Here's Techwire's List of Recommended Reading (and Listening)

The Techwire editorial team comes across a lot of news and commentary online that is worth noting, for those who follow California public-sector IT. Here are a few things we've noticed recently that you might find interesting.

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The Techwire editorial team comes across a lot of news and commentary online that is worth noting, for those who follow California public-sector IT. Here are a few things we’ve noticed recently that you might find interesting:

Maintaining privacy in contact tracing: “Developers, governments, and regulators must work with the cybersecurity industry to apply rigorous standards to contact-tracing apps to make sure that the societal impact of COVID-19 doesn’t extend into personal privacy.” As California struggles with contact tracing in the age of COVID-19, the efforts to thwart the pandemic musn't interfere with personal privacy, says this essay from darkreading.com.

As they build it, they will learn: At UC Berkeley’s Robot Learning Lab, groups of robots are working to master the same kinds of tasks that kids do: placing wood blocks in the correct slot of a shape-sorting cube, connecting one plastic Lego brick to another, attaching stray parts to a toy airplane.

Closing the connectivity chasm: A former California state legislator with experience in the tech field has a prescription for narrowing the digital divide, especially for children in a time of distance learning. Lloyd Levine, a senior policy fellow in the School of Public Policy at the University of California, Riverside, says affordable Internet service is the single biggest game-changer available.

Using tech to help first responders: The Oakland Police Department is planning to give 911 operators more tech tools and more staff to help with understaffing and a lack of funding. The decision comes after a grand jury found that dispatchers are overworked and in need of newer technology.

‘Berkeley at its finest’: With the fall 2020 semester beginning remotely, a new UC Berkeley program that a campus official calls an example of “Berkeley at its finest” is providing $4.6 million in support for students who will attend class, do assignments and take tests from home — but who lack reliable laptops, Wi-Fi and other technology.

Bright spots amid the crisis: CalMatters.org and the Milken Institute teamed up on a series of discussions examining California’s response to the pandemic and how it will have lasting implications for the state going forward. In the latest installment, CalMatters joined a conversation with three policy and political experts as they explored the challenges and opportunities of working from home in a virtual conversation.

Listening to learn: In order for urgency to mean anything, it has to be effective urgency. That’s the message in a new podcast featuring Cathilea Robinett, president of Techwire parent e.Republic and executive vice president of the Center for Digital Government. Robinett is interviewed by David Morris, chairman and CEO of HiPER Solutions, a San Francisco-based firm that works with “data-driven leaders who want to optimize how key players in their ecosystem think and make decisions in order to achieve mission-critical outcomes.” This week’s podcast is the latest in a series by Morris, who speaks with leaders across disciplines to draw out the essential skills of leadership and performance; other podcasts in the series may be found on the same link.

Dennis Noone is Managing Editor of Techwire. He is a career journalist, having worked as a reporter and editor at small-town newspapers and major metropolitan dailies in California, Nevada, Texas and Virginia, including as an editor with USA Today in Washington, D.C. He lives in the Northern California foothills.