GT Spectrum

Reports from the IT horizon.

by , / November 1, 2004
Big Time Wi-Fi
Three teen-age ham radio operators from Ohio took top honors in the 2nd Annual Defcon WiFi Shootout Contest. In the shootout, held during the annual Defcon convention, entrants compete to achieve the farthest distance between two wirelessly connected computers using the 802.11b protocol.

With two consumer-grade 32-milliwatt ORiNOCO Gold USB Wi-Fi adapters mounted on the feed points of two surplus 9-1/2-foot satellite dishes, the team known as P.A.D. achieved a verified connect distance of 55.1 miles (88.67 km), without external amplification. -- WiFi Shootout

Wi-Fi Everywhere
Grand Haven, Mich., has created a citywide Wi-Fi broadband network.

The system uses several hundred Wi-Fi (802.11a, b, g) radios strategically located on city infrastructure to blanket its six square miles and provide coverage 15 miles into Lake Michigan. Voice over IP (VOIP) Internet-based phone service is also available on the new network.

The citywide Wi-Fi service, which began commercial operation on a smaller scale in the fall of 2003, is managed by Ottawa Wireless. -- Grand Haven, Mich.

Chips in Space
A new, high-speed data chipset could make communication in space 100 times faster than existing integrated circuits used in space.

The Integrated Program Office -- a team of engineers from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, NASA and the Department of Defense -- contracted with Northrop Grumman to produce the new space-qualified chipset and associated software.

The chipset can move data at speeds of 100 Mbps, and is designed to the IEEE 1394 standard for technology commonly used in commercial transport of audio-visual data, including digital television, graphics-intensive video games and digital photography. -- The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

Plate Readers
The Ohio State Highway Patrol said it began testing a new high-tech license plate scanning system in August in an effort to apprehend criminals and curb crime.

The Highway Patrol began a four-month limited test of two stationary mobile license plate recognition scanners installed at two gates on the Ohio Turnpike and mobile units in two patrol cars. The system uses digital processing devices to read license plate numbers and alert troopers in real time of wanted persons or stolen vehicles traveling the turnpike.

The state said if there are no active warrants related to the vehicle or the vehicle is not stolen, the system will not recognize the license plate. -- Ohio State Highway Patrol

Where Are They Now?
Larry Singer
Former CIO of Georgia
Senior vice president and strategic insight officer
Sun Microsystems

Stuart McKee
Former CIO of Washington state
U.S. national technology officer

Aldona Valicenti
Former CIO of Kentucky
Vice president of business development and strategy for state and local government

Support System
According to the Center for Digital Government's 2004 Digital States Survey, states are actively working with cities, counties, federal agencies, nonprofits and corporations to build technologies that support vital public services.

Public safety (including homeland security): 60%
Public health and telemedicine: 65%
Education and work force development: 70%
Economic development: 72%
Infrastructure sharing: 56%
Data sharing: 47%
Information security: 33%

Source: Center for Digital Government, 2004

Security and Continuity
IT spending on security and business continuity increased at 59 percent of organizations in the last 12 months, according to IDC's latest Enterprise Technology Trends survey. IDC also found the biggest difference between organizations with a corporate IT security officer and those without is whether security policies and procedures are in place -- namely an organizationwide disaster recovery and business continuity strategy, and regular security risk analyses, security auditing or security status tracking.

Stepping Up
To ensure IT investments have the greatest impact, CIOs must involve business-unit leaders and concentrate on the big picture, according to The McKinsey Quarterly. CEOs have been disappointed that IT hasn't done more to improve corporate performance, and some CIOs are answering that challenge by going beyond their traditional IT-management role and working closely with business-unit leaders to optimize technology investments. To assume the new responsibilities of an IT leader, CIOs must delegate or shed some operational duties and spend more time helping business leaders identify and use technologies that will help companies innovate, the journal posited.

In January 1994, about 2 million computers -- primarily used by academics, scientists and corporate researchers -- were connected to the Internet. Now the Internet is used by about three-quarters of Americans, and online technology is a constant presence in two-thirds of American homes. -- The Digital Future Report

Presidential Candidates Online
Traffic to presidential candidates' Web sites grew due to the Democratic National Convention, according to comScore. On July 29, traffic to totaled more than 300,000, surpassing the average 40,000 visitors per day the site previously received. Traffic to reached a peak of roughly 50,000 visitors between 10 p.m. and 11 p.m. EST when Kerry was delivering his acceptance speech as the party's presidential nominee and mentioned the site.

Even George W. Bush's Web site traffic grew during Kerry's speech, gaining 30,000 visitors during the hour, which was the highest hourly traffic total logged during that week. -- eMarketer Inc.
Shane Peterson Associate Editor
Jessica Jones Managing Editor