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Archive for the ‘EGov’ Category

03.20.2012 DorobekINSIDER: The changing government market; dealing with tech junk; opening up government legal documents

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Happy Tuesday.

Up front today… two interesting items that sure show how times are changing.

One… would would guess we would ever say Bon Jovi, the Department of Veterans Affairs, and the Department of Urban Development together in one phrase? Well, welcome 2012. VA and HUD have unveiled a new federal app challenge designed to help homeless veterans quickly find shelter and other kinds of assistance. TechPresident reports that the mobile app will, essentially, act as a travel portal for homeless veterans. And Bon Jovi said that the idea for the project came to him after a volunteer at the JBJ Soul Kitchen in New Jersey asked for help finding a bed for the night.

The other story that shows how times have changes — or are changing and will change… Imagine if the CIA could spy using your washing machine… or dryer. Wired says that those intelligent household devices may be able to be tapped. And CIA Director David Petraeus has said that the Internet of PCs is leading to the Internet of things — devices of all types. And that could be tapped. And it is a legally gray area.

Ah, times have changed…

On today’s program…

  • The changing face of federal IT and its acquisition process.
  • What happens to hardware in your office when it’s no longer fit for service? Hit the dumpster? You’ll learn what GSA wants you to do.
  • The challenges of making legal documents available online. We’ll talk to a professor who has studied the issue.

All that ahead…

But after the break, we start off, as we do each day, with the stories that impact your life for Tuesday the 20th of March, 2012… your government world in 120-seconds…

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Written by cdorobek

March 21, 2012 at 8:07 AM

03.07.2012 DorobekINSIDER: Leading the Recovery Board; our information diet; and bosses trading places

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Today on GovLoop INsights’ DorobekINSIDER:

  • There is a new chief watchdog at the Recovery, Accountability and Transparency Board. It’s a visible job. She takes over from Earl Devaney. And she has a tough task leading an organization that could sunset is a little over a year. We’ll introduce you to Kathleen Tighe later in the program.
  • You watch what you eat, but do you watch what you read? and watch? and listen to, for that matter? and click on? We’ll talk about OUR role in defining the meadia culture out there… we’re going to talk to Clay Johnson, author of the book The Information Diet.
  • And have you seen the TV show Undercover Boss? We’ll talk to a professor about the advantages of walking in somebody else’s shoes.

After the break… the stories that impact your life for Wednesday March 7th, 2012… your government world in 120-seconds…

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Written by cdorobek

March 7, 2012 at 1:27 PM

DorobekINSIDER: GovLoop Insights Issue of the Week: Finding needles in haystacks — and the changing government market

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GovLoop InsightsHey there — I’m Christopher Dorobek — the DorobekINSIDER — and welcome to the GovLoop Insights Issue of the Week with Chris Dorobek.

Each week, our goal is to where each week, our goal is to find an issue — a person — an idea — then helped define the past 7-days… and we work to find an issue that will also will have an impact on the days, weeks and months ahead. And, as always, we focus on six words: helping you do your job better.

This week, we’ve talked about the challenges of dealing with big data. We’re going to tell you about a company that is going just that — for the intelligence agencies… for the Recovery Board… it’s a story of the Silicon Valley coming to Washington successfully, and it may also be an indication of the direction of government contracting. We’ll talk about the company Palantir.

And as we head into the weekend, we’ll have your weekend reading list… weekends are a time to rejuvenate — but also some time to take a step back and ponder. And we’ll have some reading that may guide you as you work be innovative… to think outside of the box. We’ll have information about the DorobekINSIDER Book Club — it’s coming up on Tuesday Wednesday at the Adobe Government Assembly… and we’ll have details.

But… after the break… we start off as we do every week with a look at the week that was for government… for the first week of February 2012…

 

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Written by cdorobek

February 4, 2012 at 10:34 AM

DorobekINSIDER: GSA leadership changes: Lovelace, Costa, Piatt

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A number of leadership changes at the General Services Administration.

