Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Top 10 Strategic Technologies

Hat tip to BDPA New York chapter for sharing the top 10 strategic technologies for 2008 recently released by Gartner Group. Any of these topics would be excellent for program meetings held by any of our 48 BDPA chapters.

  1. Green IT - This one is taking on a bigger role for many reasons, including an increased awareness of environmental danger; concern about power bills; regulatory requirements; government procurement rules; and a sense that corporations should embrace social responsibility.

  2. Unified Communications (UC) - UC functionality is drawing from five core markets: voicemail, PBXs, e-mail and calendaring, IM, and conferencing and collaboration. The key trends are communications becoming IP-based, analog systems switching to digital, and growing integration among voice, network, storage, sensors and video technologies.

  3. Business Process Management - BPM is more of a business discipline than a technology, but is necessary to make sure the technology of service-oriented architectures (SOA) deliver business value, Cearley said. It's also important for dealing with laws like Sarbanes-Oxley that require business to define processes.

  4. Metadata Management - Metadata is the foundation for information infrastructure and is found throughout your IT systems: in service registries and repositories, Web semantics, configuration management databases (CMDB), business service registries and in application development.

  5. Virtualization 2.0 - "Virtualization 2.0" goes beyond consolidation. It simplifies the installation and movement of applications, makes it easy to move work from one machine to another, and allows changes to be made without impacting other IT systems, which tend to be rigid and interlinked.

  6. Mashups & Composite Applications - Mashups, a Web technology that combines content from multiple sources, has gone from being a virtual unknown among IT executives to being an important piece of enterprise IT systems.

  7. Web Platform & WOA - Web-oriented architecture, a version of SOA geared toward Web applications, is part of a trend in which the number of IT functions being delivered as a service is greatly expanding. Beyond the well-known software-as-a-service.

  8. Computing Fabrics - Today's blade server design places memory and processors into a fixed combination inside a blade, and until recently neither memory or processors from one blade could be combined with that of other blades.

  9. Real World Web - Increasingly ubiquitous network access with reasonably useful bandwidth is enabling the beginnings of what analysts are calling the "real world Web".

  10. Social Software - Social software like podcasts, videocasts, blogs, wikis, social bookmarks, and social networking tools, often referred to as Web 2.0, is changing the way people communicate both in social and business settings.

Well, BETF-Blog Readers ... what do you think about these 10 strategic technologies?

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Freedom Technology Christmas

AfroSpear bloggers are encouraging Blacks to give "the gift of technology" to their children, parents and others, to empower them to communicate in the Internet Age, with recommended gifts of computers, digicams, broadband and open source software.

This Christmas, the same AfroSpear Black bloggers who organized the March on Jena are spearheading the "AfroSpear Freedom Technology Christmas" (FTC) campaign. AfroSpear bloggers in forty US states and five countries are mobilizing their readers to give Christmas presents that increase citizen journalism within the Black community.

"When you have a blog, what happens to you in a small town can become international news," said Field Negro, who won a Black Weblog Award this year. He cited the case of Shaquanda Cotton, a 14 year-old who was unfairly sentenced to 7 years in prison for pushing a high school hall monitor, but who was released when her Freedom Blog caught national attention.

The AfroSpear's Eddie Griffin believes word will spread. "We're going to teach our children to communicate with the world and give them the tools to do it," said Griffin, an ex-Black Panther who helps lead the group's outreach to Blacks in the criminal justice system.

Shawn Williams, of the AfroSpear's Dallas South blog, featured on MSNBC and in the Chicago Tribune for his Jena Six advocacy, says the success of the March on Jena has convinced Black bloggers that "Freedom Technology" is essential to their movement. He said, "This Christmas, our children and families need modern communication tools, like 24-hour broadband connections and digital cameras. These tools can be used to document injustices like the Jena nooses, while at the same time help to narrow the technology divide that continues to widen."

"The gift of communication technology like computers and webcams is the best gift that you can give your children and family, because it empowers them to educate and advocate for the Black community and for themselves," said the African American Political Pundit (AAPP).

AAPP added, "Black blogging encourages writing skills and critical thinking, which are precisely the skills our children need."

The statistics bear out AAPP. “Black children are going to jail at a rate 6 times higher than that of white children in America”, said Eddie Griffin.

"We are expanding the national Black media that focuses on the needs of Black people in the context of America and the world. And AfroSpear bloggers will announce the ways in which Freedom Technology Christmas presents have dramatically improved communication among AfroSpear bloggers in five countries and four continents," said Atty. Holland.

Freedom Technology Christmas recommended gifts are laptop or home computers, headphones with microphones and webcams (for computer- to-computer conversations), digital cameras and camera "memory sticks," "pen drives" for saving documents, photographs and music, foreign language software, music production software and writing skills software.

Many excellent Christmas computer software presents are available for free. Open Source alternatives are abundant. For example,

Many communication programs are available for free download and include:

  • Skype (free computer telephone)
  • ooVoo (free televideo communication)
  • Yahoo
  • MSN (e-mail and instant messages)

“I wholeheartedly support the Freedom Technology Christmas as a way not only to give a gift with meaning, but also to encourage Black youth to hone their computer, writing, analysis, critical thinking, photography and other skills. New talents will be unearthed and encouraged to grow”, says Adrianne George from the Black Women in Europe blog.

Well BETF-Blog readers ... What say u about the Freedom Technology Christmas idea?

Monday, October 29, 2007

Social Networks or Social Bubbles?

