Technology Update

Circut BoardCould a workplace social network replace email and phone? One agency thinks so

By Joseph Marks September 14, 2012

The National Nuclear Security Administration plans to roll out a workplace social network next spring that will replace much of the agency’s emailing and phone calls, Chief Technology Officer Travis Howerton said Friday.

The platform, called One Voice, is a pilot that other divisions of the Energy Department may adopt in the future, Howerton said at a breakfast discussion about federal technology policy sponsored by the Association for Federal Information Resources Management, a government-industry partnership.

The initial launch will be for NNSA’s roughly 45,000 employees and contractors. Howerton described the social networking program as similar to Facebook in that there will be a broadly accessible layer that everyone in the system can look at as well as numerous subcommunities for people in particular divisions or with certain expertise. Accessing the site will require extensive authentication, he said. Additional authentication will be required for specific communities that discuss sensitive information, he said.

The social networking platform will include embedded systems for instant messaging, Web conferencing and other tools, he said.

“The way I like to describe where we’re going,” Howerton said, “is today we’re chartered to make weapons of mass destruction using a weapon of mass distraction, which is email. How much of your email is actionable? Ten percent, maybe 15? The rest of it is people cc-ing you on things they think you need to know that you really don’t. And there’s 60 percent of it that’s just straight spam.”

Full Article


Free September 25 Event Tackles Leading Telework and Management Issues – Register Today

Telework Exchange will host the 12th semi-annual Fall Town Hall Meeting on Tuesday, September 25 at the Washington, D.C. Convention Center.  This must-attend, all-day event will address how telework and mobility are changing workforce operations and discuss leading management questions related to supporting a distributed workforce.

John D. Porcari, deputy secretary of the Department of Transportation will deliver the opening keynote at 8:30 a.m.  Mr. Porcari will discuss how the agency is supporting mobile workers and leveraging the benefits of telework to support other agency-wide goals, such as fuel efficiency and environmental impact.  

You can register today at – registration is complimentary to government employees.  

In addition to the opening keynote, the event will consist of two conferences:  the mobile IT conference and the mobile workforce conference.  The mobile workforce conference will discuss strategies to embed telework into agency operations, how to sustain and align programs with changing management and organizational goals, and how to address real-world telework “grey areas”.  Management sessions and speakers include:

2-1:  Going the Distance with Telework: Setting Goals, Action Planning, and Measurements

  • Dr. Kim Wells, U.S. Office of Personnel Management
  • Deborah Cohn, Patent and Trademark Office, U.S. Department of Commerce
  • Arleas Upton Kea, Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation
  • Naomi Leventhal, Deloitte

2-2:  Not Your Father’s Management Engine: The Changing Workforce

  • Josh Sawislak, Telework Exchange
  • Jeri Buchholz, National Aeronautics and Space Administration
  • Justin Johnson, U.S. Office of Personnel Management
  • William P. Milton Jr., U.S. Department of Agriculture

2-3:  Roadmap to Mobility and Repairs Along the Way

  • Pamela Budda, U.S. Department of Defense
  • Rebecca Ayers, Performance Management Solutions, U.S. Office of Personnel Management
  • Wade Hannum, U.S. General Services Administration
  • Richard Slusher, U.S. Air Force

Click here to view the full event program and register for the event.

Stay in the know, on-the-go – download the free Town Hall Meeting mobile app and get exclusive event updates in real-time.  To download the free app, enter this link in your phone’s browser:

Additionally, feel free to pass along this information to any colleagues you think might benefit from attending this event.  

If you have any questions about the event, please contact Cris Cruz at


Crisis Tracker uses Social Media to Assist People with Disabilities in State Emergencies

Office of the Governor Rick Perry –     Committee on People with Disabilities

Citizens, local governments and crisis response organizations are increasingly using social media to maintain situation awareness during large-scale and complex disasters. However, social media generates enormous volumes of data during such major events, easily causing information overload. Therefore, to make it easier for disaster responders to use these already available reports in real-time decision-making, Crisis Tracker was developed by researchers at Madeira University, University of Oulu and IBM Research. (Video) The system makes it possible for anyone with internet access to collaborate with other volunteers in organizing crisis-related information already available on social media. By doing so, remote volunteers can from home directly help improve the situation awareness of on-the-ground disaster responders.

What is the difference between Crisis Tracker and Ushadidi?

The biggest difference between the platform and Ushahidi that Ushahidi focuses on curation of user-submitted reports, while CrisisTracker mines Twitter for reports, clusters them, and supports curation of report clusters. Both systems require humans to annotate pieces of information with meta-data such as location and report category.


Justice Department Releases a Report on Accessibility of Federal Government Electronic and Information Technology

The Justice Department announced the release of its “Section 508 report to the President and Congress: “Accessibility of Federal Electronic and Information Technology.”  The report, authorized under Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended (Section 508) provides findings based on a survey of federal agencies on the accessibility of their electronic and information technology (EIT) and the procedures used to implement the requirements of Section 508.

Read more about the report here:

Justice Department Reaches Settlement with Bank of America to Resolve Allegations of Discrimination Against Recipients of Disability Income

Bank of America N.A. has agreed to maintain revised policies, conduct employee training and pay compensation to victims to resolve allegations that it engaged in a pattern or practice of discrimination on the basis of disability and receipt of public assistance in violation of the Fair Housing Act (FHA) and the Equal Credit Opportunity Act (ECOA). The settlement, which is subject to court approval, was filed today in federal court in Charlotte, N.C., where Bank of America is headquartered.  The terms of the settlement require Bank of America to pay $1,000, $2,500 or $5,000 to eligible mortgage loan applicants who were asked to provide a letter from their doctor to document the income they received from Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI).  

Read more about this settlement here:

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