Pointers

Recommended Reading for Feb. 23

An information stimulus?
Source: The Power of Information Taskforce

The United Kingdom's Power of Information Taskforce has published its recommendations for improving how government agencies deliver information and services online.

Among other ideas, the task force suggested that the government develop an online forum through which civil servants could collaborate with the public on new applications. The task force tested such a forum in the course of its research.

The report also recommends that agencies that deliver services online should set aside 10 percent of their combined budgets for an innovation fund that a new director of digital engagement could manage.

Task force members recognized that some of their ideas represent a significant departure from the way government employees are accustomed to working and therefore recommended training employees in civic engagement.

Twitter do's and don’ts
Source: CIO.com

Here's a question Miss Manners has probably never received: If someone follows me on Twitter, should I feel compelled to reciprocate?

The answer is no, at least according to the etiquette mavens at CIO.com. The best approach is to "follow people who share your interests or whose tweets you find meaningful or compelling," they write. It's also acceptable to stop following people whose Twitter feeds no longer interest you. There's no need to send a handwritten note explaining your reasoning.

Social-media experts also recommend that when you start a Twitter account, you should let your followers know whom you represent, if anyone, and what you plan to write about. It's bad form to start a feed that appears to be personal when, in fact, you are doing it on behalf of an employer.

The cloud-computing research agenda
Source: Network World

Researchers at the University of California at Berkeley have outlined the 10 top technical concerns associated with cloud computing.

One of them is scalability. Many proponents tout the technology’s ability to quickly allocate additional resources to handle demanding applications. But researchers say it is just as important to develop applications that scale down quickly "to satisfy the needs of customers who resort to cloud computing to meet short-term needs," Network World's Bob Brown wrote.

The researchers also encourage service providers to offer pay-as-you-go licensing, which will make cloud computing more appealing to customers whose demand for services varies over time. Other concerns include data confidentiality and the ability to audit data, data transfer bottlenecks and unpredictable performance.

The researchers work at a laboratory funded by numerous technology companies, including Google, IBM, Microsoft and Sun Microsystems, according to Network World.

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