period to this patent through 2011, at which point license will become non-exclusive.

Government Regulation:

  • In the U.S., laws relating to the liability of providers of online services for activities of their users and other third parties are currently being tested by a number of claims, which include actions for libel, slander, invasion of privacy and other tort claims, unlawful activity, copyright and trademark infringement and other theories based on the nature and content of the materials searched, the ads posted or the content generated by users. Certain foreign jurisdictions are also testing the liability of providers of online services for activities of their users and other third parties. Any court ruling that imposes liability on providers of online services for activities of their users and other third parties could harm our business.
  • In the area of data protection, many states have passed laws requiring notification to users when there is a security breach for personal data, such as California’s Information Practices Act. The costs of compliance with these laws may increase in the future as a result of changes in interpretation. Furthermore, any failure on our part to comply with these laws may subject us to significant liabilities.

Culture and Employees:

  • Encourage engineers to devote as much as 20% of their time to work on independent projects.
  • December 31, 2008, 20,222 employees, consisting of 7,254 in research and development, 8,002 in sales and marketing, 3,109 in general and administrative and 1,857 in operations.

Risk Factors:

  • Currently, primary competitors to be Microsoft Corporation and Yahoo!
  • Microsoft has developed features that make web search a more integrated part of its Windows operating system and other desktop software products. Expect that Microsoft will increasingly use its financial and engineering resources to compete with us. Microsoft has more employees and cash resources than we do.
  • Both Microsoft and Yahoo have longer operating histories and more established relationships with customers and end users. They can use their experience and resources against us in a variety of competitive ways, including by making acquisitions, investing more aggressively in research and development and competing more aggressively for advertisers and web sites.
  • Microsoft and Yahoo also may have a greater ability to attract and retain users than we do because they operate internet portals with a broad range of content products and services.
  • If Microsoft or Yahoo is successful in providing similar or better web search results or more relevant advertisements, or in leveraging their platforms or products to make their web search or advertising services easier to access, we could experience a significant decline in user traffic or the size of the Google Network. Any such decline could negatively affect our revenues.
  • Revenue growth rate will generally decline as a result of a number of factors including increasing competition, the inevitable decline in growth rates as revenues increase to higher levels and the increasing maturity of the online advertising market.
  • Operating margin will experience downward pressure as a result of increasing competition and increased expenditures for many aspects of our business.
  • Operating margin will also experience downward pressure if a greater percentage of of revenues comes from ads placed on Google Network members’ web sites compared to revenues generated through ads placed on [Google’s] own web sites or if [Google] spend a proportionately larger amount to promote the distribution of certain products, including Google Toolbar.
  • Margin on revenue generated from Google Network members is significantly less than the margin on revenue we generate from advertising on our web sites.
  • Generated 99% of revenues in 2007 and 97% of revenues in 2008 from advertisers.
  • Provide advertising, web search and other services to Google Network members, which accounted for 35% of revenues in 2007 and 31% of revenues in 2008.
  • International revenues accounted for approximately 51% of total revenues in 2008, and more than half of user traffic came from outside the U.S.
  • Face risks associated with trademarks. For example, there is a risk that the word “Google” could become so commonly used that it becomes synonymous with the word “search.”  If this happens, could lose protection for this trademark, which could result in other people using the word “Google” to refer to their own products, thus diminishing [Google]brand.
  • Companies have filed trademark infringement and related claims over the display of ads in response to user queries that include trademark terms. The outcomes of these lawsuits have differed from jurisdiction to jurisdiction.  Currently have three cases pending at the European Court of Justice, which will address questions regarding whether advertisers and search engines can be held liable for use of trademarked terms in keyword advertising.
  • Subject to additional claims with respect to Google Book Search in other parts of the world.
    Digital Millennium Copyright Act has provisions that limit, but do not necessarily eliminate, liability for listing or linking to third-party web sites that include materials that infringe copyrights or other rights.
  • Large amount of information on the internet is provided in proprietary document formats such as Microsoft Word. The providers of the software application used to create these documents could engineer the document format to prevent or interfere with ability to access the document contents with search technology.  This would mean that the document contents would not be included in search results even if the contents were directly relevant to a search.
  • Software providers may also seek to require [Google] to pay royalties in exchange for the ability to search documents in their format. If the software provider also competes in the search business, they may give their search technology a preferential ability to search documents in their proprietary format. Any of these results could harm [Google] brand and operating results.
  • Technologies have been developed that can block the display of our ads. Most of our revenues are derived from fees paid to us by advertisers in connection with the display of ads on web pages. As a result, ad-blocking technology could adversely affect our operating results. (i.e. Adblock, CustomizeGoogle, or other similar Firefox extensions?)
  • Payments to certain Google Network members have exceeded the related fees we receive from  advertisers. December 31, 2008, aggregate outstanding non-cancelable guaranteed minimum revenue share commitments totaled $1.03 billion through 2012 compared to $1.75 billion at December 31, 2007.

