The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) is joining other federal government agencies in expanding the use of Web 2.0 social networking techniques to promote innovation. The department has unveiled the Digital Transportation Exchange, in which citizens, industry, all levels of government, and other stakeholders are invited to design "a thriving online marketplace for the agile creation of transportation solutions," according to DOT Chief Information Officer Nitin Pradhan. The DOT is in the midst of a legally mandated public comment period on the DTE concept. On September 16, a stakeholder meeting is scheduled at DOT headquarters in Washington, D.C.
You can't consider the future of computing and the Internet without looking at what software giant Microsoft and Internet heavyweight Google are up to. Rita Boland continues her Semaphore Series on the topic by tapping the expertise of Lewis Shepherd from Microsoft and Vint Cerf from Google in 'What's Now and What's New.'
A changing of the guard is underway in the federal information technology (IT) arena, with Net Generation newbies beginning to fill the void left by retiring Baby Boomers. Seasoned employees hold expertise and institutional knowledge, while young talent brings with it technical savvy in the world of Web 2.0. In her article "Government Prepares for Work Force Changes" in this month's issue of SIGNAL Magazine, News Editor Rita Boland explores the changes taking place in the makeup of the IT workplace, and how organizations can prepare for a smooth adjustment.
Soldiers may not have time to utilize an iPhone app in the field, but the creator of an application called BulletFlight claims it could improve the accuracy of military snipers in training. Developed by Knight's Armament Company and available through Apple's iTunes App Store for $11.99, the app eliminates some of the math involved in long-distance target shooting and calculates the trajectory of a bullet's flight path to ensure users hit the target. It allows shooters to input wind speed, atmospheric conditions and distance for the intended target.
According to the National Security Agency, in 1928, Secretary of State Henry Stimson, closed down the Department's intelligence bureau. His rationale was that "Gentlemen do not read other gentlemen's mail."
We have now a comparable situation in the Department of Defense. New policies and guidance have been issued that declare, in effect, that well-behaved gentlemen and gentlewomen should abstain from reading potentially toxic attachments to social computing messages.
Such policies and guidance do not promote the security of defense networks and should be therefore modified.
Google. A noun so popular it became a verb. Everyone who uses the Internet knows about Google the search engine, and most are familiar with the free Gmail service, but what about the company's other offerings? From helpful business applications that enable more collaboration with fewer messages to tools that help individuals keep their Web pages organized, Google offers features that make the Internet experience more efficient and fun.
I keep up with all things social media and Web 2.0 related by reading Mashable, one of the largest blogs focused specifically on these topics. Now fans like me can read Mashable on the go with the Mashable iPhone app. The free tool allows users to browse by channel, category, tag or author; share stories via e-mail, Twitter or Facebook; save stories to read offline later; and more. For more information or to download the application, visit the iTunes store.
Fans of the magazine Popular Science--and those who are interested in science and technology--will enjoy the magazine's app, PopSci Reader. The free application grabs the magazine's RSS feed and offers users the most recent articles with images. Users can even read articles offline because the last feed pull remains cached. There's also a "share" feature, so users can e-mail their favorite articles to friends. For more information or to download the application, visit the iTunes store.
You don't have to be a dummy to need help preparing for a test. The ASVAB Practice for Dummies app helps future warfighters get the best score possible on the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery exam. The application, which costs $9.99, offers three full-length practice tests; study tips; practice questions in several categories such as communication, technical skills and arithmetic; and more.
You know it's coming--tax season. There's a reason I went into publishing: I'm terrible at math. So for people with poor accounting skills like me, tools like the H&R Block Tax Answers app are a lifesaver. The free application offers befuddled taxpayers the chance to pose their questions to tax experts and browse others' questions, find definitions for hundreds of tax terms, determine their tax know-how by taking quizzes, and find a local H&R Block office. For more information or to download the application, visit the iTunes store.
I'm a fan of all things Discovery: Animal Planet, TLC, and of course the Science and Military channels. So I'm particularly excited about the Discovery News iPhone application. Fans like me can get instant access to the most recent news articles, videos, special features and more, ensuring they'll always have the latest science and tech information at their fingertips.
The U.S. Defense Department has announced its policy on "Responsible and Effective Use of Internet-Based Capabilities"--in less formal words, its social and new media policy. This is the DOD's first official policy on new media. It states that the NIPRNET default will be open access so that all of the DOD can use new and social media. Under this policy, prohibited content sites such as gambling sites will still be blocked, but otherwise there will be open access across the department.