Dori J. Maynard is president and CEO of the Robert C. Maynard Institute for Journalism Education, the nation's leading trainer of journalists of color. She is the co-author of "Letters to My Children", a compilation of nationally syndicated columns by her late father, Bob Maynard, the first African-American to own a major metropolitan newspaper. Maynard was a reporter at The Bakersfield Californian, The Patriot Ledger in Quincy, Mass., and the Detroit Free Press. In 1993, she and her father became the first father-daughter duo to be appointed Nieman Fellows at Harvard University.

Anyhow, Ms. Maynard had some interesting thoughts about the afrospere that I wanted to share with you:

First, the Jena 6 story lived on the Internet. Bloggers, many of them Black, members of list serves such as the National Association of Black Journalists and members of social networks like Facebook, used the Internet to spread the story before it took off with mainstream news organizations like CNN, The Washington Post, and NPR.

The fact that the "afrosphere" has largely received credit for driving this story is important to keep in mind when we think about what is going on in cyberspace.

At a time when "the digital divide" is still code for "people-of-color-don't-have-access-or-know-how-to-use-the-Internet," Jena 6 reminds us of the fallacy of that premise. African Americans used the web and alerted the world to what was going on in a small town and in a largely overlooked state.

True, there are still some significant hurdles for entry into a fully wired world. However, they are largely socio-economic. I once asked someone how many white homes in Appalachia have Internet access. Turned out not a lot. The digital divide is real. It's class, not race, that makes the difference.

The Jena 6 story also reminds us that while the Web may be a place where anyone with access and an idea can voice his or her opinion, it does not mean that every opinion gets the same amount of attention. Think of how quickly word spread about "Memo Gate" and how long it took the outside world to pay attention to Jena 6.

So, that leaves us with the question of whether this new technology is opening up our world or allowing us more time to hibernate in the comfortable corner of the world that reminds us of ourselves.

That is something I look forward to exploring as I look at diversity in an online world. I hope you'll help me so that together we can think this through.
I don't think that Ms. Maynard give enough credit to organizations such as The AfroSpear or the Afrosphere Bloggers Association. However, I appreciate her acknowledgement of the growing influence of Black Bloggers ... some of whom will be on the November 2007 list of the Top Ten Black Bloggers shared by the Electronic Village on November 1st.

Personally, I hope that more BDPA members become bloggers in the coming weeks and months.

Disney Minnie Grants for Global Youth Service Day 2008

The next round of Disney Minnie grants ($500) will be available in November 2007 for projects to take place on GYSD 2008, April 25-27. The Disney grants are to support youth-led projects (led by younger youth, ages 5-14). Individual youth as well as organizations that engage youth (hint, hint!) are eligible to apply. Last year's winners were worthy!

Deadline for 2008 grants will be in January 2008.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

HSCC Testimonial: Keon Hercules (2003)

Keon Hercules is a 2003 HSCC Alumni from our BDPA New York chapter. We were able to get him away from his Amazon reviews to share his thoughts on the experience that he had with BDPA's youth education programs.
I was honored to take part in this celebration. Senior BDPA members seem to hold the High School Computer Competition (HSCC) students in high honor and view us as the best of the best. Our job was to live up to their high expectations; I think we were successful in doing so back in 2003.

I am blessed to be a member of a great team. They were wonderful teammates, and more important, good friends. I was the Captain of the Team. We worked extremely well together, and were able to cogitate in unison when challenging times approached us during the competition. The actual competition challenge was quite demanding and arduous, but as a team we pulled together and tried our best to complete the task as stated. Some of the important values that BDPA taught me are teamwork and how to work well with other people. I can use values such as these the rest of my life.

Apart from the HSCC, the conference was one of the most fun and informative times I have experienced. I met many people in positions and professions I would like to pursue in the future. Some of the people included Network Administrators for enterprises, and entrepreneurs who started their own IT businesses. I talked with them to gather knowledge, which can help me achieve the same status in the future.

The 25th annual National BDPA Conference is definitely a time to remember for the rest of my life. I hope to attend future Conferences and to have the same mental awakening that this conference has provided me. I established new friendships that I will never forget. So, I thank BDPA for providing me with this experience.
Somebody go let Keon know that we need his electronic photo!

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Delivering Success for Black Businesses

BDPA wants to have a greater positive impact on our entrepreneurs and business owners. As such, I encourage you to check out the Black in Business blog whenever you have the opportunity.

In addition, we've learned that the SBA provides an online library of video interviews that chronicle the experiences of successful entrepreneurs from around the country. These video interviews are the ideal start-up tool for budding entrepreneurs and business owners including completion of a business plan. Other highlights include a business reality check, techniques to take a business to the next level and the top 10 tips to get a business started and keep it going.

Any BDPA entrepreneurs out there interested in a shameless self-promotion opportunity? Here it is ... just POST A COMMENT about your business and point us to your blog or webiste.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

100 Best Communities for Young People Competition

America's Promise Alliance is looking for the 100 Best Communities for Young People. The 2008 competition will recognize outstanding community-wide efforts to improve the well-being of youth, while providing a great place for young people to live. Deadline: November 2, 2007

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

A Capital Time in the Nation's Capitol

Diversity/Careers magazine wrote a great article on the recently held BDPA national conference. The article was entitled, 'A capital time in the nation’s capitol' and it included information on our youth education programs, ITSMF and our incoming national officers. The article starts off as follows:

The 2007 national technology conference of Black Data Processing Associates (BDPA) in Washington, DC had something for everyone: youth activities and competitions, high-powered technical seminars, career-building panel discussions and wonderful networking opportunities. Corporate sponsors were recognized at several events, and the conference wound up with a well-attended two-day career fair and a gala banquet.

