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Tech Bytes
Not-so-random thoughts on the industry

I received a VIP notice last week about the SHOWWX™ Laser Pico Projector, now available for purchase by members for $549. For those who’ve waited…and waited…and waited, this is exciting news. Optional accessories include a VGA dock for $49.99, and an extra rechargeable battery for $29.99.

Recently, I was again reminded that no matter how advanced our technology, the human factor remains a critical part of our successful and effective interaction with one another. No amount of social networking, email, SMS or VoIP will make up for unprofessional behaviour, or a failure to follow through. This article is a poignant re-read regarding how rudeness has become acceptable. When you respect yourself and your time, it becomes easier - in my experience - to extend that appreciation and value to others. If you have meetings, lunches, emails or calls which haven’t been completed, get ‘er done.

WSTA had its first LIVE stream meeting this past Thursday when Dameon Welch-Abernathy provided a comprehensive review of available Smartphones. The decision to proceed was made with great deliberation given the trend of reduced meeting attendance faced by many long-standing industry associations in the region, and nationwide. As members become increasingly more sophisticated in their use of technology tools, information usually acquired in these forums can be accessed via the world wide web. Still, there is tremendous benefit to be realised via in-person peer-to-peer best practise sessions. The challenge lies in shifting the value proposition so that members and sponsors will continue to engage given a wider range of - and access to - resources to help them compete and thrive in a 21st century global economy.

Speaking of WSTA, its April 15 meeting will be ground-breaking. If you’re a city or county official, or with any other regional or county public sector entity, you need to be there or at least send a representative. City of Seattle received a Homeland Security grant to develop a mechanism to coordinate its internet security efforts. It is an example of a true public and private initiative with real-time information sharing. More than twenty interested parties to date (such as the cities of Redmond, Bellevue, Renton, Kirkland; Thurston and Snohomish Counties; and Ports of Seattle and Tacoma) will be involved. While not all details of the initiative are public during its development, this is an opportunity to become part of the discussion and better understand what’s being considered.

Finally, I recently attended a roundtable at Microsoft to determine the best way for it to support and engage the Kitsap/Olympic regions. Other association and business leaders were present to discuss their needs, and it was another opportunity to shake hands and forge partnerships. Given the recent budget cuts for alternative learning experience (ALE) programs such as online and digital learning delivered over the internet, parent partnership programs (primarily instructional programs taking place in the home, with district responsibility for overseeing instruction), and contract-based learning programs (which will no longer be available to students in grades K-6, saving $22.7 million), it becomes clear that our state sees ALE as a luxury while other nations focus on strategies which use technology to transform traditional learning environments. Washington Virtual Academy is but one example of the possibilities. Google plans to build and test high-speed fibre network in a small number of trial locations across the United States which will allow surfing at a gigabit a second (about 100 times the speed of many broadband connections). Needless to say, it’s way past time for us to not only think big, but to start putting future vision into action now.

Doña Keating is President and CEO of Professional Options (www.professionaloptions.org), a prominent innovator in the policy and consulting industry which creates solutions for businesses, organizations and governmental
agencies. She is also a principal in K2 Strategic Solutions (www.k2strategic.com),
a new partnership between Professional Options and Keating Consulting
Service which provides technology and management consulting. Keating is also
recent past president of West Sound Technology Association (WSTA).

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