The Buzz - 28

Federal resources

The paper trail

The Paperwork Reduction Act is buried—in paper. Thats the take-away from the Government Accountability Office testimony before a congressional subcommittee. The Paperwork Reduction Act was designed to minimize the burden on the public when the feds ask for various forms to be completed.

Bottom line: Theres still plenty of paperwork, just no reduction. According to the GAO, the Office of Management and Budget has reported that the paperwork burden increased in fiscal 2005 and is expected to increase in 2006. The uptick follows two years of slight declines in the paperwork burden. Specifically, the total paperwork burden imposed by federal information collections increased to 8.4 billion hours, up 5.5 percent from the previous years 8 billion hours.

Why the increase? The feds keep passing new laws that require tons of paperwork. Other increases are due to new models for estimating the U.S. governments paperwork burden.

The GAO recommends that the government give CIOs more resources to keep tabs on the paperwork burden and create alternative processes for collecting information. According to Linda Koontz, director of information management at the GAO, the bulk of the paperwork burden comes from four agencies: the Internal Revenue Service, and the departments of Veterans Affairs, Housing and Urban Development, and Labor.

"In fiscal year 2005, IRS accounted for about 76 percent of the governmentwide paperwork burden: about 6.4 billion hours," said Koontz, in Washington.

Wi-fi

The 802.11n spec: Curb your enthusiasm

Merrill Lynch analyst Srini Pajjuri was expecting a little more love for chip makers because of the consumer adoption of the 802.11n Wi-Fi standard. Not so fast. In a report, Pajjuri stated that adoption of 802.11n is going much slower than expected.

Why? As eWeek Labs noted in the July 24 issue, there are interoperability issues galore when it comes to the latest Wi-Fi standard, which is still a work in progress. Pajjuri had expected 8 million to 10 million 802.11n products to ship in 2006. After his channel checks, Pajjuri is expecting "low single-digit millions."

"Consumers appear to be shying away from paying a premium for pre-standard 802.11n products given the interoperability and compatibility issues," said San Francisco-based Pajjuri in a July 17 research report. "The mad rush to get draft compliant 802.11n gear out the door appears to have left numerous interoperability and performance issues unresolved."

And it could get worse: Current 802.11n products may not be compatible with the final version of the standard. Now Pajjuri is expecting 802.11n to pick up steam in mid-2007 and that Intels Centrino chip in the first half of next year "will likely be a major catalyst for this technology."

Blogwatch

Yahoo gets good news and bad in Q2

Yahoo on July 18 reported second-quarter net income of $164 million, or 11 cents a share, on revenue of $1.12 billion excluding traffic acquisition costs. It also said it will delay the rollout of a new ad system. On July 19, Yahoo shares fell to a two-year low. Heres Henry Blodgets analysis from www.internetoutsider.com:

"The good news was that Yahoo managed to stretch and claw its way to its numbers. The bad news was that it did this by slowing hiring and postponing advertising spending. Why is this bad news? Because when times get tough, advertising and hiring are usually the first expenses to go. And then there was the stoppage in registered user growth (flat q-to-q) and the postponement of the new search-ad system. Of these two downers, the ad-system is, in one sense, the less worrisome, as the delay should (let us pray) be temporary. But one does begin to wonder whether Yahoo will ever get its act together in this regard."

—Compiled by Larry Dignan