Archive for the ‘Twitter’ Category.

AlertBlogger Blogs are IPAWS Alerts but not FEMA Official Blogs

I want to be sure that no one confuses my blogs and Twitter accounts that access the FEMA IPAWS Production Public Alert Feed as official FEMA outlets.  They are not.  I am not paid by FEMA to run them.   I do have an MOA with FEMA to access the production Public Alert Feed.  The blogs are my own separate work.   The posts are run from my non-government, personally owned, computer to a blog host that is also not run by, or contracted to, the U.S. Government.

One other note:   The example blogs are actually subject to downtime due to local power failure ( my UPS lasts about 2 hours).  I have a backup on a thumb drive, so I can restart it from any machine that I can get to with access to the internet. I have a laptop ready.  Not your classic active-active redundant operational capability, but the best I can do as a one man band.   If I were to set one of these blogs up for a customer, it would be up to that customer to determine both retrieval customization and  what level of resiliency they wish to have (and pay for).  All levels are possible.

Example Blogs:
1. All recent Tornado Warnings and Flash Flood Warnings in the U.S can be found at and/or follow @ipawsweather on Twitter.

2. All recent IPAWS Public Alerts affecting Virginia’s First Congressional District can be found at and/or follow @VA_1st_IPAWS.

3. All production non-weather IPAWS Public Alerts can be found at and/or follow @ipawsalerts.

I Can Now Provide Customized IPAWS Dissemination to Social Media

I have a new offering for all who do alerting using the Common Alerting Protocol (CAP). I can create a combined blog, tweet and RSS functionality for your alerts as an IPAWS COG, or for any set of IPAWS Public Alerts. The capability works independently and also as an add-on to any IPAWS capable alert origination software. If you have an IPAWS COG, I can make it work without any special integration effort. If you have software that creates CAP alerts, I can build a connection to that software, depending on the interfaces it provides. If you have your own Facebook Page or Twitter Account, I can connect to that. If you have your own WordPress blog, I can use it for the connection. Or I can provide you with whatever you need. I can do it for messages you originate or, if you are an information consumer only, I can support that for any IPAWS Public alert. I can host the connection for you, or you can host and I will help you set up.

1. All recent Tornado Warnings and Flash Flood Warnings in the U.S can be found at and/or follow @ipawsweather on Twitter.

2. All recent IPAWS Public Alerts affecting Virginia’s First Congressional District can be found at and/or follow @VA_1st_IPAWS.

3. All production non-weather IPAWS Alerts can be found at and/or follow @ipawsalerts.

Please note: This is a offering and is separate from my support to IPAWS origination vendors. The IPAWS connection tech support is free (as I am paid for it by FEMA) to such vendors. This new capability will be priced according to the complexity of the solution to be provided. It can be inexpensive. Any time spent on customization will necessarily raise the price.

A NIEM Comment

I wrote the following Comment on a LinkedIn NIEM Thread and thought it might be worth sharing:

In my opinion (perhaps not so humble :-)) NIEM is very good if you use it right. But, if you think of NIEM as a standard by itself, it is NOT GOOD. Too much stuff. Hard to keep organized. It is actually incredible how well organized it is given its volume, but as a standard by itself, it is just too BIG to be anything but unwieldy.

Now, as a model for building standard exchanges, it has TREMENDOUS value. It is like a mine. You have to refine the ore through an appropriate standards development process. (The IEPD process works for this.) But the ore is super high quality when compared with building standards from scratch, because the NEIM model has been preprocessed in the sense that most definition and relationships are well defined and understood. Even so, you still have to refine NIEM input using the IEPD process to actually create a usable exchange or a useable standard exchange.

Bottom line, if you expect NIEM to be “auto-reusable,” you will be disappointed. But, If you use NIEM appropriately, it has a lot to offer in the way of documented data structure and definition.

Webinar on CAP Use Cases from an IPAWS Perspective

Giving a talk on the ways to use CAP using the new IPAWS CAP 1.2 interface at noon tomorrow (15 Feb 2012). Details:

Integrated Public Alert and Warning System (IPAWS) Joint Developer/Practitioner Webinar
Using the Open Platform for Emergency Networks (OPEN) for Public and Private Alerting
Wednesday February 15, 2012 12:00 Noon Eastern

In addition to its role as message aggregator for public alerting, IPAWS-OPEN enables the interoperable sharing of emergency alerts and incident-related data between incident management systems that comply with non-proprietary information standards.

During our next Webinar, System Architect Gary Ham will describe how IPAWS-OPEN provides support for exchanging alerts within a single response organization, between one or more response organizations, with all response organizations, and/or with the public. He will also explain how the Common Alerting Protocol (CAP) scope element is implemented by IPAWS-OPEN for public and private alerting.

