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Air Force uses telework to retain workforce

One part of the Air Force overcame the challenges surrounding a relocation from Washington to Fort Meade, Maryland, by pursing an aggressive telework system. The Air Force central adjudication facility, which processes security clearances, equipped and trained all 155 of its employees to telework. The agency credits the remote collaboration tools it created for letting it hold on to 92 percent of its workforce, in spite of the move to Maryland. They say they also increased productivity by 55 percent in just one year.

Tags: technology , Jared Serbu

Monday - 06/20/2011, 12:45pm EDT

USDA pushes rural smart grid

The Agriculture Department's Rural Utilities Service is issuing 250-million dollars in low-interest loans to help smaller, rural electric providers add technology to their local power grids. USDA says the loans to implement smart grid technology will help bring innovative features like customized, real time electric usage monitoring to homes and businesses throughout America through smart electric meters. And technological improvements to the grid itself will decrease the number of blackouts.

Tags: technology , Jared Serbu

Monday - 06/20/2011, 12:44pm EDT

Archives brings in first "Wikipedian in Residence"

The National Archives and Records Administration has picked its first Wikipedian in Residence. The new position is designed to serve as a liaison between the archives and the volunteer editors of the free, online encyclopedia. Archives officials say their new Wikipedian, Dominic McDevitt-Parks, will help them collaborate with users and editors of the site to make the government's permanent record holdings available through Wikipedia, rather than just through the Archives' own site.

Tags: technology , Jared Serbu

Friday - 06/03/2011, 01:04pm EDT

DoD, VA to pilot interface for new joint health record

The departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs will take one of their first major steps toward a single, joint electronic health record next month. The system's prototype graphical user interface will go online at a few selected clinics in Chicago. VA officials say they designed the interface by putting six clinicians in a room with a blank slate, and asking them what an ideal system would look like. The chief information officers of the two departments are meeting twice a week to plan the new system, which will take four to six years to fully develop.

Tags: technology , Jared Serbu

Friday - 06/03/2011, 12:52pm EDT

USDA moves trove of animal inspection data online

The USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service it taking data that used to be available only through Freedom of Information Act requests, and moving it to an advanced, free online searchable database. The Animal Care Information System holds all of the agency's records on the people and companies it licenses to breed animals for commercial sale, research or public exhibition. USDA says the tool allows users to make highly detailed, customized queries and export the results to a standard spreadsheet.

Tags: technology , Jared Serbu

Friday - 06/03/2011, 12:51pm EDT

Library of Congress streams historical music catalogs

The Library of Congress is using the Internet to provide free, online access to thousands of the nation's oldest sound recordings. The National Jukebox went online this month. It hosts more than 10,000 historical music and spoken word recordings made between 1901 and 1925. Users can select and stream the recordings at For the time being, the recordings are from the catalogs of Columbia and Victor, the two oldest record companies in the world.

Tags: technology , Jared Serbu

Friday - 06/03/2011, 12:47pm EDT

Army deploys digital classrooms

The Army says long, repeated overseas deployments often get in the way of continuing education for soldiers, and hurts their chances for promotions. To help solve that problem, they've started deploying portable, electronic schoolhouses to Iraq and Afghanistan. The Deployed Digital Training Campus comes with laptops, Internet access, voice over IP, and customized Army digital learning courses. The units have been deployed to six overseas locations so far. The Army plans to have 50 by 2015.

Tags: technology , Jared Serbu

Friday - 06/03/2011, 12:46pm EDT

USPS promotes high-tech mail

The US Postal Service is using technology to make what many people would call junk mail a little more eye-catching to tech-savvy consumers. In what it's calling "interactive mail", the Postal Service is giving postage discounts to commercial mailers who print QR barcodes on their mailpieces. The codes can be scanned by a smartphone, which then takes users to a mobile website with more information about the product or service. USPS says it's part of a long term strategy to keep mail relevant as an advertising platform.

Tags: technology , Jared Serbu

Friday - 06/03/2011, 12:46pm EDT

NTIA launches

The National Telecommunications and Information Administration is partnering with nine federal agencies for a new online initiative designed to boost digital literacy among Americans. The new is designed to centralize resources for teaching computer and Internet skills, so they can be easily deployed to public libraries and other learning sites across the country. NTIA says the target audience is the 28 percent of Americans who currently don't use the internet at all.

Tags: technology , Jared Serbu

Thursday - 05/19/2011, 06:36pm EDT

USDA web tool highlights "food deserts"

The Department of Agriculture is trying to shine a spotlight on what it calls "food deserts" -- low income neighborhoods with poor access to nutritious food. USDA's Economic Research Service developed a Food Desert Locator, a web-based mapping tool that shows food deserts across the U.S., and shows population characteristics in those census tracts. The Department says it wants to help policymakers and researchers expand access to fresh and healthy food in the 6500 deserts across the country.

Tags: technology , Jared Serbu

Thursday - 05/19/2011, 06:35pm EDT
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