Tech News for January 15

How five California agencies plead for money: Our clinic has rodents, our people could die

For a state agency lobbying Gov. Jerry Brown for more money, it can help to state one’s case in pleading – sometimes alarming – terms. The downside, from a public relations point of view, is that the case gets made in writing. Following are five of 492 budget change proposals made recently by California state agencies and reflected in the $170.6 billion state spending plan Brown proposed last week.

[sacbee.com] 01/13

CPUC Requests Funding to Procure Enterprise Business Applications Platform

The California Public Utilities has requested a $5.3 million budget augmentation for 2016-2017 to implement a new platform for enterprise business applications. The Web-based eFiling Administration Support (eFAST) solution would be implemented using a combination of in-house and contract resources, according to state records. “The platform will serve as a hub for customer interaction with the CPUC, including submitting filings (documents and data), maintaining customer accounts, making payments for fees and payments, and submitting inquiries,” the budget request says.

[techwire.net] 01/14

[Insider]

Two Dozen Lawmakers Join State Tech Caucus

The state Legislature’s Technology and Innovation Caucus on Wednesday introduced its 24 members and talked about how the new group could support California’s tech economy and introduce new bills, putting emphasis on the need for legislation that brings tech education to schools, and how they plan to maintain California’s national lead and reputation in tech industry. Many members of the bipartisan, bicameral caucus spoke of their wishes to see greater hands-on computer science and technology courses for students, which they said could ultimately lead to opportunities for high-paying jobs.

[techwire.net] 01/14

Bill Would Enable Unfettered Testing of Self-Driving Cars at Northern California Facilities

Self-driving cars have been crisscrossing California’s public roads and freeways with the state’s permission for more than a year now, and as far back as 2009 when it wasn’t officially sanctioned. Those vehicles, from Google and 10 other car manufacturers, have had a steering wheel, brake and live person in the car to ensure a human can intervene in case the technology fails. New legislation introduced by Assemblymember Susan Bonilla, D-Concord, would, in effect, begin to take the training wheels off these cars.

[techwire.net] 01/14

[Insider]

California to Manage Money Transmitter Licenses on National Platform

Tomorrow the California Department of Business Oversight (DBO) will begin managing licenses for money transmitter businesses on a shared national platform. The National Mortgage Licensing System (NMLS) allows companies to apply for, update and renew their licenses in one or more states. Beginning Jan. 15, companies applying for a money transmitter license in California may do so through NMLS. Launched in 2008, NMLS is a system of record for state agencies to license companies working in the mortgage industry, money service businesses, consumer lending and debt collection. The system is managed by a subsidiary of the Conference of State Bank Supervisors. Sixty-one state agencies in the U.S. manage more than 500 licenses through NMLS.

[techwire.net] 01/14

Huntington Beach Could Take Over Broadband Service

Huntington Beach could opt to go into the business of providing broadband service for residents, in essence act as a utility, as a solution to slow Internet speeds. The city has hired an information technology consultant to study its broadband infrastructure. By February, CTC Technology & Energy is expected to recommend to the City Council a plan that will involve either helping private companies better connect with customers or the city in developing its own broadband service.

[techwire.net] 01/14

Five Ways Cloud Computing Has Created Positive Change in 2015

In today’s competitive market, cloud computing offers an outstanding opportunity not just to innovate, but to do so more quickly and more cost-effectively than ever. It is an exceptionally efficient platform for IT-service delivery. Because you can create new virtual servers in a cloud with unmatched speed and consistency, as well as allocate IT resources like processing power and storage automatically on the basis of policies, clouds can bring new services into production much faster than traditional architectures.

