U.S. Air Force seeks developers' input on cyber-defense system

The U.S. Air Force’s (AF) Electronic Systems Center and new Cyber Command this week held a two-day event in Massachusetts for contractors interested in helping construct an automated cyber-defense and retaliation system, United Press International reports. The AF last month detailed a Concept of Operations (CONOPS) for what it called a Cyber Control System (CCS), which would manage "command and control" for the AF's portion of the Pentagon's Global Information Grid intranet. In its proposal, the AF solicit interested companies to develop their own ideas about CCS and to attend the industry event to share ideas with military planners. According to an AF statement, roughly $7 million has been allocated this year for the system, which will be phased in beginning with a test of phase one in September. One commander says the first phase should "be able to detect patterns and give operators within the Air Force Network Operations Center near-real-time information about any suspected network disturbances," adding that it also will enable information transfers “to kinetic and non-kinetic war fighters and decision makers." At the event, industry partners are being asked to develop the phases and officials hope to release a formal plan by March and have a fully operational system by 2010 (Waterman, UPI, 1/30/08).

Intel tops list for U.S. green power purchasing

In a press release, Intel Corporation on Monday announced it has purchased more than 1.3 billion kilowatt hours per year of renewable energy certificates as part of a comprehensive approach to curb its impact on the environment. According to the release, the move may make the company the single largest U.S. corporate purchaser of green power. In addition, the purchase brought Intel to the top of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) latest Green Power Partners Top 25 list, as well as to the No. 1 spot on EPA's Fortune 500 Green Power Partners list. Intel officials note that they hope the record-setting purchase will encourage the market to adopt green power, potentially leading to additional generating capacity and lower costs (Intel release, 1/28/08).

MySpace to launch developer platform

Adam Ostrow reports on Mashable.com that the social networking site MySpace on Feb. 5 will launch a developer platform. Pre-registration is available now at http://developer.myspace.com. According to the article, MySpace plans to help developers “monetize their applications, potentially through a revenue share program,” meaning the company may use its major advertising sales force to help developers earn top revenue. Though final details will not be released until Feb. 5, preliminary details discussed in the article suggest MySpace has been closely watching other sites such as Facebook to learn the best strategies for a social network developers platform (Ostrow, Mashable Social Networking News, 1/30/08).

IBM adds Linux apps support to Unix servers

IBM on Tuesday announced it is adding a new capability to its virtualization platform that will enable Linux applications to run on IBM's Unix servers, IDG News Service reports. Slated for inclusion in all editions of IBM’s PowerVM virtualization software (formerly known as the Advanced Power Virtualization platform), the "Lx86" capability enables x86-based Linux applications to run on IBM's System p and Power-based Unix systems without modification, the company says. The systems will be designed to auto-detect and run Linux-based binaries designed for x86 environments. Meanwhile, IBM also announced plans to update its i5/OS with support for Power6 processors. According to the company, the V6R1 update will include improved performance, storage and security features (Shah, IDG News Service/Yahoo! News, 1/30/08) 

Connecticut to allocate $5 million for nanotechnology research

Connecticut’s governor today announced that her revised budget will include $5 million to support industry-university partnerships in nanotechnology research at Yale University and the University of Connecticut (UConn). Using the funding, each university will establish Centers of Nanoscience and will make both accessible to industry representatives, faculty and students outside each institution. Specifically, the Yale Center will focus on the application of nanotechnology to bioscience, while the UConn Center will emphasize material science (Governor’s release, 1/30/08).