Google52MonthTotal

Updated: Nielsen Online (pdf) Total Searches (April 2009)

Buy America Act (BAA) and ARRA

War

UPDATE:

I TOLD YOU THIS WOULD HAPPEN…..

Canadians angered over “Buy American” rule

Canadian municipal leaders threatened to retaliate against the “Buy America” movement in the United States on Saturday, warning trade restrictions will hurt both countries’ economies.  The Federation of Canadian Municipalities endorsed a controversial proposal to support communities that refuse to buy products from countries that put trade restrictions on products and services from Canada.  The measure is a response to a provision in the U.S. economic stimulus package passed by Congress in February that says public works projects should use iron, steel and other goods made in the United States.

ORIGINAL POST FOLLOWS

The Trade Wars are coming! The Federal Register is the official daily publication for rules, proposed rules, and notices of Federal agencies and organizations, as well as executive orders and other presidential documents.  The below proposed interim rule for BAA requirement for ARRA construction projects will become law and included in the Federal Acquisition Regulation:

DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE

GENERAL SERVICES ADMINISTRATION

NATIONAL AERONAUTICS AND SPACE ADMINISTRATION

48 CFR Parts 1, 5, 25, and 52

[FAC 2005-32; FAR Case 2009-008; Item I; Docket 2009-0008, Sequence 1] RIN 9000-AL22

Federal Acquisition Regulation; FAR Case 2009-008, American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (the Recovery Act)–Buy American Requirements for Construction Material

AGENCY: Department of Defense (DoD), General Services Administration (GSA), and National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).

ACTION: Interim rule with request for comments.

———————————————————————–

SUMMARY: The Civilian Agency Acquisition Council and the Defense Acquisition Regulations Council (Councils) have agreed on an interim rule amending the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) to implement the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (Pub. L. 111-5) (Recovery Act) with respect to the Buy American provision, section 1605in Division A.  This rule does not cover procurements funded withFederal financial assistance such as Federal grants. Additional guidance will be provided by the Office of Management and Budget with respect to the application of section 1605 to procurements funded withFederal financial assistance.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION

A. Background This interim rule implements the Recovery Act with respect to the unique Buy American provision, section 1605 of the Recovery Act, by adding a new Subpart 25.6, entitled “American Recovery and Reinvestment Act–Buy American Act–Construction Materials,” and adding new provisions and clauses at Part 52, with conforming changes to Subparts 1.1, 5.2, 25.0, 25.2, and 25.11.

On February 17, 2009, the President signed Public Law 111-5, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, which includes a number of provisions to be implemented in Federal Government contracts. Among these provisions is section 1605, entitled “Buy American.”

It prohibits the use of funds appropriated or otherwise made available by the Act for any project for the construction, alteration, maintenance, or repair of a public building or public work unless all of the iron, steel, and manufactured goods used in the project are produced in the United States.

The law requires that this prohibition be applied in a manner consistent with U.S. obligations under international agreements, and it provides for waiver under three circumstances: 1. Iron, steel, or manufactured goods are not produced in the United States in sufficient and reasonably available quantities and of a satisfactory quality; 2. Inclusion of iron, steel, or manufactured goods produced in the United States will increase the cost of the contract by more than 25 percent; or 3. Applying the domestic preference would be inconsistent with the public interest.

