Monday, May 5, 2008

Updating Stuff

Just a few updates on items I have posted here previously: On Xobni (you can read the original post here): The company has concluded its private beta on May 5th and is now available for immediate download. Click here if you're interested - and be prepared to be amazed! Note: I am running Windows XP with Outlook 2007 in a desktop and a Compaq laptop and have had no problems with installation and running this program. I know somebody who has Windows Vista running in a laptop who seemed to be having problems, just so you know. On H.R. 5550 (you can read the original post here): Lawmakers advanced this bill last week according to reports in Federal Times. H.R. 5550 would extend health coverage for children of federal employees from age 22 to 25 (three years longer than currently allowed) and would create a young adult dependent option in the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program. Under that plan, dependents would still have to pay the full premium, but they would not pay the 2 percent administrative fee. This is a step in the right direction since young adults ages 19 to 29 are the largest and fastest-growing segment of the population without health insurance. You can read the entire report here.

On the Security Clearance Process (no, not specific to Q21): Government Executive reports that the Office of Management and Budget recently announced the details of its plan to streamline the security clearance process for employees and contractors working for intelligence agencies. OMB aims ultimately to reduce the time it takes to investigate and process such clearances from the current 112 days to 60 days, said Clay Johnson, the agency's deputy director of management. The plan relies on an automated verification system using government and commercial databases to save time and reduce manual labor in hiring and clearing workers who handle classified information. The reforms, prompted by a Feb. 5 memo from President Bush directing the federal government to modernize its security clearance process, also include developing an electronic application to collect comprehensive biographic details of each candidate, requiring reinvestigations of employees and contractors to better identify security risks, and developing a computer system that identifies and grants "clean" applications for Secret clearances -- allowing agency adjudicators to focus on more complex cases. You can read the entire piece here.

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