FedScoop » News http://fedscoop.com Federal technology news and events Mon, 14 Apr 2014 16:35:34 +0000 en-US hourly 1 DC’s Top 50 Women in Tech http://fedscoop.com/dcs-top-50-women-tech/ http://fedscoop.com/dcs-top-50-women-tech/#comments Tue, 18 Mar 2014 12:30:40 +0000 http://fedscoop.com/?p=56525 In light of National Women’s History Month, FedScoop is highlighting the vibrant, talented and forward-thinking women who shape the conversation on technology in D.C. What these 50 movers and shakers, all with diverse backgrounds, have in common is their passion for using tech as a force multiplier to push government and industry to the next level by leveraging and improving information technology services in unprecedented ways.

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In light of National Women’s History Month, FedScoop is highlighting the vibrant, talented and forward-thinking women who shape the conversation on technology in D.C. These 50 women are movers and shakers, all with diverse backgrounds, representing government, Congress, the commercial sector, defense and academia. What they all have in common is their passion for using tech as a force multiplier to push government and industry to the next level by leveraging and improving information technology services in unprecedented ways. Our selection process took various forms: We did Twitter campaigns, asking for suggestions on extraordinary women in the technology field. We also received recommendations from the community, and conducted our own research. In addition, we asked the women themselves whom they would recommend for this honor. And thus, the list was born and then completed over several months. We know by limiting our list to 50, we are going to miss other terrific women in the field and we commend those who may not have been selected this year. The list of these 50 women is in no particular order, without any rankings. These 50 innovators, every one unique in her own way, all deserve to be considered #1 — there are no runners-up here.

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New luxury hair salon coming to Washington http://fedscoop.com/new-luxury-hair-salon-coming-washington/ http://fedscoop.com/new-luxury-hair-salon-coming-washington/#comments Mon, 14 Apr 2014 16:35:34 +0000 http://fedscoop.com/?p=57538 Glamour icon John Barrett announces the opening of a salon in D.C.

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FedScoop’s Social Studies keeps tabs on the latest lifestyle news and events around the Beltway.

Stylist-to-the-stars John Barrett announces plans to open a salon in Washington, D.C. (Photo: John Barrett)

Stylist-to-the-stars John Barrett announces plans to open a salon in Washington, D.C. (Photo: John Barrett)

Start calling for an appointment now: Celebrity stylist John Barrett will soon open a salon in Washington.

The glamour icon, whose famed parlor sits atop the penthouse in Manhattan’s Bergdorf Goodman department store, curates looks from Hollywood red carpets to New York runways. Now, with the addition of a premium hair product line, Barrett is expanding his brand to four new U.S. cities, including D.C.

“My goal is to do all this by truly listening to my clients, exceeding the demands of the industry and capitalizing on my experience,” Barrett says. “Nothing excites me more than spreading the magic my talented staff and I have created at Bergdorf Goodman, far beyond Fifth Avenue.”

Salons are expected in Palm Beach, Dallas and Las Vegas, in addition to two more stores in New York City. The Palm Beach location will be the first salon to open outside of Manhattan. An opening date and location for the Washington salon have not been revealed.

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BlackBerry CEO pulls a John Paul Jones. But will it save the ship? http://fedscoop.com/blackberry-ceo-pulls-john-paul-jones-will-save-ship/ http://fedscoop.com/blackberry-ceo-pulls-john-paul-jones-will-save-ship/#comments Mon, 14 Apr 2014 16:27:18 +0000 http://fedscoop.com/?p=57531 This week, Technocrat columnist John Breeden examines the tale of BlackBerry, which at least in terms of government service, flew to unimaginable heights, but now seems poised to topple into the abyss. So, what happened? And does BlackBerry have any magic left?

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Greetings to all my fellow techies. This week, I want to examine the sad, strange tale of BlackBerry, which at least in terms of government service, flew to unimaginable heights, but now seems poised to topple into the abyss. So, what happened? And does BlackBerry have any magic left?

