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Local government IT leaders continue to be challenged by staffing, according to a Public Technology Institute survey of city and county IT professionals about operational issues. Among the concerns:

50% are very dissatisfied or dissatisfied with their ability to attract and hire security and risk assurance staff

36% believe there’s a high or very high potential of IT staff being hired away by private-sector employers

25% say there’s a high or very high potential of IT staff retiring

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The town of Plainville, Conn., recently swapped out high-pressure sodium streetlights for 1,424 light-emitting diode fixtures to slash energy consumption. Of the new LED lights, 123 will offer a little something extra: chips that provide Wi-Fi hotspot technology.

The Hartford Courant reports that the town elected to bring free Wi-Fi service to selected retail and commercial areas. Plainville will pay $3,700 yearly for the Internet service, which will be offset by an estimated $75,000 in annual electricity and maintenance savings from the new energy-efficient streetlights. Town Manager Robert Lee said Plainville seeks advertisers for the network to fund the operational costs, according to the Record-Journal.

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The past year has marked the beginning of a significant shift toward new threats that are more difficult to detect, according to the McAfee Labs 2016 Threat Predictions study. Here are several types of attacks expected to increase over the next five years:

  • Below-the-OS attacks in BIOS and firmware
  • Fileless threats
  • Exploits of remote shell and remote control protocols
  • Encrypted infiltrations
  • Sandbox-evasion malware

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Microsoft announced that as of Jan. 12 it will no longer be providing technical support and security updates for its Internet Explorer 8, 9 and 10 web browsers. The company is encouraging customers to upgrade to Internet Explorer 11 or to Microsoft Edge, its new web browser that comes with Windows 10.

If customers stick with older versions of the web browser they could be exposing themselves to security vulnerabilities and malware, Microsoft says.

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Microsoft on Tuesday unveiled the Surface Book, what it's calling "the ultimate laptop."

Microsoft came to its latest press conference on Tuesday armed with more than a few announcements. But none shook the tech world quite like the news that Windows creator was entering the notebook market.

After concluding the announcement of the new, slimmer and more powerful Microsoft Surface Pro 4 tablet, Surface creator Panos Panay teased audiences with a new addition to the Surface family — a device performs like a tablet and a notebook computer.

"We made the ultimate laptop," Payan said. "This is the fastest 13-inch laptop ever made, anywhere, on any planet."

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The New York cities of Amsterdam, Gloversville, Schenectady and Troy and the University of Albany’s Center for Technology in Government are banding together to fight the creeping decay and deterioration, born of age or neglect, known as urban blight.

Leaders will share code enforcement–related data and develop best practices for tackling the problem. A single distressed or vacant property can cost a municipality tens of thousands of dollars per year. Direct costs include code enforcement, administration, engineering and property maintenance, while indirect costs include uncollected taxes, devaluation of adjacent properties and the impact on city services such as police and fire calls.

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500GB Amount of data a drone can produce per hour using a standard camera to capture video and photos

SOURCE: NASCIO, “Unmanned Aerial Systems, Governance and State CIOs: On the Radar,” May 2015

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The average tenure of state CIOs is 25.7 months, the National Association of State Chief Information Officers said in August.

The number significantly dropped in 2015 and late 2014 as a dozen states appointed new CIOs thanks to administration changes, retirements and new legislation.

Mark Bengel of Tennessee is the longest tenured state CIO in the country, having served since 2007, but there is a significant gap between him and second place: Calvin Rhodes, Georgia’s CIO, has served for four years.

Administration changes serve as the biggest catalyst. The 2014 election saw 11 new governors take power after 36 gubernatorial seats were contested around the country.

New administrations, especially those that saw a new political party take over, typically like to bring in their own person to lead the state’s technology efforts, especially if that person is a member of the governor’s cabinet.

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Physical inactivity in the workplace is known to increase heart disease, obesity and diabetes. Studies show that standing and treadmill desks can improve overall health.

The Oregon Occupational Safety & Health Division recommends that employers provide a sit-stand workstation for employees to try, train them how to use it, and ask if they find it helpful. Manufacturers such as Ergotron, Humanscale and Innovative Office Products offer several models of sit-stand desks.

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