Army Technology Live is the U.S. Army RDECOM's blog. Its purpose is to inform the public about Army initiatives and technologies and to showcase the work produced by the Army technology team. Pretty cool, right? Well, now the self-described "science and technology command" has launched a free iPhone application so that fans can have access to the blog anywhere and anytime. The app downloads current news features, including entries to the Army Technology Live blog, the official RDECOM Web site, job listings, Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, YouTube and more.
Those of us on the East Coast are probably tired of looking at snow, but even if you're located elsewhere on the planet, you can download the NASA Images iPhone app for a variety of gorgeous sights. The free application gives the public access to NASA's audio, image and video collections in one searchable online resource. Users can search and browse images from nasaimages.org, view images with an interactive zoom feature, watch NASA programs and mission footage, and more.
Keep up with our country's most important pile of bricks with the White House app, available for iPhones and iPod Touch. The free app lets government junkies have 24/7 access to dynamic content from WhiteHouse.gov. Features include live video streaming, the White House blog and the Briefing Room. For more information, visit the Web site, or download the application on iTunes.
Are you a government news junkie? Do you need to know every move that Congress makes? Then stay current on the latest news happening in D.C. with Real Time Congress. The Real Time Congress app gives government fans access to the latest information about Congress on their iPhones. The tool lets users receive real-time updates from the House and Senate floors; critical reports and memos when they are published online by party policy committees, the Congressional Budget Office, the OMB and more; daily and weekly notices from the House Majority and Minority whips; and hearing schedules.
Science nerds, gather 'round! Every Friday afternoon, you can get your science on with Science Friday, a weekly talk show that focuses on timely science topics. But now the show has launched an application that lets fans of the show access podcasts and videos any day of the week. Future versions that feature more social networking options are in the works. The free app works on iPhones and iPod Touch. For more information or to download the app, visit the iTunes store.
"The Defense Department must take decisive remedial steps to achieve positive controls over all social computing transactions originating from the toxic Internet. The risks are too great to accept insufficient safeguards."--Paul A. Strassman, distinguished professor of information science at George Mason University and former director of defense information for the Office of the Secretary of Defense
Some people live and breathe the Army 24/7. Now anyone can be all Army, all the time with the U.S. Army iPhone app. Army soldiers and fans can get the latest news about the military branch thanks to the new application. The free tool lets users access the news sections available on www.army.mil, including full-length articles with photos. In addition to news, users can view Flickr photos, videos, the Army's social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter, the Army Live blog and much more. Soldiers can make sure they stay on top of their Army game by accessing Army fact files, uniforms, ranks, recruiter locations--even the Army song.
I cannot function without music. It keeps me moving, gives me energy and helps the day go by. With Remote, you can always have music at your fingertips. The free app turns your iPhone or iPod Touch into a remote control. Wherever you are, you can control the music on your computer's iTunes library or your Apple TV. You can view songs, playlists and album art; create and update Genius playlists; control your AirTunes speakers; and more. For more information about Remote or to download the application, visit the Web site.
"If we wish to know the force of human genius, we should read Shakespeare. If we wish to see the insignificance of human learning, we may study his commentators."--William Hazlitt It's almost time for students to head back to school. Don't contribute to the insignificance of human learning by failing to understand Shakespeare. Use the free Shakespeare app for access to the literary genius' complete works. The application features the full text of all 40 plays as well as the Bard's six poems and 154 sonnets. Users can change the font color and font size for easier reading.
If a recipe has more than three ingredients or doesn't require a can opener, I'm lost. Kitchen savvy I'm not, but I do like to eat, so I have to learn some cooking skills to keep my stomach happy. The Betty Crocker Mobile Cookbook can help hungry folks like me learn to create edible, even tasty, recipes. The Betty Crocker Mobile Cookbook is for foodies and food novices alike. The free application features more than 4,000 recipes. It fully loads on iPhones or iPod Touch, so wireless or 3G connections aren't required.
I like to think I'm young at heart. That's why I still get excited when it snows and why a part of me still believes in Santa. In fact, I think I saw Santa (without his red suit) eating at Cracker Barrel the other day. (Does Santa travel without his elves?) Thanks to a few apps that connect kids with the jolly guy, parents can help their children keep on believing in Santa a little bit longer. The Call Santa app lets Santa talk to children on the nice list. Parents can choose from four Christmas stories that Santa reads to the children over the phone. The application costs $0.99. Call Santa is available for iPhone and iPod Touch.
AFCEA's Intelligence Department has launched yet another blog. This one focuses on how technology can (or should) be used by intelligence professionals. Bob Gourley serves as the man behind the mask--er, blog. He's the founder and CTO of Crucial Point LLC, a technology research and advisory firm, and he is also the primary blogger at CTOvision.com. If that's not enough, Gourley is a former CTO of the Defense Intelligence Agency and a former senior executive with Northrop Grumman.