Like many people, my first BlackBerry was a RIM 950 Wireless Device. It was simple and elegant for the time, and started the company's meteoric rise to government prominence.

Like many people, my first BlackBerry was a RIM 950 Wireless Device. It was simple and elegant for the time, and started the company’s meteoric rise to government prominence.

I remember the first BlackBerry I ever had, the RIM 950 Wireless Device. It had an amber screen, a little hardware keyboard and a flashing red light to let you know it was working. It was also primitive by today’s standards, requiring you to leave your desktop computer and your email program powered up all the time to enable email forwarding. So, it was a desktop application that drove it. But you could receive messages wirelessly using the cellular network, and more important, send messages back out from the device. Nobody had ever even considered anything like that before. The craze had begun.

I personally never got addicted to a BlackBerry. In fact, my RIM 950 was confiscated by my assistant at the time, and I didn’t even argue too much because it had sat idling on a shelf for a few months before he claimed it. He set it up on his computer and used to get all these ridiculous emails at all hours. I remember being at a dinner party at his house, and he jumped up three different times when the RIM 950 alarm sounded. It was all spam from classmates.com, one of the biggest spammers at the time, and we all had a good laugh at his expense for taking it so seriously. But I could see where email on a mobile device could become really important for some people, even addictive.

BlackBerry made some really smart moves, too. The company concentrated solely on the enterprise, government and business markets. That meant beefing up security and limiting what most of the devices could do, which was just fine with the people who used them. Close to 100 percent of mobile business in government was with BlackBerry back then. As a reporter at the time, I didn’t even really need to ask about it. If someone had a wireless workforce, it was assumed it was based on BlackBerry. It would have been a big story if they were using something else.

But of course, the consumers found them too. Oprah named a BlackBerry device as one of her favorite things in 2003, and a plethora of stars followed suit. With dropping prices, everyone could get one. And for a while, it seemed like everyone did.

I suppose in hindsight, the consumer embrace could have been the turning point for the company, still known as RIM at the time. What it probably should have done was to create consumer models of its devices that were different from the ones used in government and with corporations. The consumer devices could have been less secure, but more flexible about what they could do.

Basically, consumers really liked the connectivity of the BlackBerry devices at the time, but not the form factor and not how limited they were beyond email devices. Then in 2007, Apple released the iPhone. A year later, Android devices began to hit the market. Nothing bad happened to RIM at first, but the company made the mistake of not innovating to match what would become the new market leaders.

I didn’t get to personally meet anyone from RIM at the time, but I suspect the attitude of the top people from the company were similar to those I experienced at Palm Computer a few years before its fall from on high. I was meeting with a Palm executive at the Comdex Computer show in Las Vegas. We were sitting in a cramped back room behind Palm’s booth, and he was supposed to be showing me the Palm IIIx with 4 megabytes of memory.

I told him I saw other devices at the same show with 16 megabytes of memory and sleeker form factors. And I told him those other devices were doing some really cool things beyond just being a personal organizer. But he seemed unconcerned, telling me no mobile device would ever need more than 4 megs of memory, and people would still buy Palm handhelds because, well, because they were Palm devices. He was pretty miffed with me after that, and the meeting didn’t go very well. But I was sincerely trying to warn him about the world outside of his little back room. I knew for sure the company was doomed right then and there, but to this day don’t know why it couldn’t see it.

Back to BlackBerry. By 2010, most consumers had jumped ship, or were at least putting on lifejackets. I think BlackBerry thought because it had such an inroad with government, it wouldn’t matter. There were still notable people, like President Barack Obama, who were using their device.

But it was clear BlackBerry was no longer innovative, at least not like before. When Apple released the iPad, BlackBerry responded with the PlayBook, a device that didn’t even have email at first. It was a pretty huge failure.

In this White House photo by Pete Souza, President Barack Obama is seen using a BlackBerry 8900 while traveling in Indonesia in Novemeber of 2010. He may be one of the last BlackBerry holdouts, but is said to be considering using a different device.

