Archive for the ‘iPhone’ Category
You won’t find me waiting in line today at the Apple store for an iPad mini.
I know many of my friends and colleagues expected I would be there, if not today waiting in line, then shortly thereafter.
Boy, do I have a surprise for them.
I’m not going to buy an iPad mini.
I bought the 5th gen iPod touch instead.
That might seem like crazy talk coming from me, but after lugging electronic devices on my back and around the globe for a number of years, I’ve concluded smaller is better, at least for me.
I had the first gen iPod touch, probably my first completely “portable” mini-computer, and I loved it so.
I tried to revive it recently, and of course it seems dog slow now, and a number of the apps couldn’t be upgraded.
But when I thought about those things I really used that device for most — reading, email/calendaring on the road, watching news/videos, playing games — the iPod touch 5th gen just seemed like a much more suitable device for me.
There are some key differences between it and the iPad mini. First, the mini is bigger (7.9 inches), no doubt. So if screen size is key to you, then you certainly have to take that into account.
Remember, for me, smaller was better.
Second, the touch has the same processor as the mini, the A5, and having tested it out in the store, it was plenty fast for the things I wanted to do.
Third, though the screen is smaller on the touch, it IS a retina display, which has to be the most gorgeous screen you’ve ever seen. So, even though smaller is better for me, it’s also crisper in terms of what’s presented on the screen.
And, it fits easily in a coat pocket, back pocket, pretty much anywhere.
And because it supports Bluetooth 4.0, I can easily attach a foldable or remote Bluetooth keyboard and set to work on some serious business right there on the airplane tray without the hassle of someone slamming into it with their seat back, which has happened to me with laptops and a first gen iPad more times than I care to count.
As far as set up is concerned, now that I’m using iCloud, it’s about as simple as you can get. After an initial set up, I synched up with my iCloud account and most all my apps moved over no problemo. I did have to re-enter many of the account IDs/passwords for things like newspaper subscriptions, etc., but if that’s all the trouble I was going to have, no worries.
As for the 5th gen touch, I’ll just say its ridiculously light (so much so I’m afraid I might break the thing, and I’ll be looking for a solid hardshell case like an Otter just in case!), the display is gorgeous (although I haven’t yet played any games), and faster than greased lightning. The battery life is expected to be some 7-8 hours running video, so I have no worries about it fulilling my needs while traveling (maybe save for LONG international flights).
I explain all this because the best device is the one most suited to YOUR individual use case.
Think long and hard about what you want and need to do with the thing, then go survey the market and find the right device.
The latest and greatest new new thing like the iPad mini is always fun, but you want to make sure it fits the bill before you hand over any of your own to pay for the thing.
BLOGGER UPDATE: File this one under the “As If Anyone Will Really Notice” Category, Jimmy Kimmel on Apple’s New, New Thing (Thx, Hans!)
So I followed some of the liveblogging for the Apple announcements earlier today, with the Apple iPhone 5 being the headline announcement.
I hope to later go back and watch the video webcast, as much interested in the theater of it as the details.
Overall, I walked away with the impression that it was a relatively impressive update from the iPhone 4, but I wasn’t convinced it was enough to compel people to upgrade.
I mentioned in a post a while back I’ve gone native, now using a “dumb phone” (an LG), because I had left AT&T, toyed with an Android on Virgin Mobile, before deciding on the LG dumb phone primarily for phone usage.
I still have my iPhone 4, which I use sometime for checking email and calendar, and reading or watching a movie on plane rides, but because I’m not as mobile as I used to be (not traveling as much), I didn’t feel compelled to need a smartphone.
Back to the 5. I didn’t see a compelling reason to upgrade with the new features — the bigger 4″ screen, the thinner form factor, LTE support, the new camera (including the admittedly cool panorama mode).
But just for grins, I clicked on the Apple application that let me checked what it would cost to go ahead and upgrade ahead of my current pre-rebate date (the date for which I could upgrade with the device actually being subsidized by Verizon).
Here’s what I found in the graphic you see here…hold on for the sticker shock:
I couldn’t get into a 5 for less than $649 until December 9, 2013…by that time, I suspect there will be an iPhone 6.
Even jumping back to the 4 would cost me $375!!!
And therein lies my distaste with the current mobile phone economics in these United States.
Hey, if I was traveling all the time and depending on those services the iPhone could offer remotely, I would consider it.
But recognizing I have other devices (the iPhone 4 using wi-fi, an Android tablet AND an iPad), no way, no how.
