California seeks to bring hightech to state government

first_img SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — Gov. Gavin Newsom is looking for a leader interested in “breaking things, and making them better,” who prioritizes “openness” and “simplicity” and can “feed and sustain team energy and enthusiasm.”“While you think long-term, your bias for action ensures you gain traction quickly,” reads the job description for the head of California’s new Office of Digital Innovation.It sounds more like a job advertisement for a Silicon Valley startup than state government — and that’s the point. Newsom wants the $26 million, 50-person office to throw away the old playbook and find ways to be more user-friendly for the state’s 40 million residents when they do such things as seek benefits, start a business or renew a driver’s license.California government has tried to infuse innovation before.The state’s technology department runs a digital innovation academy and an innovation lab, and it issued guidelines to make state websites more usable last year. The Government Operations Agency, which will oversee the new office, already has a director of innovation and accountability. The health and human services agency has its own innovation office.“Only Sacramento can take innovation and make it more bureaucratic,” said Assemblyman Vince Fong, R-Bakersfield, who noted problems persist with the state’s technology, from the Department of Motor Vehicles to a new state accounting system.Even the DMV, which has been plagued by hours-long lines and other hang ups, already has a Newsom-appointed “strike team” focused on improving its operations. The agency is closing its offices statewide for a half-day in July for employee training.Members of the Newsom administration said the new office can bring a fresh perspective to state operations, ideally helping the state run more like a business. They want people to access state services with the ease of ordering a ride, a meal or nearly anything else with the tap of a smartphone.“In your everyday life you have these great interactions with business,” said Mike Wilkening, the governor’s special adviser on innovation and digital services. “They make it as seamless as possible for you to conduct business with them — and the state does not.”While there’s broad agreement that improvement is needed, some critics and supporters alike see potential for the new office to become just another layer of bureaucracy.“It’s going to be interesting to see how they organize those 50 people, how they ensure that they are not being redundant with what the other organizations are doing and how they integrate,” said Teri Takai, a former chief information officer for California who now runs the Center for Digital Government, a 20-year-old national research and advisory organization for best practices in state and local government. She was an adviser to Newsom’s transition team and advocated for the creation of the office.She said other states are initiating similar efforts, though not all with a full department like California is doing. Alaska and New Jersey, for example, recently hired chief innovation officers.Administration officials say the office would complement, not duplicate, existing state programs. An agency could, for example, bring a problem for the office to tackle, or the Newsom administration could request the office look into something specific.“The governor would have no lack of ideas on ways we can improve services to Californians,” said Brian Ferguson, a Newsom spokesman.Once it comes up with an idea, the office would kick back some of the work of making it happen to the state agency that brought the problem or to the California Department of Technology if the solution is one that could improve service statewide, said Amy Tong, the state’s chief information officer.“It’s complementary in the sense that the Department of Technology is still going to be very much focusing on statewide technology initiatives,” Tong said. “Digital innovation would focus more on the front-end planning and discovery work.”Brian Metzker studied the proposal for the nonpartisan Legislative Analyst’s Office and said the work the new office will do appears different from other state programs. But he noted its duties will evolve once a director is hired and the office gets up and running.“It will be important for lawmakers to keep an eye on the office to make sure it’s not offering competing or duplicative services as it gets to work,” he said.Fong, the Republican lawmaker, agreed government needs an overhaul, even as he questioned Newsom’s approach.“Tech has changed for the better everything in our daily lives, whether it’s from travel, from booking services that we use in our daily lives or buying groceries,” he said. But, “state government has lagged behind because all they do is create more red tape and bureaucracy.”Beyond the director, Newsom will appoint 19 other employees who will be exempt from civil service. Thirty others will be hired through the normal government process.Of the new office’s $26 million budget, $10 million would go into a fund it could tap to complete its work. The budget in following years would be $14 million. June 26, 2019 AP AP, Posted: June 26, 2019 California seeks to bring high-tech to state government Categories: California News, Local San Diego News, Politics FacebookTwitterlast_img read more

