Obama Orders federal agencies to cut back on mobile devices, vehicles, and printing


President Obama has signed an Executive Order to cut how much government agencies spend on technology devices, printing, swag, and vehicles by 20 percent. This new Order builds on the “Campaign to Cut Waste” that the President stated back in June. According to a White House press release, this campaign has already saved about $3.5 billion in real estate costs and $5 billion on “no bid contract” spending. Obama’s goals for technology saving are quite ambitious as well. Federal agencies will have 45 days to come up with a plan that will reduce their costs by 20 percent by 2013. 

Here are some of the ways Obama’s staff are suggesting agencies cut costs:

  • Lower spending on travel and conferences: By utilizing teleconferencing, webinars, and other forms of communication (we suggest Google Hangouts), the IRS will cut its travel budget by 27 percent in 2012. Other agencies will have to make similar cuts. 
  • Get rid of duplicate and unnecessary cell phones, smartphones, laptops, tablets, and PCs: Apparently, many agencies purchase devices but then never use them. The Order forces agencies to limit the number of devices employees have to only those they absolutely need. The Department of Commerce is cutting 2,648 wireless lines, for example.
  • Stop printing so much: The plan is to put more information online and not print things that are available online unless it is absolutely necessary. For example, the Department of the Treasury expects to save $500 million over five years and 12 million pounds of paper by increasing paperless transactions. 
  • Use less vehicles: Agencies need to improve the efficiency of the Federal vehicle fleet. The Department of Commerce plans to cut the number of vehicles and drivers it has to save as much as $100,000 per year. For reference, the Federal Government spends $9 million each year on transportation around Washington DC alone. 
  • Cut the swag: Agencies need to stop ordering so many promotional items like mugs, pens, and non-work related gadgets that have their logo on it. The Department of the Treasury has taken a lead in this, issuing a directive to avoid purchasing any frivolous or unnecessary items. It’s sad that this has to be a directive.

This is a good first step in reducing the inefficiencies that have built up in the U.S. Gov’t, but it definitely won’t be enough in the long term. Hopefully, further steps will be taken to cut back on spending and reorganize the bureaucratic nightmare that is our federal government.

(Image via Chicago Sun-Times)

Emerging Tech

Michigan’s former transportation chief has some advice for wannabe smart cities

After 31 years as Michigan’s transportation director, Kirk Steudle has seen it all, particularly with smart city projects. He spoke with Digital Trends recently about what makes smart cities work, and offers advice along the way.
Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: 1-handed drone control, a pot that stirs itself

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!

These 30 Amazon Coupons can help you save on the things you need

Did you know there are thousands of Amazon Coupons and promo codes that you can take advantage of? We found coupons for everything from tech to everyday products. Find out what savings you've been missing out on.

Get your Sagan on with 60 awe-inspiring photos of the final frontier

Few things instill a sense of wonder quite like the final frontier. The best space photos show off the beauty of Earth, our solar system, and the far corners of the universe. Here are our current favorites.

A dead pixel doesn't mean a dead display. Here's how to repair it

Dead pixel got you down? We don't blame you. Check out our guide on how to fix a dead pixel and save yourself that costly screen replacement, or an unwanted trip to your local repair shop.

Great PC speakers don't need to break the bank. These are our favorites

Not sure which PC speakers work best with your computer? Here are the best computer speakers on the market, whether you're working with a tight budget or looking to rattle your workstation with top-of-the-line audio components.

Printing to PDF in Windows is easy, no matter which method you use

Microsoft's latest operating system makes it easier than ever to print to PDF in Windows, but there are alternative methods for doing so, even if you want to forgo Adobe Acrobat. Here's how.

These are the 5 best free antivirus apps to protect your MacBook

Malware protection is more important than ever, even if you eschew Windows in favor of Apple's desktop platform. Thankfully, protecting your machine is as easy as picking from the best free antivirus apps for Mac suites.

These laptop bags will keep your notebook secure wherever you go

Choosing the right laptop bag is no easy feat -- after all, no one likes to second-guess themselves. Here are some of the best laptop bags on the market, from backpacks to sleeves, so you can get it right the first time around.

These Windows 10 keyboard shortcuts will update your OG Windows skills

Windows 10 has many new features, and they come flanked with useful new keyboard shortcuts. Check out some of the new Windows 10 keyboard shortcuts to improve your user experience.

Protecting your PDF with a password isn't difficult. Just follow these steps

If you need to learn how to password protect a PDF, you have come to the right place. This guide will walk you through the process of protecting your documents step-by-step, whether you're running a MacOS or Windows machine.

Don't know what to do with all your old DVDs? Here's how to convert them to MP4

Given today's rapid technological advancements, physical discs are quickly becoming a thing of the past. Check out our guide on how to convert a DVD to MP4, so you can ditch discs for digital files.

Here’s how to install Windows on a Chromebook

If you want to push the functionality of your new Chromebook to another level, and Linux isn't really your deal, you can try installing Windows on a Chromebook. Here's how to do so, just in case you're looking to nab some Windows-only…

Black Friday 2018: The best deals so far

Black Friday is the biggest shopping holiday of the year, and it will be here before you know it. If you can't wait until November 23 to start formulating a shopping plan, we've got you covered.