I suspect many Apple fan boys and girls will pay the pre-rebate price, and more power to them.
But my money would be better invested in a new mini iPad (apparently coming in October) or even the new iPod Touches also announced today.
But if you get an iPhone 5, be sure to give me a demo the next time you see me.
Major sporting events like the U.S. Open are not only exciting to watch and follow, but are also a living lab for how “big data” can translate into big business. This year, the USTA is using predictive analytics and cloud computing to improve the experience for everyone: fans, tennis players, event organizers and broadcasters. USTA’s Phil Green and IBM’s Rick Singer explain how.
I mentioned in my post yesterday that in 2005, as Hurricane Katrina was blowing into the Gulf Coast, that I was flying up to NYC to cover IBM’s involvement in facilitating technology solutions for the U.S. Open tennis tournament.
Well, here we are seven years later, and that partnership continues. Today, the U.S. Tennis Association (USTA) announced a new round of technologies to help fans become immersed in the 2012 U.S. Open action.
This year, IBM is going to apply predictive analytics, cloud computing, and mobile technology expertise to connect tennis fans, wherever they are, to the action on the courts.
IBM has created a unique digital environment that provides U.S. Open spectators, athletes and media uninterrupted access to data, facts, stats and content via their tablets, smartphones, PCs and other devices.
This enhanced, interactive fan experience uses new technologies that thousands of businesses worldwide are embracing to up their game by uncovering insights from big data.
New iPad App: Streaming Matches
New for this year’s tournament is an iPad app that serves accurate streams of match data, access to live video, highlights and in-depth statistical information.
Enhanced social media features will enable fans to communicate with other fans around the world (but be nice!). The iPad app also delivers an insider’s view of who’s gaining the edge on the court and most likely to win — well before the final score tells the story.
This app complements iPhone and Android apps that mobile fans can access to connect to U.S. Open action in real-time from around the world. Off the court, IBM’s analysis of the U.S. Open action will extend to the social media arena by determining the Twitterverse’s favorite male and female players.
IBM is applying advanced analytics software to millions of public tweets generated throughout the tournament to assess which players are the social fans’ favorites. The IBM Social Sentiment Index will analyze buzz around the U.S. Open, providing a better understanding of fan sentiment.
The analysis will also illustrate how analytics technology can identify important, and otherwise non-obvious trends, to help businesses make better decisions about how to connect with customers.
If you’re on site at the Tennis Center, IBM has built the IBM Game Changer Interactive Wall, which extends many of the USOpen.org and mobile app features, providing greater insight into the U.S. Open, both on- and off-court using the power of analytics.
Fans will be able to interact with the wall to access live scores, match analysis and data visualizations from the IBM Social Sentiment Index analysis, as well as information about local weather and its effect on player nutrition and hydration, and more.
Broader Applications Of Analyzing Action On The Courts
Delivering insights into what’s happening on the courts at the U.S. Open requires an ability to capture and analyze each serve, volley and point. The same kind of analytics technologies that
IBM is using to deliver insights to tennis fans, players, coaches, media and sports event organizers are being used to monitor babies in prenatal wards, help police departments prevent crime and enable financial services firms to improve customer service.
“Big Data is impacting so many aspects of sporting events, that it’s no longer a stretch to say that it is changing the way fans watch and enjoy sports,” said Rick Singer, vice president, Sports Sponsorship Marketing for IBM. “Whether on the court or in the board room, Big Data is being leveraged to achieve similar goals, such as keeping operations up and running seamlessly, having accurate data readily available for quick decision making, and improving productivity.”
A Predictive Slam
One of the most insightful features of USOpen.org is IBM’s SlamTracker. Based on predictive analytics technology, it leverages historical and real-time match data to deliver a better understanding of what’s going on during a match.
SlamTracker’s ‘Momentum’ feature maps player momentum throughout a match in real-time, visualizing key turning points such as aces and winning shots, allowing fans to interact with the data to learn more about why a player is winning. In addition, SlamTracker’s ‘Keys to the Match’ feature analyzes seven years of historical Grand Slam data to determine the top three things a player must do in order to perform well in a specific match.
Serving The U.S. Open Web Traffic Appetite
During the two-week tournament, USOpen.org transforms into a massive, data hungry environment that demands unhindered access to accurate and reliable content to serve the demands of millions of tennis fans. Each year, IBM helps the USTA expand its infrastructure to meet these demands and then scale back to support regular operations following the tournament.
This elasticity is made possible by the IBM SmartCloud, which enables the rapid creation and dynamic allocation of resources while offering transparent and real-time access by a multitude of devices, such as smartphones, tablets and televisions.