The Philadelphia, PA chapter took away honors as chapter of the year. The Cincinnati chapter was first runner-up.

Click here to read the full article

Diversity/Careers magazine is a bi-monthly magazine for IT professionals. One of the great benefits of membership is that we get a complimentary subscription to this magazine. Are you getting your copy? More important ... what do you remember about the conference in Washington DC?

Monday, October 22, 2007

Untold Story: Johnathan Holifield

There are 8 million stories in the naked city. I'm not sure where I heard that line ... but, it has a ring of truth to it.

There are many untold stories in our BDPA history. One of them occurred in Cincinnati in the early part of this decade. I was the chapter president in 1999-2001. During that period I received a call from the Cincinnati Chamber of Commerce requesting my attendance at a meeting to discuss a technology initiative. That meeting gave much needed credibility to our BDPA chapter in the Cincinnati area. We met a number of people that later provided us with corporate sponsorships and corporate memberships. The chapter still has a seat on the advisory group for that initiative ... now known as CincyTech USA.

The brother that gave me the call was a lawyer and former Cincinnati Bengals running back ... Johnathan Holifield. As such, I was proud to see that Jonathan Holifield has been picked to lead the Urban League of Greater Cleveland, a civil rights agency and community development organization.

Holifield, who most recently ran the parks department in Buffalo, N.Y., will replace Myron Robinson as chief executive officer, who announced his retirement last September after 16 years.

"He’s a great choice. He’s been a fighter for a long time," said Robinson, who helped choose his successor for the 90-year-old Cleveland institution, which is known for its focus on job training in the black community.

In a prepared statement, Holifield said he was humbled to join a flagship affiliate of the Urban League movement. Holifield, 43, was chosen after a nationwide search and will begin as CEO on Dec. 1. He will help oversee the Urban League’s annual $3 million budget.

The one-time NFL running back was a 1987 draft choice of the Bengals. He played in the league for two years and went on to earn a master’s degree in education and a law degree from the University of Cincinnati. Holifield also served as vice president of the Cincinnati NAACP and the Cincinnati Chamber of Commerce.

I hope that BDPA Cleveland chapter reaches out quickly to Bro. Holifield. That is a strategic alliance that should be cultivated with quickness!

Anyhow, BETF-Blog readers, do you have an untold story in our BDPA history that you would like to share?

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Observations from an HSCC Parent (Twin Cities)

Logan LeCompte is a member of the BDPA Twin Cities chapter High School Computer Competition (HSCC) team that competed earlier this year. His father, John, attended the chapter's annual education banquet earlier this month. He shares the following observations on his blog:

On Wednesday eve, 10/17 I attended the BDPA Twin Cities Fall Banquet. My son was being recognized for his participation in their High School Computer Competition this summer. Some interesting information was shared. The number of students going to college and majoring in computer science is actually decreasing, especially among young women. While the demand for persons with computer science and IT skills is increasing.

After the conference we went to Winona State University and University of Wisconsin LaCrosse for college tours for my son and we were there specially checking out their computer science programs.

Both colleges are totally wired, but at Winona there is a fee included in your cost and you get a lap top as a freshman, and then it is replaced with a new one in your junior year, and for a minimal 50 bucks you get to keep it when you graduate. Every student is expected to use the lap top through out their time in school there. My son is really interested in computer security and information security.

We discovered that the government has identified schools that they now call centers for academic excellence in information assurance and security. Seems like a post 9/11 thing.

BDPA has been great for my son. If you know of any young African American men or women interested in computers and web page development, let me know and I will get them in contact with the BDPA program.
BETF-Blog readers, what say u?

Saturday, October 20, 2007

'Father of African telecoms' dies

Perhaps it is time for BDPA to learn more about our counterparts in other parts of the world ... especially Africa. For example, how many of you realized that Miko Alexis Rwayitare is known as the father of African telecommunications and credited with making the first mobile call on the continent 20 years ago? Having made the first mobile call in Africa, back in 1987, Rwayitare went on to build a number of successful mobile networks on the continent.

Unfortunately, I didn't know of the 65-year-old Rwayitare until he succumbed to complications following routine surgery on September 25 in a Brussels hospital. He died on that day. He is survived by his wife Consolatta and seven children.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Blogging While Brown Conference

I have only been a blogger since January 2007. When I first entered the blogosphere the only blogger that I knew was my sister. Over the past few months I have enjoyed the exchange of ideas with bloggers of all nationalities, politics and geography. With one or two exceptions ... every blogger that I've met has been through my computer screen ... out here in cyberspace.

Perhaps it is time for us to meet face-to-face?!

The 2008 Blogging While Brown conference is my opportunity to meet some of these talented brothers and sisters in the so-called real world. The BDPA Education & Technology Foundation plans to attend this conference next year. Early Registration is now open for Blogging While Brown 2008. In the spirit of Ujamaa I plan to take advantage of the $100 early registration rate. It will never get less expensive!

The purpose of the event is to give Bloggers of Color an opportunity to meet each other for the first time, discuss current issues affecting Bloggers of Color, and learn about the latest technology that will assist them with publishing their work.

