State lines

Payment made easy. Augusta, Maine, will start paying more than 1,200 vendors electronically through Paymode, a payment portal from Clareon Corp. of Portland, Maine. The portal processes transactions from contractors' accounts-payable systems to the state financial management system and back to the vendors.

Under the contract, the vendors must sign up with Paymode to receive electronic payments. They can access their accounts through a Web portal.

The portal uses Extensible Markup Language to create the payment and remittance information. The state digitally signs documents, and vendors use digital certificates to assure correct payment.

Longer wait. Delivery of a Florida Children and Family Services Department data collection system that has been under development since 1994 has been delayed until 2005, and its costs have ballooned by $42.1 million to $252.6 million, according to a state auditor's report released Monday.

The HomeSafenet system will replace six legacy systems in the department and various manual procedures, according to a report issued by auditor general William O. Monroe.

According to the report, HomeSafenet development has been prolonged by delays in receiving federal approval for the system, unsuccessful procurement attempts, development strategy changes, functionality changes, system architecture changes, poor productivity and management turnover.

The auditors found that the department had improved project management and was on track to deliver a system that would meet federal and state requirements. But the auditors expressed doubt that HomeSafenet would be ready by June 2005 as planned.

The department largely concurred with the findings of the audit and said it was reviewing its cost and schedule estimates.

Gung-ho for Gateway. Craig Franden, court technology manager for the Second Judicial District Court in Washoe County, Nev., runs an all-Gateway, all-the-time shop. The court uses a 7450R rackmount server with an 866-MHz Pentium III processor from Gateway Inc. as an Oracle database server. Several 8400 servers act as front-end Web servers, Linux proxy servers and file-and-print sharing servers. Court employees use Gateway desktop PCs and notebook computers, including Solo 5300 notebooks and Profile PCs.

Franden said he likes Gateway's service. 'We get next-day parts replacement,' he said. 'They're pretty straightforward machines.'

Opportunity. The National Institute of Standards and Technology sponsors research by academic institutions and state and local government agencies that supports NIST's fire research laboratory programs. Contact Wanda Duffin, 301-975-6863.

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