February 8, 2012

Feds to Employees: Use Your Own Mobile Devices at Work

A NEW survey finds that 62% of federal agencies encourage staffers to bring their own mobile devices to work to save the agencies money. Close to half of federal employees are doing just that.

The report, based on a survey of 414 federal employees and IT staff, also found that the majority of employees - 89% - think that using mobile devices at work makes them more productive, while 69% of respondents said this increased mobility will allow the feds to deliver better services to citizens.

Sixty-two percent of agencies have a "bring your own device" policy, allowing employees to use their own mobile devices at work, and 44$ of federal employees are using their own in the workplace.

Allowing agencies to bring their own devices to work saves money and allows agencies to support mobility initiatives, such as a standard mobile strategy U.S. CIO Steven VanRoekel is working on across federal agencies to accelerate the adoption of mobile technologies.

Having employees use their own devices at work does, however, raise security concerns, which agencies are trying to alleviate through a number of measures, including secure mobile device management.

>Read more about the study here

Multitaskers Need Multiscreens

WORKERS IN the digital era can feel at times as if they are playing a video game, battling the barrage of emails and instant messages, juggling documents, Web sites and online calendars. To cope, people have become swift with the mouse, toggling among dozens of overlapping windows on a single monitor.

But there is a growing new tactic for countering the data assault: the addition of a second computer screen. Or a third.

This proliferation of displays is the latest workplace upgrade, and it is responsible for the new look at companies and home offices - they are starting to resemble mission control.

For multiscreen multitaskers, a single monitor can seem as outdated as dial-up Internet. "You go back to one, and you feel slow," said Jackie Cohen, 42, who uses three 17-inch monitors in her home office in San Francisco, where she edits a blog about Facebook.

>Read multiscreens in the NY Times here

February 7, 2012

The Net's Sweeping Impact on Growth, Jobs and Prosperity

THE INTERNET is a vast mosaic of economic activity, ranging from millions of daily online transactions and communications to smartphone downloads of TV shows. But little is known about how the  web in its entirety contributes to global growth, productivity, and employment.

New McKinsey research into the Internet economies of the G-8 nations as well as Brazil, China, India, South Korea, and Sweden finds that the web accounts for a significant and growing portion of global GDP. Indeed, if measured as a sector, Internet-related consumption and expenditure is now bigger than agriculture or energy. On the average, the Internet contributes 3-4 percent to GDP in the 13 countries covered by the research - an amount the size of Spain or Canada in terms of GDP, and growing at a faster rate than that of Brazil.

>Read the McKinsey Global Institute's report here.

Lights, Camera, Causes: YouTube's 2012 Nonprofit Video Awards

YESTERDAY YOUTUBE announced that they have teamed up with See3 Communications for the third year to present the DoGooder Nonprofit Video Awards. The DoGooder awards are a celebration of the best in nonprofit video and members of the YouTube Nonprofit Program are invited to submit their non-profit videos by February 29, 2012 for the chance to win recognition, some great prizes and the opportunity to spread the word about their organization and the good they are doing in the world.

Ramya Raghavan of YouTube Nonprofits writes on the YouTube blog, "It doesn't matter if your organization is small and scrappy, large and global, or somewhere in between. We'll award prizes like $3,500 grants, free admission to the Nonprofit Technology Conference, and a spotlight on the YouTube homepage to small, medium and large organizations, plus a special award for the Best Video Storytelling."

Not sure if your organization qualifies for the YouTube Nonprofit Program? Find out and apply at http://www.youtube.com/nonprofits.

February 3, 2012

YouTube's Top Star Bipasses Traditional Media

IT DOESN'T take media to make a media star any more.

The new economics of entertainment have enabled a foul-mouthed performer working on his own to carve out a very lucrative business. He doesn't have the backing of a traditional media conglomerate. He's a lone comic with a YouTube channel.

Ray William Johnson curses constantly, often gives his audience the finger and sometimes dresses up as a penguin, but he is attracting more than five million regular viewers to his twice weekly video commentaries, making him the biggest draw at Google Inc.'s online-video outlet.

Known as RayWJ, the 30-year-old has morphed into an idol of the teen set at home and abroad by ranting about others' viral YouTube videos on subjects ranging from a hippopotamus defecating to people who staple the heads of co-workers.

Thanks to his cut of his shows' ad revenue and merchandise tied to his persona, he's taking home about $1 million a year.

>Read more on the Wall Street Journal here.

February 2, 2012

No More Angling for a Seat Next to the Boss: Stand Up Meetings Have Arrived

IN SOME fast-moving high tech circles, sitting at meetings has become synonymous with sloth. Take the case of Atomic Object, a Grand Rapids, Michigan, software-development company. It holds company meetings first thing in the morning and employees must follow strict rules: Attendance is mandatory, nonwork chitchat is kept to a minimum and everyone has to stand up.

The object is to eliminate long-winded confabs where participants pontificate, play Angry Birds on their cellphones or tune out.

Atomic Object even frowns upon tables during meetings. "They make it too easy to lean or rest laptops," explains Michael Marsiglia, vice president. At the end of the meetings, which rarely last more than five minutes, employees typically do a quick stretch and then, according to the Wall Street Journal, "go on with their day."

Holding meetings standing up isn't new. Some military leaders did it during World War I.

>Read more about the thinking behind "stand up meetings" here.

February 1, 2012

Innovation Without Age Limits

VENTURE CAPITALISTS in Silicon Valley prefer to fund the young, the next Mark Zuckerbert. Why? The common mantra is that if you are over 35, you are too old to innovate. In fact, there is an evolving profile of the perfect entrepreneur - smart enough to get into Harvard or Stanford and savvy enough to drop out. Some prominent figures are even urging talented young people to skip college, presumably so they do not waste their "youngness" on studying.

To a degree, the cult of Silicon Valley has been built around young people makes sense - particularly in the Internet and mobile technology. The young have a huge advantage because they aren't encumbered by the past. Older technology workers are experts in building and maintaining systems in old computer languages and architectures. They make much bigger salaries. Why should employers pay $150,000 for a worker with 20 years of irrelevant experience when they can hire a fresh college graduate for $60,000? After all, the graduate will bring in new ideas and doesn't have to go home early to family.

> Read more here

Beyond the Personal Automobile

THE CONNECTED car has finally arrived. Our smart phones sync up with our dashboards, and soon vehicle-to-vehicle communication could make car crashes a thing of the past. Ford recently announced it's working on a "smart seat" that will detect when a driver is having a heart attack.

How about using technology to allow millions of us to move beyond car ownership? You won't hear large automobile companies talk about it, but information technology gives society the greatest chance in decades to rethink transportation. Instead of cars equipped with medical sensors, I would like to see fewer cars and more room for bike paths.

> Read more here

U.S. Secrecy System "Literally Out of Control"

SEVERAL PIECES of news about government secrecy emerged this week that show just how far away the United States has gotten from the principle of open government. The secrecy system is beyond control of the president.

First, we got a reminder that there are still 50,000 pages of government record relating to the JFK assassination that are being kept secret, nearly a half-century after that event. That's despite the 1992 passage of the JFK Act, which specifically called for the "expeditious" release of these records.

Second, the New York Times reported on an almost comically long delay in the government response to a Freedom of Information Act request the newspaper filed in 1997. A response to the Times request was finally sent out earlier this week.

Any journalist who has attempted to use FOIA - which was designed to open up the workings of a democratic government - knows that the legal requirement of a response to a request within 20 days is entirely perfunctory.

>Read more here