Blogging While Brown was created in response to widespread dissatisfaction with the amount of diversity in some of the largest blogging conferences. A critical mass of Bloggers of Color have yet to attend these established conferences, however the initial response from Bloggers of Color to the idea of holding their own conference has been overwhelmingly enthusiastic.

Bloggers of Color are excited about a conference, for, by and about them and look forward to moving beyond the single panel or discussion focusing on diversity that are typically featured at some of the larger blogging conferences.

The conference is in Atlanta, GA on July 25-27, 2008. The host hotel is the Hilton Atlanta Downtown. Pass this on to your friends and readers.

Those of you that share your insights by posting comments on the BETF-Blog are just as important as I am to the growing success of our online community. As such, this invitation to attend the 2008 Blogging While Brown conference is open to any of the active BETF-Blog readers that come here regularly.

Stay tuned! I understand that the Conference Planning Committee will provide guidelines for workshop suggestions and facilitator proposals in the near future. Get on board now because 2008 will be an amazing year for bloggers! Blogging While Brown is the first international conference for, by, and about Bloggers of Color and the readers who love and comment on them.

Will you be in attendance?

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Matching Grants, Volunteer Grants or IBM Community Grants

Have you seen the large list of corporations willing to provide matching grants to the BDPA Education & Technology Foundation? We recommend you check with your employer to see if they will match gifts to BETF. If so, your gift to an eligible nonprofit could be at least doubled. Please take a moment to get a matching gift form from your personnel office and follow the directions to initiate a match. Thank you for making the extra effort — and for your double support!

One of our BDPA leaders is Paulette Johnson-Davis. She is the president of the BDPA chapter in Greater Columbia, SC. Paulette also worked for IBM earlier in her career. She shares the following message to current and former IBMers:

"Fellow IBMers, both current and retired,

I recently submitted a request to IBM for a $1,000 Community Grant, and the grant was approved! It was a fairly simple way to earn money for our Chapter.

If you have not already registered with IBM's On Demand Community, you need to do so. The On Demand Community is an innovative program to support IBM volunteers helping schools and not-for-profit agencies. All you have to do is register and then input your volunteer hours. If you volunteer a minimum of 40 hours over a 5-month period for a particular non-profit organization, you can apply for a grant. Both cash grants and equipment grants are available; I chose to apply for the cash grant.

As a Chapter President, I know you put in many more than 40 hours over a 5-month period, so you are sure to qualify. And, the best thing is that you can re-apply for this grant every 12 months! If you'd like more information, please feel free to contact me or BETF's Executive Director.

Paulette Johnson-Davis
President, GCBDPA
(803) 264-1721

Are there any members of the IBM team reading this message? Do others work in corporate America where a volunteer grant or matching grant might be available? What say u?

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

HSCC Testimonial: Jasmine Hagler (2003)

Jasmine Hagler is a HSCC alumni member from our BDPA New York chapter. She shared her testimonial with us recently. Jasmine wrote,
I am Jasmine A. Hagler and a member of the BDPA-NY chapter. As a member and representative for the High School Computer Competition (HSCC) held in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in August 2003. I found it very informative and enjoyable.

The five-day competition consisted of many different sections. After extensive training from April through August, we were told to create a web application program for a problem in about 5 hours, as the main part of the competition. The other days we had written and oral questions about many topics involving computer technology and BDPA historic background. We were privileged to have the opportunity to learn VBScript, HTML, Microsoft Access, and ASP, along with others.

The members responsible for the entire competition put a lot of care, love and dedication into putting the 25th Annual National BDPA Conference together. I believe it paid off because many students walked away with more knowledge about BDPA, its sponsors, career opportunities, friends and just a good time. Although I went into BDPA not interested in Information Systems, I have found a new interest that has no limits in the fast changing world since receiving the chance to go to the conference.

Inasmuch as I enjoyed myself, I am looking forward to continuing my membership and gaining all that I can from this experience because opportunities such as this will not be available again. I am grateful for the exciting time I had and thankful for the chance to share with anyone, my experience with BDPA.
Any thoughts on Jasmine's words?

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Grant Award: Food Lion Charitable Foundation ($2,000)

BDPA Education & Technology Foundation (BETF) received $2,000 from the Food Lion Charitable Foundation. BETF will use the gift to support the youth education programming for K-12 students in Chattanooga, TN.

"We are very grateful to Food Lion for this generous gift," said Wayne Hicks, BETF executive director, "it will allow our BDPA Chattanooga chapter members to provide fun learning experiences for children through the use of interactive technology."

The mission of BDPA is to support local information technology (IT) professionals and increase the number of historically under-represented persons of color in Computer Science and Information Technology. Participating students in the BDPA Chattanooga chapter program will receive quality instruction in basic programming concepts using the Java programming language, web page design using HTML, database design and various topics in career development. These skills will prove valuable for the young people engaged in this year’s program.

Established in 2001, the Food Lion Charitable Foundation provides financial support for programs and organizations dedicated to improving the communities in which Food Lion operates. The Foundation places an emphasis on the support of primary and secondary education, feeding the hungry, and organizations that enhance the quality of life in Food Lion’s local communities.

Please let us know if you want to make a charitable donation to the BDPA Foundation in support of programs in your local area.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Nominations Now Being Accepted for 2008 Harris Wofford Award

I think that we have BDPA chapters and BDPA volunteers in the SITES program that should be nominated for these awards.

