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Coming Face to Face With Web 2.0

From the Editor

Coming Face to Face With Web 2.0

Lee Copeland

Steve McCracken

Last month, I logged on to Second Life for the first time — but not from work. Our IT team blocks the website because of its gaming content, even though I went there for work, not play.

Steve McCracken

Last month, I logged on to Second Life for the first time — but not from work. Our IT team blocks the website because of its gaming content, even though I went there for work, not play.

CDW•G is co-hosting a web conference with MuniGov2.0 in Second Life this month. Second Life is just one Web 2.0 option that this group of state and local civil servants would like to explore along with social media tools such as Twitter, Yammer and Facebook. For more details on the inaugural MuniGovCon’09 virtual conference and the group behind it, turn to “Getting Your Message Across,” on Page 41. If you can’t make the conference, the MuniGov team meets regularly on Wednesdays in Second Life to apply group-think to municipal problems, discuss projects and share best practices.

You’ll need to join Second Life, which means creating and naming a avatar. Yes, it sounds like fun and games: Rather than walking to a trade show booth, you type your way there. You can even give your avatar a ponytail, which is exactly what Barry Condrey did when he joined. But after that, it’s all business — specifically the business of running state and local governments better, faster and cheaper.

What makes these tools worth the bother? One, they’re where the people are: Facebook recently surpassed 175 million users. Two, they ease collaboration. Last but not least, they’re free. And free is an incredibly powerful word to many government IT chiefs.

“No one has enough money to do all the things that they need to do,” points out Condrey, who is the CIO of Chesterfield County, Va. “We will never return to the same type of growth as we saw over the last 10 years, and we have to find new ways of doing things going forward.”

There isn’t a state government out there that hasn’t had to put its budget on a diet, which brings us to our cover story, “The Big Squeeze.” Thin clients are a hot commodity for many state and local organizations, but not solely because they need to trim fat out of their budgets. There’s also an emphasis on doing more with fewer IT resources. From that perspective, thin clients offer an attractive value proposition.

Minus the processing power and storage of their heftier PC cousins, thin clients receive processing power from the server, centralizing maintenance, applications, virus updates and data storage. Less machinery means less data leakage, plus less juice required to power each device and less material that will end up in landfills.

With the bonus green factor, a number of state and local IT leaders are funding their thin-client rollouts through sustainability initiatives as opposed to their regular technology budgets. At StateTech, we call that a win-win. For the full story, turn to Page 28.

Lee Copeland, Editor in Chief
leecop@cdw.com

Apr 06 2009

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