Tech Briefs


Which products top the list of security concerns?

The majority of Internet security threats come from unpatched vulnerabilities in Adobe Acrobat/Reader and Microsoft's Internet Explorer browser.

How to get results from Web site action centers

The Justice Department is finding new ways to encourage visitor input on its Web pages, such as having its action center box follow users as they move on the site.

OpenGov Tracker puts the best open-government ideas in one place

Two NASA developers, working on their own time and with no budget, built a site that lets the public submit, rank and comment on ideas on how agencies can best fulfill the goals of the Open Government Directive.

USAID leads a 3-day online jam on social issues

Global Pulse 2010, a three-day discussion on global challenges, drew nearly 7,000 participants from more than 155 countries.

Commerce agency smooths transition to digital TV

The National Telecommunications and Information Administration, working in a short time frame and with a limited budget, helped the conversion to digital TV with a Web-based program that included other, traditional avenues of communication.

EPA puts wikis to work on ecosystem support

The Environmental Protection Agency had success with a spur-of-the-moment wiki on managing Puget Sound three years ago. Now it has an ongoing wiki to support watershed management.

Widget provides one-click access to travel tips

The Summer Travel Web widget was developed by the Transportation Security Administration in conjunction with the Customs and Border Protection agency to provide travelers with easy access to helpful travel tips.

Library of Congress finds a two-way street on Flickr

Posting sets of historical photos on Flickr has drawn a lot of views — new photos and information — from the public.

10 great Web apps in government

The push toward open government and transparency has fueled quite a few of our 10 great government Web applications. We highlight the innovative ideas and approaches that gave birth to them.

Earthquakes are something to tweet about

Tweets are far from being scientific information, but the U.S. Geological Survey is finding Twitter helpful in monitoring earthquakes in real time.

Site takes the guesswork out of identifying pills

The National Library of Medicine's Pillbox Web site gives users a quick, easy way to identify the contents of a pill, with a system that narrows down the possibilities from thousands of records.

State site puts Haiti earthquake relief efforts in one place

The State Department's Haiti relief Web site uses multimedia and social media to provide updates on response efforts since an earthquake hit the country in January.

Microsoft Assessment and Planning Toolkit 5.0 released

Microsoft last week released the next version of a free tool that provides upgrade advice for those using the company's flagship software products.

Apps for Healthy Kids gives them a game they can win

The Agriculture Department challenges application and game developers to produce tools and games that encourage kids, especially tweens, to eat healthy and exercise.

Survey: Oracle not so bad for Java and MySQL

The results of a survey published this week seem to indicate that early concerns about the fate of Java and MySQL in the hands of Oracle have abated, at least for the present.