Youth Service America is pleased to administer the prestigious 2008 Harris Wofford Awards, sponsored by State Farm Companies Foundation. Established in 2002, the Harris Wofford Awards were created to honor former Senator Harris Wofford - one of our nation's greatest public servants. The Awards recognize extraordinary achievements in three categories: Youth (ages 12-25), Organization (nonprofit, corporate, foundation), and Media (organization or individual) for actively contributing towards, "making service and service-learning the common expectation and common experience of every young person."

Award Winners will be honored and presented with an award of recognition at the 19th Annual National Service-Learning Conference in Minneapolis, MN. The recipient in the Youth category will receive a $500 award for him/herself and a $500 award for the non-profit organization of his/her choice. Travel arrangements, including airfare and accommodation, will be provided for each award recipient.

Self-nominations are permitted. One award winner will be chosen in Youth Award category. A BDPA chapter can compete for an award in the Organization category.

The deadline is October 19, 2007. Send an email to the Wofford Awards folks if you have questions or wish to discuss further.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Student Empowerment Retreat (BDPA Chicago)

Whether you’re a parent, teacher, mentor or other caring adult, chances are there’s a high school student in your life who wants to go to college or a college student who wants to jump start their career. Here’s your chance to help that special student by sharing this invitation to attend the second annual Student Empowerment Retreat on November 3, 2007 at IIT.

Why Students Should Attend:

  • Highly interactive presentations that will allow some hands-on experience
  • Opportunity to network and engage with your peers, who like you want to learn and grow
  • Opportunity to meet with TOP Corporations
  • Opportunity to meet with Colleges and Financial Aid Personnel
  • Scholarships for College
This promises to be an exceptional event for high school students interested in continuing their education and college students interested in developing their professional skills. Admission is free to the first 150 students, so don’t delay.

Logistics of the event are as follows:

Illinois Institute of Technology
Hermann Union Building
3241 S. Federal Street
Chicago, IL 60616
November 3, 2007
7:00 am - 6:00 pm

Click here to contact Karyn Quick for registration information. Karyn is the BDPA Chicago Director of Student Member Services.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Saving Your Digital Life

BDPA Philadelphia posted an interesting article about losing your digital life in 20 minutes. Of course, your protection against such things could be provided to you by a BDPA entrepeneur if you were interested. Chris Bomar is a member of BDPA Cincinnati chapter. He provides an online backup service called Boomarang that all of y'all need to check out!

Friday, October 12, 2007

Women in Technology (Austin)

We are very proud of the growth of our BDPA chapter in Central Texas. BDPA Austin chapter began the year as the 33rd largest chapter in the country. We are moving into the 4th quarter of the year ... and the chapter has increased their membership by 100% and moved up to become the 20th largest chapter in the country. The growth of this chapter is directly related to the meaningful programs and services provided for their members.

One such service is the monthly program meeting. BDPA Austin chapter will focus on Women in Technology at their October 16th program meeting. All IT professionals in central Texas are invited to share their concerns, ideas, thoughts and questions with some powerful women in our industry. The panel discussion with women from different levels of management who will discuss what it means for women to be in technology.

Here are the logistics for the meeting:

Tuesday, October 16, 2007, 6:00 PM - 7:30 PM
Mitchie’s Fine Art and Gallery
Lincoln Village Shopping Center located at IH 35 and Hwy 290

This is a great topic ... and particularly timely for BDPA as our national presidents from 2006 thru 2011 are powerful sisters (Gina Billings, Denise Holland and Yvette Graham) and our current president in Austin is a sister entrepreneur (Lorna Stewart-Booker).

Any Austin area readers out there?

Thursday, October 11, 2007

BDPA Entrepeneur: Wanda Gray (Cincinnati)

One of my favorite BDPA people is Wanda (McCaster) Gray. She served as VP-Membership Management for BDPA Cincinnati chapter during the time that I was chapter president. When Wanda started her own IT business a few years ago she joined my small business incubator.

So it is with great pride that I tell the world that this young sister's restaurant, Grays Country Cooking, is now open for business in West Chester Township (Ohio). Wanda left a career in IT about a year ago to start her catering business featuring old-fashioned Southern cooking. Now she has moved into a new space, where she'll have takeout as well.

"I've learned things from my mother, and other things from cooking school," says Gray. "It's mainly traditional, but I'll be adding more flavor to old-fashioned dishes."

Her menu includes roasted chicken, corn soufflé, greens, fried chicken and ribs. For now, it's takeout or buffet-style catering, though she plans to add restaurant seating. Grays Country Cooking is in the former location of A Touch of Julia's at 8095 Beckett Centre Drive. It's open 11 a.m.-8 p.m. Wednesday-Saturday and 11:30 a.m.-6 p.m. Sunday. 513-860-2665;

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

America's Techiest Cities

Hat-Tip to BDPA Philadelphia for pointing us to this ComputerWorld article. I imagine that it is easy to guess that the highest concentration of IT professionals in the U.S. is in Silicon Valley. But naming the No 2 spot isn't as easy, and the answer might surprise you.

The runner-up isn't a well-known tech center like Boston or Seattle; it's the Washington DC metro area.

"It kind of belies some of the perceptions of where the hiring is, where people work in this field," said John Challenger, president of Chicago-based outsourcing firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas Inc. "[Many typically] think that most people in IT work in Silicon Valley, and they might add in Washington state, Seattle and maybe Austin," he said.