The implementation of section 1605 is expected to stimulate the economy by increasing and maintaining jobs in the United States in the steel, iron, and manufactured construction materials industries and providing new opportunities to construction firms to win contracts for construction and public works projects.

B. Discussion Because of the need to appropriately segregate the unique Buy- American provisions of the Recovery Act from the requirements of the Buy American Act and the Trade Agreements Act, the Councils have decided to include them in a separate subpart of FAR Part 25. Subpart 25.6, currently reserved, will be entitled “American Recovery and Reinvestment Act–Buy American Act–Construction Materials.”

A reference to Subpart 25.6 was added to the “Scope” section of Subpart 25.2, Buy American Act–Construction Materials. Subpart 25.6 includes a policy statement at 25.602 that repeats the prohibition against using funds appropriated by the Recovery Act for U.S. construction projects to purchase iron, steel, or other manufactured goods that were not produced in the U.S. It also notes that unmanufactured construction materials remain covered by the provisions of the Buy American Act. The exceptions to this policy (see Background section above) are similar to those for the Buy American Act, but the Recovery Act requires publication in the Federal Register of the detailed written justification that the agency used to make an exception to the statute.

The Councils welcome comments on additional steps that may enhance transparency consistent with the goals of the Recovery Act. In order to enable implementation of the policy, the interim rule includes definitions of “steel,” “manufactured construction material,” “unmanufactured construction material,” “domestic construction material,” and “foreign construction material.”

These definitions are drawn from existing Federal domestic-sourcing laws and the longstanding interpretations that have evolved from them. It also includes a cross reference to the definition of “public work” at FAR 22.401, which defines “public building or public work” to mean “uilding or work, the construction, prosecution, completion, or repair of which * * * is carried on directly by authority of, or with funds of, a Federal agency to serve the interest of the general public regardless of whether title thereof is in a Federal agency.”

Because section 1605 does not specify a requirement that significantly all the components of construction material must also be domestic, as does the Buy American Act, the definition of domestic construction material under this interim rule does not include a requirement relating to the origin of the components of domestic manufactured construction material. Unmanufactured construction material is not specifically addressed in section 1605 of the Recovery Act. However, the Recovery Act’s purpose of creating jobs and stimulating domestic demand is well served by applying the Buy American Act to unmanufactured construction material. The rules for preaward determination of the inapplicability of section 1605 and the Buy American Act are at FAR 25.604. Section 25.605 addresses the evaluation of offers containing foreign construction material based on an approved exception for unreasonable cost.

If the contracting officer determines that an exception based on unreasonable cost of domestic construction material applies, the contracting officer must evaluate the offer by adding to the offered price– (1) 25 percent of the offered price, if foreign iron, steel, or other manufactured goods are used as construction material based on unreasonable cost of comparable manufactured domestic construction material; and (2) 6 percent of the value of foreign unmanufactured construction material included in the offer based on unreasonable cost of comparable domestic unmanufactured construction material. The text of Subpart 25.6 makes it clear that a determination to waive the applicability of section 1605 should be made prior to award.

However, section 25.606 recognizes certain limited circumstances in which a postaward waiver could be made, but only with adequate consideration from the contractor. A contractor’s noncompliance with section 1605 is addressed at FAR 25.607. Prescriptions for the use of all of the solicitation provisions and contract clauses applicable to FAR Part 25 are [[Page 14625]] included in a single subpart, 25.11.

The Councils have modified section 25.1102, entitled “Acquisition of Construction,” to add a new paragraph that substitutes four new provisions and clauses (with appropriate alternates), to be used when contracting with funds appropriated by the Recovery Act, for the four clauses otherwise used in construction contracts to implement the Buy American Act and U.S. obligations under applicable trade agreements.