In this White House photo by Pete Souza, President Barack Obama is seen using a BlackBerry 8900 while traveling in Indonesia in November 2010. He may be one of the last BlackBerry holdouts, but is said to be considering using a different device.

I think the company failed to realize that when consumers jump ship, their companies and their governments will follow. Consumers are people. And people make up government. If someone is enjoying using an iPad or Android phone at home, but finds the experience with BlackBerry at their work to be sub par, they are going to complain. When everyone is complaining, companies and government will change.

Today, I still write stories about the government, but almost nobody is bringing on new BlackBerry phones. Even at the state and local level, it almost never comes up anymore. The Guardian is reporting that even the president is considering dumping BlackBerry now, too. Consumer carrier T-Mobile is also jumping ship, stopping its sale of all BlackBerry devices as of April 25. BlackBerry executives are trying to spin it like they walked away from that deal. But we all know who dumped whom.

This brings us to the reason I started thinking about BlackBerry this week in the first place. Reuters reported BlackBerry CEO John Chen was gearing up to drop all hardware sales for their devices. BlackBerry has sunk so low at this point, everyone believed it. But now, Chen is coming out and saying the story is hogwash, and that all his comments were taken out of context. It was a whole “We have not yet begun to fight!” moment.

There are some bright spots left on BlackBerry’s horizon. It recently earned the coveted Authority to Operate certification for Defense Department networks. That could mean a lot of military deployments for BlackBerry, as well as peripheral industries like the contractors who serve alongside military personnel. I’m not sure that will be enough to sustain the entire company, but perhaps it can build on that and come out with new gadgets and gear to allow for secure communications without limitations.

I’m not one to say BlackBerry is dead. I’ve seen innovative ideas turn the tide at other companies. But the company is certainly on the ropes. I think this will be the year that something happens, either a rebirth or re-branding, or a quick ride into oblivion. I’m personally still pulling for BlackBerry, but don’t know if it has anything left in its tank. At least it had a pretty good run, and lots of fans who still hold fond memories of their first experience with wireless email communications.

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FedScoop Radio: Does digital government make sense? http://fedscoop.com/fedscoopradio-digital-government-make-sense/ http://fedscoop.com/fedscoopradio-digital-government-make-sense/#comments Mon, 14 Apr 2014 16:00:45 +0000 http://fedscoop.com/?p=57539 Hear Goldy Kamali, CEO and founder of FedScoop, Camille Tuutti, editorial director at FedScoop, Chuck Brooks, vice president and client executive for the Department of Homeland Security at Xerox, and Fred Baradari, VP and client executive for Department of Justice at Xerox, discuss the digital government revolution in this BlogTalkRadio podcast.

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There’s a revolution brewing in our government. Since the Obama administration released its Digital Government Strategy two years ago, agencies and industry have been working to modernize citizen-facing services.

In a recent fireside chat, U.S. CIO Steven VanRoekel said “that transformation … is really starting to happen.” However, as well-intentioned as the effort has been, a recent survey found that it has gotten lost in translation. The 2014 Digital Government Study, administered by FedScoop and underwritten by Xerox, shows that while nearly everybody agrees on the need to create a digital government, the initiative faces significant challenges at the agency level.

Hear Goldy Kamali, CEO and founder of FedScoop, Camille Tuutti, editorial director at FedScoop, Chuck Brooks, vice president and client executive for the Department of Homeland Security at Xerox, and Fred Baradari, VP and client executive for Department of Justice at Xerox, discuss the digital government revolution in this BlogTalkRadio podcast, which originally aired here.

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FedMentor: James Steven, USDA http://fedscoop.com/fedmentor-james-steven-usda/ http://fedscoop.com/fedmentor-james-steven-usda/#comments Mon, 14 Apr 2014 11:00:14 +0000 http://fedscoop.com/?p=57480 James Steven, acting associate CIO for data center operations and director of the National Information Technology Center at the Agriculture Department, shares career advice in this FedMentor interview.

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James Steven, acting associate CIO for data center operations and director of the National Information Technology Center at the Agriculture Department, shares career advice in this FedMentor interview.

