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 Mitch Wagner
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California Bureau Chief, Light Reading
News & Commentary Posts: 1161

Mitch Wagner is California bureau chief for Light Reading.

Articles by Mitch Wagner
posted in September 2009

MotionX Offers $3 GPS App For iPhone

9/30/2009
The iPhone this week got a new entry in the fast-moving category of GPS software: MotionX-GPS Drive is by far the least expensive of the half-dozen alternatives, with a "holy cow!" low price of $2.99, with an annual subscription of $25. It's a heck of a lot cheaper than any of the alternatives.

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A New Generation Of Internet Lawmakers

9/29/2009
I'm still stuck in the 90s when I think about elected officials using the Internet. Back in the 90s, elected officials had never even touched the Internet. They thought it was a sewer of child porn and terrorists, and their only reaction to it was to try to control it--or make it go away. Until recently, I thought of lawmakers as still being as naive as they were back then. But a brief conversation with Rep. John Culberson shattered my preconceptions.

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Wireless Technologies Help With Alzheimer's Care

9/29/2009
As the Alzheimer's spreads, healthcare companies are developing wireless technologies to help caregivers look after their charges. The technologies monitor people with Alzheimer's to make sure they're not in trouble, with a particular focus on making sure that patients don't wander off.

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DEMOfall: Crowdsourcing Brings New Life To Mapmaking

9/24/2009
Two of the vendors who flaunted their wares at DEMOfall 09 are looking to use crowdsourcing to extend Internet mapping. Micello is looking to create maps for people getting around by foot, in shopping malls, university or office campuses, and city downtowns. Meanwhile, Waze offers a free turn-by-turn directions app built by outsourcing.

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Federal Government Wrestles With Crowdsourcing Problems

9/22/2009
The problem with letting everybody contribute ideas to an open forum is that everybody does. White House-led open government initiatives are learning that lesson, as forums set up to let American citizens contribute suggestions for government actions are being hijacked by potheads, conspiracy theorists, and anti-Scientologists.

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University Of Texas Moving Into Second Life

9/21/2009
The University of Texas launched a year-long, state-wide initiative to use Second Life in the curriculum for all 16 of its campuses, experimenting with using the platform as a means of providing innovative, low-cost undergraduate instruction involving students, faculty, researchers and administrators.

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IW500: Making IT Sexy Won't Attract Kids

9/18/2009
Are young people staying away from tech careers because young people are foolish and shallow, concerned only with big bucks and glamour? Or are there smarter reasons? The answer to that question will determine how best to attract young Americans into tech careers in the future.

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Marines' Social Media Ban Bad For Morale

9/18/2009
The Marine Corps' ban on Twitter, MySpace, Facebook, and other social media could hurt morale more than it helps security, a public policy researcher said. "The ban is at odds with realities of the 21st-century military," said Chris Bronk, a research fellow at Rice University's Baker Institute for Public Policy.

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Twitter Succeeds At InformationWeek 500 Conference

9/17/2009
I'm back from the InformationWeek 500 Conference, where we integrated Twitter into the proceedings. It's commonplace at other conferences, but it was a bit of a risk for us, because it was the first time we'd tried anything like it, and because the InformationWeek community is just plain not early adopters of social media. But it turned out that Twitter integration was a success, significantly exceeding expectations.

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iPhone, Twitter Fight Swine Flu

9/17/2009
The NBC Nightly News did a report about how the iPhone, Twitter, and Google are being used in the fight against swine flu and other diseases. The technology includes an iPhone app from Children's Hospital in Boston, and tools to use Google Searches and Twitter messages to map outbreaks.

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Facebook Page For Government Launches

9/14/2009
The federal government launched a Facebook page to give agencies tips and impetus to set up and run their presence on Facebook. The page offers links to agency pages already on Facebook, guides, and updates to government Facebook activity.

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IW500: Is Twitter Ready For IT?

9/13/2009
One of the more interesting conversations I got into at the opening reception of the InformationWeek 500 Sunday night was with a man who came to me with fire in his eye, challenging me whether I thought Twitter is a useful tool for business IT. I think he was surprised at my view: I think so, but I don't know for sure.

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Adagio Tea: Steeped In Twitter, Facebook

9/13/2009
I just bought a new shipment of loose tea from Adagio Tea, and saw first-hand how they use Twitter and Facebook for social media marketing. Adagio lets you follow the shipment of your package on Twitter, and also provides you with a simple, but clear incentive to get you to promote them on Facebook.

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Twittering The InformationWeek 500

9/11/2009
We're going to try something at the InformationWeek 500 conference next week: we're livetweeting the conference on Twitter. That's old hat to the Web 2.0 crowd, but it will be new and (hopefully) exciting to our enterprise community.

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Getting Your Hands On ARRA Cash

9/11/2009
The coordinators for the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 have a lot of money to give out--$44 billion to be precise--and healthcare IT managers can improve their odds of getting it by making their applications broad and simple, according to the chairman of the Healthcare Information Technology Standards Panel.

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NATO Looking To Build Virtual HQ

9/8/2009
Today is the deadline for developers to submit proposals to build 3D virtual software replicas of NATO headquarters in Europe and America, to be used for training and meetings, and improving staff communication and productivity.

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Snow Leopard Could Be Apple's Vista

9/8/2009
Apple's Snow Leopard has some serious bugs. So what? Every major operating system upgrade has bugs. However, it's possible that Snow Leopard is buggier than that, that it will prove to be a lemon and a drag on the company as Vista was for Microsoft.

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Maytag Crosses Popular Blogger, Gets Spun Dry

9/1/2009
It's always been a bad idea for consumer companies to get celebrities angry, because celebrities have millions of fans, and can rally those fans to fight. Now, with the Internet and social media, it's easier for people to achieve celebrity and the power to significantly damage companies. That's a lesson that Maytag is learning the hard way, from blogger Heather Armstrong, who writes Dooce.

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IT's Reputation: What the Data Says
IT's Reputation: What the Data Says
InformationWeek's IT Perception Survey seeks to quantify how IT thinks it's doing versus how the business really views IT's performance in delivering services - and, more important, powering innovation. Our results suggest IT leaders should worry less about whether they're getting enough resources and more about the relationships they have with business unit peers.
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