Data for 2006 from the U.S. Census Bureau's annual American Community Survey (ACS), released just last month, reveal what could be called a metropolitan area's "TQ" (technology quotient) -- how "techie" a region's overall workforce is, based on the number of self-reported computer professionals. And some of the results turn stereotypes upside down. (See the interactive national map, or query the database for a specific metro area.)

Roughly 6% of the D.C. metro area workforce is made up of "computer specialists," compared with 8.3% in Silicon Valley. The third-highest concentration of IT workers is in Raleigh/Cary, N.C., at 5.3% of the workforce, followed closely by Boulder, Colo., and Huntsville, Ala., each at 5.2%. The remainder of the top 10 technology worker areas is rounded out, in order, by Bloomington/Normal, Ill.; Trenton-Ewing, N.J.; Austin-Round Rock, Texas; Manchester-Nashua, N.H.; and Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, Wash.

The Census Bureau data also shows that IT worker pay tends to reflect the percentage of techies in the workforce. The annual average salary for computer and information systems managers in Silicon Valley as of May 2006 was $139,460, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. In the D.C. metro area, that figure was $122,950. Around Raleigh, N.C., it was $102,880.

Click here for the full article

Did you see where your city ranks? You can use these figures to determine a membership goal in your chapter city. For example, there are 22, 000 IT workers in Cincinnati. Doesn't that mean that Cincinnati should have at least 2,200 African American IT workers to approach about membership?

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Open Letter to BDPA Entrepreneurs

Boyd Stephens chairs the BDPA Entrepreneur Advisory Committee. He shares the following open letter to all BDPA entrepreneurs and business owners:

I have been chomping at the bit to send out this latest email posting but I decided that we all needed a few weeks to recoup from the National Conference. To be quite candid, it was my first time attending the event and I had a ball. It was really good meeting all of you fellow entrepreneurs and I believe that we have a very adequate platform upon which we can build something very substantial that I think that the entire BDPA organization will be proud to call their own.

I would like to say that the one conversation that I repeatedly had during the conference was with individual BDPA members who were aspiring to create their own businesses and IT firms. Some of these folk already have small shops which they operate on the side while they continue their "full-time" gigs. This fact brought more fully home the fact that many of our fellow BDPA members are genuinely looking for some direction in the areas of business ownership and entrepreneurism. I believe that the members of the Entrepreneur Advisory Group currently possess the experience and expertise to genuinely make a difference in the life of fellow black business owners/potential business owners.

I have attached a copy of the meeting minutes from the 2007 National BDPA Conference. Please review and provide me with some feedback on the various topics of discussion that were covered during the session. I will look to hear from each of you and please keep your email lines of communication wide open. When one thinks about the potential of what we can accomplish and do through "our" organization, it is unreal. To each of you, take care and until next time, peace....

Also, I have not forgot about each of your respective business profiles. Those of you who have yet to submit your information, I would strongly encourage that you please provide me with your information as soon as you can.

BTW, please thank Bro. Keith Harding for the minutes. I believe that he did a bang-up job.
Post a comment below if you would like to respond to this open letter.

Monday, October 8, 2007

BDPA Atlanta Chapter Newsletter (Oct 2007)

We invite all BETF-Blog readers to download the October 2007 newsletter issued by our BDPA chapter in Atlanta, GA.

There are some great articles in this month's newsletter on subjects such as the CIO survey conducted by Robert Half Technology, SITES training, Epsilon awards, TechBridge and much more. There was a great review of last month's program meeting. In fact, the only thing that I saw missing from their newsletter was a plea for readers to make tax-deductible donation to BDPA Foundation!

One of the best aspects of the newsletter is the photos that were taken at the annual conference. Hopefully, we can entice BDPA members to share their thoughts on this month's Atlanta chapter newsletter. What did you see that is worthy of dialogue?

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Networking (Chicago)

BDPA Chicago Chapter is the largest chapter in BDPA history. Useful monthly program meetings is an important element of their success. The chapter uses these monthly gatherings to highlight job opportunities for those that are looking for a new job or career. As such, the decision of the chapter to discuss Networking at their October meeting should be helpful for all BDPA members at any level of the IT industry.

Attendees will learn the answers to two key questions:
  1. How can I make a positive impression when meeting an executive at a reception?
  2. Why is networking important and what can it do for my career?
These questions and many more will be answered by our very own Pat Perkins, an expert in her field who provides coaching to executives and many sought after professionals. Meeting logistics are as follows:

Date: October 19, 2007 - 6:30 PM
Place: IBM - 71 S. Wacker Drive 6th Floor
Chicago, IL 60606

Are there any Chicago-area blog readers out there?

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Culminis Newsletter - The Voice (Oct 2007)

We shared information earlier about Culminis. The October issue of their newsletter, The VOICE, is now available online. This month's issue features an interview with

Bemley Scholar Airrick Woolen Heads to Hood College

We are proud to report that one of our HSCC alumni is attending Hood College in Frederick, MD ... about an hour's drive from both Baltimore and Washington DC. BETF is processing scholarships payments for Airrick Woolen (Washington DC, HSCC Class of 2006-2007).

Airrick (tall young man in the center of the back row in the photo) was on the Washington DC team that took home the bronze medal at the 2006 national high school computer competition held in Los Angeles, CA. He came back the next year to anchor his team at the 2007 competition held a few weeks ago in Washington DC. Airrick will use the $2,500 Bemley Scholarship to help finance his effort to obtain a computer science degree from Hood College.

