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FCW Insider: NewsBytes... An HP-EDS deal in the works?... More on Virtual Alabama... Testing Xboni... and 'on the circuit'

A fascinating story in the WSJ that Hewlett-Packard will announce a mega-deal to buy EDS, the big systems integrator.

A deal would bolster Hewlett-Packard's competitive position versus rival International Business Machines Corp. as a provider of services such as tech consulting and customer support. The transaction could spark further large deals in the technology sector as cash rich, mature companies such as Hewlett-Packard look to acquisitions for growth.

It would be an interesting deal for the government market as well. I'd be interested in what others think, but... it doesn't seem like it would eliminate any competition, but could make HP a big player in both products and services.

* More on Virtual Alabama

So I had a viewing of DHS Secretary Michael Chertoff this weekend -- we both were off the clock. But if I had a few minutes with him, I would have told him that he should get a briefing on Alabama Homeland Security Department's Virtual Alabama, which I wrote about last week... and then used for the Buzz of the Week in the 05.12 issue of the magazine.

I've been thinking about the program a lot -- and been talking about it to anybody who will listen to me. Why? The program is such a wonderful demonstration of building a collaboration platform that multiple people can use. And this doesn't have to be complex today. To the contrary, it can be simple. Essentially, Alabama has taken theFacebook model -- they build a platform where others can create the applications and uses. I think it is very innovative.

And if you haven't seen it yet, you can do so down at 1105 GovInfo's Government Leadership Summit, formerly known as the CIO Summit, which will be held down in Williamsburg, Va. on June 1-3. There will be Alabama officials there talking about what they did, giving demonstrations. I can't wait to get more information...and hear the discussion.

* Census ramifications

We reported weeks ago about the Census essentially doing away with electronic collection methods. We reported that this was having ramifications on other parts of Census. I was talking to a friend who works at the Census and he said that they are essentially deciding not to fill some -- perhaps many -- jobs becau e, the rank and file are being told, the agency is going to need to hire more people for the 2010 Census.

We all saw that one coming, didn't we?

* Testing Xobni

Flooded by e-mail? I know I am. The NYT had this story last week about this application called Xobni. (Others have written about Xobni too.) Xobni will index all your Outlook e-mail and make messages quick and easy to find.

I'm giving it a test run. I'll try it out for a week and report back next week. In the week I have been using it, it is cool, but not a 'silver bullet.' But I'm giving it another week and I'll report back.

* Circuit items

Birthdays... past and future...  I failed to mention a bit one last week. Bob Suda, who now heads up DOT's Volpe Center up in Cambridge, Mass. celebrated his birthday last Thursday. Happy birthday Bob... PR guru Evan Weisel, a principal with the Welz & Weisel Communications company, celebrated his birthday May 7... GSA's Bev Godwin, director of USA.gov Content and Web Best Practices, celebrated her birthday on Sunday... and Wednesday, May 14 is the birthday of Peter Tseronis, the Education Department's director of network services and co-chair of the CIO Council’s IPv6 Working Group. Happy belated birthday... and happy upcoming birthday. If you know somebody who is celebrating, send it along. [NOTE: Updated. I didn't put Tseronis' birthday in there.]

Running for a cause... I mentioned Weisel. He is running the Marine Corps Marathon later this year and he has decided to join the Fisher House racing team to help raise money for that very worthy cause. If you don't know about the Fisher House, they provide free or low cost lodging to veterans and military families receiving treatment at military medical centers. If you want to sponsor Evan, you can donate by going to this link: https://www.active.com/donate/FisherHouse2008MCM/1EWeisel. It is a remarkable organization.

A Washington celebrity sighting... So I was with my in-laws this weekend on Maryland's Eastern Shore -- Saint Michaels, Md. to be exact -- and, as I mentioned, DHS Secretary Michael Chertoff was there. He had his contingent of Secret Service agents there too. Having grown up in LA, its cool to see these people in the flesh. My sister-in-law and mother-in-law were in the same room with him at one point. I never was, or else I would have pointed him toward Virtual Alabama.

CJD viewing this week...
If you want to talk about collaboration and the government, I'm going to be speaking at the DC Social Media Club on Thursday, May 15 in Falls Church, Va. starting at 6:30p. I'm going to be talking about this blog, blogging, what the government is doing and why, and why I think it is important. As always, I would always prefer for it to be a conversation, so... come join in. More information can be found on Facebook... or get more information on SMC-DC's blog here.

Our next SMC-DC meeting will be May 15 at Viget Labs. We welcome Chris Dorobek, Editor-in-Chief of Federal Computer Week. Chris is no stranger to social media, and he will share his experience with blogging and social networks (visit him on Twitter and Facebook), as well as his opinion of government and military use of Web 2.0.

The federal government strives for collaboration between the different departments and units it holds. The government is still experimenting with social media, with the wiki Intellipedia already in use for the intelligence community, and even the Department of the Navy’s CIO dipping his toes into blogging.

So how else is the government using social media? Are they ready for it, and what’s the value for them? Come discuss the current and future state of Web 2.0 as the government views it.

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


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