This cloud environment — powered by IBM servers and storage in three geographically dispersed locations virtualized as one — ensures continuous availability and scalability required to support such a high profile event. The benefits include reduced costs and reliable operations.
You can go here to learn more about how IBM is helping the U.S. Open tap into Big Data to transform the fan experience.
I heard it was the 5th anniversary of the introduction of the iPhone, which, first of all, just freaked me out, because how could it have been five years already!
But, once I was over that, I realized I have a record of my thoughts and observations back them in the form of this blog.
So, I went back and weaved together the following based on my observations in and around that year on the topic of the iPhone.
Read at your own peril. Accessories not included.
June 4, 2007 (25 days prior to the iPhone Launch)
Headline: Why I Won’t Be Getting An iPhone
Well, at least not yet, anyhow.
First, as I think I’ve explained in the past, I’ve been burned too many times on early adoption.
The only early adopting I’ll be doing moving forward is for small canine creatures I keep as pets.
Second, I just got my Blackberry Pearl.
It seems to do most everything I need it to do, for now. Everything except allow me to successfully browse the Internets. It used to do that, too, until the IBM internal software installation corrupted the browser.
They tell me I can fix it by wiping the Blackberry hard drive and starting from scratch.
Let me get this straight: I bought a Blackberry so I could check my corporate email and calendar (which I can successfully still do) and to surf the Internet.
But in order to successfully surf the Internet, I have to wipe the Blackberry hard drive and reinstall from scratch, in the process giving up my ability to successfully check my corporate email and calendar? And this is supposed to be productivity enhancement???
Three, the iPhone costs in the neighborhood of $600.
My Blackberry Pearl cost me $99. I can think of another $501 reasons I’ won’t be waiting for a new iPhone to ring.
Four, I don’t like grovelling or begging, nor do I like sleeping overnight on sidewalks outside the Cingular store, not for concert tickets and certainly not for a new cell phone.
When I bought my Pearl, I called ahead, had ‘em charge the Pearl in advance of my getting to the store, and by the time I arrived, simply did a quick run through and check out. I liked the Cingular retail people veddy much.
On June 29th, I will be staying as far away from the Cingular Web site and retail stores as is humanly possible. The core Appleites (pun intended) will be out en masse, they will be single minded of purpose, and they will have great anxiety over whether or not they’ll be one of the lucky ones to win the iPhone lottery.
I will stay as far away from them and their mob as is humanly possible.
That is, unless they are willing to give me a personal tour of their new iPhone, in which case I’ll be happy to oblige their momentary lapse of reason.
June 18, 2007 (11 days prior to the iPhone Launch)
Headline: Eight Hours Of Apple Talk
Me, I’m still trying to recuperate from my U.S Open anxiety, but the rest of the blogosphere is all Apple iPhone talk all the time, apparently now eight hours at a burst.
The latest headline: iPhone is expected to deliver up to eight hours of talk time.
That’s a big deal, at least in terms of expectation setting, because there’s been tremendous criticism about the built-in battery that a user couldn’t replace with an already charged backup.
It also helps if you got yourself a long-winded teenager stuck at the mall…be sure to upgrade that ATT plan!
Me, I hope never to have to abuse my Blackberry Pearl with an 8-hour conversation, but then again, nobody really wants to talk to me, and I can always buy a backup battery, so this isn’t an issue pour moi.
As if Apple and the iPhone wasn’t already sucking up all the oxygen on Planet Earth (what’s left of it), and if you’ve not read or heard enough about the cult of Steve Jobs lately, New York magazine has a great feature by Silicon Valley journalistic hit man John Heilemann entitled “Steve Jobs in a Box.”
“Steve! Are you in there!? Steve??! Do you need help getting out of the box, Steve?!!”
It’s juicy, long format, going-deep-into-Steve’s ego id and psyche kind of stuff technojournalism, complete with Heilemann’s breaking out Jobs’ career into three “acts.”
Could there be a Metropolitan Opera version waiting in the wings, complete with Bill Gates starring as the Devil himself?
Wait a minute, this oughta be a Pixar/Disney film, NC17 edition.
Oh well. You’ll just have to head over to New York mag online for the current installment.
June 25, 2007 (4 days prior to the iPhone Launch — I was on a business trip out in Silicon Valley, and actually visited the Apple campus just a few days prior to the iPhone debut)
Headline: I Want My iPhone
Rumors abound of Apple employees publicly flouting units from the first manufacturing run, and I have no doubt the lines will start forming at the AT&T stores for we plebes sometime today.