Our hope is that Airrick will learn about this posting and share a testimonial on his experience that we can use to grow the Bemley Scholarship fund. Please consider making a tax-deductible donation to the Bemley Scholarship Fund in recognition of the work put in by Airrick and other young people around the nation. Don't procrastinate ... click here and make a small donation today.

We are very proud of Airrick and the rest of the national competitors. Please take a moment to POST A COMMENT to Airrick or the volunteers, parents and chapter leaders that worked with him over the past two years to make this possible. Let's make the BETF-Blog an interactive experience!

Friday, October 5, 2007

HSCC Testimonial: Chris Johnson (1992-1993)

Chris Johnson is a long-time member of BDPA Dallas chapter. He joined BDPA as a high school student back in 1992. For the next two years he was a part of the Dallas chapter High School Computer Competition (HSCC) team that competed in Chicago (1992) and Kansas City (1993).

Today, Chris heads up the scholarship committee for the BDPA Education and Technology Foundation. He works on our effort to raise and administer a $2,000,000 scholarship endowment.

We asked Chris to share some of his memories as a HSCC alumni. He shared the following:

"When I was a student, R. Kelly was putting out his debut album and everyone wore Cross Colours. We programmed in GW-Basic. Yet, the spirit of the competition remains as strong today as it did back then. I have seen the program evolve to stay relevant, and yet maintain Dr. Bemley’s vision of a competition that provides exposure to technology and professionalism.

My most striking memory of the conference is being in the midst of so many professional, successful Black people at the gala in Detroit. I never saw a sight like it before. It gave me a sense of responsibility to further the progress of our people through technology. BDPA’s greatest asset is our ability to mentor our members, and the HSCC is one of our greatest mentoring tools to ensure the next generation is equipped and motivated to continue the legacy of empowering our community.

I received my college degree in Biomedical Engineering from Texas A-M University. I am currently the head of Information Security for D/FW International Airport. I have held several posts within BDPA (National Youth Technology Camp Coordinator, Dallas Chapter HSCC Coordinator and BETF Scholarship Committee Chairperson)."
Do any of y'all know Bro. Johnson? If so, would you care to share your 'village voice' on this BDPA Hall of Famer?

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Kevin Gates (Microsoft) * BDPA Epsilon Community Service Award

BDPA awarded the Epsilon Community Service Awards at the annual conference earlier this year. Kevin's winning nomination read as follows:
Helping change the world in the way Kevin aspires to is not easy. It takes a person who is creative, energetic, passionate and committed to his personal mission. It takes a person who has a strong understanding of his own personal values, as well as those necessary to be successful at a career in technology. Kevin is a shining example of such a person.

Starting as a line cook at 2 restaurants, Kevin began training at the now renowned I.C. Stars and began to tap into his considerable talent. He is now a respected Technology Architect at the Microsoft Technology Center Chicago. This incredible story in itself is not what makes Kevin an outstanding award recipient. To really understand how Kevin blends his zeal for technology with his passion for community, you need to look beyond his achievement at Microsoft.

He has given of himself through programming and hosting technology career seminars with Chicago Public School students; motivated Latino youth to develop their leadership skills at the Mirta Ramirez School, served as a mentor for Science Minor students at the Museum of Science and Industry; served as an advisor to both students and executives at I.C. Stars; and participated on the Advisory Boards for Banner Institute and Westwood College. There are several other community programs that Kevin touched and made better by his presence and individual effort.

Kevin inspires those in his community every single day, showing us that career and community leadership go hand-in-hand when it comes to building a society that moves forward together.
Care to share your testimonial about Kevin with us?

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

What's Hot In Information Technology Today? (Richmond)

BDPA Richmond chapter founded in August 1991 is now the 4th largest chapter in the nation. The chapter refuses to rest on their laurels as they host a 2007 Membership Drive later this month.

The main draw for this annual membership drive is Gene Scott. He is the Regional Sales Director for Virginia and West Virginia for Verizon Business. Gene is responsible for leading the efforts of a very strong veteran sales team in support of the $180 million revenue base for public sector solutions. Gene has over 26 years of proven complex information technology, operations and business development experience.

Gene is a retired U.S. Army Reserve Officer and holds a B.A. in Economics from Virginia Military Institute (distinguished military graduate), a B.S. in Information Systems/Computer Science and a MBA from the University of Maryland.

Gene agreed to answer the question, 'What's Hot in Information Technology?' for those in attendance on October 26. Gene is a dynamic speaker that will have you laughing and thinking about technology all at the same time. Come meet Gene as he talks about how technology affects everyone whether you are in Information Technology or not.

This event will also give our minority authors a chance to showcase their products and services. Come out and support them. Logistics for the meeting are as follows:

Friday, October 26, 2007 * 5:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.

Baptist General Convention of Virginia
1214 W Graham Rd; Richmond, VA 23220
(located across from Virginia Union University)

Admission is Free ~ Hors d’oeuvres will be served. Reach out to BDPA Richmond for more information by email ( or phone (804.751-5171).

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

High School Computer Competition (Detroit)

BDPA Detroit chapter founded in February 1981 is tied with New York chapter as the 2nd largest chapter in the nation. BDPA Detroit seeks to advance the careers of African Americans in the information technology (IT) industry 'from the classroom to the boardroom'.