Specifically, when using Recovery Act appropriated funds, contracting officers will use– 52.225-21, Required Use of American Iron, Steel, and Manufactured Goods–Buy American Act–Construction Materials, instead of 52.225-9, Buy American Act–Construction Materials; 52.225-22, Notice of Required Use of American Iron, Steel, and Other Manufactured Goods–Buy American Act–Construction Materials, instead of 52.225-10, Notice of Buy American Act Requirement– Construction Materials; 52.225-23, Required Use of American Iron, Steel, and Other Manufactured Goods and Buy American Act–Construction Materials Under Trade Agreements, instead of 52.225-11, Buy American Act–Construction Materials under Trade Agreements; and 52.225-24, Notice of Required Use of American Iron, Steel, and Other Manufactured Goods and Buy American Act–Construction Materials under Trade Agreements, instead of 52.225-12, Notice of Buy American Act Requirement–Construction Materials under Trade Agreements.

The clauses are unique in that, for Recovery Act-funded construction projects, the 25 percent price adjustment factor for non- U.S. iron, steel, and other foreign manufactured construction material excepted from the section 1605 requirement on the basis of unreasonable cost is applied to the entire price of the project, not only to the cost of the foreign materials.

The 6 percent adjustment for the Buy American Act is retained and applied to the cost of foreign unmanufactured goods excepted from the requirements of the Buy American Act on the basis of unreasonable cost. Given the applicability of the Recovery Act to iron, steel, and manufactured goods, the definition of “component” is unnecessary in these clauses, because the definition of domestic construction material no longer includes a requirement relating to the origin of components.

However, if trade agreements apply to the acquisition, the use of the provision and clause 52.225-23 and 52.225-24, respectively, ensures that eligible construction material from designated countries is treated in accordance with Subpart 25.4. No evaluation factor is applied to offers on the basis of using eligible construction material.

This provision and clause retain the same basic processes that are used in the standard construction clauses, except for the specific changes that have been addressed relating to new requirements of section 1605 of the Recovery Act. In the Recovery Act conference report, Congress expressed its intent that least developed countries be excepted from section 1605 and that they retain their status as designated countries. However, with respect to Caribbean Basin countries, Congress did not express a similar intent. Therefore, Caribbean Basin countries are not included as designated countries with respect to the Recovery Act.

Complete Docket info

Obama Transparency

gallerydirectart_1879_613231138The MSM forgot to mention this jewel from AP.

The new Administration supports keeping their emails secret… Oh my!


Court Rules White House Can Keep Email Secrets

The appeals court in Washington ruled that the White House Office of Administration is not an agency subject to the Freedom of Information Act, allowing the White House to keep secret documents about an email system that has been plagued with problems…

…The groups expressed disappointment that Obama’s Justice Department asked that the suit be dismissed after Obama promised greater transparency in government.

Anne Weismann, CREW’s chief counsel, said the group is disappointed in the ruling, but it is negotiating with Obama’s White House to get access to the Office of Administration’s documents anyway.

“Every president except for George W. Bush has treated OA as an agency subject to the FOIA, and we are counting on President Obama to do the same,” she said in a statement.”

I would not be holding my breath if I was CREW…

Update:  Hotair’s Ed Morrissey has an excellent  post on how the US DOJ will silence the masses. Too bad we can’t check the White House’s e-mail conversations with Lobbyists.  Transparency, ya right…

AngryI cannot believe MY tax money is paying the White House to maintain, compile, and publish these types of communications to voters in each state.  There is something about this is that is not right?

Sending out Press Releases to voters on my dime is wrong and should be illegal!  This is nothing more than a marketing stunt and a continuation of the Democrat Presidential campaign.

To: Interested Parties
Fr: White House Communications
Da: April 22, 2009
Re: The Obama-Biden economic plan: creating jobs, strengthening the economy for Georgia families


Facing the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression, President Obama started his Presidency with decisive action — proposing and quickly passing the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA).  Since the bill went into effect, the ARRA has already helped put money back in the pockets of 95 percent of working Americans, created and saved jobs across the country and made key investments in our community to help kickstart the economy.  To ensure that the funds are spent efficiently and effectively, President Obama tasked Vice President Biden with overseeing the implementation of ARRA, and projects have already begun to come in under budget across the country.   As the President prepares to introduce the details of his budget and further plans to revitalize the economy, here’s a look at how his policies have impacted Georgia in the first three months of his administration.

