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FCW Insider: Newsbytes... License plate ID... Missing White House Blackberries... Are you Web 2.0 ready?... TTYL teach...

Short items and some items I haven't been able to get to this week..

* USA.GOV license plate owner...

So I asked you to guess the owner of this license plate. I got a number of guesses -- some of them even correct.

Who owns this plate?

Well, it is none other then Martha Dorris, who oversees USA.gov at GSA.

2008 Fed 100 Martha Dorris

Dorris was selected as a 2008 Fed 100 award winner this year. The write-up doesn't mention it, but she was selected for both her GSA "day" job and for her off-hours job as the president of the American Council for Technology, better know as ACT.

* An IT VP?

The WSJ's Washington Wire blog reports that there is a low-level buzz about Sen. John McCain's (R-Ariz.) potential VP choice: Former HP CEO Carly Fiorina.

There’s been a low-level buzz among conservatives in Washington about Fiorina’s prospects for a couple of weeks, apparently spurred by a private lunch Donatelli attended with antitax advocate Grover Norquist. At the lunch, Donatelli talked up Fiorina’s conservative positions against abortion and gun control, say people with knowledge of the meeting.

Donatelli confirmed the lunch conversation but acknowledged, “She would not be a traditional pick.” There could be pressure on McCain however to chose a woman or a minority running mate, given the Democratic field.

Fiorina’s negatives? She’s not a party figure with obvious ability to unite Republicans, she doesn’t bring a state with her, and she carries baggage from her time at HP, where she was ousted over performance issues.

Stranger things have happened... and it would give a IT a seat in the White House.

* White House Blackberry issue...

Fox News is reporting that a Mexican government press official took several BlackBerries belonging to White House officials during the President's recent trip to New Orleans.

Whether he was up to no good or simply desperate to play BrickBreaker, a Mexican press attaché was caught on camera pocketing several White House BlackBerries during a recent meeting in New Orleans and has since been fired, FOX News has learned.

Sources with knowledge of the incident said the official, Rafael Quintero Curiel, served as the lead press advance person for the Mexican Delegation and was responsible for handling logistics and guiding the Mexican media around at the conference.

Mexican Embassy spokesman Ricardo Alday said Thursday he was asked to tender his resignation once he arrived back in Mexico City.

"Mr. Quintero will be responsible for explaining his actions to the American authorities conducting an investigation. The Mexican government deeply regrets this incident," he said.

Quintero Curiel took six or seven of the handheld devices from a table outside a special room in the hotel where the Mexican delegation was meeting with President Bush earlier this week.

Everyone entering the room was required to leave his or her cell phone, BlackBerry and other such devices on the table, a common practice when high-level meetings are held. American officials discovered their missing belongings when they were leaving the session.

Ah, data at rest.

* Are you Web 2.0 ready?...

NetworkWorld has a fascinating story about organizations that are simply not ready for the increasingly networked world that their employees want to work in.

Still thinking about building a social-networking site for your employees? Sure they haven't started without you? Check Facebook, you might get a surprise.

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As companies grapple with whether, and how, to offer a social-networking platform for their workers, some are realizing that if they don't act quickly, their workers will go ahead and do it anyway. And that can mean forfeiting control over what content gets posted where, and who can see it.

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"Do you really want Facebook to manage it for you in the outside world, or do you want to do it yourself so you have control?" said Duane Nason, a lead Web engineer with The Gap clothing retailer. "If someone posts something to MySpace and you want it taken down, what's their policy on that?"

Nason was at the Web 2.0 Expo this week to learn more about how social networking, mashups and other new technologies can be applied at his company. He's one of many representatives from large companies at the conference who are grappling with similar questions.

Along these lines, I am writing a post about how to get to know Web 2.0 for those who are... well, terrified of it. It isn't that scary. If you have ideas -- I have one person who said to NOT call it Web 2.0 -- but if you have ideas, post a comment here... or let me know at [email protected].

Another item along these lines... FCW columnist and blogger Steve Kelman recounts an interesting Facebook dilema over on his blog, The Lectern. He had somebody "friend" him and he -- by accident, as it turns out -- approved it.

I have pulled a whole bunch of links about Facebook together on my Delicious social bookmarking site at del.icio.us/cdorobek/Facebook. One story, from BusinessWeek, is about Facebook faux pas.

Harvard Business School professor Andrew McAfee also has an excellent post on getting Facebook ready for the enterprise. (FYI... McAfee, who FCW profiled last year and who essentially invented the term Enterprise 2.0, is going to be one of the keynote speakers at 1105 Government Information Group's Government Leadership Summit.)

You can friend me on Facebook here.

* This story makes me :-)

So this is one of my favorite stories of the day... from the SJMN, apparently kids in school are occasionally using what I call "text talk" in papers.

:-( Texting shorthand showing up in schoolwork

OMG. Hieroglyphic text-speak is slipping into homework.

A national look at middle- and high-schoolers found that two-thirds of students have accidentally used instant-messaging style in their academic work, according to a survey released Thursday by the Pew Internet & American Life Project.

A quarter admitted they have used smiley faces and other emoticons in their papers. Half confessed to informal punctuation and grammar, and four in 10 take typing shortcuts such as "LOL" to express "laughing out loud."

Can NE1 say "Big fat F"?

"Now the teachable moment for parents and teachers is to talk about what makes informal writing and what makes formal writing - and what's appropriate in each of those spheres," said Amanda Lenhart, senior research specialist at the Pew project.

Lenhart said she "isn't worried" about this generation. "This is what I would term a new slang," she said. "We've always had slang. This is different only in that the language comes out of text instead of spoken language, which is how most of our slang has emerged in the past."

The findings don't surprise local students and teachers, who say that instant messaging has become the primary form of communication for a generation weaned on BlackBerry and Motorola Razr phones. They often don't realize what comes out when they let their fingers do the talking.

"I'll forget I'm writing a formal paper. I'll replace 'for' with the number 4," said Vivek Musinipally, a senior at San Jose's Leland High School who is bound for the University of California-Berkeley. "It'll just come out by itself without me thinking about it. But when I proofread, I laugh when I see it."

You can read the Pew Internet & American Life Project report for yourself here.

Posted by Christopher J. Dorobek on Apr 25, 2008 at 12:17 PM


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