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Health secretary to step down http://fedscoop.com/hhs-secretary-kathleen-sebelius-resigns/ http://fedscoop.com/hhs-secretary-kathleen-sebelius-resigns/#comments Fri, 11 Apr 2014 13:19:59 +0000 http://fedscoop.com/?p=57518 Kathleen Sebelius, secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services, is stepping down after five years on the post, ending her HHS career in the wake of the botched rollout of healthcare.gov and several congressional hearings in which she was blamed for the rocky launch.

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Kathleen Sebelius, secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services, is stepping down after five years on the post, ending her HHS career in the wake of the botched rollout of healthcare.gov and several congressional hearings in which she was blamed for the rocky launch.

According to The New York Times, President Barack Obama accepted Sebelius’ resignation earlier this week. An official announcement is expected from the White House today, 11 a.m.

Sylvia Mathews Burwell, director of the Office of Management and Budget, is said to be stepping in to fill Sebelius’ shoes.

Before being named secretary in April 2009, Sebelius served as governor of Kansas. During her tenure there, she was named one of America’s Top Five Governors by Time Magazine. From 1995 to 2003, she served as Kansas insurance commissioner. She was a member of the Kansas House of Representatives from 1987 to 1995.

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Good Technology’s Jeffrey Ait on disruptive mobile trends in government http://fedscoop.com/good-technologys-jeffrey-ait-disruptive-mobile-trends-government/ http://fedscoop.com/good-technologys-jeffrey-ait-disruptive-mobile-trends-government/#comments Fri, 11 Apr 2014 12:00:39 +0000 http://fedscoop.com/?p=57332 Jeffrey Ait, director of the public sector - North America at Good Technology, chats with FedScoopTV about disruptive mobile trends in government.

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Jeffrey Ait, director of the public sector – North America at Good Technology, chats with FedScoopTV about disruptive mobile trends in government.

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Truckeroo returns today http://fedscoop.com/truckeroo-returns-today/ http://fedscoop.com/truckeroo-returns-today/#comments Fri, 11 Apr 2014 11:00:26 +0000 http://fedscoop.com/?p=57349 BBQ, cupcakes, lobster rolls... there's food for everyone as Truckeroo returns in 2014.

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FedScoop’s Social Studies keeps tabs on the latest lifestyle news and events around the Beltway.

The lunch crowd enjoys Truckeroo during the July 2011 festival. (Photo: P. Wroten)

The lunch crowd enjoys Truckeroo during the July 2011 festival. (Photo: P. Wroten)

Rolling in just in time for springish weather, D.C. Truckeroo returns today for its first gathering of 2014.

Truckeroo is the monthly Southeast festival where food trucks from around the city park at the corner of Half and M streets near Nationals stadium for an afternoon and evening of live music, games, drinks and food.

With more than 20 of the city’s most popular meals on wheels participating, it’s the perfect stop for a large group of co-workers or friends. The all-day celebration lasts from 11 a.m. until 11 p.m., and admission is free.

Can’t make the Truckeroo kickoff? The festival will return monthly during the summer. Here are the 2014 dates:

May 9

June 13

July 11

Aug. 8

Sept. 12

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US Coast Guard’s Rear Adm. Robert Day on collaborative tech endeavors http://fedscoop.com/us-coast-guards-rear-adm-robert-day-collaborative-tech-endeavors/ http://fedscoop.com/us-coast-guards-rear-adm-robert-day-collaborative-tech-endeavors/#comments Fri, 11 Apr 2014 11:00:07 +0000 http://fedscoop.com/?p=57451 U.S. Coast Guard CIO Rear Adm. Robert Day discusses with FedScoopTV one of the services' successful collaborative technology endeavors.

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U.S. Coast Guard CIO Rear Adm. Robert Day discusses with FedScoopTV one of the services’ successful collaborative technology endeavors.

