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.

FCW in Print

In the latest issue: Looking back on three decades of big stories in federal IT.


  • Anne Rung -- Commerce Department Photo

    Exit interview with Anne Rung

    The government's departing top acquisition official said she leaves behind a solid foundation on which to build more effective and efficient federal IT.

  • Charles Phalen

    Administration appoints first head of NBIB

    The National Background Investigations Bureau announced the appointment of its first director as the agency prepares to take over processing government background checks.

  • Sen. James Lankford (R-Okla.)

    Senator: Rigid hiring process pushes millennials from federal work

    Sen. James Lankford (R-Okla.) said agencies are missing out on younger workers because of the government's rigidity, particularly its protracted hiring process.

  • FCW @ 30 GPS

    FCW @ 30

    Since 1987, FCW has covered it all -- the major contracts, the disruptive technologies, the picayune scandals and the many, many people who make federal IT function. Here's a look back at six of the most significant stories.

  • Shutterstock image.

    A 'minibus' appropriations package could be in the cards

    A short-term funding bill is expected by Sept. 30 to keep the federal government operating through early December, but after that the options get more complicated.

  • Defense Secretary Ash Carter speaks at the TechCrunch Disrupt conference in San Francisco

    DOD launches new tech hub in Austin

    The DOD is opening a new Defense Innovation Unit Experimental office in Austin, Texas, while Congress debates legislation that could defund DIUx.

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