Wednesday, July 29, 2015

'Open' Government Software Tools and Web Sites for South Carolina

Think of all the things state and local governments do today. They collect water bills, run public libraries, manage court systems, operate police department, field emergency response teams, provide public health services, fix roads, and so much more.

Collaborative development efforts to create innovative, free and 'open source' software (FOSS) tools, applications, and other solutions for use by governments at all levels are well underway. These innovative 'Open Government' solutions are being released under one or more open source license arrangements that allow both public and private institutions to acquire and use these tools at little or no cost. This has tremendous potential consequences for government organizations around the world that face funding challenges.

The following are just a few selected 'Open' Government web sites, software tools, and mobile apps South Carolina officials and citizens should seriously consider exploring:

'OpenGov' Web Sites

'OpenGov' Software

Generic 'Open Source' Software & Tools

Mobile Apps

* Other potential free and open source software solutions (FOSS) for state and local governments to use can be found on COSI Open Education, COSI Open Health, and other COSI Open Solutions web sites. You might also want to check out TED Talks: On Innovation & the Power of Cities

If you have other 'Open' Government web sites or software tools you would recommend, please share the links to them with our readers.

* Check out the Summerton SC: 'Open' Technology web site.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Free Online Systems for Healthcare Consumers in South Carolina

Need to enroll in Medicare or Medicaid? A family member has cancer? Looking for a good, affordable hospital near you? Looking up treatment for a particular disease?

Healthcare consumers today ought to be taking advantage of the many free, online health information web sites and tools that are now available. Unfortunately, many people still don't know what online resources are available.

What are some of the best free and online health information web sites that you ought to consider checking out? The following list consists of just a few selected federal, state, and non-government web sites that you might find useful:

South Carolina Health Information Web Sites

Federal Government Health Information Web Sites

Non-Government Organization (NGO) Web Sites

If you have another favourite free and online Health Information web site you would like to recommend, please share the link with our readers.

* Also, check out the Summerton SC: 'Open' Technology web site.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Local Author and Editor of the Summerton Weekly News

In addition to being the founder and editor of the Summerton Weekly News, a retired government executive, former professor, and local Summerton resident, Peter Groen is also a co-author of three textbooks on health information technology. He is also a contributing author of several other textbooks on health informatics.

Peter Groen has also written over 100 articles in the past decade on health informatics and 'open' health information solutions that have been published in a wide range of academic journals and various trade magazines. His focus is usually on emerging technologies and the future of information technologies (IT) and healthcare.

Check out the links to some of his most recent articles posted on the Collaboration, Open Solutions & Innovation (COSI) in Healthcare web site. For more specifics, go to

Peter keeps a low profile now that he is semi-retired and living just outside the town of Summerton next to the shores of beautiful Lake Marion in South Carolina. When not on his boat, he still operates a small non-profit organization called COSITech.Net, edits and publishes the Summerton Weekly News, and helps develop videos, social media, and web sites for local organizations in the area. Some of these include:

Peter is a Clemson University graduate who married a local Sumter girl 43 years ago. Unfortunately, his wife Kathy attended the University of South Carolina. Their oldest daughter also graduated from Carolina. This makes for an interesting inter-family rivalry every year in November when the 'big' game comes around.

Please take the time to visit the free, online Summerton Weekly News site and share the link with others in the area that you think might be interested in it.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Manned Inter-Planetary Space Travel Now Becoming a Reality

It appears manned inter-planetary space travel within our solar system is now becoming a reality. The world has been sending unmanned spacecraft and space probes to other planets and bodies within our solar system for several decades. This doesn't mean I may live to see it, but my kids and grandkids will.

You know its going to happen as the list of countries with space programs continues to grow, e.g. U.S., Europe, Russia, China, India, Japan... Meanwhile, numerous private companies are also pushing and shoving to get into the race to conquer space, e.g. SpaceX, Boeing, Virgin Galactic, Google, Northrop...

* See Manned Spacecraft versus Unmanned Spacecraft Missions

Reading the latest NASA news briefs, we know that they are developing the most advanced rocket and spacecraft ever designed for the manned Mission to Mars, planned for sometime before the end of the next decade. Read more about NASA's Orion spacecraft that will carry four astronauts and provide an entirely new national capability for human exploration beyond Earth's orbit.

Just this past week, the BBC reported that the European Space Agency is actively discussing building a village on the moon. China is also actively moving forward with their lunar exploration program. Russia, India, and others are also planning other ventures that are sure to be unveiled in the near future.

As I've written before, we are currently in the process of transitioning from a Type 0 Civilization to a Type 1 Civilization. Some of the characteristics of a Type 1 Civilization include the capability of interplanetary spaceflight, interplanetary communication, and interplanetary colonization. For more detail, on the future of civilations, read Redefining Our Purpose as Civilization Keeps Evolving

Again, the race is now on to launch manned inter-planetary space missions and begin the first phase of a long process to colonize the planets in our Solar System. There's going to be some exciting times ahead for our children and grandchildren.

The planets of our Solar System currently include:

* For more on Space Exploration, visit Wikipedia or do your own more extensive search on the Internet. You might also want to read some of the latest news articles on Human Spaceflight at

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Next Generation 'Smart' Technology Kayaks

The other day as I was sitting on the shore looking at beautiful Lake Marion near Summerton, S.C., and a light-bulb went off. I had come up with another brilliant idea - a 'smart' technology kayak. A quick search of the Internet, however, found that others had already started following that same train of thought and work is well underway on a variety of components that will eventually be integrated into the 'smart' kayak of the future.

For example, 'smart' technologies slowly being integrated into today's kayaks or canoes already include:

After reading about these current examples of 1st generation 'smart' technology for kayaks and canoes, I started looking ahead to next generation solutions. For example, I can see the many new potential enhancements people are going to come up with in the coming years for their kayaks such as:
  • Imagine your next generation solar powered kayak that drives a complete array of 'smart' devices, e.g. electric motor, GPS, depth finder, etc.
  • Imagine your next generation portable 3D-printed kayak made of ultra-lightweight nano-carbon materials. Easily powered by 'smart' paddles, pedals, sails, or solar powered electric motors.
  • Imagine a hi-tech console that integrates, analyzes, and displays information from all your on-board 'smart' devices, including a computer and entertainment system with wi-fi, satellite, bluetooth ...
  • Imagine riding in your next generation autonomous driven kayak that will take you safely where you want to go on long trips.
  • Imagine if your 'Smart' Kayak could send you a text message or call you on your phone while you were back in your home or at your campsite getting ready for your next kayaking adventure.
  • Imagine using your 'smart' watch interfaced via wi-fi or bluetooth technology so you can control your kayak via your next generation wearable systems.
  • Imagine using your 'smart' fishing rod to ...

Many of these features are already showing up in the latest kayaks now in showrooms. See

By now it should be obvious I'm not exactly an avid, experienced kayaker and may not really know what I'm talking about. But for those who are, think about what you would want your 'smart' kayak or canoe to do for you in the future and share your thoughts with our readers. The possibilities are almost endless once you start thinking it through.

Hobie Kayak

For more information on 'smart' technologies for kayaks and canoes, see the following YouTube videos:

* When planning your next kayak or canoe outing, think about coming to Lake Marion in South Carolina. For more detail, visit the Summerton SC: Nature & Outdoor Recreation web site.