GSA Administrator Martha Johnson has announced that Gail Lovelace, who has served as the chief people officer for the General Services Administration, will be taking a newly created job as GSA’s chief leadership officer.

Lovelace

Gail Lovelace

“I have been deliberately attending to succession planning, strategic alignment, and performance management of the agency leadership since my confirmation,” Johnson said in a memo to staff.  “Gail has helped shape those activities and will continue to build on them.  This move will also signal beyond the walls of GSA that we are intent upon holding our place as a pace-setter for the government in matters of fostering and strengthening public sector leadership.”

Lovelace is widely respected in government, particularly in the HR community, and has been recognized for her work on the Bush-Obama transition.

Replacing Lovelace as GSA’s chief people officer will be Tony Costa, who has spent most of his 25 year career at GSA with the Public Building Service.

In addition, Bill Piatt is moving from the Office of Technology Strategy to the GSA Administrator’s office. He will assume the work that Tony has been championing, namely GSA’s use of the social media and open government tools that our Office of Citizen Services and Innovative Technologies is promulgating across government

The memo from Johnson sent out today:

From: Administrator Martha Johnson
Subject: Exciting Leadership Movement

It is my pleasure to announce a couple of exciting leadership moves here at
GSA.

To begin, Gail Lovelace will be moving to my office to assume the role of Chief Leadership Officer on December 1.  For the past 13 years Gail has served as the Chief People Officer.  She and I have worked very closely together for years, and I am personally thrilled to have her join me in building and strengthening our leadership cadre. I have been deliberately attending to succession planning, strategic alignment, and performance management of the agency leadership since my confirmation.  Gail has helped shape those activities and will continue to build on them.  This move will also signal beyond the walls of GSA that we are intent upon holding our place as a pace-setter for the government in matters of fostering and strengthening public sector leadership.

In conjunction with Gail’s move, I have asked Tony Costa to step in as the Chief People Officer.  Tony brings customer knowledge, strategic business perspective, operational experience, and, perhaps most importantly, change management chops.  While most of his 25 year career at GSA has been with the Public Building Service – both Regional and at Central Office – Tony is
willing to step into a new challenge in the “C-Suite.”  It is not an easy thing to follow a leader such as Gail Lovelace who has in many ways defined Human Resources for GSA, but I have confidence that Tony will do a great job at the helm of the CPO’s office.  I am equally confident that such moves are good for our leaders and good for the organization as a whole. They break down our silos and send the signal that we want people to try new things and build out their knowledge of the full enterprise.

Finally, Bill Piatt will move from the Office of Technology Strategy to my office and will assume the work that Tony has been championing, namely GSA’s use of the social media and open government tools that our Office of Citizen Services and Innovative Technologies is promulgating across government.  Bill recently returned to GSA and brings great experience in IT leadership and progressive IT tools.  I know that he will hit the ground running, and I am excited about the energy that he will bring to these important enterprise-wide efforts.

GSA is going through a lot of change.  These leaders have deep experience in GSA and share a passion for our mission and collective success.  As they change roles, they are modeling change as leaders.  Please join me in thanking them for their service and supporting them in these new challenges.

Best regards,
Martha

Written by cdorobek

September 16, 2010 at 3:35 PM

DorobekINSIDER: GSA hires ConnellyWork’s Kelly Olson

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Kelly Olson, a vice president at ConnellyWorks, the Fairfax, VA based PR, marketing and events company, is joining the General Services Administration, the DorobekINSIDER has learned.

Olson joined ConnellyWorks 14 months ago after her tenure at the Industry Advisory Council and the American Council for Technology.

Kelly Olson

At GSA, she will serve as the director for strategic initiatives and program outreach for GSA’s Office of Citizen Services and Innovative Technologies. The official announcement will come on Wednesday.

Olson will report to Martha Dorris, the Deputy Associate Administrator of GSA’s Office of Citizen Services and Innovative Technologies.

Olson is widely respected as somebody who gets gov 2.0.

