It's November 2008 and I imagine many of you are thinking something along the lines of, "Good Lord, this awful year can't be over soon enough!" As I write this, the Dow Jones Industrial Average is hovering somewhere around 8 -- down 9,000 percent from a year ago. Meanwhile, a good number of us would probably increase our property values if we burned our houses down. And if you or any of your loved ones were employed by or had investments with Lehman Brothers, Bear Stearns, Wachovia, Washington Mutual, IndyMac or First Priority Bank -- well, I'm sorry.
But November is also a time to remember the people and things we are thankful for. And there is still a lot of good news out there.
On our cover is an excellent story by Assistant Editor Matt Williams. He reports on the latest trends in government Web portals. At all public-sector levels, Web technology promises to deliver unprecedented levels of constituent service and open new avenues for citizens to connect with their government.
With many agencies taking a second or third look at their budgets, Staff Writer Hilton Collins examines an emerging method for maximizing resources and cutting costs. His story on desktop virtualization sheds more light on a strategy that really can help agencies that are feeling the financial pinch -- i.e., almost all of them.
From Indiana comes a story by Features Editor Andy Opsahl, who takes you on a comprehensive tour of the state's consolidation strategy. Indiana CIO Gerry Weaver says his state is saving $14 million a year thanks to the technology overhaul.
Other stories in this issue run the gamut -- from sending crime tips to cops via text messaging, to how mobile technology can enhance public transit and minimize the irritation of trying to find parking spots in the big city.
Of course, around the time you're reading this, we should have a new president-elect. No matter where you fall in the political spectrum, you've got to give some credit to whoever wins. After all, I imagine the presidency is a job very few of us would want at this point in time. It's going to be a long and difficult road for the nation. And it will be especially trying for whomever we choose to lead us along it.
Oh, and here's an insider tip: Look for the surprise return and eventual election of former candidate Fred Thompson. It's as sure a bet as real estate and stocks.
Chad Vander Veen previously served as the editor of FutureStructure, and the associate editor of Government Technology and Public CIO magazines.