Circuit

Job hunt; Housing computers; Starbucks redux; Robotic soldiers; Younger than springtime

Job hunt

The federal government's popular USAJobs Web site is getting a facelift that will make it easier for agencies to post and standardize job openings.

A new template will help agency officials enter job descriptions, duties, qualifications and application information. It will include an overview of every job listed on the home page. A transition period will allow agency officials to continue using existing templates until they are comfortable with the new format.

In less than a year, more than 53 million visits have been logged on the site and 483,450 résumés saved on it.

Housing computers

Looks like the Department of Housing and Urban Development got itself in a little hot water over the purchases of computers and related equipment in 2001, 2002 and 2003.

In a report issued last week, General Accounting Office officials said HUD failed to keep records about computer equipment purchases or inventory. The report identifies nearly 2,400 computer items — worth more than $2.2 million — not recorded in the inventory.

In addition, department officials could not provide the locations of 104 items worth more than $82,000. It seems the problem erupted because much of the equipment was bought with government purchasing cards.

HUD officials have now figured out a way to avoid such inventory practices. They awarded an $860 million contract to EDS last August to consolidate all information processing, telecommunications and other information technology needs on an enterprise basis that hopefully will cut down on the department's runaway shopping habit.

Starbucks redux

Taking a page from Starbucks Corp., the Open Park Project, a nonprofit group, is launching an outdoor wireless Internet hotspot that provides free access in front of the Supreme Court building, the Library of Congress and the yet-to-be completed Capitol Visitor Center.

The service "will give the public outside the Capitol the same quick Internet access for research, e-mail and news that their representatives enjoy inside their offices," said Greg Staple, Open Park's co-founder.

This is a first step in Open Park's mission to provide free public wireless Internet services across the National Mall. The project already has its own Web site (www.openpark.net), and officials are seeking support from other high-tech companies to make it work.

Just when you wanted to get away from the office for a little while, you may find yourself hooked up even when you are taking that lunchtime break.

Robotic soldiers

Northrop Grumman Corp. officials say they are providing important support for U.S. forces in Iraq, Afghanistan and Bosnia via robotic systems, which provide remote access to potentially hazardous situations in military theaters.

Through its Remotec Inc. subsidiary, the defense contractor is providing the military with more than 1,300 robots for hazardous-duty operations previously handled by soldiers. And the number continues to grow as new robotic systems and greater technologies increasingly use robots for such measures as neutralizing improvised explosive devices and unexploded ordnance.

Younger than springtime

Members of the AFCEA chapter in Bethesda, Md., are trying to diversify with the younger generation. They are looking for people under 35 to start a Bethesda Young AFCEANs. If interested, contact Fern Krauss at krauss@ix.netcom.com.

Got a tip? Send it to circuit@fcw.com.

NEXT STORY: CSC picks fed IT chief

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