5 Things To Do In Wilmington On Wednesday March 6 2019

first_imgWILMINGTON, MA — Below are 5 things to do in Wilmington on Wednesday, March 6, 2019:#1) Kindergaten & PreK Registration SessionRegistration for Kindergarten and PreK is open at the Boutwell Early Childhood Center from 8:30am to 10:30am and 12:30pm to 2pm. Registration for Kindergarten and PreK is open at the Wildwood Early Childhood Center from 9am to 11am and 12:45pm to 2:15pm. Learn more HERE.#2) WHS Class Of 2021 Fundraiser At Panera BreadWilmington High School Class of 2021 is holding a Fundraiser at Wilmington’s Panera Bread (228 Main Street, Wilmington Plaza) from 4pm to 8pm. Bring this flyer or show it on your phone to the cashier when you place your order. Panera Gift Cards and catering orders are excluded from the event.#3) Wilmington Conservation Commission MeetingThe Wilmington Conservation Commission meets sat 7pm in Town Hall’s Room 9. Read the agenda HERE.#4) Car Seat Installs At Public Safety BuildingThe Wilmington Police Department offers safety seat installs at the Wilmington Public Safety Building (1 Adelaide Street) every Wednesday, 10am-2pm. No appointment is necessary, but calling ahead at 978-658-5071 is recommended. Learn more HERE.#5) Tech Help At LibraryThe Wilmington Memorial Library (175 Middlesex Avenue) is holding its weekly tech help drop-in hours from 2pm to 3pm. Have a tech question that’s been bugging you? Drop in the library to see if Technology Librarian, Brad McKenna, can help.Like Wilmington Apple on Facebook. Follow Wilmington Apple on Twitter. Follow Wilmington Apple on Instagram. Subscribe to Wilmington Apple’s daily email newsletter HERE. Got a comment, question, photo, press release, or news tip? Email wilmingtonapple@gmail.com.Share this:TwitterFacebookLike this:Like Loading… Related5 Things To Do In Wilmington On Wednesday, September 4, 2019In “5 Things To Do Today”5 Things To Do In Wilmington On Wednesday, August 14, 2019In “5 Things To Do Today”5 Things To Do In Wilmington On Wednesday, August 7, 2019In “5 Things To Do Today”last_img read more

Google Assistant launches first celebrity cameo with John Legend

first_imgGoogle also hinted that more celebrity cameos could be on the way thanks to the company’s WaveNet tech — a speech synthesis program that helped bring John Legend to your countertop smart speaker. In the meantime, here is Google’s list of questions you can ask to hear a reply from John Legend: Easter eggs: “Serenade me.” “Sing me a song.” “Are you John Legend?” “Do you know Chrissy Teigen?” “How are you?” “Sing Happy Birthday.” “Tell me a joke.” “Who’s your celebrity crush?” “What’s your favorite song?” “What’s your best pickup line?” “Compliment me.” Ordinary questions: “What’s the weather?” “How far away is the moon?” “What are jazz hands?” “How do you cook bacon in the oven?” “Is there an atmosphere on the moon?” “Is Venus the same size as the Earth?” “Why is the sky blue?” “What’s the temperature outside?” “Do I need an umbrella today?” $99 Smart Home Culture Share your voice Preview • For your consideration: Google Home seeks employment as your family’s Rosie the robot Google Assistant is everywhere at CES 2019: Here’s everything announced so far 6:59 See it Walmart Aug 31 • Best smart light bulbs for 2019 (plus switches, light strips, accessories and more) Google Home News • Black Mirror season 5 has three new trailers to stress you out today CNET Smart Home Aug 31 • Alexa can tell you if someone breaks into your house $79 reading • Google Assistant launches first celebrity cameo with John Legend CNET may get a commission from retail offers. Google Almost a year ago, Google announced a bunch of new voice options for the company’s digital helper, simply known as Google Assistant. Singer and songwriter John Legend headlined the group of voices, which were otherwise of the AI-generated variety. The rest launched shortly after the May announcement, and finally, starting Wednesday, Google’s first celebrity cameo for Google Assistant goes live. John Legend’s voice will be available in English in the US on any device with Google Assistant — smart speakers like the Google Home, smart displays like the  Google Home Hub and smartphones. You can enable it in the settings of the Google Assistant app or by telling your device to “Talk like a Legend.” (Here’s more detail on how to give Google Assistant John Legend’s voice.) Note that your default Google Assistant will still respond to most of your queries. John Legend’s voice will respond only to certain relevant questions like, “What’s your favorite music?” as well as some more general ones like, “What’s the weather?” And apparently, John Legend’s voice will be available only for a limited amount of time. $69 Now playing: Watch this: • See It Mentioned Above Google Home Comment Aug 31 • The best coffee grinders you can buy right now See It Google Assistant makes your Android texts smarter Aug 30 • Battling bot vacs: iRobot Roomba S9+ vs Neato Botvac D7 Connected How To • Make Google Home get your groceries CNET Smart Home Review • Google Home is better than ever, but you probably shouldn’t buy it 1 24 Photos Tags Crutchfield See All Google Assistant Googlelast_img read more

