"We can't allow things that are inaccurate to stand." — The Word of Our Dan, February 19, 2008.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

More bloat

Yet another lesson in how not to be open and accountable.

On September 11th, Jerome! tabled the annual Report on Program Expenditures and Revenues of the Consolidated Revenue Fund - 2008-09.

The document clocks in at a dialup-clogging thirteen megs and change. Go ahead. Download it (link) — if you really want to.

Why so big?

Because, apart from the cover, the rest of the document consists of scans of a paper document. It's almost as if the original publication was composed with moveable type and hot lead, or wax, or something. It's almost as if it wasn't originally prepared on commercial software, which would lend itself to instant and easy conversion into a textual PDF, instead of a graphic one. You end up with a bloated, multi-meg file, instead of a document which would likely be no more than a few hundred K, and easily accessible even to rural internet customers.

In addition, by scanning the document as images, and creating a PDF from those images, instead of generating one from its native format, the resulting PDF "text" can neither be searched nor clipped and pasted.

They should have asked a computer guru how to do things right, from a computer perspective, on a go-forward basis.

Of course, this effective defeat of the convenience and utility of modern technology, which might make it possible for members of the public to share information about the state of the provincial finances, is almost certainly not deliberate on the part of government.

Nothing could be further from the truth.



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