Her job description is below:

Kelly Olson, Director, Strategic Initiatives & Program Outreach, Office of Citizen Services and Innovative Technologies (OCSIT), General Services Administration (GSA)

Position Reports to: Martha Dorris, Deputy Associate Administrator, Office of Citizen Services and Innovative Technologies (OCSIT), General Services Administration (GSA)

The OCSIT serves citizens and fosters public engagement through the use of innovative technologies to connect citizens to government information and services. As part of this effort, OCSIT runs the award-winning USA.gov and GobiernoUSA.gov, the official websites of the federal government. The office is rapidly becoming a leader in the use of new media and Web 2.0 technologies to bring government to citizens and citizens to government. Through its use of the Internet (i.e., websites and new media), call centers, publications, and other programs, OCSIT facilitates more than 200 million citizen touchpoints a year.  OCSIT is also facilitating government-wide capabilities to support the President’s Open Government Directive, such as idea management and challenge solutions.  OCSIT is responsible for many of the eGovernment initiatives, including Data.gov, Challenge.gov, citizen engagement platform, FedSpace, Mobile Apps, Federal Cloud Computing Initiative.

Focus Area:  Within OCSIT, the Office of Citizen Services’ (OCS) primary goal is to ensure that the public has a unified experience when accessing information from the government from the web. OCS’ products and services enable other Federal agencies to provide information to the public through the sharing of best practices, a government-wide contract for contact center solutions, and education in the Web and contact center arena. OCS is currently leading the federal government in creating tools and processes for engaging the public through online dialogs to inform the government on improving business processes and services. They work closely with other government agencies—federal, state, local, and international—to collect and consolidate information and make it available to the public and share experiences that lead to better solutions.  OCS leverages several interagency groups to share best practices and develop strategies for improving the way we provide services to the American public.  These include CIOs from five nations (US, UK, Australia, New Zealand and Canada) as well as Federal Web Managers Council and the Contact Center Leaders.  OCS works closely with the White House and the Office of Management and Budget to improve the service the government provides to the public.

Key Responsibilities:  Kelly will directly support Martha Dorris, the Deputy Associate Administrator of the Office of Citizen Services and Innovative Technologies (OCSIT). She will be responsible for developing and managing outreach and communications to federal agencies who need the OCSIT’s products and services.  She will work collaboratively with the GSA’s Office of Citizen Services, New Media & Citizen Engagement and Innovative Technology teams to ensure the office’s mission is communicated effectively, both internally and externally.

Kelly will also work closely with GSA’s Director of Global Government Innovation Networks to support an international community of e-government officials that foster the exchange of information, share best practices and promote collaboration across all levels of government.

Written by cdorobek

August 31, 2010 at 4:21 PM

DorobekINSIDER: The Gov 2.0 status report — where are we now?

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What is gov 2.0, what does it mean, and is it still a relevant term?

Those were the questions that were being bandied about at a dinner last week of gov 2.0 luminaries in preparation for the Gov 2.0 Expo.

The second Gov 2.0 Expo is coming to Washington, DC in just a few weeks — May 25-27 at the Washington Convention Center, to be exact. Produced by tech publishing giant Tim O’Reilly, the guy who all but invented the term “web 2.0.”

One of the remarkable evolutions over the years has been the changing government IT market. And it is very easy to overlook how much progress has been made. When I started covering this stuff for Government Computer News nearly two decades ago (my colleague at Federal News Radio, Tom Temin, hired me for the job at GCN — small world), people would often ask, ‘The government uses computers?’

My oh my, how the world has changed. The remarkable thing these days is that people don’t ask that question any more. To the contrary, they often say, ‘Why isn’t the government using technology more — or more effectively.’

And while the Obama administration is widely seen as being tech innovators — and the Obama team has really taken the use of technology to new levels — but this has been a long evolution dating all the way back to the Clinton administration. Back in 1998, the thought was creating a WebGov. WebGov then evolved to FirstGov before becoming USA.gov.

