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E-gov Lessons from IRS' E-file

March 26, 2007 This tax filing season more taxpayers are filing online through the IRS' e-file program. (For a recent Tech Insider item on the success of e-file, click here.) What's behind e-file's success is focusing on convincing users to adopt an innovative process, argues Stephen Holden, a former IRS executive now teaching...

How to Think Better About Security

March 26, 2007 Humans naturally tend to exaggerate or underestimate modern risks, argues cybersecurity guru Bruce Schneier in a draft paper on the psychology of security posted last month. Humans downplay familiar risks but inflate those that are not so familiar. We are much more frightened of spectacular risks such as terrorism than...

Is It Time for the Networked Computer?

March 23, 2007 Google’s venture into hosted software certainly has generated some excitement. (Information Week reported that the FAA Chief Information Officer David Bowen is considering skipping a Windows upgrade in favor of Google’s Web apps.) Google is not the first company to promote the idea of running applications on a remote server...

The Linux vs. Windows Cost Debate

March 23, 2007 Some agencies are reportedly thinking about skipping Windows Vista in favor of an open source operating system. That makes this commentary from Jack Schofield, computer editor of the London newspaper The Guardian, very pertinent for the federal market here. He writes about whether Dell, the world's second-largest global computer manufacturer,...

Tip Thursday: Google Better

March 22, 2007 Welcome to another edition of Tip Thursday, a weekly Tech Insider feature that offers useful computing tips you can apply right at your own desktop or laptop. This week: Focus your Google searches. Searching on Google seems straightforward: Type the words you want to search for into Google's query box,...

Another Verification Lesson

March 21, 2007 We’ve posted a couple of items recently (here and here) about how vital disater recovery plans and independent verification are for the success of IT systems. We came across another example that highlights the pitfalls of poor safety planning -- and sometimes the dumb luck that comes into play to...

Semantic Web a Bust

March 21, 2007 Will the Semantic Web, which will allow applications to share personal data, ever be real? According to blogger Stephen Downes, it won’t. The Semantic Web has supposedly been the next big Internet thing for a few years now, but mostly it’s been notable for its lack of adoption. (Here's an...

India Off Limits? Offshore to Puerto Rico

March 21, 2007 Economic development officials from the Caribbean island and U.S. territory of Puerto Rico are in Washington, D.C., promoting their island as an information technology outsourcing haven for federal IT work. Puerto Rican officials hope to take advantage of restrictions that prevent government agencies from outsourcing to popular -- and money...

from govexec

Further Complications

March 21, 2007 Complexity is innate to software, and complex things fail. Complex systems interact in unexpected ways. The more they're asked to do and the larger they get, the more likely unanticipated consequences will pop up. The question isn't whether or not software projects will sometimes fail. They will. A conservative estimate...

That Office Chair Can Kill

March 20, 2007 As if you didn't have enough to worry about, a report released last week links sitting down for long periods at work -- i.e. in front of a computer -- to an increased risk of death from blood clots. Thirty-four percent of all patients suffering from deep-vein thrombosis, the potentially...