Five technologies the Obama administration should (but won't or can't) adopt

As the Obama administration takes hold in Washington, D.C., Don Reisinger details some technologies that could help, if only...

Don Reisinger
CNET contributor Don Reisinger is a technology columnist who has covered everything from HDTVs to computers to Flowbee Haircut Systems. Besides his work with CNET, Don's work has been featured in a variety of other publications including PC World and a host of Ziff-Davis publications.
Don Reisinger
3 min read

Today we have a new president to lead a new American path through what will be a tumultuous time. But President Obama won't be able to do it alone. He and his administration need to work together, and communicate with one another and the country, to ensure everything is running well.

That's why I've compiled a "cheat sheet" for the Obama administration, listing five services it should use in the White House. Sadly, it probably won't. Record-keeping laws and security concerns will ensure that none of my suggestions take effect.

AIM for White House staff

Why shouldn't the White House staff be able to communicate with one another over AIM? I'm sure many of them use it in their daily lives and bringing it to the White House to communicate quickly is, in my estimation, a pretty good idea.

Instead of forcing his staff to walk back and forth between wings and offices, what if President Obama was able to instant message his staff from the Oval Office. I can see it now: PrezObama312: "Where's the dossier on the Russian spy we've been tracking?" WHStaffer35: "IDK. BRB." PrezObama312: "K. G2G. L8r."

Wouldn't that be great?

BitTorrent for distributing government documents

I know BitTorrent has been the target of the RIAA and MPAA over the past few years due to its huge supply of copyrighted material, but why shouldn't the government embrace the technology and use BitTorrent to distribute information to the public?

Sure, there's always that issue of "pirates" running the service, but I don't see what all the fuss is about. Who will they tell? President Obama should look to BitTorrent as an ideal way to get the word out. The distributed network reduces the cost of running data centers by allowing all the network's users to share the load.

It makes sense to me.

Present.ly for internal microblogging in groups based on level

Aside from AIM, I think the Obama administration should use enterprise microblogging service Present.ly to allow White House staff and the president to communicate.

The real beauty of Present.ly is its ability to allow users to create groups. A top-level aide can put the president, vice president, and cabinet in one group so they can discuss world affairs in a Twitter-like format, and the rest of the staff can have their own group to take care of their own work.

Sure, someone might be able to hack their way into the president's Present.ly group ("Michelle10" is an easy password to crack, Mr. President), but it still would help the staff communicate far more effectively than walking back and forth between desks.

Did you see 24 Monday night? That's all they do.

Stickam for White House room streams

I don't know about you, but I'm not always convinced that White House staff is really working. I'm not even sure President Obama would ever really know if his staff is working. How could he? He's busy.

That's why he needs to install cameras throughout the White House and use Stickam to monitor his employees. At any given time, he can log in to Stickam, find the White House channel, and start viewing all the different rooms in the house.

I'll bet that would get everyone working.

Ustream with moderated chat for country-wide town hall meetings

Ustream is a fine video-streaming service that makes connecting with others simple and fun. It's also ideal for a White House town hall meeting where President Obama would be on camera and citizens from across the U.S. would have the opportunity to ask him questions in a moderated chat room.

I don't see any reason why the president shouldn't exploit Ustream in this way. He has shown time and again that he has a real desire to use technology to connect with the populace and capitalizing on Ustream to give citizens a voice would be just another example of him doing just that.

I realize that allowing citizens from across the U.S. to comment on the president's policies could be troublesome, considering millions would probably want to join in, but if the room had a cap on the number of people who could join, or an effective team that could moderate comments, I doubt it would be a problem.

I'd certainly like to join in on that chat.

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