You can get your first reality check and low, lowdown on the iPhone around 6 P.M. Pacific Standard Time this evening, which is when Walt Mossberg’s and David Pogue’s first reviews are expected to strike.
Word on the Business2.0 blog street is the early reviews are “generally positive” but that “downloads are sluggish” over AT&T’s current cellular network and that there are “typing difficulties.”
Well, uh, yeah. There’s no friggin’ keyboard on the thing (well, not the keyboard as we typically have known it)!
That’s like saying there are steering difficulties on a Lamborghini with no steering wheel (and on Highway 101, I’m certainly beginning to wonder if a steering wheel is really even necessary).
This is a whole new computing paradigm, people, and, it’s from Apple: You have to will the thing to do what you want.
It’s all about the human mind telepathic connection interface! Don’t you get it??!!
June 29, 2007
Headline: The New Chic: Geeks Waiting In Line
First off, this post is NOT being written while waiting in line at an Apple retail outlet, an AT&T store, or elsewhere.
Second, thank Heavens, I was rescued from out of the heart of Silicon Valley, where iPhone fever has reached new heights (remember when people waited in line for Windows95?), and safely back in Austin just in time for the flooding to recede.
But clearly, I’m in the minority.
Supergeek blogger Robert Scoble is waiting in line with all his other geek friends (see the pics here….wait a minute, doesn’t Scoble qualify as Mr. Supergeek Celebrity to get a free iPhone in advance?).
Kevin Rose and the Diggnation crowd were podcasting in line.
Just in case you wanted to read about or listen or watch what it’s like to wait in line to get an iPhone.
I know I was wondering.
Which makes me wonder something else: Maybe waiting in line for the latest geek gadget is the new chic.
Pulling an old Coleman sleeping bag out of the closet and investing in a solar battery generator to keep the G4 crowd in power, maybe this is the thing, and the iPhone is just part of the overall package, almost a mere afterthought to the status reserved for those who waited.
I wait, therefore I am.
“Dude, what did you do Friday night?” “As if, dude. What do you think I did?? I was waiting in line to get my iPhone. Where the —- were you?!!”
Wait not, want not.
That sense of Burning Man iPhone collegiality is the only thing that explains this phenomenon.
Because here’s the deal: The thing goes on sale online at the very same moment it can be bought in the retail outlets and, guess what? Regardless, it has to be activated online through the iTunes store to get the service up and running.
Until such time, you’ve got a really pretty Apple artifact.
But who’s to argue with reason. I wish them all well and the very best of luck.
Me, I’ll be sitting in my nice air-conditioned condo, doing some work, maybe throwing on a little AppleTV in the background.
On second thought, maybe I’ll go out and join ‘em.
Not to get an iPhone, mind you.
Just to hang out with the geeks where I belong.
December 26, 2007
Headline: Year of the iPhone
Looking back on 2007, there’s but no question in my mind that Apple’s iPhone dominated much of the tech conversation.
I opted for a $99 Blackberry Pearl instead (partially because of its form factor, partially because it’s what allows me access to needed IBM resources like email and calendaring), and it’s done me just fine — especially considering it was about 5X cheaper than the iPhone.
But, the iPhone cultural phenomenon and technology footprint couldn’t be escaped, nor questioned.
I was at the Apple campus in June visiting with a friend, just before the first iPhones went on sell, and I didn’t see a single iPhone unit while on the Apple campus (allegedly only top execs had them prior to the launch), they were so tightly held.
No big surprise, considering Apple’s tight grip and embargo on its launches. But the phenomena that was the pending iPhone couldn’t be constrained.
Months prior to the launch, Google and other search engines were inundated with search inquiries about the iPhone…blogs were abuzz about the product features…podcasts explained its virtues…the mass media mass brainwashed the masses about its planet-saving capabilities.
For weeks after, the halo of the afterlaunch melted into the tech landscape, complete with new tech lore about being the first in line, or waiting in line with one’s Apple brethren, or etc ad nauseum ad infinitum.
When was the last time you bragged about waiting in line?
I succumbed to the hype myself, long enough to go into the store and touch an iPhone firsthand.
It was all I could do to leave the store without buying one.
But then I came back to my senses and started thinking logically about the problems that an iPhone would or would not solve for me personally (what a concept! Purchase a product only because it actually solves a problem!), and the Blackberry Pearl would do just fine.
And it has.