Before we go too much further, it’s important to define terms. Broadly, I describe Web 2.0 (and, by extension, gov 2.0) and the suite of collaborative tools. They can be everything from Facebook and GovLoop to wikis to blogs. Gov 2.0 would be the government’s use of these tools.

WebGov/FirstGov/USA.gov and all the other government Web sites were an early foray into the Web 1.0 world.

I’m fascinated by these tools because I think they can be — for lack of a better term — real paradigm changes. We often talk about paradigm shifts, but… these tools do seem to have the ability to bring about remarkable change. Some call them “disruptive” technologies — because they do significantly alter the way people have always done business.

And there has been a whole lot going on in the gov 2.0 world in recent years:

* Intellipedia: The suite of Web 2.0 tools for the intelligence community that has been on the cutting edge for some five years now — and it is one of the case studies in MIT Prof. Andrew McAfee’s great book, Enterprise 2.0: New Collaborative Tools for Your Organization’s Toughest Challenges.
* Blogs across government… some CJD favs include Navy CIO Rob Carey and NASA CIO Linda Cureton
* Idea sharing tools such as TSA’s Idea Factory, where front line feds can offer up ideas, and they are voted on by TSA employees

The National Academy of Public Administration’s Collaboration Project has scores of case studies.

And in recent years, there are scores of luminaries who have become fascinated with government technology — perhaps led by O’Reilly, but there are others… Craig Newmark, the “Craig” of Craig’s ListAnil Dash, who all but created blogging and has now created Expert Labs… and I even was introduced just last night to Palantir Technologies, which was created 2004 by a handful of PayPal alumni and Stanford computer scientists — and with venture funding from the CIA’s InQ-Tel — and seeks to “radically change how groups analyze information.” There have even been some criticisms of the Obama-Google connections.

Many of the Silicon Valley innovators are use to… well, being innovative. And it has been remarkable to watch as they have come change government.

O’Reilly is — and has been — one of the real thought leaders. Back in 2009, he wrote a post, What Does Government 2.0 Mean To You?

The buzz at last week’s dinner was where does gov 2.0 stand today.

In a way, it is a much more complex world these days. Some of the changes require real changes — and greater risks. Some of the changes require discussions and debate — how do you deal with Internet Web cookies, for example. In the Web world, it is simple: Agencies should be able to use them. But in reality, the headline will say, ‘Government to track Web users.”

And there are complex policy discussions, like the one going on about the Government Paperwork Reduction Act. GPRA is almost universally loathed by gov 2.0 proponents, but… it is also the law.

There was a significant contingent at last week’s dinner who said that the term “gov 2.0″ actually holds the evolution of these tools back.

My sense is that the power of these tools — and people’s desire to work together to accomplish a mission — wins out in the end. They will succeed or fail based on whether they actually help agencies accomplish their missions.

For me, that remains the question: Does this help agencies do their job better?

All of that being said, this is a more complex time for gov 2.0, but we’ve already seen remarkable changes. One of the biggest change: People feel empowered. A handful of people can launch something like the Better Buy Project, which seeks to change the government procurement process. It is much more complex then merely launching a blog or using Twitter. In many ways, it is a more fundamental evolution of how government conducts its business.

There have been enormous accomplishments. It was just a few years ago that it was totally evolutionary when Andrew P. Wilson was working on redesigning the PandemicFlu.gov Web site — and merely asked for help with the question: How can we make this site better? The concept of asking for help — the notion that one could ask for help was an enormous change. it is easy to underestimate these changes, but they aren’t small, nor are they insignificant. Today, it has become a regular tool for agencies.

These changes are going to take time — and they probably should. Everybody is learning — and there is a lot to learn.

I’d be interested in your thoughts.

Written by cdorobek

May 12, 2010 at 2:49 PM

DorobekINSIDER: Crowdsourcing Gulf Coast oil spill info

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Government as a platform — in the Gulf Coast oil spill.

