The National Technology Snapshot

A round-up of information technology news

by / February 28, 1999

Stillman College in Tuscaloosa received a $3.7 million grant from the U.S. Department of Labor to implement a welfare-to-work program. The program is expected to help 800 people by teaching parenting skills, computer technology and financial management. Birmingham Post-Herald


A hand count of 43,000 write-in votes and recounts of two state House races have confirmed the accuracy of the state's new Accu-Vote system. After using the new system for both the state primary and general elections in November, the Alaska Division of Elections concluded that the new machines were more accurate than counting by hand.


A $6.9 million technology grant awarded to the Phoenix Union High School District will be used to allow teachers and students to connect with students in Japan, China, France, Ireland, Canada, Mexico, Taiwan and the Czech Republic -- all countries with which Phoenix has sister-city relationships.


Arkansas signed a $1.2 million deal for VistaCapture, a software development toolkit designed by Southern Computer Systems. The system will be used to develop new data-entry applications and to convert more than 80 applications in current use.


Palo Alto, home of Stanford, provides realtime information on creek levels as part of an updated emergency system. Creek levels are displayed on the Supervisory Control and Data Acquistion system and fed to the city's Web site .


The Boulder Valley School District is using 60 Casablanca nonlinear digital video editing systems by DraCo Systems to help students produce videos using a simple operation developed for those not technologically proficient.


The state police radio system is so unreliable that about a third of Connecticut's troopers carry their own cellular phones as backup, a union leader said. Public Safety Commissioner Henry Lee said an additional $20 million has been earmarked to upgrade the old radio system, which dates back to 1981. USA Today


Delaware has a customized client/server family assistance management system developed by Deloitte Consulting. The system allows case workers to spend less time filling out paperwork and is expected to speed benefit delivery.


Twenty-eight law enforcement agencies in Florida have been awarded U.S. Justice Department grants to purchase computers that could speed up background and license plate checks. The Miami Herald


The Georgia Bureau of Investigation will upgrade its Automated Fingerprint Identification System with NEC Technologies AFIS21 system. Valued at $5.1 million, the system will modernize the current system, provide Y2K compliance and connect more local criminal justice agencies to the state system.


Lt. Gov. Mazie K. Hirono worked with University of Hawaii President Kenneth Mortimer to build a partnership with the business community for transfer and commercialization of technology developed at the university.


Based on a suggestion from a state resident, Gov. Phil Batt implemented a program allowing applicants for state jobs to file their forms with any of the state's 24 job service offices. A listing of job openings and job-service offices is available on the state's official Web site.


The Chicago Fire Department has signed a $1.25 million agreement with ZOLL Medical Corp. for rugged notebook computers to replace pen-based field computers at the city's EMS


The Certified Nurses Aide Registry, a service provided by Access Indiana Information Network, allows employers to verify whether a CNA's certificate is current. The service requires a $50 annual subscription.


The Cedar Rapids City Council approved the purchase of new in-car computers for the city's police force, replacing computers that were less than two years old. The Council determined that it would cost less to buy new computers than to upgrade existing ones. The (Cedar Rapids) Gazette


Franklin County officials have invested $1 million in a Lucent Technologies fiber-optics communications system designed to increase the effectiveness of customer service to citizens while lowering the cost of phone service for the county. The Ottawa Herald


To educate the community about Y2K, a January forum was held at Clark Middle School in Winchester. Presentations from state, county and city officials included preparations and measures that can be taken.


Baton Rouge Community College, which opened its doors in fall, is using a variety of technology tools to give disabled students access to educational opportunities. One student with cerebral palsy uses a special sensor attached to his wheelchair to tap out messages on a laptop computer. The (Baton Rouqe) Advocate


Customers of Bell Atlantic Mobile can dial *HOPE for a free airtime link to the National Domestic Violence Hotline. Callers seeking advice can call the hotline at any time of day.


The Maryland Municipal League and the Maryland State Department of Education are combining resources to define technological and other strategies to turn cities and towns into "learning communities." Nation's Cities Weekly


Police departments in western Massachusetts are using a wireless mobile communications system to give themselves instant access to law enforcement information while they are in the field. Cerulean Technology's PacketCluster Patrol software operates over Bell Atlantic Mobile's AirBridge wireless data network.


Teachers were honored for their creative approaches to using technology in their classrooms in a program sponsored by Ameritech. Students built and repaired an IBM computer, recorded astronomy lessons on a CD-ROM and studied global companies without
leaving the state.


A new 1,800-mile fiber-optic communications network along Interstate 94 between Moorhead and St. Cloud is now under construction as a means of reaching 75 percent of the state's population by next year.


A division of the Mississippi Department of Information Technology works with state agencies and institutions on projects involving research, testing, assessment and recommendation of new technologies.


The new supercomputer at the U.S. Department of Energy's Kansas City plant takes up 100 square feet of floor space and is expected to change the future of manufacturing. The plant produces the non-nuclear components of nuclear weapons.