IMPACT OF PRESIDENT OBAMA’S ECONOMIC POLICIES ON GEORGIA

Working Families:

  • Making Work Pay: The President’s tax-cut – which covers more Americans than any in history – is putting more than $1.7 billion back in the pockets of more than 3.4 million hard-working Georgia families.
  • $82,847,053 to support child care for working families.

Energy:

  • $67,187,600 in block grants to foster energy efficiency in building, transportation, and a wide range of other improvements.
  • $124,756,312 to support the weatherization of homes, including adding more insulation, sealing leaks and modernizing heating and air conditioning equipment.
  • $82,495,000 to the State Energy Program, available for rebates to consumers for energy saving improvements; development of renewable energy projects; promotion of Energy Star products; efficiency upgrades for state and local government buildings; and other innovative state efforts to help save families money on their energy bills.

Education:

  • $2,385,577,195 potentially available to Georgia to lay the foundation for a generation of education reform and help save thousands of teaching jobs at risk due to state and local budget cuts.

Health Care:

  • $4,936,690 to fund 4 new Community Health Centers, which will serve an estimated 31,420 patients and create a projected 235 jobs.
  • $6,964,291 to expand services at 28 existing Community Health Centers, which will expand service to an additional 45,191 patients and create or save a projected 101 jobs.
  • $2,426,012 to provide meals to low-income seniors.
  • $339,608,197 made available in Federal Medical Assistance Percentage (FMAP) to protect health care for the families hit hard by the economic crisis and some of the nation’s most vulnerable citizens.
  • $6,286,143 in vaccines and grants to ensure more underserved Americans receive the vaccines they need.

Transportation:

  • $931,585,680 in highway funds to help build and repair roads and bridges.
  • $143,561,526 to repair and build public transportation infrastructure.
  • $8,284,000 to address airport safety and security, infrastructure, runway safety, increased capacity, and mitigation of environmental impacts.

Law Enforcement:

  • More than $59 million for state and local law enforcement assistance available through the Edward Byrne Justice Assistance Grant (JAG) Program.  The JAG Program supports a variety of efforts such as hiring and support for law enforcement officers; multijurisdictional drug and gang task forces; crime prevention and domestic violence programs; and courts, corrections, treatment, and justice information sharing initiatives.

REAL RESULTS IN GEORGIA

Thanks to the Obama Administration’s American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, real impact is already being felt across the state….

Read more…

Related: Surprise: Feds overhyping stimulus projects

I will attempt to track my own state and county’s stimulus money received.  After all, it is my tax money being spent without my permission.  Don’t get me wrong, every child should be able to read and write however how much more of my tax money must be given to Education?  Does Georgia really need $2B for Education?

I can understand road and infrastructure projects but just how bad is Georgia’s public school system? Note Governor Perdue Certifies $207 Million in Stimulus Road Projects and contrast with the below:

Direct Aid to Georgia – Dept of Education

$1,260,799,095:  81.8 percent of Georgia’s total Fiscal Stabilization allocation has to be used to restore State support for elementary and secondary education, and public higher education. States are required to maintain state support of education at the FY 2006 funding levels. In May 2009, 67% of the grant, $844.7 M, was awarded to Georgia. The remainder of the funds will be released in September 2010.

$280,520,092:  18.2 percent of Georgia’s total Fiscal Stabilization allocation provides governors with funding to support education (including school modernization, renovation, and repair), public safety, and other government services. In May 2009, 67% of the grant, $187.9 M, was awarded to Georgia. The remainder of the funds will be released in September 2010.

Georgia will receive a total of about $2 billion in stimulus funds for education at all levels. Georgia’s K-12 public schools will receive the vast majority of that money. This chart shows the major funding areas.

Program Area AMOUNT OF ARRA FUNDING (estimate)
Title 1
(for the education of economically disadvantaged students)
$351.4 million
IDEA Part B
(for the education of Students with Disabilities, K-12)
$313.8 million
IDEA Part B grants
(for preschool students with disabilities)
$10.5 million
Educational Technology State Grants $22.1 million
Fiscal Stabilization Funding
(K-12)
$900 million