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DATA Act passes Senate http://fedscoop.com/data-act-passes-senate/ http://fedscoop.com/data-act-passes-senate/#comments Thu, 10 Apr 2014 21:13:25 +0000 http://fedscoop.com/?p=57504 The Senate on Thursday passed the long-awaited Digital Accountability and Transparency Act, sending the bill to the House, where it is expected to pass swiftly.

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The Senate on Thursday passed the long-awaited Digital Accountability and Transparency Act, sending the bill to the House, where it is expected to pass swiftly.

The bill is being hailed by many as landmark open data legislation that would standardize how the federal government publishes its spending data.

“We’re excited to welcome this bipartisan — and now, bicameral — endorsement for delivering reliable, accessible data about how taxpayers’ dollars are being spent,” said Hudson Hollister, executive director the Data Transparency Coalition. “The DATA Act will turn federal spending information into open spending data – a valuable new public resource that strengthens democratic accountability and spurs innovation.”

Hollister drafted the initial version of the DATA Act in 2009, and has been championing the bill in his role at the Data Transparency Coalition.

The legislation mandates the publication of all federal spending disclosures as standardized open data. Currently, most information is unavailable in a searchable format, and difficult to access. The DATA Act also establishes comprehensive mandates to standardize and publish the executive branch’s entire portfolio of spending information.

“The Senate passage of the DATA Act reaffirms Congress’ commitment to federal spending transparency,” Kaitlin Devine, senior developer at the Sunlight Foundation, told FedScoop.

“They’ve seen where the previous legislation on the issue has fallen short, and have iterated on the same concept to keep improving the public’s access to government spending data,” Devine added, referring to the 2006 Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act. “What remains to be seen is how the administration will handle this new mandate.”

The House will be back in session April 28.

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Space buffs unite globally to solve NASA’s biggest challenges http://fedscoop.com/space-buffs-unite-globally-to-solve-nasas-biggest-challenges/ http://fedscoop.com/space-buffs-unite-globally-to-solve-nasas-biggest-challenges/#comments Thu, 10 Apr 2014 20:46:44 +0000 http://fedscoop.com/?p=57501 Space agencies around the world are gearing up for this upcoming Saturday's International Space Apps Challenge, a two-day code-a-thon-style event. For the third year in a row, NASA is looking to the public to address some of its most-pressing obstacles.

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Space agencies around the world are gearing up for this upcoming Saturday’s International Space Apps Challenge, a two-day code-a-thon-style event. For the third year in a row, NASA is looking to the public to address some of its most-pressing obstacles.

Screenshot from International Space Apps Challenge site.

Screenshot from the International Space Apps Challenge site.

The 48-hour event will focus on five themes: technology in space, human space flight, asteroids, earth watch and robotics. New challenges are being presented, but the event will also include 25 solutions from 2013. It is NASA’s hope that including those will provide an opportunity for them to be built upon and further improved.

This challenge is expected to give NASA a hand in opening up and making sense of its massive amounts of data. Following the open data executive order from May 2013, agencies are required to make their data not only available but also usable and transparent.

“Our hope is to create a community of solvers that we can continue to feed, and ignite innovation in the ‘solver-sphere,’” Beth Beck, NASA’s Open Innovation Program manager, told FedScoop. “We want it to be more than playing with NASA data for two days; we want to keep feeding them new challenges and new data and see it grow.”

This is Beck’s first year being involved in the Space Apps Challenge. The event was nurtured into success by former NASA employees Ali Llewellyn and Nick Skytland, who Beck credits with laying down a great foundation.

“The challenge we’re facing now is not just to have a successful event; it’s keeping the community engaged after the event is over,” Beck said.

The event will be held in nearly 100 locations spanning six continents, and will use more than 200 data sources that have been made available.

The event last year was hailed as a major success; there were more than 400 partners, organizations, institutions and space agencies internationally, with events in 83 cities, 9,000 participating volunteers, and 770 technology solutions created.

Optimism for this year’s event is high, and Beck said a lot of attention was paid to the quality of the experience for users.

“We really care about this event,” Beck said. “It’s not just throwing our data out there; we want to personally engage and share our data and interact with people.”

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