Reports Rick Perry Lands Spot In Trumps Cabinet As Energy Secretary

first_imgMarjorie Kamys CoteraGov. Rick Perry addresses media at a press conference following the unveiling of his official portrait at the Texas Capitol on May 6, 2016President-elect Donald Trump has reportedly selected erstwhile rival and former Texas Gov. Rick Perry to serve as his energy secretary.If confirmed, Perry will oversee American energy policy and its ramifications on the economy, environment and national security.Houston Public Media’s Coverage of Election 2016CBS News and other outlets reported the news late Monday night, hours after Perry met with the president-elect in New York. It was the second time Perry had made the trip to Trump Tower. Yet Perry has previously supported abolishing the Department of Energy entirely. Famously, during a presidential debate in November 2011, Energy was the third federal agency that Perry couldn’t name while trying to list the three he wanted to eliminate.“It’s three agencies of government when I get there that are gone — Commerce, Education and the, um, what’s the third one there? Let’s see,” Perry said, before finally giving up with his now-infamous “oops.”The appointment marks a full repair in Perry’s relationship with Trump. Perry called Trump “a cancer on conservatism” last year while the two men were in a crowded field for the Republican presidential nomination. But Perry was one of the first members of the Republican establishment to back Trump, once it became clear in May that the real estate mogul had secured the party’s nomination.Perry’s background as governor of Texas, a state rife with natural resources, is a key qualifying credential for the post. But this Cabinet role can go well beyond oil and natural gas. The outgoing secretary of energy, Ernest Moniz, had a physics background and played a central role in President Obama’s Iranian nuclear deal.If confirmed, Perry will be the third Texan to serve as secretary of energy. Previously, Houstonian Charles Duncan served in this role under President Jimmy Carter, as did Laredo native Frederico Peña in the Clinton administration.Perry will face Senate confirmation once Trump takes office. Republicans control the Senate, making that process all the easier for the president-elect’s nominees. Read related Tribune coverage:Throughout his campaign, Trump cultivated a number of loyal allies in Texas, making for no shortage of options as his transition team looks to staff the incoming administration.Trump passed over U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas for U.S. attorney general, opting instead for U.S. Sen. Jeff Sessions of Alabama.Patrick Svitek contributed to this report.This article originally appeared in The Texas Tribune at https://www.texastribune.org/2016/12/12/rick-perry-lands-spot-trumps-cabinet/. Sharelast_img read more

