MPs lost for Word over creaking Microsoft packages
And politicos want YouTube exposure
MPs have logged a massive support call with Microsoft after they ended up at the wrong end of the tech world's fitful migration to Office 2007.
Meanwhile Westminster’s hapless Web 2.0 foray continued this week with politicians lobbying to place clips of themselves in the House of Commons on YouTube.
Microsoft is working with Westminster’s tech support, the Parliamentary Information and Communication Technology service (PICT) to enable MPs and peers to open Word 2007 documents in their Office 2003 software.
Compatibility is causing a big headache among politicians and civil servants who are unable to access some correspondence because the documents were created in Word 2007.
According to the “Information Committee Annual Report 2007-2008”, released on 25 November, the lack of compatibility “will be resolved in conjunction with Microsoft”, which is currently working with Westminster’s technology bods.
MPs have also complained about their email inboxes being overstretched, as a result the Committee confirmed that the size of “Members’ email boxes [sic]” would be increased.
In the meantime, parliamentary types are also keen to grab some Web 2.0-stylie limelight.
Some MPs want their appearances in the Commons Chamber to be shown on video-sharing websites such as YouTube. Peers in the House of Lords have also expressed interest, the Committee said.
Others would like users to be able to embed Parliamentary footage into their own blogs and websites. However, under the terms of the current Parliamentary Broadcasting Unit Ltd (PARBUL) licences, embedding is forbidden.
The PARBUL director is mulling the possibility, according to the Committee’s report.
The Committee added it “welcomed a wide range of improvements to the parliamentary website,” and said it’s “excited” by the programme of virtual tours being developed. ®
I don't want to get too technical
...but have they tried switching their PCs off and then on again?
Creaking Microsoft Packages
Anyone seen the MI5 homepage lately? It says they are looking for skilled computer personal and network technicians to join the Security Services.. Take a long hard look at what the site's running on.. Microsoft IIS 5.0.. I don't doubt it that they need professional help, they need it fast from what I can see... Is that what you meant by Creaking Packages?
Standards, Dear Boy, Standards
If all else fails the Parliamentarians - or their hapless IT outfit - could always use "a set of policies and standards to enable information to flow seamlessly across the public sector and provide citizens and businesses with better access to public services." I quote from e-GIF, of course, the mandatory Government standards: "The e-GIF first came into force when Version 1 was announced in the House of Commons in 2000." No wonder nobody knows about it.
It's up to version 6.2 now and deals pragmatically, if not always to purists' satisfaction, with prorietary formats and the interchange of information. Thus, for WP documents, the interchange formats are (and again I quote from the Government's own standards):
Rich Text Format as (.rtf) files
Plain/Formatted Text as (.txt) files
Hypertext documents as (.htm) files 01
Acrobat (.pdf) viewer minimum version 4
Word (.doc) viewer/reader for Windows XP, Windows 2000,, Windows 98, Windows 95, Windows NT, with minimum support for Word97 format
Lotus Notes Web Access (.nsf)
Multimedia Message formats (.mht), see IETF RFC 2557 for further information
Other file formats may be used in addition to the above list, provided they meet the technical policy for document handling defined in the e-GIF.
So if it's anything else, like .docx, and you haven't the tools to read it, send it back and tell the sender to conform to e-GIF. Everything else is just faff.
.....and if you don't agree with the standards, get in touch with your Parliamentarian and lobby him, or her, to have it changed. But make sure you use a format that can be read.
IT logo as obviously neither they nor their service provider have a clue about it.