Recommended Reading for Feb. 9

The case against cloud computing

Source: CIO

Technology consultant Bernard Golden begins a series of blog posts that discuss the most common arguments he has heard against the concept of cloud computing.

In cloud computing, an application runs on the technology infrastructure owned and maintained by an outside party, but appears to the user to run locally. However, as Golden explains in this first post, some would-be customers lose interest in the idea once they see how difficult it is to move their applications from internal networks to the cloud.

Meanwhile, Golden fully expects to see the emergence of cloud migration tools to address this problem. "On balance, the lack of a convenient migration path for existing applications is going to hinder cloud computing adoption, but doesn't represent a permanent barrier," he writes.

Future posts will address concerns about the difficulty of developing service-level agreements around cloud applications and the problems with managing those applications.

Brainstorming loses favor

Source: Lateral Action

Management consultant Mark McGuinness reports that many corporate executives have lost interest in, and patience with, the brainstorming fad — and with good reason.

For example, researchers have confirmed what many executives have suspected: Brainstorming sessions generally produce fewer good ideas than individuals working on their own. Also, free-wheeling, the-sky's-the-limit brainstorming tends to generate fewer useful ideas than groups working with specific criteria, McGuinness reports.

"A common source of frustration for professionals is having to sit through brainstorming sessions in which other people generate a stream of ideas that ’simply won’t work,' " he writes. "Sometimes the subject experts have tried the ideas before, sometimes they just have technical knowledge that allows them to see why the ideas will never work. But because of the rules of brainstorming, they aren’t allowed to say so, as they will be labeled ‘idea killers.' "

The inauguration, up close and personal

Source: Scientific American

A New York photographer used technology developed by NASA to assemble a panoramic shot that shows the crowd at last month's inauguration in stunning detail.

The online picture, taken with a GigaPan robotic camera, is a composite of 220 individual photographs, adding up to more than a billion pixels. The technology is similar to the swiveling camera used on the Mars rovers, Scientific American reports.

What do you get for all those pixels? The ability to zoom in on individuals faces in the crowds. For example, as Scientific American points out, the photo shows cellist Yo-Yo Ma taking a photo using his iPhone. At least we think it's Yo-Yo Ma. It might be a stand-in, since the world renown had recorded his music several days earlier.

In any case, check it for yourself. It must be seen to be believed.

Lessons from the freckled CIO

Source: Goddard CIO blog

Linda Cureton, chief information officer at NASA Goddard, shares some lessons she learned about being a good CIO from her mother.

For example, the blogger remembers being 4 years old and trying to take flight on her tricycle. Her mother comforted her by saying that she could learn to fly, just not on the bike. The lesson? Believe you can fly.

"As a leader, sometimes, you have to have a big vision for what might seem to be the impossible. And you’ve got to believe it to achieve it," Cureton writes. "I know this, because my mother told me."

Other lessons: "You made your bed, now lie in it" (i.e., "As a CIO leader, I have to be accountable to that which is entrusted to me") and "Sometimes you have to be with a group, but not of a group" (in short, "Leadership is lonely").

Cureton reports that she also learned to love the freckles she inherited from her mother.

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