The public has access to avalanche advisories through the Internet or by telephoning a hotline managed by the Gallatin National Forest's Avalanche Center. In January 1998, four snowmobilers died in avalanches, making it the deadliest season in recent memory. The Bozeman Daily Chronicle


Nebraska is among six states to provide a statewide crime-victim-notification system known as Victim Information Notification Everyday (VINE), an advanced computerized network that automatically notifies victims of a crime when the offender is released from jail or transferred to a new facility.


Students attending the University of Nevada, Reno, can apply for scholarships online. The university
has partnered with FastWEB, an Internet search engine for scholarships nationwide, to offer students a more convenient scholarship application process.

New Hampshire

Amherst is among several New Hampshire towns and cities to contract with Atlantic TurnKey Corp. for Y2K remediation. Amherst first tackled its motor vehicle and voter registration functions, both of which are now Y2K compliant. The Cabinet Press

New Jersey

The state transit board of directors approved a $123,180 contract with Harmon Industries for a computer software upgrade that will allow the public transit corporation to provide realtime train information to passengers. During peak periods, 22 trains per hour operate on Morris & Essex Lines.

New Mexico

NASA awarded a $2.5 million grant to the University of New Mexico to promote research opportunities for undergraduates in multiple disciplines, including virtual environments.

New York

New York City's Task Force on Technology recommended that a Geographic Information System (GIS) Resource Center be established to provide technical assistance to city agencies and community groups and oversee the sale or lease of GIS data to outside organizations.

North Carolina

North Carolina University was awarded a $25,000 grant from the NEC Foundation of America to develop Universal Design Exemplars, an interactive CD-ROM identifying 50 examples of design for several disciplines.

North Dakota

Through interactive television, 30 children from a Crookston elementary school were able to visit Johnson Space Center without leaving town. Grand Forks Herald


The state's Y2K Competency Center received state Controlling Board approval to negotiate contracts for year-2000 products and services. Because of the changing market, the state wants to position itself to engage more quickly in service contracts.


Six projects aimed at advancing the use of instructional technology by faculty at 11 Oklahoma state colleges and universities were funded with a $500,000 grant from the state regents for higher education. The Oklahoman


The city of Gresham has contracted with HTE Inc. for Y2K-compliant financial software and a variety of other applications valued at $1.2 million.


As part of the state's government-wide disabilities agenda, $100,000 was allocated to provide low-interest loans to Pennsylvanians to purchase assistive technology equipment and services to help improve the quality of their lives and enable them to thrive in the workplace.

Rhode Island

A report on Rhode Island's Y2K remediation effort recommends that a senior-level task force be developed to provide oversight and executive leadership to avoid systems malfunctions caused by year-2000 problems. The state initially took a decentralized approach to the issue. The Providence Journal

South Carolina

Gov. David M. Beasley has four high-tech goals for South Carolina: training workers for technical jobs; targeting federal, state and local dollars to help universities develop a high-tech workforce; aligning higher education and training programs to match workplace needs; and changing tax policies to lure high-tech companies.

South Dakota

A network transport design expected to save more than $200,000 per year on special Internet2 research connections to three state university campuses was praised by Gov. Bill Janklow.


Tennessee's Administrative Office of the Courts acquired a civil, criminal and juvenile case- and jury-management system based on the Full Court system by Justice Systems Inc.


Elementary teachers and students in Texas have been paired off in computer classes designed to teach them to use software. Teachers are being challenged to move beyond their traditional lecture mode and into the role of facilitator as students use technology to work in a group setting. The Austin American-Statesman


Then Utah Schools Superintendent Scott Bean was credited with increasing technology in schools, improving teacher training and increasing enrollment in Applied Technology Centers. The Salt Lake Tribune


Arlington County officials have launched an initiative called "Smart Place strategy" to develop technology-related infrastructure in hopes of attracting high-tech companies to the region. The Journal


Virginia's Century Date Change Initiative is using Internet technology and an executive information system to address and track the status of the state's Y2K issues. The government is working with James Martin Government Consulting to implement the activity-based business methodology.


Access Washington, the state's new home page, seeks to make it easier to conduct business with state agencies. Users' choices include environmental permit assistance, job search help, contractor registration information, a vehicle-excise-tax calculator and electronic tax-filing capability. Visitors to the site can also send digital postcards of Washington scenes.

West Virginia

West Virginia is among nine jurisdictions to contract with Systems Consultants Inc. for financial, payroll, human resource and property management computer software. Extensive inquiry capabilities are expected to provide citizens with faster service.


Mike Dorl helped move the University of Wisconsin at Madison's computing capabilities from the age of bulky mainframes to an Internet and desktop computer environment. He retired recently after 32 years of service to the university.


Wolves tracked through the use of radio collars by Yellowstone National Park officials have been linked to an area near Jackson Hole. Park biologists picked up signals from the radio collars while others tracked the wolves using radio telemetry from a small airplane.

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