Media reports reveal U.S. government plan to bolster protections from cyberattacks

According to Washington Technology, industry and media reports suggest President Bush on Jan. 8 signed a classified joint directive that could potentially increase the federal investment to protect against cyberattacks by several billion dollars a year. Yet to be publicly released, the joint National Security Administration and Department of Homeland Security directive, according to Washington Technology, would expand the intelligence community’s role monitoring Internet traffic and guarding against federal computer systems attacks. Washington Technology also cites an article from the Wall Street Journal that suggests estimated federal spending for the initiative could be as high as $6 billion annually and $30 billion across five years. Researchers from the Reston, Va.-based research firm Input Inc., note that for 2008, the government will likely spend roughly $5.7 billion on information security, mostly for protection against hackers and cyberattacks. They add that, though the exact wording and goals of the directive are not publicly known, the U.S. government appears to be moving toward taking a more active role to stop cyberattacks and prevent future attacks. Meanwhile, Washington Technology reports that the Wall Street Journal and Washington Post this week revealed the existence of the classified directive, but U.S. Congress members say they have not received much information (Lipowicz, Washington Technology, 1/29/08).

U.S. FDA's IT shortcomings raise risks, report finds

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Science Board recently released a report suggesting that the agency’s inability to modernize its IT systems has resulted "in a plethora of inadequacies that threaten our society," Government Executive reports. Though the FDA has yet to publicly release the report, Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.), chair of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, and Rep. Henry Waxman, (D-Calif.), chair of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, reference the report in a letter sent on Tuesday to Comptroller General David Walker. According to the letter, the Science Board report states that the FDA’s inadequate IT infrastructure has caused "critical capability gaps." The lawmakers also cited findings that suggest the agency lacks necessary information science capabilities and information infrastructure to fulfill its regulatory mandate; cannot provide sufficient infrastructure support to regulate products based on new science; relies on obsolete IT infrastructure that is unstable and lacks necessary controls for ensuring continuity of operations and effective disaster recovery services; and maintains an inadequate IT work force is that is not optimally organized.


Meanwhile, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) on Tuesday released a report that indicates that two FDA databases on foreign medical device manufacturers contained errors and could not automatically exchange data. Kennedy and Waxman have since called on the GAO to conduct a thorough review of FDA's IT infrastructure (Brewin, Government Executive, 1/29/08; GAO report, 1/29/08).

IT professionals earn most in California’s Silicon Valley, survey finds

A survey released Tuesday by Dice.com, a career site for technology and engineering professionals, suggests that information technology (IT) professionals in the Silicon Valley are the highest paid in the country, the San Jose Business Journal reports. According to Dice, the 2007 annual salary survey evaluated data from more than 19,000 technology professionals and found that average IT salaries in the U.S. rose 1.7 percent to $74,570 in 2007. The largest increases were seen among experienced technology managers. IT salaries in the Silicon Valley in 2007 averaged $98,876, compared to $90,310 in 2006 and $85,430 in 2005. Regions following Silicon Valley in descending salary order include Boston, Baltimore/Washington D.C., Los Angeles, New York City, Seattle, Denver, Dallas/Ft. Worth, Chicago, San Diego, Atlanta, Philadelphia, Hartford, Houston, Phoenix and Detroit (San Jose Business Journal, 1/29/08).

California software firm acquires open source tech support group

San Mateo, Calif.-based SpringSource Inc., which develops open source software for building and deploying mission-critical enterprise applications, on Tuesday announced it has purchased Covalent Technologies Inc., the East Bay Business Times reports. SpringSource did not release financial or other terms of the deal. Walnut Creek-based Covalent provides support and services for Apache Software Foundation open source projects and has a customer base of more than 400 organizations, as well as more than 50 percent of Fortune 500 companies and 20 percent of Global 2000 groups, according to SpringSource. As part of the merger, Covalent’s CEO will become vice president and general manager of the Covalent business unit at SpringSource (East Bay Business Times, 1/29/08)

San Francisco region transit riders participate in NFC tech pilot

Oakland-based Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) district has asked more than 200 BART riders to take part in what is being touted as a "cutting-edge technology trial," the East Bay Business Times reports. According to a BART spokesperson, 230 volunteer participants on Jan. 29 will begin using specially equipped Samsung mobile phones designed to complete functions such as paying for BART tickets and downloading data from "smart" advertisements posted in stations. This new "near field communication" (NFC) technology is expected to revolutionize consumer purchases for a variety of goods and services, according to the Business Times (Goll, East Bay Business Times, 1/28/08).

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