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Archive for September 10th, 2008

DorobekInsider: Increasingly impressed by the NASA Goddard CIO

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OK — I have to admit that when I first saw Linda Cureton, now the chief information officer at the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, I wasn’t that impressed. This was years ago, but she is now the reason that I just don’t trust first impressions. In her case, my first impression was just completely wrong. Cureton is a force in the government CIO community.

I have been increasingly impressed with Cureton over the years. In addition to being a passionate about her family — if you speak with her, you will her about her mother — but Cureton has grown into a strong and confident. She can occationally be controversial, but she is adept at building teams and consensus — and then presses forward with what she believes is the right decision. (Tomorrow, I will give you some addition insights about how Cureton has had a direct impact on the government IT community.)

Want an insight into her passion for her team. Read her most recent blog post:

Will They Cheer For You?

Today, I attended the Robert H. Goddard Memorial Awards Ceremony. It honors the Goddard Space Flight Center workforce for their dedication to many vital areas, including leadership, management, science, engineering, mission support, and customer service.

The Management Award recognizes managers, supervisors, and organizational team leaders who, while providing day-to-day direction to work units, demonstrate through their management behavior, style, and approach, exceptional levels of achievement that creates a positive and productive work environment for their employees. GarciaBlount was recognized today for exemplary management and leadership qualities that make his Branch, Code 547, and Goddard, a technology leader in manufacturing support.

When his name was called, six people, obviously from his team, let out a tremendous and loud cheer that pierced my heart and touched my soul today. There were six sitting next to each other. They had to have come together, early in fact, to get adjacent seats in the crowded auditorium. They all had cameras, screaming and cheering as they called his name. Their excitement touched me. The frantic clicks of their cameras matched the tempo of what must have been their pounding of their hearts. And I heard it. I didn’t know Garcia, but I thought he must be one heck of a leader….

Continue reading her post here

Written by cdorobek

September 10, 2008 at 11:27 PM

DorobekInsider.com: CJD’s brush with greatness… e-book edition

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Amazon.com Kindle eBook

This past weekend, before starting the new gig on Federal News Radio, we traveled out to this very nice resort in Tuscon, AZ for a few days of R&R before jumping in to the new job.

As I was wallowing in the pool, I saw a gentleman reading a Kindle. The Kindle, for those of you who have not seen it, is Amazon.com’s e-book. As a gadget guy, of course, I was one of the first in line late last year when it was introduced… just before the holiday season, of course.

So, I saw this guy reading the Kindle. I asked him, ‘So, do you like your Kindle?’

‘Of course,’ he said. ‘Do you have one?’

‘Yes,’ I answered. ‘I love it.’ I then went on to give him my review of the Kindle. I do, after all, adore my Kindle. That being said, I do have some recommendations. (More on that in a moment.) I told this person my critiques and then told him that I understood that some of them might be in Kindle 2.0 because I had read that Amazon was preparing to come out with a next generation of Kindle — Kindle 2.0, if you will.

Minutes later, from the other side of the pool, I thought to myself… that person looks a lot like Jeff Bezos, the CEO of Amazon.com. (Famous people like Bezos don’t have “Fortune” across their foreheads when you see them out in the ‘real’ world.) And, when I got back to my room, I Google’s Bezo’s wife, figuring that there may be many people who may look like Bezos, but the chance of seeing a man who looks like Bezos with a woman who looks like his wife is right there between slim and none.

And, as you may be able to predict by now, in fact, I did tell Amazon.com CEO Jeff Bezos my thoughts about the Amazon.com Kindle.

So… back to my own review of the Kindle. (I have pulled other reviews about the Kindle together here.) It is unclear about how successful the Kindle has been, there is no doubt that it is a significant step in how we will view ‘paper’ in the future.

As I said, I am a gadget guy. Yes, I have an iPhone, which I adore, despite the short battery life… and I will get the latest iPod when it comes out. What can I say — I love to be on the bleeding edge. And so when Amazon.com introduced the Kindle e-book late last year, as a regular and long-time Amazon.com user, I was in line.

Over the nine months that I have had my Kindle, I have a number of friends who immediately say, ‘Argh! It’s not a book! This official marks the end of civilization as we know it!’ (OK — they may not use that exact language, but… it’s not far from it.)

That is generally true — until they see it. People largely expect it to be like reading a computer screen. It is nowhere close. It is simply a pleasure to read. (Don’t you wish you could increase the point size of some books? Well, you can with a Kindle.)

I have to say that I have come to really adore my Kindle.

As a regular traveler and a regular reader, I can carry scores of books — and get my beloved newspapers — on my Kindle. Currently, I have some 45 books on theeBook. Each day, I also get the NYT, WSJ, WP and Slate.com — all delivered electronically.

There are some frustrations. As I told Jeff — yes, we’re THAT close now — I think the on-off switch, which is located on the back of the device, is poorly placed. The holder for the Kindle is also clumsy. And the Kindle isn’t as elegant as it should be. (We’ve all gotten used to Apple’s designs.) And I have grown frustrated with publications, such as the WP, that only provide headlines, requiring that you click through to stories to get more information. (TheNYT offers a paragraph that provides you with more information about the story.)

I also have friends who complain that there just aren’t enough books that are Kindle ready. (To be honest, I just have not found this to be a problem yet.)

So the Kindle isn’t perfect, but… it is simply remarkable. As somebody who loves to read and loves newspapers and magazine, I can carry loads of them with me all in a trim package. I no longer have to worry about where I’ll be able to find my morning papers. I know — I’ll get them delivered right on my Kindle. And it is imminently easy to read a Kindle “page.” The device uses something called electronic “ink,” which is as easy to read as a book.

You can also load your own documents on to your Kindle either by e-mailing them to a specific Web site or by using the connection that comes with your device. (Imagine being able to carry all that reading material right on your Kindle without having to carry around all that paper.)

So, over all, I give my Kindle a strong B+ rating… and I’m anxiously awaiting the Kindle 2.0. (I’m sure Jeff is sending me one!)
Update: I got a note Thursday morning from a friend who also has a Kindle. His critique:

As you know, I agree with you completely. Here are a few faults you didn’t mention: if you want to “flip back” or go forward to re-read or read a page you have to do it page by page; a real time-waster and a pain in the ass. The Next Page and Back “buttons” could be placed more sensibly, especially Back.

I find I’m reading more (and I’m a voracious reader) as I’m never without the Kindle and use it almost every spare moment.

Written by cdorobek

September 10, 2008 at 11:00 PM