NASA photo

We have covered a lot of the cases of people coming together to help in crisis situations — many of them around so-called Crisis Camps, but we’ve also seen Random Hacks of Kindless, and even post-Haiti, there were remarkable efforts of people coming together to use available tools to share vital information.

While NOAA is tracking the spill — and there are even NASA satellites tracking the slick — but the Louisiana Bucket Brigade is banding together to track the slick on their own.

A band of people calling themselves the Louisiana Bucket Brigade that are using those tools to track the massive oil spill — called the Oil Spill Crisis Map.

As the massive Deepwater Horizon oil spill disaster drifts toward land, residents of the Gulf Coast can report sightings of fishermen out or work, endangered wildlife, oil on shore, oil sheens, health impacts and other problems using a new tool known as the Oil Spill Crisis Map. The reports, submitted via text message, the web or email will appear on a web based map of the Gulf Coast, alerting officials and the public alike of the extent of the damage.

“The Oil Spill Crisis Map compiles and maps eyewitness accounts of the oil’s effects in real time,” said Anne Rolfes of the Louisiana Bucket Brigade. “This is a tool for all of us to understand the extent of the damage.”

Reports can be made and viewed at http://oilspill.labucketbrigade.org.

How does it work?

Mobile phone users can text reports to (504) 27 27 OIL
Reports can also be sent to bpspillmap@gmail.com
Twitter with the hashtag: #BPspillmap.

Eyewitness reports for the map require a description, and location information such as address, city and state, zip‐code or coordinates. Citizen reporters can remain anonymous or disclose their contact information. Photos and video can be uploaded via the web.

Written by cdorobek

May 5, 2010 at 4:12 PM

DorobekINSIDER: The role of the CIO – and NASA gives the CIO authority

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One of the longest running — and somewhat tedious — debates within the government IT community: Does the CIO have a ‘seat at the table.’ I say tedious, but… most people believe it is also critically important. And therefore it garners regular discussion. For example, I moderated a panel at the 2009 Management of Change conference that looked at the changing role of the CIO… NextGov executive editor Allan Holmes when he was at CIO magazine wrote one of the seminal articles on the role of the CIO back in 1996… and just earlier this month, FCW’s John Zyskowski wrote a thoughtful feature story, The CIO 14 years later: Power vs. paperwork.

Despite being around for more than a decade now — CIO posts were created by law in government agencies in 1996 as a result of the Clinger-Cohen Act — the CIO still doesn’t seem to have been fully integrated into the leadership team at most agencies. They aren’t the strategic visionaries that are pushing for an agencies use of technology to help it accomplish its mission more effectively.

There are scores of reasons for that — more of which I’ll detail below. But I think there are some systemic reasons… and things are changing — some good, and some not great.

I’d put the largely unexplained changes going on at the Agriculture Department in the “questionable” category given that, by all accounts, the USDA CIO has been downgraded within the organization. (Frustratingly, I have been unable to get somebody from USDA to explain the details of their reorganization, so it remains the subject of conjecture rather then public discussion. So much for government openness.)

But there has been a quite, fairly significant development at NASA. NASA Administrator Charles F. Bolden, Jr. has changed the organization chart to give the NASA CIO direct reporting authority to the NASA administration, industry sources tell me and NASA officials have confirmed. But, almost as important, Bolden has changed the reporting authority at the NASA centers around the country report to the NASA CIO with a “dotted line” reporting authority to the individual directors at the centers.

This is a powerful step.

I haven’t been able to determine if the NASA CIO has ‘the power of the purse’ — the Holy Gail in government terms. Currently, the CIO for the Department of Veterans Affairs has spending authority by law. The Homeland Security Department CIO had that authority by policy under former DHS Secretary Michael Chertoff. I have not been able to confirm if the current DHS CIO still has that authority.

It is an enormous step if Federal CIO Vivek Kundra wants to actually carry out some of his proposed changes — or any real changes, for that matter. Last week, I got to hear Kundra speak at the Brookings Institution about cloud computing — and he discussed a “cloud first” strategy where agencies will look at the cloud as an option. The fact is that this instituting this kind of change requires changing the “clay layer” within agencies — agency leaders get it, and front line works just want to be able to do their jobs. It is the “clay layer” that blocks much of the government change. And most people like the control and power that comes with having their own server nearby them.