What to Do During the Government Shutdown

first_imgBy George Kevin Jordan AFRO, Staff WriterThe devastation of the 24 day old (at this reporting) government shutdown is growing and resources are dwindling for many D.C. residents. Fortune reported that the shutdown is costing the country about $3.7 billion. More than 800,000 people are affected personally with no income coming in to date.And with no funds coming in, it makes finding a little distraction even more crucial to survival. However, one of the the District’s best features was the National Mall and their pletera of free museums and events, which are closed until the shutdown ends.Thankfully there are a few places that offer a temporary, free or low cost respite for Washingtonians looking for an outing.Library Of Congress 101 Independence Ave, S.E.Washington, D.C. 20540-1600Remarkably one of the oldest buildings in D.C. is federal, and is still open to the public. It has a list of events and exhibitions available to the public. For instance, there are hour-long walking tours, and gallery talks like the “Pan-African Congress of 1919” a discussion led from 11 a.m. to noon by Ryan Reft about this unique Congress led by NAACP founder W.E.B Du Bois. There are a ton of online and in person events to keep audiences engaged.DC Public LibrariesSpeaking of Libraries, they are still open and offer up a smorgasbord of events. The AFRO covered the upcoming Martin Luther King Jr. events. For more information please go to the libraries website https://www.dclibrary.org.The US CapitolYes, we understand the irony of visiting this building. But there is a lot of history, and opportunities to witness democracy at work. There are individual and family tours available where you can write letters to soldiers currently serving in the army and learn about Veterans Day. Also there is a current exhibition about Congress and the separation of powers running through March 2019.United States Botanic Garden100 Maryland Ave SW, Washington, DC 20001Thankfully for the public, the US Botanic Gardens are funded for the year so it’s business as usual for the space which is normally open 7 days a week.  If you are looking for something for the kids try the Garden’s Night Adventure at the US Gardens. This event is intended for children between 9-12 years of age. You can take flashlight tours and do science experiments.Politics and ProseThankfully not run by the government, Politics and Prose has a few locations and several events and book signings to keep you and your children occupied. There are some costs associated with the events, however there is no cost to browse.Phillips Collection1600 21st Street NW Washington DCThough it is a private museum this space offers a suggested donation admission Tuesday – Friday. The Museum has a variety of exhibitions on display as well as tours available. Currently on display is Jacob Lawrence’s Migration Series. The exhibit is a collection of 60 painting, showcasing the migration of African Americans from the south to Northern states. Lawrence was one of the first Black artists to be displayed in a major gallery in New York.last_img read more

Princess Cruises private island completes renos adds WiFi

first_img Friday, February 16, 2018 << Previous PostNext Post >> SANTA CLARITA — Princess Cruises’ exclusive island destination, Princess Cays, has gotten an upgrade, complete with a new marina, more shore excursions and MedallionNet Wi-Fi, making it the only cruise industry private island to offer connectivity ashore.Ranked among the ‘Top Cruise Line Private Island Destinations’ by Cruise Critic for 2017, the island is located on the southern tip of Eleuthera in the outer Bahamas and has been welcoming guests since 1992. It’s situated on approximately 40 acres and is a featured call on Princess’ Eastern and Western Caribbean itineraries.“For more than 25 years, Princess guests have lauded Princess Cays as one of their favourite spots on their Caribbean cruise,” said Jan Swartz, Princess Cruises president. “With new and improved island offerings and the addition of MedallionNet Wi-Fi ashore, guests enjoy a memorable beach experience and can easily share their adventures with friends and family back home, or stream their favourite show or sports event while relaxing beachside.”More news:  Kory Sterling is TL Network Canada’s new Sales Manager CanadaAdditional enhancements include:Shore excursions: A new ‘Lagoon Clear-Bottom Kayaking Adventure’ was introduced on Feb. 17 as a guided paddle through the island’s lagoon. Plus, the new ‘Stingray Beach Encounter’ allows guests to feed, touch and hold live stingrays.Shopping: Guests can visit the new nautical-themed and ‘pick-a-pearl’ jewelry section within the Bahama Treasure store.Marina: The newly completed marina expansion includes a new channel and turning basin depth, which can accommodate larger tenders and smoother disembarkation and embarkation of guests.Guest experience: There’s a new information booth with shaded waiting lounge area, as well as a new public announcement and music system. Extensive landscaping has been done in all guest areas, including newly planted palm trees.For more information go to princess.com. Travelweek Group Posted bycenter_img Princess Cruises’ private island completes renos, adds Wi-Fi Share Tags: Princess Cruiseslast_img read more