As IT professionals, we must always be cognizant of the fact that change is a risk factor that must be accounted for and managed. Even if the changes are completely for the better, they will be resisted, often quite vocally. And even the smallest modification can cause a maelstrom of discontent far exceeding the magnitude of the change, if it isn't handled right.
CBS Interactive's Distinguished Lecturer David Gewirtz hosts ZDNet Government -- ZDNet's politics and policy coffeehouse -- where civics lessons meet technology, nothing is sacred, and everything is fair game.
David Gewirtz, Distinguished Lecturer at CBS Interactive, is an author, U.S. policy advisor, and computer scientist. He is featured in the History Channel special The President's Book of Secrets and is a member of the National Press Club.
MIT engineering professor Yossi Sheffi notes that a core reason for government's initially tepid response to Hurricane Katrina may have been cultural. "If this root cause is not addressed systematically then all the special commissions, forecasting tools, special gear, and training available will not fix the problem," Sheffi notes. Upgrading communications gear and dedicating bandwidth to emergency personnel won't create a culture where bad news is communicated quickly and fearlessly.
Federal agencies have satisfied minimum telework requirements set by Congress but still have much work to do, Congress' main telework proponent says.
Redmond has been working with Argonne National Library, a Dept. of Energy lab operated by the University of Chicago, on an open source specification for message passing.
TechWeb reports that a stolen UC Berekely laptop containing 100,000 student identies has been recovered. The machine's drive had been reformatted and a new operating system installed so it was impossible to ascertain whether the identies had been put to use.
Organizations often talk about how they want their intranet to reflect the heartbeat of their organization. If the intranets I have seen in the last few years are any indication, many of those organizations are dead.Any website is a living document but organizations often forget about the care and feeding required to keep the document alive. You have seen this before and you know the drill. A great big noise is made about the intranet on its launch, but over time all goes quiet.
The House Energy and Commerce Committee released draft legislation yesterday that would require "net neutrality." The legislation would require broadband providers to allow their subscribers to view any legal online content, the Washington Post reports.That move is meant to qualm fears that cable companies and telcos will start creating walled gardens, in which users of, say, Comcast would be unable to access content from SBC, for example.
The Washington Post reports on an exciting proposal: Make New Orleans the hub of a super-connected region, with advanced telecom services surpassing anything else in the US or perhaps the world. "The area ought to be a beacon for 21st-century communications in the United States," said Rey Ramsey, chief executive of One Economy Corp., a nonprofit organization that helps bring high-speed Internet service to inner-city communities. "We ought to go state of the art, and state of the art with a purpose."
The Boston Globe reported yesterday that Microsoft has filed a 15-page document with the Massachusetts Information Techology Dept. and Gov. Mitt Romney objecting to the state's plan to require applications to natively support the OpenDoc format.
One of the problems that Katrina has put into bold relief is the impact of cascading communication snafus on the quick response to disasters. Congress is now calling for upgrading first-responder communications. But it's not as easy as picking a technology and throwing money at it. My experience with the Salt Lake Olympics sheds some light on the nitty-gritty issues.