There are many ways to deal with the clay, but… one way in government is through spending, and that requires that CIOs to have the power of the purse. Of course, with that responsibility given to CIOs comes a responsibility to actually listen to people — to not become “CI-NOs,” as too often happens.

Some additional reading:

* OMB 2008 memo on the role of the CIO

A bit before Karen Evans left government, Karen Evans crafted a memo on the role of the CIO. You can read the draft memo for yourself.

* DHS CIO and the ‘power of the purse’ from back in 2007:

Here is FCW’s March 2007 story about the DHS CIO announcement. I also made it FCW’s Buzz of the Week for the week of March 19, 2007… and the following week, in FCW’s editorial, under the headline Show ‘em the money, I gave DHS credit for giving the DHS CIO spending authority over IT spending.

Written by cdorobek

April 19, 2010 at 9:19 AM

DorobekINSIDER: The Better Buy Project: Seeking to build a better procurement process

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Let’s be honest — innovation in government can be difficult. It isn’t because government workers are less innovative. The the contrary — in my experience, government workers are more victims of bureaucracy then they are purveyors of it. Yet those of us who watch government closely understand the real courage that goes into significant change.

Of course, the government’s anti-innovation reputation is really proposterous. After all, it was the U.S. federal government that spurred the creation of the Internet — and there have been few innovations that have changed all of our lives more then that innovation. But the creation of the Internet, of course, grew from an effort to enable to the government to do it’s job better — the goal was to create a redundant network. Essentially, the innovation grew out of an effort to do business better.

The challenge with government innovation: There is little upside that comes from success, but the risk of failure has significant. To put it simply, the government does tolerate failure — and innovation is difficult, if not impossible, without the chance of failure. (It is one of the reasons why I appreciated Jeff Jarvis’s book, What Would Google Do? — and featured it in the Federal News Radio Book Club last year.)

More recently, there are innovations like the intelligence community’s IntellipediaTSA’s Idea Factory, since expanded to all of the Homeland Security Department… and even blogs at TSA and the CIOs at the Navy and NASA. (See the case library at the National Academy of Public Administration’s Collaboration Project for scores of examples.)

With that as background, all of that brings me to the Better Buy Project, a marvelous, innovative — and courageous — initiative to try and improve the government procurement process. It is an attempt to tap the wisdom of crowds, openness and transparency to the government contracting and procurement process.

The initiative has had several steps — it started out as a discussion in GovLoop’s Acquisition 2.0 community. It then became a stand-alone initiative by the General Services Administration, the National Academy of Public Administration’s Collaboration Project, and the Industry Advisory Council where the groups simply asked for help by asking — very publicly — ideas about how the government procurement and contracting process can be improved.

The Better Buy Project has reached a significant new milestone — a open, public collaborative platform — a public wiki using the same software that runs Wikipedia. GSA courageously is looking for thoughts on how to build a better contract, specifically focusing on the Data.gov contract… and the effort to replace a GSA servers.

You can read more here. We featured the Better Buy Project last week on Federal News Radio 1500 AM’s Daily Debrief with Chris Dorobek and Amy Morris. We spoke to Mary Davie, Assistant Commissioners of GSA Federal Acquisition Service’s Office of Assisted Acquisition Services, and Chris Hamm is the Operations Director at the GSA Federal Acquisition Service’s Federal Systems Integration and Management Center (FEDSIM).

Some additional resources:

Written by cdorobek

April 12, 2010 at 5:57 AM

The DorobekINSIDER iPad review: Will you see them in government?

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There has been a ton written about the Apple iPad, of course — and I’ve pulled some of the better stories about the iPad together below… but yes, I was one of the 300,000 people who got an iPad on day one.

