Posts Tagged ‘New York Times’
White House Makes Changes to the Federal Government: Names Steven VanRoekel New Chief of Information Technology
Friday, August 5th, 2011
Posted by T.J. Bloom, COO of MDL Technology, LLC
According to www.nytimes.com, the White House has appointed Steven VanRoekel to the position of chief information officer for the United States federal government. VanRoekel, a former Microsoft executive, has been with the Obama administration since 2009. Here is an article detailing what will be expected of the new CIO.
Steven VanRoekel, a former Microsoft executive, will become the next chief information officer for the federal government — a bigger, more policy-oriented technology job than any he held at the software giant.
Mr. VanRoekel, 41, who joined the Obama administration from Microsoft in 2009 as managing director of the Federal Communications Commission, will succeed Vivek Kundra, the White House plans to announce on Thursday.
The federal government spends about $80 billion a year on information technology, more than any corporation. But the government, analysts agree, has not achieved the kind of productivity gains from its technology investment that is evident in the private sector.
The long-term trend of productivity growth in the private sector, said Jeffrey D. Zients, a deputy director of the Office of Management and Budget, has been about 1.5 percent a year. Yet productivity growth in the federal government, he noted, has been less than a third that level.
MDL Technology, LLC Reviews New York Times Article: Kickball, Tennis And App Writing
Thursday, June 2nd, 2011
Posted By: T.J. Bloom, COO of MDL Technology, LLC
Summer camp has been around for years. Usually, camps are either sports related or technology related. This article from http://www.nytimes.com, reviews how and why it is beneficial for children to attend camps that explore physical activity and technology.
For parents thinking of sending a child to technology camp this summer, early-bird registrations and discounts are ending, but there is still plenty of time to sign up.
When it comes to camps that specialize in computers, video games and technology, the hard part is to understand the lay of the land. Much has changed since Michael Zabinski, a professor at Fairfield University in Connecticut, founded the first such camp, the National Computer Camps, in the late 1970s, featuring the likes ofRadioShack TRS-80 and Apple II microcomputers.
Yes, would-be Mark Zuckerbergs can still don headphones and learn to write source code in the summer months, but they can also do so much more with creative digital arts and high-end gear at their disposal. At today’s tech camps, including National Computer, children design video games and Web pages, explore robotics, learn three-dimensional animation, create applications for mobile phones and tablet computers, shoot and edit films, and delve into graphic design.
This summer, Karen Katzenberger, 13, of Fall City, Wash., plans to take her love of drawing to a new level at DigiPen ProjectFUN with a three-dimensional animation workshop.
Last summer, at a programming academy offered by iD Tech Camps, Matthew Dierker, now 17, of Sugar Land, Tex., developed two mobile phone applications. One was designed to change the identity of a caller and the other allowed a user to “paint” on the screen. Matthew said Apple would have rejected his app, so he made it Web-based instead.
Over the last two summers, Joe Davidson, now 14, of Anchorage, Alaska, traveled toStanford University to study filmmaking at the Digital Media Academy, and produced two documentary films, said his father, Art Davidson. His first film explored the war-torn region of Kashmir, which he visited with his father at 13, and last summer, he filmed the Rush Soccer club donating soccer uniforms to children in Africa.
Mr. Davidson said that as a parent, he found Joe’s experience, as well as that of his older brother, Arthur, who latched onto making computer games at the academy, “very rewarding.” It “lit a fire inside them,” Mr. Davidson said.
How should parents research camps that could give their children similar experiences? A quick Google search provides a range of technology camp names. Sites like Allen’s Guideand MySummerCamps.com help narrow searches geographically and by type.
Mimi Mansfield of Deerfield, Ill., the mother of four children, said she relied on the Internet to find the nearby Emagination Computer Camps. She and her husband first sent their oldest child, Max, 13, then Oliver, 10, and now Lily, 8.
“She went for one day last year because she wanted to do what her brothers were doing,” Mrs. Mansfield said. “We didn’t think she would like it. Now she is signed up to go this year.”
What ends up being the right fit depends upon a child’s interest, parents say. They also consider the location of the camp, the cost, its accreditation, the experience of instructors, whether it offers day activities or extended stays, what curriculum is offered and what other activities are included, if any.
Tuitions vary widely, from hundreds of dollars to thousands, with various discounts for registering early, for sending more than one child or for referrals. Most camps offer financial assistance, and some have scholarships.
Not every camp is elaborate or expensive. At George Washington University Department of Computer Science, for example, a one-week day camp started in 2008 was free, said Shmuel Rotenstreich, who developed it. The camp began charging $100 a week in 2009, and has since expanded to two weeks.
If enough students enroll this year, Professor Rotenstreich said, the camp will feature Java programming, game development and robotics.
Because the industry is competitive, camps often try to distinguish themselves in certain areas. Since Emagination was founded in 1983, said Craig Whiting, executive director and owner, the camp has blended technology learning with traditional summer camp activities.
“Recreation isn’t an afterthought,” Mr. Whiting said. “It’s a critical part of our program.”
To accomplish that marriage of activity, he added, there must be “campy things to do” like tennis, drama, capture the flag and kickball. In that way, Mr. Whiting said, a camper gets “a more balanced experience and the opportunity to make friends.”
Digital Media Academy relies on the expertise of its staff in building its technology program. Vince Matthews, director of communications, said the academy consisted of “first and foremost, technology educators.” All the instructors, he added, are working professionals.
New York Times reveals the Top 10 Ways to Get the Most Out of your Technology
Tuesday, January 4th, 2011
Posted By: Mark Dryer, president of MDL Technology, LLC
A recent New York Times article, written by Sam Grobart, provides the top 10 ways to get the most out of your technology.
