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About Merlyn on Media

Merlyn Reineke is Executive Director of Montgomery Community Media, which provides media training and community-based content by-and-for the residents of Montgomery County. Merlyn’s blog focuses on all-things media, with an emphasis on how community-based media can make our county a better place to live, work and play.... Read more

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Merlyn Reineke

The Worst Technology Month… Ever

Merlyn Reineke

Merlyn Reineke, Executive Director of Montgomery Community Media
2012 Monty’s Awards Ceremony
Photo | Ellen Donnelly

So technology is having a REALLY bad month.

First, the rollout of the online portion of the Affordable Health Care Act has been pretty much a disaster. Sure, the ACA is a complicated program with vagaries based on location and myriad plans and options. Yet is there ANY more important program to the Obama Administration that screamed for resources and management? Not to mention everyone understood the political target ACA had pinned to its back. Yet here were are, with even more money and contractors being thrown at the program even while the deadlines for signing-up loom.

And elsewhere on the tech front, we discover this week that the NSA is eavesdropping on our international allies… not just scanning millions of phone records, but also listening in on heads of state who are supposedly our friends. The spymasters say this sort of thing has historically been part of the intelligence gathering community from way-back-when. Yet apparently the President wasn’t made aware that his counterparts were having their cell phone convos tapped.

I suppose the list of tech snafus could go on (and feel free to add your own favorite to the Comments section below).

Hey, mistakes can happen and spies do what they do. But what seems to be an increasing problem with technology is that we appear to be unable to cope with what we CAN do with tech versus what we SHOULD be doing to manage or control it. And these problems are certainly not isolated to the government sector. How many problems did Apple face with iterations of its iPhone, such as faulty antenna designs and maps that would send you over cliffs?

The old adage is that given enough time and money, any problem can be solved. Yet these recent incidents illustrate how it’s the human factor (good decisions and management skills) that seems to be falling short these days. Could we ever even hope to match the alignment of intellect, resources and technology that put a man on the moon… and that achievement was 45 years ago. Today, we seem focused instead on politics and the blame-game.

If we as a society can move beyond those distractions and develop processes to tackle technology challenges and manage the incredible capabilities those technologies provide us today, then we have a chance. But we cannot leave it to the polticians to re-set this course… our voices must be strong enough to make it happen.

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Merlyn Reineke

About Merlyn Reineke

Merlyn Reineke is Executive Director of Montgomery Community Media, which provides media training and community-based content by-and-for the residents of Montgomery County.

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