Tales from the Technoverse

Commentary on social networking, technology, movies, society, and random musings

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Next AFFIRM Lunch Focuses on IT Budget Priorities, December 18

December 11th, 2014 · General

The next AFFIRM lunch, and the last one of the 2014 calendar year, will include highlights from TechAmerica’s 50th Annual Federal Market Forecast relating to Budget, Acquisition and Technology and will include presentations from a number of invited speakers: Karen Britton, EOP, Sonny Hashmi, CIO, GSA, and Tom Sasala, CTO, US Army Information Technology Agency.

As usual the lunch will be held at Clyde’s of Gallery Place, 707 7th St NW and will start at 11:30am with networking opportunities.

AFFIRM will be supporting the Marine Corps’ TOys for Tots campaign, accepting donations of unwrapped toys at the lunch.

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The Beginnings of Information Technology 3.0

December 8th, 2014 · government 2.0, technology

In order to talk about Information Technology 3.0, it is necessary to explain what I mean by Information Technologies 1.0 and 2.0.

The first generation of Information Technology focused on replacing what was already in place by something more efficient and faster, but substantially the same in function. Thus computers initially, even though the beginnings of personnel computers effectively faster typewriters (word processing), faster calculators (spreadsheets) and bigger file cabinets (disk storage). The functions that were automated were in large part functions that were accomplished from combinations of those three things. While the result often, but not always, were improvements in the efficiency of performance of functions like payroll or accounting statements, and while the role of staff often were impacted by those changes, in general the new version of the functions looked a lot like the old version.

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My Interview on WFED Radio

December 6th, 2014 · cyber-security, government

Here is a link to my interview on WFED radio by Francis Rose, broadcast Friday during the In Depth radio show.

I provided some thoughts about the role of the Inspectors General relating to cybersecurity, and other IT, oversight.

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Oversight in the Federal Government – The Underutilized Part

December 5th, 2014 · cyber-security, government, technology

One of the things I learned during my time as the Chief Information Officer at the US Department of Transportation is that one of the core competencies of the Federal Government is looking over someone else’s shoulder, that is the provision of oversight.

The CIO has three major organizational best friends providing helpful advice. First there is the Office of Management & Budget (OMB) which has the added lever of having a big impact on how much money you will potentially get in your budget in coming years. Second if you are associated with a big program, and at DOT there was always something going on at the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), which was a big program, then the Government Accountability Office (GAO) got involved. Often, by the way how OMB rated programs and how GAO rated programs were slightly different so fixing for one did not always fix for the other, but that is another story for another post.

And finally there was the internal to the Department based Office of Inspector General (IG).  IG’s investigate many things but one of their required areas of focus relates to how Information Technology is provisioned within an agency or department.

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My Political Theory Class

December 4th, 2014 · education, globalization, politics

This semester I am not only teaching classes, two IT related classes at the University of Maryland University College (UMUC), but also taking graduate classes, two Government and Politics graduate classes at the University of Maryland College Park.

So every Tuesday afternoon and evening I attend two almost three hour classes, the first focusing on Political Institutions (which I will talk about in a later post), and the second focusing on Political Theory, specifically about human rights. These are both seminars associated with getting a PhD, so in large part I am surrounded by young people, almost all of whom are younger than my two daughters, who are extremely bright and already know the difference between positive and negative rights, natural law, the implications of the Enlightenment, and so on, all of which I had to look up to understand when I came across all of these terms in the weekly readings.

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Having Pride in Your Children

November 26th, 2014 · family

It is a very natural thing for a parent to feel pride in your children’s accomplishments. As both of my daughters remind me, I am biased (they are, of course, wrong, I am totally objective about each of them; I just happen by coincidence to have the best two daughters ever) and my job is to be proud of them (I do agree with this one).

But sometimes your children do something a bit more special.

Miriam and Tamar have talked about running a marathon together for a while. Over the last year they decided to be more serious about it, both doing a regular training routine, one in Northern Virginia and one in Brooklyn. They both submitted entries to the Philadelphia Marathon, held the week before Thanksgiving.

So this last weekend, I drove Ellen and Tamar up to Philadelphia Saturday morning, while Miriam met us there, taking the train from New York. We stayed in a bed & breakfast located a mile south of Independence Hall (a place Ellen and I found the last time we visited Philadelphia).

Saturday the girls picked up their packets and wandered around the Philadelphia Convention Center for the marathon exposition. Aisle after aisle of special shoes, special socks, belts, GPS time pieces, books, energy bars, and thousands of participants and friends-of-participants and family-members-of-participants.

At the Marathon Convention

At the Marathon Convention

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Article on the Panel I Moderated at the Federal Health IT Summit

November 22nd, 2014 · atarc, healthcare, technology

Nice follow-up article in Fierce Mobile Healthcare regarding the panel I moderated here.

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Health IT – Mobility, Wearables, and the Internet of Things

November 21st, 2014 · atarc, healthcare, technology

A remarkable statistic that was presented during the panel discussion I moderated yesterday at the first Federal Health IT summit hosted by ATARC, the Advanced Technology Academic Research Center, was that medical errors in hospitals are the third leading cause of death in the United States. The focus of the panel directly and indirectly dealt with how to decrease that statistic.

A lot of the emphasis over the last year or so in the federal Health IT market has focused on electronic health records and comparable issues, topics which have been and continue to be challenging and important topics.

But as Dr. Julian Goldman who was one of the participants on the panel who noted even more important is all of the information we do not have and do not use that directly affect the results of medical treatment.

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Today’s Argument – Biopic

November 18th, 2014 · movies

I have had the fortune to spend much of the last 30-some years being improved by Ellen.

Remarkably I find that no matter how much she corrects, I still have much work that is needed to be done.

The context of this thought resulted from my mentioning this morning that there is a new biopic (movie) coming out about Martin Luther King called Selma that evidently has been well-received.

That led to a discussion about how to pronounce biopic. I say it as if it rhymed with myopic. Ellen said it by saying ‘bio’ and then ‘pic’.

Naturally with the web available, and luckily since everything on the web is always true, I was able to do the research and for once (just this once) learned that Ellen was wrong, though she still denies it. Or at least partially wrong.

If you go to Cambridge Dictionaries Online they have recordings of how Ellen says it, British English, and how I say it, American English. Being the American patriot I am, I will stick with my pronunciation.

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More Efficient Mail Delivery

November 15th, 2014 · technology

It occurs to me that if we were able to connect our mailbox to the recycling bin in some automated fashion, it would would increase efficiency.

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