10 Ways to Get the Most Out of your Technology
Your gadgets and computers, your software and sites — they are not working as well as they should. You need to make some tweaks.
But the tech industry has given you the impression that making adjustments is difficult and time-consuming. It is not.
And so below are 10 things to do to improve your technological life. They are easy and (mostly) free. Altogether, they should take about two hours; one involves calling your cable or phone company, so that figure is elastic. If you do them, those two hours will pay off handsomely in both increased free time and diminished anxiety and frustration. You can do it.
GET A SMARTPHONE Why: Because having immediate access to your e-mail, photos, calendars and address books, not to mention vast swaths of the Internet, makes life a little easier.
How: This does not have to be complicated. Upgrade your phone with your existing carrier; later, when you are an advanced beginner, you can start weighing the pluses and minuses of your carrier versus another. Using AT&T? Get a refurbished iPhone 3GS for $29. Verizon? Depending on what’s announced next week at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, get its version of the iPhone, or a refurbished Droid Incredible for $100. Sprint? Either the LG Optimus S or the Samsung Transform are decent Android phones that cost $50. T-Mobile users can get the free LG Optimus T.
STOP USING INTERNET EXPLORER Why: Because, while the latest version has some real improvements, Internet Explorer is large, bloated with features and an example of old-style Microsoft excess.
How: Switch to either Mozilla Firefox or Google Chrome. Both are first-rate, speedy browsers, and both are free. It remains a tight race between the two, but Chrome has had the lead lately in features and performance. Both browsers include useful things like bookmark syncing. That means that your bookmarks folder will be the same on every computer using Chrome or Firefox, and will update if you change anything.
UPLOAD YOUR PHOTOS TO THE CLOUD Why: Because you’ll be really sorry if an errant cup of coffee makes its way onto your PC, wiping away years of photographic memories. Creating copies of your digital photos on an online service is a painless way to ensure they’ll be around no matter what happens to your PC. It is also an easy way to share the photos with friends and family.
How: There are many good, free choices. To keep things simple, use Picasa, Google’s service. After your initial upload — which may take a while, so set it up before you go to sleep — you will have a full backup of your photo library. And by inviting people to view it, privately, with passwords, you will not have to e-mail photos anymore. Anytime you have new pictures, upload them to Picasa, send a message to your subscribers, and they can view your gallery at their leisure.
GET MUSIC OFF YOUR COMPUTER Why: Because music bought digitally wants to be freed, not imprisoned in your portable player or laptop. It wants to be sent around the home, filling rooms like good old-fashioned hi-fi.
How: Using iTunes for your digital music? Buy Apple’s Airport Express for $99 and connect it to your stereo. When you play music on your computer, you can stream it to the Express and, therefore, your stereo’s speakers. Have an iPhone, iPod Touch or iPad? Download Apple’s free Remote app and you will be able to control your music from anywhere in the house.
BACK UP YOUR DATA Why: Because photos are not the only important things on your computer. With online backup services, you do not have to buy any equipment; you just install software, which sits on secure servers and runs in the background, regularly updating a mirror image of all your files while you spend time on more important things, like confirming that Ben Gazzara really was the bad guy in “Road House” (he was).
How: Go to sosonlinebackup.com. Pay $80 a year. Install the software. Sleep easy.
SET UP A FREE FILE-SHARING SERVICE Why: Because while e-mailing yourself files is a perfectly decent workaround, there are easier, more elegant ways to move files around — and they do not cost anything, either.
How: Go to dropbox.com and set up a free account. You will then get an icon that sits on your desktop. Drag and drop files onto that icon, and they are immediately copied to the cloud. The free account gives you up to two gigabytes of disk space; 50- and 100-gigabyte are also available, but they cost $10 or $20 a month.
Set up your account on all your other computers, and they all have the access to the same files. You can set up shared, private and public folders, and apps for iPhone, iPad, BlackBerry and Android mean you can gain access to shared files from anywhere.
GET FREE ANTIVIRUS SOFTWARE Why: Because attacks on unwitting users are more widespread and tactics are growing more advanced.
How: Windows users should download Avast Free Antivirus. Mac users can downloadiAntiVirus Free Edition. Both applications will provide a basic level of security against a variety of so-called malware. And they cost zero.
GET A BETTER DEAL FROM YOUR CABLE, PHONE AND INTERNET PROVIDER Why: Because it does not take much to get them to give you free (or cheaper) services. These companies are generally indifferent to customer needs, but they are quick to cough up discounts — if you ask.
How: Just call and ask — they will probably give you something. Other tactics: Measure your Internet speed, using dslreports.com/speedtest; if it is less than what you are paying for, ask for a free upgrade. Or ask to speak to the cancellation department. That usually scares them.
BUY A LOT OF CHARGING CABLES Why: Because you should never have a gadget’s battery die on you, and they are cheap. Smartphone user? Have a charging cable at the office, one in the car, and a couple at home. Laptops? Have enough chargers in the house, so you are not tethered to the den when the power runs low.
How: eBay. Search for what you need with terms like “original” or “oem” (original equipment manufacturer). You will often see accessories for as little as one-tenth their normal retail price. Buy them by the gross.
CALIBRATE YOUR HDTV Why: Because that awesome 1080p plasma or LCD TV you bought has factory settings for color, brightness, contrast and so forth that are likely to be out of whack. They need to be adjusted.
How: Order Spears and Munsil High Definition Benchmark: Blu-ray Edition, a DVD, for $25. Its regimen of tests and patterns will help you adjust your TV’s settings to more natural levels. After you use it, you may want to fine-tune the TV some more, but you can do so knowing you are getting the most out of your display.