This program is intended primarily for IPAWS-OPEN developers and testers; however, emergency management practitioners who are interested in learning more about IPAWS incident management-related capabilities are also encouraged to participate. Please make plans to join us via Live Meeting. As always, your questions and comments are welcome.

IMPORTANT: The audio portion of the program will be delivered via your computer speakers. The Live Meeting client must be used in order to receive the audio. Please review the instructions available from: prior to the program.

Login to MS Live Meeting for visuals: The following login link can only be used 30 minutes prior to the scheduled meeting time:

The National EAS Test and IPAWS-OPEN

Funny thing about the national test held on Wednesday 9 November. It was a test of the old stuff; not the new. IPAWS-OPEN and the Common Alerting Protocol (CAP) were not even part of the test. It worked – with glitches – but it worked. The glitches seemed to be mostly about garbled messages and misinterpreted tones; things that the text and Internet-based IPAWS-OPEN solution are designed to prevent. I am confident that the next test, when it happens, will go MUCH better from that standpoint.

The comments about the national test that were most amusing were the ones that connected the National test with an attempt by the federal Government to “take over the airwaves and the Internet.” The internet was not even used. I am not going to comment on whether the Government wants to regulate (or over-regulate) the Internet. That may, or may not be, depending on your personal political perspective. What I can say his that FEMA’s IPAWS program is absolutely not involved in that sort of activity. Input can come from the president, but it can also come from local authorities at all levels of government using alert origination tools provided mostly by private industry. Dissemination is the same. It is primarily voluntary; using a Government provided query architecture that allows local agencies and information providers to weed out unwanted material, making it the very opposite of a Government forced content push. Finally, the “last mile distribution” is almost completely through commercial providers and/or a very wide variety local government controlled software from the commercial sector. So, while IPAWS is designed to provide a way for the president to get an emergency alert to as many people as possible at one time, its architecture is actually built with local alerting and local control at its very core. Check it out for yourself. I will be at the annual International Association of Emergency Managers (IAEM) convention in Las Vegas next week. Drop by the IPAWS booth to say “hi” and to get a live demonstration. Good stuff.

Twitter Weekly Updates for 2010-12-26

  • Diseconomies of scale in IT. 1 cause: disassociation of the correction of error conditions from those affected by the error. #
  • Probably the greatest Geek Christmas comic ever written!!! #
  • And do check out the mouse over added comment!!! Particularly if you have ever taken a data structures course. #

Tweeting IPAWS (Authentication Gets Serious)

As those who follow my infrequent updates about the transition from DM-OPEN 1.0 to IPAWS OPEN 2.0 know, IPAWS OPEN 2.0 will require a fairly significant increase in attention to security (even in the test environment).   So I decided to dig out my old DM-OPEN “tweeter” test code and begin the process of transition to IPAWS-OPEN 2.0.  It no longer works, even against DM-OPEN 1.0.  Twitter has also increased its security requirement for applications that post.  No more basic authentication. You now must use OAuth. So, in order to tweet from IPAWS, I will now have to use WS-Security with x509 signatures to connect to IPAWS-OPEN and OAuth to connect to Twitter.  Ah! Life in the Middle!  Nobody trusts the middleman.  Nor should they, actually. But it sure is a pain in the rear.    :-).

Twitter Weekly Updates for 2010-07-18

  • Success Tweeting Headlines from IPAWS-OPEN Alerts. Follow @dmopenstate if you want to be spammed during the upcoming demos. #

Tweeting NIEM, the IRS, and the Bible

Interesting phenomena.  I put out a tweet likening the NIEM Naming and Design Rules Document to a cross between Leviticus and IRS regulations.  Almost immediately, I was followed by 1) a Bible Study Group asking for money 2) a NIEM consultant, and 3) a Tax Consultant.  Apparently they each have some sort of bot in place that looks for key words. They then follow in tthe hope of being followed.  It worked for the NIEM consultant, not the others. Shortly thereafter, I was folowed by ithe IJIS Institute, a justice related non-profit with a strong interest in NIEM.  I now follow them as well.

Tweeting DM-OPEN Status Updates

It is always nice to know that you web services are up and running strong.  Since Twitter is the current rage, I though I would see if it could actually be useful. I set up a new Twitter account, wrote a poller to DM-OPEN that pings it on a regular basis and sends me a direct message to my grandpaham Twitter account upon the first instance of a successful ping,  the first instance of a failure following a series of successful pings, and the first instance of a successful ping after one or more failures.  Failures do not happen often, but now I will be the first to know if they do. Cool.