[datacenterjournal.com] 01/14

A California police department decides how dangerous you are using this software

In our Edward Snowden era, we think of “mass surveillance” in terms of national security more often than in terms of local law enforcement. But one sort of technology used at the Fresno Police Department in California is shifting that discussion. Fresno’s Real Time Crime Center is a high-tech hub full of monitors, camera feeds and two billion scans of vehicle license plates and locations nationwide. Working alongside all of this is what might be the most interesting piece of tech there: the software Beware. Built by security company Intrado, a subsidiary of West Corporation, the software collects data like arrest reports, property records, commercial databases, deep Web searches and social media posts to calculate a person’s so-called threat level.

[mashable.com] 01/15

Seagate Intros 10 TB Helium-Filled Hard Disk Drive

To meet the rapidly growing storage demands of cloud-based data centers, data storage company Seagate Technology is introducing its first 10 TB hard disk drive, the Seagate Enterprise 3.5 Capacity HDD. While the drive features a standard 3.5-inch CMR (communications riser cable) design, it also offers a unique element: a helium-enclosed environment to reduce friction and noise.

[toptechnews.com] 01/14

The government wants Silicon Valley to build terrorist-spotting algorithms. But is it possible?

Last week, a bunch of important people from Washington, D.C. packed their bags and flew to California to meet with a bunch of important people from Silicon Valley. The occasion was not the usual fundraising dinners or donor-wooing — it was a terrorism summit.

[fusion.net] 01/14

State CIOs agenda targets cybersecurity

The association representing state CIOs has an ambitious policy agenda in the nation’s capital this year, when members and their advocates will be appealing to Congress for help in securing critical infrastructure and for relief from a thicket of federal regulations. At the top of the list is cybersecurity, perhaps unsurprising given that members of the National Association of State CIOs (NASCIO) ranked that issue at the top of their own set of operational priorities late last year.

[cio.com] 01/15

Drone Legislation Would Require Owners To Buy Insurance, Get UAV ‘License Plates’

A Southern California lawmaker is pushing legislation to require drone owners to purchase insurance policies for their vehicle. Assemblyman Mike Gatto this week introduced the Drone Registration/Omnibus Negligence-prevention Enactment (DRONE) Act of 2016, which would hold owners responsible for registering and obtaining physical or electronic “license plates” for drones

[losangeles.cbslocal.com] 01/14

Government proposes $4 billion for self-driving tech

The Obama administration on Thursday proposed a 10-year, $4-billion push to spark the development of self-driving and connected cars, hoping to one day eliminate roadway deaths. “We ask ourselves, ‘What if human error could be eliminated?’ ” Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said at the Detroit auto show. “That is a possibility worth pursuing.”

[freep.com] 01/15

State of the CIO 2016: It’s complicated

What can you do to get paid more, earn greater respect, gain access to more resources to address IT challenges and find career fulfillment? The answer is simple: Play an active role your company’s business strategy. That’s the message from the 571 executives surveyed for our 15th annual State of the CIO report. The answer may be simple, but getting there is complex. In fact, your job as a CIO is more complicated than ever before, and the trend won’t likely reverse itself in the coming year.

[cio.com] 01/14

Ransomware a Threat to Cloud Services, Too

Ransomware — malicious software that encrypts the victim’s files and holds them hostage unless and until the victim pays a ransom in Bitcoin — has emerged as a potent and increasingly common threat online. But many Internet users are unaware that ransomware also can just as easily seize control over files stored on cloud services. Toni Casala found this out the hard way. Casala’s firm — Children in Film — works as an advocate for young actors and their families. The company’s entire operations run off of application hosting services at a managed cloud solutions firm in California, from QuickBooks to Microsoft Office and Outlook. Employees use Citrix to connect to the cloud, and the hosting firm’s application maps the cloud drive as a local disk on the user’s hard drive.

[krebsonsecurity.com] 01/14

X-energy Wins Department of Energy Development Grant

The U.S. Department of Energy announced that X-energy has won a $50 milliongrant to develop the Xe-100 pebble bed High Temperature Gas-Cooled reactor (HTGR). The development grant includes $6M in FY16, which will be supplemented with additional investor funding from X-energy.

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