IT/Web: April 2012 Archives

Keith's note: One night in January I got frustrated trying to find something on NASA's Human Spaceflight website(s). So, I decided to map them. As you can see from this chart (enlarge), NASA's HSF web presence - like much of NASA's sprawling cyber infrastructure - is an unorganized mess. Yet despite this convoluted web structure, people often manage to find things simply because a lot of what NASA does is so compellingly cool. People find this stuff despite the convoluted and confused way that NASA organizes things (Google).

As I have already noted, most missions at NASA have two, often three (or more) official websites and web addresses. The websites are often out of synch with each other and yet also duplicative - at the same time. NASA also has multiple entry points for the same topic, dead ends, and pages that reflect programs that are dead. I sent this chart over to NASA. They agreed: its a mess. 5 months later. No change. So I thought I'd share it with y'all.

NASA's Inability To Speak With One Voice Online, earlier post

International Space Apps Challenge Is Happening This Weekend

"The International Space Apps Challenge will take place this weekend, April 21-22, 2012. Nearly 2,000 people are registered to attend in 24 cities around the world. NASA is working with 8 other government agencies and over 100 organizations world wide to host the two-day technology development event. Solutions to over 60 challenges related to open source software, open hardware, citizen science platforms, and data visualization will be worked on throughout the event, including an opportunity to launch your code to space on NASA's phonesat!"

NASA Internal Memo: Spacebook Being Decommissioned

"On June 1 Spacebook, NASA's social network site, will be decommissioned. All data will be archived and all user accounts will be closed. Spacebook was implemented in 2009 as a social network for civil servants and contractors to collaborate and share information. Unfortunately participation has not been as high as anticipated. On average, only 14 users log on per weekday and zero on the weekends. There are alternate internal social media tools, such as Yammer..."

Keith's note: Another reinvented wheel that needed to be uninvented. I can only imagine what they spent to create and maintain this bad copy of Facebook.

NASA Releases New Open Government Plan

"NASA today released version 2.0 of its Open Government Plan, which includes a flagship initiative to build a new web architecture and a renewed focus on open data sharing, open source development and a variety of technology acceleration efforts. The plan also features a directory of more than 100 participatory, collaborative and transparent projects, offering citizens opportunities to understand, support and engage with the agency. Throughout the next year, NASA will continue to add projects to the directory."

NASA Memorandum for the Record: Protection of Sensitive Agency Information

"This memorandum reinforces NASA policy regarding the protection of Sensitive but Unclassified (SBU) information. The memorandum applies to all Centers, Mission Directorates and their supporting commercial contractors that process NASA information. Individuals responsible for handling SBU information should be cognizant of the requirements outlined within this memorandum to ensure the protection of all SBU data."

- Stolen KSC Laptop Has Employee Personal Info On It (Update), earlier post
- NASA IT Security is a Mess - Stolen Laptops and Hacking JPL, earlier post

The Secret History of OpenStack, the Free Cloud Software That's Changing Everything, Wired

"So [Federal CIO Vivek] Kundra summoned Chris Kemp to the White House, and he eventually used NASA Nebula to launch -- a site that shared the government's spending with the world at large -- while drawing up plans to expand the platform to other agencies as well. The problem was that certain U.S. lawmakers and NASA bureaucrats were intent on killing the project. Chief among them was Senator Richard Shelby, the chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, according to Kemp. Shelby's office didn't respond to an inquiry from Wired, but Kemp says that the senator saw Nebula as a jobs-killer. "Whenever I would talk in Washington about this cloud technology enabling data centers to run without people, this was interpreted as jobs going away," Kemp says. "There was a serious political challenge to the project...and I was called before the NASA administrator -- of the whole agency -- to explain it."



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