I am obsessed with the Internet Movie Database, also known as IMDb. I probably visit the site at least once a day. My favorite thing to do is look up quotes from and trivia about my favorite movies and TV shows, like The Office. (Did you know that the computers on the set are hooked up to the Internet, and cast members check e-mail when they're in the background of a shot?) With the free IMDb app for iPhones and iPod Touch, fans like me can get their trivia fix any time.
A friend of mine recently bought an iPhone. She's a small business owner, and one of the first apps she has looked into buying is one that lets her take credit card payments through her phone. Previously, she could only accept cash or check payments, so this app will help make her business more customer friendly. There are several apps to choose from, two of which I've featured here: For iPhone and iPod Touch users, the iSwipe Pro Credit Card Terminal offers a single-entry screen to process each customer's transaction. The application accepts major credit cards (VISA, MasterCard, Discover and American Express), and one account can be used for multiple iPhones.
I can't believe that it's December already and--judging by the parking lot at the shopping center across the street--that the holiday shopping season is in full swing. Ready or not, the holidays are here, and along with them is a fun holiday tradition: the NORAD Tracks Santa program. This year, the young and the young at heart can follow Santa's progress on Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, YouTube and TroopTube.mil as well as the Web site, which features holiday games and activities. Also new this year, visitors can watch Santa prepare his sleigh, check his list and prepare for his journey on the Web site, beginning Christmas Eve at 12:00 a.m. MST.
As the iPhone continues to increase in fame and popularity, the applications to fill up the device are growing in number and diversity. Whether people are looking for utility or nonsense, the options are almost endless. Featured here are some offbeat iPhone applications and their Web sites as well as sites to learn more about available offerings and what people are using. And just in case the applications seem overwhelming, one Web site offers an organization solution.
It's the holidays-time to build up that stash of generic gifts for parties, both business and personal. A bottle of wine is always a nice gesture--unless, like me, you know nothing about wine. The following applications can help make navigating the world of wine a bit easier. For BlackBerry fans, the Wine & Food Guide can help users purchase a wine or select one to pair with a meal. It features sections for wine descriptions such as red, white and dessert wines, suggested wine and food pairings, and a wine glossary.
Does the term "social media" turn people off from the power of these collaborative tools? Christopher Dorobek suggests so in this month's Incoming column, "The War on Social Media." He argues that "social media" does not fairly represent the value and potential of these capabilities, which serve as important ways for organizations and people to collaborate, share information and solve problems.
Who doesn't enjoy watching movies from the comfort of their own home? Thanks to the "Redbox Free Rental Promo Codes" iPhone app, cinephiles can enjoy movies at home at a discount--just in time for the holiday weekend. The application provides promotional codes for the Redbox video-rental kiosks found at grocery and other stores. The codes are updated twice a day so users can easily find a code to receive a free DVD rental. The app also has a ranking system that lets users rate the validity and usefulness of each promo. The app, which costs $0.99, is available for download from the iTunes store.
This application is near and dear to all of us in the SIGNAL newsroom. We follow AP Style, and with the AP Stylebook app, journalists like us can have error-free writing even when they're away from their desks-and their editors. The tool features searchable listings for sections like sports, business and punctuation (my favorite), and users can even add their own customized entries and notes. More information about the AP Stylebook app is available on AP's Web site. The application is available for download from iTunes for iPhones and iPod Touch.
MAZZ-INT is the brainchild of Joe Mazzafro, who works in Oracle's National Security Group. He has more than 30 years of experience in the intelligence community and also served in the U.S. Navy as a naval intelligence officer. His blog has been around for a couple of years, and great discussions develop between Mazzafro and commenters.
The intelligence community has been leading the government pack in its collaboration efforts. Christopher Dorobek points to 9/11 and other examples to show how government realized it needed a better way to collect, process and share intelligence data in this month's Incoming column, "The Intelligence Community Writes the Book on Collaboration."
Math is not my strong suit; I always travel with a calculator and a tip card to help me scoot by. I know I'm not alone thanks to CheckPlease. With this app, math-challenged diners can easily split a tab among multiple people and figure out the tip in just a few seconds. The app even calculates the tip on the total before tax. There are two versions of CheckPlease: a free one that features ads or an ad-free version that costs $0.99. It's available for download to iPhones and iPod Touch here. What's your favorite app? Let us know in the comments below.
Apps for your printer? Yup. HP has an Internet-connected printer-the HP Photosmart Premium TouchSmart Web All-in-One printer-that comes with pre-loaded apps that have something for everyone. The Google Maps app lets users enter their destination and print out a map. Families can stay on track by printing out everyone's weekly schedules with Google Calendar. Through the DreamWorks Animation app, movie fans can view upcoming movie trailers without logging on to the computer. Apps from Coupons.com, USATODAY.com, Nickelodeon, Fandago and more are also available. HP says that people will be able to create their own apps later this year.
