Circuit

Tip of the hat

Big ideas often come in small packages. And that certainly was the case for Jack Kilby, the engineer who invented the integrated circuit and paved the way for the development of the computer chip.

Kilby worked for Texas Instruments, where in 1958 his invention led to a revolution. His work won him a Nobel Prize and helped launch the Digital Age, leading to the development of PCs, mobile phones and microwave ovens. Kilby died of cancer last week.

Hot enough for you?

The National Treasury Employees Union had a big win — sort of — when the Federal Labor Relations Authority ordered Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to negotiate with the union over workers' right to wear shorts in hot weather.

Last year, CBP banned the wearing of shorts by employees working in airport and seaport cargo areas and at land borders. The only exceptions were the Southwest border, south Florida and Puerto Rico. CBP officials opposed the hot-weather clothing on the grounds that it would look unprofessional, increase employees' sunburn risk and limit officers' ability to kneel or crawl.

With new orders to negotiate a compromise, NTEU President Colleen Kelley said she hoped CBP would "send a message to employees that it supports them in their work, rather than continuing to engage in senseless litigation."

On the move

Women and most racial minorities are on the move in the information technology workforce, just not in the right direction, according to a new study released by the IT Association of America.

The report "Untapped Talent: Diversity, Competition and America's High Tech Future" states that the percentage of women in IT has actually declined by 18.5 percent since 1996, thanks largely to dropping employment in largely administrative job categories. Meanwhile, some minorities are underrepresented in the industry's workforce by more than 50 percent.

"America is competing in the global economy with one hand tied behind her back," said ITAA President Harris Miller. "With competitors like China, India and Western Europe on our heels, we can ill afford to miss out on anyone with the right aptitude, skills and motivation to succeed in technical fields."

Blogs are catching

Blogs are everywhere, and if you don't believe us, just check out www.eds.com/ blogs. EDS has created the Next Big Thing Blog that features EDS Fellows, the company's visionaries, discussing the future of technology.

Company officials promise that the blog will be an unfiltered vehicle for its leading technology experts to candidly discuss trends, attitudes and the impact of technology on our lives. The blog is spearheaded by Jeff Wacker, who is billed as EDS' only futurist. He offers his thoughts on subjects ranging from the latest employment patterns to "tech mania."

While you're online, check out FCW.com's blogs at www.fcw.com/blogs.

Oh, Canada

Our neighbors to the north seem to be craving e-government. A study finds that 74 percent of Canadians are regular Internet users, and 79 percent of those have accessed government information and services online in the past year. Half of the Canadians polled said the Internet is now their starting point for contacting government agencies.

By comparison, a survey Federal Computer Week conducted last year found that Americans rarely turn to government Web sites for information. In fact, only one out of 12 respondents had visited the GovBenefits site, and only 11 percent said they had visited www.recreation. gov.

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

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