Off-line but not out of touch

When Brian Burns, chief information officer at the Bureau of Indian Affairs, hits the road to visit American Indian reservations nationwide, he carries an important piece of information the size of his business card.

In fact, it is his business card — in the form of an envelope holding a tiny CD that contains his personal information and seven short slide shows about technology issues for the people running information technology services for tribal organizations. The card also stores information about security management, technology development, communications strategy and capital planning.

It is an effective tool, Burns said. American Indian communities have no access to e-mail because of a federal judge's ruling in a complicated civil lawsuit that challenges the security of the bureau's e-mail system.

But reservation officials still must keep pace with the latest technology trends. Burns helps them meet that need by carrying the CD cards, enclosed in clear plastic envelopes, in his suit pocket.

Remember that experiment in your basement?

If you're a budding scientist, NASA may have some money for you.

To unearth the best ideas, NASA officials are offering cash prizes for innovative technology for space exploration. The competition is open to companies, colleges, technology groups and individuals as part of a new approach to discover innovation wherever it exists. The offer was inspired by last year's prize of $10 million for the first suborbital flights featuring pilots sponsored by X Prize, a foundation that supports space technology.

Lawmakers who get it

Although former Sen. John Edwards (D-N.C.), the Democratic candidate for vice president in 2004, has always been hip in the ways of technology, he's finding new ways to use 21st-century media. Edwards recently released his first "podcast," an online audio recording featuring him and his wife.

Podcasting refers to the emerging form of Web-based broadcasting in which subscribers to a service can automatically request media files and listen to them on their PCs or portable music players. Podcasting eliminates the need to tune in to a Web radio program at a specific time or search the Web to download a file.

In the recording that is available on Edwards' Web site, he discusses a variety of issues, from Social Security reform to his wife's fight against breast cancer.

On the move

The Public Employees Roundtable has joined the Council for Excellence in Government and will be known as the Public Employees Roundtable at the Council for Excellence in Government. Together the groups will continue their efforts to highlight the value of public service. The first item on their agenda is to expand Public Service Recognition Week, a nationwide program May 2-8 to honor all public servants.

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