The buzz factor

These were the most-read stories on FCW.com during the past two weeks.

1. Can DOD really defeat PowerPoint?
Summary: Top military leaders criticize Microsoft's presentation software for encouraging shallow thinking and oversimplification.
Outlook: PowerPoint might be as overused as its critics say, but as this next slide shows....

2. Treasury shuts down 4 cloud-hosted Web sites after infection
Summary: Treasury disconnected the sites after a security analyst discovered malicious code that affects them.
Outlook: The news could further undermine agency leaders' trust in cloud computing.

3. Senior Executive Service candidates worry about pay, work/family balance
Summary: A survey revealed that many feds at the top of the General Schedule scale are reluctant to take the next step.
Outlook: Will agencies work to address candidates' concerns about the effect of a promotion on family life?

4. GSA wants $24.9M for acquisition workforce
Summary: The agency is developing a fund to help fill gaps in other agencies' acquisition expertise.
Outlook: A promising new approach to a longstanding problem.

5. Obama moves on small-business contracting
Summary: The president created two task forces to look for ways to steer more contracts to small companies.
Outlook: The move could reignite the debate over how much advantage small businesses are entitled to. ( Related story, Page 34)

6. Encryption may end flash drives' exile for good
Summary: Companies are developing storage devices tailored to meet stringent government data protection requirements.
Outlook: Look for agencies that previously banned the devices to allow their use — with strict oversight.

7. Kundra, Chopra say most open-government plans need more work
Summary: Agencies submitted the required open-government plans by the appointed deadline, but many were inadequate in the eyes of Obama's top IT leaders.
Outlook: As agencies revise their plans, the real test will be how successful they are at translating them into action.

8. Outsourcing has gone too far, official says
Summary: OFPP Administrator Daniel Gordon says the outsourcing of government work has reached unprecedented levels.
Outlook: The Obama administration is trying to return as much work as possible to government employees, and Gordon's rhetoric is part of its strategy.

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