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Archive for November 20th, 2008

Is the NASA CIO stepping down? More Friday?

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There are all sorts of reports swirling around NASA that the agency’s CIO Jonathan Pettus may be stepping down — possibly to return to the Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala.

Pettus is from Alabama and commutes to Washington, so it wouldn’t be shocking if he determined that was tiresome. FCW profiled him earlier this year.

There is a call scheduled at 10:30a ET Friday.

Read Pettus’s full bio after the break.

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by cdorobek

November 20, 2008 at 11:48 PM

Posted in CIOs, Whose In and Whose Out

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The food of the Tim Young retirement lunch

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Nov. 18, 2008 Tim Young retirement

Originally uploaded by cdorobek

One of the items served at the retirement lunch for OMB’s Tim Young at the Embassy Suites near the DC Convention Center:

Tandoori Chicken Tikka Creamy Tomato Butter Sauce and Mango Relish, Basmati Rice Curried Zucchini & Summer Squash

Written by cdorobek

November 20, 2008 at 10:20 PM

Posted in Circuit, Food, Retirements

Apps for Democracy… and my recommendation for Obama’s CTO

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I have been remiss about pointing to Washington, D.C.’s simply remarkable Apps For Democracy program — but it also brings me to the person who would be my recommendation for the new chief technology officer in the Obama administration –DC’s CTO Vivek Kundra.

As regular readers know, I’m a huge fan of Virtual Alabama, the marvelous program developed by the Alabama Department of Homeland Security… and one part of this amazing program is the power of data — Virtual Alabama is able to take data that already exists and make it available to first responders. It gives them the right information at the right time in the right form — making data usable.

Why not do that for citizens?

Well, that is exactly what Kundra is doing — and he is doing it by making public data transparent and available. Kundra has had a program of making public data available. You can find the District’s data sets at Having done that, Kundra worked with iStrategy Labs to create the Apps For Democracy contest where the District offered up prize money for the best applications that was developed using that public data.

We spoke with Peter Corbett of iStrategy Labs on Federal News Radio’s Daily Debrief with Chris Dorobek and Amy Morris on Wednesday about the program. The results are remarkable.

For example, how would you like to develop a tour of historic Washington on a Google Map that taps into photos from Flickr photo feeds, Wikipedia entries, and government data? Click over to and check it out.

Or maybe you are more practical and you want to find out if there is street parking available someplace in downtown DC? Then check out Park It DC at The application lets you check a specific area in DC for parking information.

Or maybe you go out on a Saturday night and… well, you have too much fun. There is an application called StumbleSafely that lets you find the safest way to walk home that incorporates crime data — again, using public data.

It is a fantastic idea — and a great way to make public information widely available.

To that end, Kundra is one of the best and the brightest out there. He has been doing absolutely innovative things at DC’s CTO — as we reported when I was at Federal Computer Week, Kundra has been very innovative — perhaps one of the most innovative in the country — at actually implementing these Web 2.0 programs in effective ways. From FCW’s March story:

The District of Columbia’s 33-year-old chief technology officer, Vivek Kundra, wants to bring government procurement into the world of wikis and YouTube videos.

The test case is fairly straightforward. The city needs a vendor to build a 100,000- square-foot evidence warehouse for the police department, so as always, it issued a request for bids. But then it gets more interesting.

The city also created a wiki to host the solicitation documents. Along with the request for bids, the wiki has an interactive question-and-answer section and a link to complete video coverage of apresolicitation conference for potential bidders. The video link takes bidders to social-networking Web site YouTube.

The city has never handled a major procurement in such a manner. But Mayor Adrian Fenty and the city’s CTO aren’t afraid to try new approaches to the most basic government processes.

“The value that these Web 2.0 technologies demonstrate surpasses the old command- and-control model of application development,” Kundra said. “It’s basically like a movie being played in front of the world.

Continue reading about the collaboration gurus here.

With all the names floated out there for the Obama CTO post, Government Technology is reporting — and I’ve heard it too — Kundra would somebody who could provide strategy — and could help make things happen. And Kundra would be additive to the government — allowing agency CIOs to do their jobs better.

Read more about Kundra on the CTO Vision blog.

Written by cdorobek

November 20, 2008 at 6:39 PM