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FCW Insider: Holiday catch-up... Barry West's new digs... e-voting... people like the Internet... and China watch

It is the first "real" workday of 2008, so we're all getting back to it.

Rounding up items:

* Fed 100s... the countdown continues

Yes, I did post some about Fed 100 awards. There are about five days to get your Fed 100s in. Nominate away at www.fcw.com/fed100. The deadline is the end of the day Jan. 7. (More Fed 100 stuff at www.fcw.com/blogs/editor/fcw.)

* Radio appearances

I was on the radio this morning [Windows Media file] talking about one of the features in the 01.07 issue of Federal Computer Week looking at the 12 months and counting for the Bush administration.

FCW News Editor Jason Miller got an interview with Clay Johnson and the senior OMB management team about what they hope to accomplish in the last year of the administration -- and how. You will be shocked to learn that everybody is looking at programs and policies that will carry past next January.

One of the things I think you'll be hearing a lot about is Government 2.0. Government 2.0 essentially is government's use of Web 2.0, and OMB is working with the Wikinomics folks to look at these issues. As FCW reported last year:

OMB signed up to participate in the multimillion-dollar Government 2.0: Wikinomics, Government and Democracy project run by New Paradigm, a Toronto think tank that specializes in analyzing the effects of emerging technology trends. Participants will produce case studies, convene conferences, survey young people’s attitudes toward government and receive consulting services.

* GCN Lab radio

And, just in case you missed it on Monday,  John Breeden II, director of GCN's lab, was on Federal News Radio here in DC talking about products the Lab reviewed in 2007 that government agencies should know about. You can read the lab's year-in-review here and hear Breeden here. [.wma file]

* West watch

For those of you wondering, former Commerce CIO Barry West has a new gig -- executive vice president of Strategic Enterprise Solutions, a strategic enterprise management and technology company. At SE Solutions, West joins a leadership team that includes John Rothenberger, the company’s chief executive officer and founder, and Paul Taltavull, chief operating officer.

* China watch

The WSJ.com's Morning Brief had this interesting item culled from the Financial Times.

Probe of China's Role in a 3Com Takeover

The U.S. Committee on Foreign Investment this week is expected to extend by 45 days an already month-long investigation into the proposed $2.2 billion buyout of network equipment maker 3Com by a consortium that includes a Chinese company, the Financial Times reports. The committee, an executive-branch agency with the power to block deals with sensitive security implications, wants to know what they might be for the 3Com takeover, which is being led by Bain Capital and would leave a good chunk of 3Com in the hands of Chinese telecommunications equipment maker Huawei Technologies. "The deal has sparked political concerns in the U.S. because 3Com supplies intrusion-prevention technology to the U.S. Defense Department," the FT notes. And "the Pentagon believes that hackers in China conducted a massive cyberattack on its systems in 2007."

Extension of the 3Com investigation would come six months after the Bush administration quietly relaxed some export limits related to some politically delicate technologies on their way to China, the New York Times notes. The easing of restrictions was aimed at boosting sales of products that include advanced aircraft engine parts and navigation systems for U.S. companies, the Times adds. "But today the administration is facing questions from weapons experts about whether some equipment -- newly authorized for export to Chinese companies deemed trustworthy by Washington -- could instead end up helping China modernize its military," the paper says. "Equally worrisome, the weapons experts say, is the possibility that China could share the technology with Iran or Syria."

Sure seems like there would be government implications -- particularly for the Defense Department, which is quite concerned about China's military.

* ID watch

The WSJ.com's Morning Brief also pointed to this WP story.

Washington Post: In an era when government officials from President Bush to local sheriffs warn of the growing dangers of identity theft, the full Social Security numbers of untold numbers of Americans can be found in file rooms and on Web sites run by governments. Social Security numbers are readily available in many courthouses -- in land records and criminal and civil case files -- as well as on many government Web sites that serve up public documents with a few clicks of a mouse.

* E-gov watch: Guess what? People care about it

Here is a shocking study -- people use the InterWeb for research. No -- really?

The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and the Pew Internet & American Life Project conducted a study looking at how people dealt with several common government-related problems in the past two years, and the survey found that people are "more likely to consult the Internet than other sources, including experts and family members."

Read the release here and the full study here [.pdf].

Two high-level findings.

* Government documents should be created and delivered in all shapes and sizes. A plurality of respondents said they prefer access to government documents on the Internet, but significant numbers said they still would prefer to get printed government publications by mail or from government offices and libraries.

* E-government is not an option, it’s a necessity. The vast majority of Americans want and expect information about government programs to be available on the Internet. People have different preferences for dealing with government, depending on the issue they face. They prefer to use the Internet for information queries, but they want to use the phone or face-to-face visits to address more personal matters.

Other numbers from the survey:

  • 58% of those who had recently experienced one of those problems said they used the Internet (at home, work, a public library or some other place) to get help.

  • 53% said they turned to professionals such as doctors, lawyers or financial experts.

  • 45% said they sought out friends and family members for advice and help.

  • 36% said they consulted newspapers and magazines.

  • 34% said they directly contacted a government office or agency.

  • 16% said they consulted television and radio.

  • 13% said they went to the public library.

    The survey results challenge the assumption that libraries are losing relevance in the Internet age. Libraries drew visits by more than half of Americans (53%) in the past year for all kinds of purposes, not just the problems mentioned in this survey. And it was the young adults in tech-loving Generation Y (age 18-30) who led the pack. Compared to their elders, Gen Y members were the most likely to use libraries for problem-solving information and in general patronage for any purpose.

  • * People seeking change

    The first votes in the presidential race take place tomorrow in Iowa -- I know, not votes, but you get the point. The WSJ.com Washington Wire blog had a post about a poll looking at the mood of the country. The short answer: People want change. The question is what that change will look like.

    Now the stage is set for an ideological rethinking in both parties. “The mood for change is more than one of small incremental adjustments,” write Republican pollster Bill McInturff and Democrat Peter Hart, who conduct the Journal/NBC News poll. “It is concern for the next generation as well as widespread unhappiness with both President Bush and the Congress.” The question is: Change to what? At the outset of the year, Democrats, having been out of the White House for the past seven years and in the minority of Congress for six of those years, stand the best chance of benefiting from the mood for change. So far, it appears that presidential candidates Barack Obama among the Democrats and Mike Huckabee among the Republicans have benefited most from the public desire to shake things up. They are fresh faces who seem to represent departures from the establishment.

    * E-voting: More problems

    Slate.com's Today's Papers notes:

    USA Today leads with word that problems with electronic registration databases "could disenfranchise thousands of legal voters." States are using different procedures to remove voters from their registration lists when their information doesn't match other government databases and advocacy groups say the poor and minorities are the most affected. An expert says this "could be the sleeper issue of 2008."

    * Presidential UFO sightings for $1,000, Alex

    So who is the only presidential candidate who claims to have seen a UFO? Yes, none other than Dennis Kucinich. Slate notes that the WSJ delves into the story more on its front page today.

    The WSJ talks to the two people who were with Dennis Kucinich in Shirley MacLaine's house on that fateful weekend in 1982 when the current presidential candidate saw a UFO. The guests had been hearing a high-pitched sound for several hours and then Kucinich spotted something in the distance. They first saw a light and then realized "they were actually three charcoal-gray triangular craft." The three witnesses didn't talk to many people about what they saw. "Unfortunately, people are ridiculed when they say they've had these kinds of experiences."

    Posted by Christopher J. Dorobek on Jan 02, 2008 at 12:17 PM


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