I spend every summer eagerly awaiting the approach of fall for one reason: Starbucks' pumpkin spice latte. (Then I anticipate the holiday season for the gingerbread latte.) Thanks to iCoffee, addicts like me can keep track of how much money they spend on these delicious treasures. The app also features full Starbucks menus, information about local stores, nutrition facts and more. It's available for iPhone at Apple.com. What app can't you live without? Got a favorite app you want to share? Leave a comment or send us an e-mail at newmedia [at] afcea [dot] org.
Anyone who spends time on the Internet is well aware of the benefits that Web 2.0 provides. U.S. Forces Korea recognizes these attributes and is transforming its decision-making capabilities by employing Web tools, according to authors Maj. Vincent W. Lau, USAF, and David P. Martin in Command Takes Leap To Web-Centric Knowledge Sharing, published in the current issue of SIGNAL Magazine. Even though U.S.
The commandant of the U.S. Coast Guard is simply enthralled with the opportunities social networking platforms offer. Adm. Thad W. Allen, USCG, opened the final day of MILCOM 2009 by explaining that it took some time for him to move into the Web 2.0 realm, but now that he's there, he understands that it is a domain that all military leaders must learn to use. "We have to understand that the changes in technology, computation and so forth have created what I call a fundamental change in our social atmosphere.
We're starting a new feature here at SIGNAL Scape: a weekly post focusing on cool apps. Our inaugural post features an app for you multitasking on-the-go folks: Torch Project Management. Torch lets you keep in touch with customers, coworkers and suppliers with one easy tool. You can attach messages, files, Google Docs, invoices and more to your projects. You can also track time and expenses, bill clients, and import data. There are two versions: the full-powered one and a faster offline version. To learn more, visit the Web site. What app can't you live without? Got a favorite app you want to share?
The defense sector is all a-Twitter about this and other social media platforms, with many organizations restricting how and if their employees can access the tools during working hours. Authors Maj. Daniel Ward, USAF; Maj. Gabe Mounce, USAF; and Carol Scheina discuss the impact of these restrictions in their article "Twitter Is Mission Critical." The article generated a lot of conversation when it was presented in excerpted form last month, and you can read those comments here.
One of the ironies of Web 2.0 applications is that the number of them increases on a daily basis. Designed to track Web 2.0 applications and services, Listio is a directory and product review site. Visitors can browse and rate a selection of Web 2.0 applications. Each application is profiled with a link to its home page. Like the web itself, the services are varied with tools such as Petfinder, FeedMyTorrents for automatic downloading, and Seemile, an online education site.
A massive directory of Web 2.0 applications and services, Go2Web20.net contains 2,390 site logos as of mid-May. The primary interface for Go2Web20.net is its main page, which lists all of the participating services. By moving a cursor over each site, a quick outline of the service is provided. Clicking on a logo calls up a more detailed description of the service and a URL link to the site. The assembled pages cover a range of interests and subjects, from music sharing sites to professional development and advancement pages.
Teamspinner allows teams to create custom environments for their projects. Users can add Wiki text, lists, discussions and files. Team members can also invite others as members or observers and track any changes via RSS feeds. Users should note that this tool is currently in the beta stage. A link allows bugs and suggestions to be reported to the tool's designers.
The goal of reQall is to serve as a memory tool. The site collects and aggregates personal data. Users can access the site through a variety of methods, such as text from a handheld or desktop computer or voice from a telephone. The site will translate voice messages into text and store the data. Users with iPhones or Web access can quickly enter action items and clip and remember items on the home page. ReQall can contain anything from personal notes to contact lists and photographs. A memory jogger feature lets users play games especially designed to strengthen memory.
Sometimes a user might need an immediate answer to a question or a definition of a term. The Lexisum home page has a simple interface consisting of several boxes. Entering a term such as "bandwidth" causes the site's search engine to scour Wikipedia sites for an answer. Each definition is studded with hyperlinks to more detailed articles and related topics.
Twitter is a Web-based service is designed to keep people in touch with friends, family and co-workers through quick, short and frequent messages. Unlike e-mail or blogging, Twitter focuses on short updates throughout the day. Users can post brief updates, limited to 140 characters, from their desktop, personal digital assistants or cell phones. Business users can use the site to keep updated with colleagues working on a project, for example.
Raise the firewalls and batten down the gateways: security risks are rising.
Common interests bring professionals together online, then lead them to corporate collaboration.
SRA International Incorporated’s Second Life presence includes a conference room that can be blocked off so employees may conduct private meetings.