The chapter hosts their annual High School Computer Competition (HSCC) Presentation later this month at Youthville Detroit. The BDPA HSCC program is a national program that brings teams from all corners of the United States to compete nationally for the crown of National Champions. BDPA Detroit chapter has provided training for this program for over 18 years resulting in 5 championships (1991, 1993, 1996, 2000 and another year that I don't have documented in my 'puter).

Anthony Garrett-Leverett is the president of the chapter. Bro. Anthony says,
"For the 2007-2008 year, I am proud to announce that our partners and sponsors include the Detroit Public School District, Compuware Corporation, EDS, The Detroit Lions Retired Players Charities, and the Detroit Youth Foundation. It is my opinion that our program is the best program geared toward steering young adults into the IT profession in Southeast Michigan.

We provide Web Development training that is comparable to the same training they may receive in college. The program is free, and we need your help by spreading the word to your students or organization, and becoming involved with our program."
The BDPA Detroit program meeting logistics are as follows:

Date/Time: October 11th, 2007 at 7:00 pm
Location: Youthville Detroit, 7375 Woodward, Detroit, MI 48202
Free Parking at the Lothrop Parking garage with Validation from front-desk

If you are interested in finding out how you, your students, or organization can become part of this wonderful program, you can contact Bro. Anthony by phone (248.981-7390) or email (

Do we have any Detroit chapter members wishing to share their thoughts? Also, do any of you know the fifth championship year for the Detroit chapter?

Monday, October 1, 2007

Top Ten Black Blogs (Oct 2007)

We reviewed 73 Black blogs last month. Based on that review we audaciously published our list of the Top Black Blogs in September. Our list this month includes almost 300 blogs from across the diaspora. One impact is that the blogs at the top of the list are much different in October than we had them listed last month.

The only qualification is that the blogger needs to be of African descent. The blogger does not have to be a member of The AfroSpear or the Afrosphere Bloggers Association. Of course, we invite all Black bloggers to join either (or both) of those fledging organizations. These Top Ten Black Blogs are influential role models for the rest of us out here in the afrosphere.

The Technorati authority and rank numbers are shown in parenthesis. The authority indicates the number of blogs that are linked to this blogger over the past six months. The rank number indicates how many blogs are between the person listed and the #1 ranked blog in the world. Here are the Top Ten Black Blogs for October 2007.

  1. Pam Spaulding: Pam's House Blend (Authority: 1,097 / Rank: 1,953) - The blog won the 2006 Web Log Award as the Best LGBT Blog. Pam has an opinion about most anything in the political realm.

  2. Angel Laws: Concrete Loop (Authority: 1,041 / Rank: 2,145) - This is a black celebrity entertainment blog with gossip, music, celebrity interviews, pictures and such.

  3. Natasha E: Young, Black & Fabulous (Authority: 930 / Rank: 2,570) - Natasha provides you with all the hot gossip in Black Hollywood. Her blog focuses on the fabulous side of Black pop culture, trends and music ... all from a young, Black, and fabulous perspective of course.

  4. Oliver Willis: Oliver Willis (Authority: 890 / Rank: 2,745) - Oliver began this blog in April 2005. His tag linke says that he is kryptonite to stupid. He posts regularly on politics.

  5. Paula Mooney: Paula Mooney’s Tips (Authority: 822 / Rank: 4,001) - Paula is a powerful source of ideas for any blogger looking to increase their visitor traffic. She is very enthusiastic about the power of blogging. She works on blogs with both her husband and her father and she was recently a featured speaker at BlogHer in Chicago, IL.

  6. Fresh Crunkjuice: Crunk & Disorderly (Authority: 788 / Rank: 3,331) - This blog was created in August 2004, however, it didn't get serious until May 2005. This is an active entertainment blog.

  7. Sokari Ekine: Black Looks (581/ 5,328) - This blog began in June 2004. It is primarily about issues that impact our brothers and sisters in Africa. Sokari is currently in South Africa. Her posts cover a range of issues such as gender violence, racism, sexuality, HIV/AIDS and cancer. Black Looks is not for lightweights!

  8. Darla Mack: Darla Mack News & Reviews (503 / 7,027) - Darla is a sister with a technology blog that has a unique niche of Nokia devices, S60, Nseries, Eseries and Symbian. She focuses on mobile technology and nokia phone reviews.

  9. Terrance Heath: Republic of T (489 / 7,321) - Terrance lays it out for you. His blog reflects his life experiences as a Black, gay, liberal, buddhist, vegetarian dad.

  10. Patrice Yursik: Afro Bella (398 / 9,487) - Patrice is a reformed tomboy from Trinidad. Her blog is dedicated to product reviews, ruminations about style, and interviews with women all shades of beautiful. Expect honest opinions about products, advertising, and entertainment specifically targeted to African American and Caribbean women.

HONORABLE MENTION (11-25): How To Split An Atom, Taking Place, Entre les Lignes de Jo Ann, Keith Boynkin, Sandra Rose,, Truth & Opinion, The Angry Black Woman, What About Our Daughters, Where The Hell Am I?, Rod 2.0:Beta, Angry Black Bitch, The Field Negro and Stereotyped.

Our rankings lean heavily on the Technorati Authority and Rank score for each blog. We figure that if your content is strong enough for others to link to ... that is a strong indicator of your influence. I am very open to hearing from you on other factors that should be considered in future monthly Top Ten Black Blogs listings.

You can post a message below if you want to know the ranking of your blog or find out if we have a listing for a Black blog or blogger that you respect. If our list grew 4-fold in the first month, we know it can continue to grow as we move forward.