Recommended reading

The truth about cell phones and airplanes; office technology and the multitasking illusion

The Truth About Cell Phones and Airplanes
Source: Network World

Don't be fooled: The real problem with allowing the use of cell phones during commercial flights has nothing to do with safety, according to Network World.

Instead, officials at the Federal Communications Commission are concerned that in-air cellular connections might disrupt wireless networks on the ground. In theory, a cell site would detect phones in use overhead and would automatically begin registering those phones for its network, even as the airplane passes out of range.

FCC experts believe that process would eat up system resources and hamper network performance for ground-based callers. But other experts say recent changes in cellular technology make such a scenario unlikely.

Meanwhile, officials at the Federal Aviation Administration still support a ban on in-flight calls because they are concerned that the devices could disrupt an aircraft's navigation systems, although no such cases have been documented, according to Network World sources.

Who Me? Resisting Change?
Source: Leadership For A Networked World

Many tech leaders like to think that resistance to change and hide-bound cultures are bad things that happen with other department heads, never with themselves, the ultimate masters of change. As one former-comedian-turned-U.S. senator once quipped, "Denial ain't just a river in Egypt."

Karen Evans, former administrator of e-government and information technology at the Office of Management and Budget, shared a story with Harvard professor (and blogger) Jerry Mechling about working with federal chief information officers to share resources and work across agency boundaries, as called for by the E-Gov Act of 2002. Agencies were content to discuss the strategies to a cross-agency shared-services model, but they resisted moving into an operational phase, Evans said.

Working with Evans, OMB's then-deputy director for management, Clay Johnson, asked a gathering of federal CIOs to think of all the phrases they used that reflected this resistance to change. Here are some of them.

You have a potential IT management problem if you hear the CIO say:

  • We are different from all other agencies.
  • This is an unfunded mandate.
  • I don't have enough time to plan; I need it now.
  • But we have always done it this other way.
  • The benefits of this are unquantifiable.
  • We will get a project manager as soon as we can.
  • We can finish developing the requirements later.
  • Let's just hire a contractor to do it.

Office Technology and the Multitasking Illusion
Source: Computerworld

Management experts who are studying the link between information technology and office productivity have some bad news for everyone.

All those devices that are designed to boost the productivity of your employees — PCs, laptop computers, smart phones and the like — might actually be wasting more time than they are saving, according to Computerworld.

The problem is not with the products but with the distractions they cause. Every time people interrupt one task for another — stop work on a document to check e-mail, for example — they need a little recovery time before they can get back on track with the original task.

As the number of distractions multiplies, the amount of time lost begins to pile up. Research firm Basex estimates that office workers lose an average of 28 percent of their day to interruptions and recovery time, Computerworld reports.

About the Author

Connect with the FCW staff on Twitter @FCWnow.

The Fed 100

Save the date for 28th annual Federal 100 Awards Gala.

Featured

  • computer network

    How Einstein changes the way government does business

    The Department of Commerce is revising its confidentiality agreement for statistical data survey respondents to reflect the fact that the Department of Homeland Security could see some of that data if it is captured by the Einstein system.

  • Defense Secretary Jim Mattis. Army photo by Monica King. Jan. 26, 2017.

    Mattis mulls consolidation in IT, cyber

    In a Feb. 17 memo, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis told senior leadership to establish teams to look for duplication across the armed services in business operations, including in IT and cybersecurity.

  • Image from Shutterstock.com

    DHS vague on rules for election aid, say states

    State election officials had more questions than answers after a Department of Homeland Security presentation on the designation of election systems as critical U.S. infrastructure.

  • Org Chart Stock Art - Shutterstock

    How the hiring freeze targets millennials

    The government desperately needs younger talent to replace an aging workforce, and experts say that a freeze on hiring doesn't help.

  • Shutterstock image: healthcare digital interface.

    VA moves ahead with homegrown scheduling IT

    The Department of Veterans Affairs will test an internally developed scheduling module at primary care sites nationwide to see if it's ready to service the entire agency.

  • Shutterstock images (honglouwawa & 0beron): Bitcoin image overlay replaced with a dollar sign on a hardware circuit.

    MGT Act poised for a comeback

    After missing in the last Congress, drafters of a bill to encourage cloud adoption are looking for a new plan.

Reader comments

Please post your comments here. Comments are moderated, so they may not appear immediately after submitting. We will not post comments that we consider abusive or off-topic.

Please type the letters/numbers you see above

More from 1105 Public Sector Media Group