Apple iPadRegular readers know I’m a gadget guy — and Apple has done a pretty remarkable job at being innovative and transformational. (Fortune magazine late last year named Steve Jobs as the CEO of the decade — and it is difficult to argue with their assessment after reading the article.)

Of course, the iPod was remarkable because it created a market. None of us dreamed of carrying thousands of songs around with us — and now we can’t imagine being without our playlist. But even more, he created a way to sell music digitally in a way that other organizations have failed.

And the iPhone was transformational for scores of reasons… because it put the power of a computer in your palm… because of the remarkable applications, including, of course, the Federal News Radio app.

So I was there Saturday — not first thing in the morning, but by late in the day.

The CJD first impression of the iPad: It is a remarkable device, but I’m not sure its revolutionary in the way the iPod and iPhone were.

One of the better discussions was on the PBS NewsHour. On that program, the WSJ’s Walt Mossberg and Stanford University’s Paul Saffo discussed what I think is the core question: Where does this fit in the computing marketplace.

Mossberg: I think people have to perceive it as something that allows them to leave their laptop home or not open it around the house for, you know, maybe not 100 percent of the things they do on their laptop, but for more than half a lot of the time. I know those are vague terms, but that’s the way I kind of think about it.

So, if you use your laptop for mostly surfing the Web, consuming media, you know, doing e-mail, and then doing maybe a little light content creation, say, a school paper or something, and you decide that you’re comfortable doing it on this, this thing will take off the way Paul says.

And if not enough people feel that way, and just think it’s an extra burden to carry, then I — that’s the risk Apple is taking. But, as he points out, Apple is a little different than some of these other companies. It takes really big risks. And many of them that he listed have paid off. A few haven’t. And we’re going to see.

And I think that is true for government agencies as well. I can imagine Census workers using an iPad like device in 2020… or law enforcement personnel… jobs that are very mobile… But for most of us who use a laptop, will it do away with the laptop? My first impression is… probably not. At least for me right now, the keyboard simply isn’t usable enough to replace my laptop. (The return key ends up being right at my right pinkie finger, so I end up hitting the return key over and over again.)

Apple does have a keyboard doc that might help me make that step toward replacing my laptop. We’ll see…

The other issue: WiFi… I’d get a 3G wireless version. The device is much less usable without an Internet connection — and there are still just not enough WiFi hot spots out there.

How might government use these devices?

There are two ways. One, of course, is externally — reaching out to citizens. There are a number of government iPhone applications — OhMyGov has their 11 favorites — and, of course, there is the WhiteHouse.gov iPhone app. FastCompany reports that eGovernment developing firm NIC is the first company to develop government focused iPad applications.

The other way government can use these devices is internally… and this might be where the Census could use these devices. Imagine if Census could just develop an iPad application rather then failing to develop their own handheld.

And, by the way, the TSA blog has a post about whether you need to take your iPad or Kindle out of your bag when you go through airport security. In short — you don’t.

Some background reading:

GCN: Think you want an iPad? Read this first!
Apple’s much-hyped gadget may not fill the bill

Is the Apple iPad good enough for government work? The early reviews are in, and they bring mixed results. Overall, the iPad wins praise for its speed, touch-screen interface, battery life and overall user experience. But it garners complaints for what’s missing, including support for Flash, a camera and the ability to print.

The GCN Lab is in the process of obtaining an iPad for review, and we’ll soon run our own tests, with a particular eye to how iPad would work in an office setting. In the meantime, a roundup of reviews from those who got the devices in advance of last week’s rollout might provide some clues to whether the iPad is likely to begin showing up in government circles.

ComputerWorld: Is the iPad right for you?
Answer these questions to find out

Slate: You Don’t Need an iPad
But once you try one, you won’t be able to resist.

NYT review by David Pogue: Looking at the iPad From Two Angles

NYT: The iPad in the Eyes of the Digerati

In short, if you get it, you probably won’t be disappointed, but be careful why you are getting it… at least for right now.

Written by cdorobek

April 6, 2010 at 10:40 PM

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