So I wouldn’t be the coolest kid on the cubicle block…so I wouldn’t be able to personally extol the virtues of the new touch screen interface…so I wouldn’t be able to becoming a walking, talking Apple salesperson in my spare time, despite all the constant complaints about the lethargic AT&T Edge network (which never seemed to slow me down much with the more text-oriented Blackberry).
Life would go on.
And it has.
But the milestone it demarcated would be clear.
Because the real phenomena behind the phenomenon for me around the iPhone was not the device itself, but rather the notion that mobile IP-based multimedia computing was finally coming into its own.
After years of the U.S. lagging behind the SMS craze in Europe (which launched well before most Americans knew what a text message was), or the DoCoMo iMode craze in Japan in the late 1990s and early 2000s (which was how many Japanese first experienced the Internet), I felt as though the U.S. was getting a clue and catching back up.
If nothing else, the iPhone demonstrated what was becoming possible at the intersection of mobile data and voice, of mobile computing, after years of overpromising and underdelivery.
That a cell phone didn’t just have to be a cell phone, but that it could evolve into a true multimedia personal information manager and portable computing and communications device, using an interface that we mere mortals could understand and learn quickly.
It was the opportunity presented by the possibility of a nuclear intersection between computing, communication, collaboration, personal entertainment, and mobility.
That we could use it to communicate and get directions and do work and listen to music and watch videos and find somebody’s phone number.
No, for my money, the iPhone was only a starting place, the beginning of something much, much bigger to come. A mile marker on the way to a much more promising land.
It was the Star Trek communication device brought down to reality here on earth.
“Beam me up, Steve.”
It was a great start, but it was only that.
So, go ahead, use your index finger to scroll down. It works well enough.
Me, I can’t wait to see where that scrolling finger might take us next.
As someone who regularly monitors and communicates key trends in the digital marketing environment with IBM, I obviously have to keep pace (as best I can!) with those emerging arenas that I think are going to have an impact in our (IBM’s), and the industry’s, ability to communicate effectively, efficiently, and to the right audience.
The emerging mobile space is a good example of one of those trends. With the advent of the iPhone in 2007, and later the Android platform and, more recently, the rapid adoption of tablet computers like the iPad and now Microsoft’s “Surface,” the opportunity to market and communicate through these devices is enormous.
But the opportunity doesn’t just end with marketing. Companies around the globe are also realizing mobile computing can change business in fundamental ways.
Enterprise Mobility: A Top Strategic Priority
In our recent CIO study of more than 3,000 CIOs, IBM discovered that 75 percent of respondents asserted that mobility is a top priority in their business strategy.
But, there are significant challenges. New platforms and operating systems are emerging all the time, security and privacy are critical issues of concern to business leaders, and there’s a need to maximize development investments for the mobile platform.
IBM has been communicating more aggressively about this opportunity, and our own Bob Sutor has been a critical thought leader for IBM in this space.
As some of you may remember, Scott Laningham and I interviewed Bob recently about IBM’s mobile strategy at the Impact 2012 event back in May. You can find that interview below:
Continuing IBM’s mobile drumbeat, we most recently partnered with eWeek to produce a short slide show that articulates some best practices in mobile deployment that Bob and his team developed, best practices based on extensive experience with real (and recent) customer engagements.
I’ll hit the wave tops for you below, but to read all the details, you’ll need to visit the full slideshow over at eWeek.
- Don’t Compromise on User Experience. Good apps are engaging. They are designed for performance and customized to deliver the functionality your users need in a simple and easy-to-use manner.
- Support Different Development Approaches. Mobile apps are no longer an experiment. Companies are quickly realizing their value to different lines of business, both as productivity tools for employees and engagement channels facing customers. Choosing a development approach for these apps entails many parameters such as budget, project timeframe, target audience and application functionality.
- Build for Performance. Recent reports show that already today, mobile users are spending more time using apps than mobile browsers. Combined with projections that more than 50 percent of users will access the Web through mobile devices by the end of 2013, application performance has never been more crucial for your mobile initiative.
- Enable Collaboration, Efficiency. Modern business applications are constantly changing, and they are rarely developed by a single person anymore.
- Ensure Proper Authentication and Address Security Concerns. Whether employee- or customer-facing, mobile applications are quickly assuming the roles of many mission-critical systems in the enterprise. It is no wonder that authentication and security have become the top concerns of the mobile enterprise.
- Close the HTML5 Gap. Commitment from all major mobile vendors, active standardization efforts and a growing ecosystem of third-party tools has been fueling recent success and adoption of HTML5.
- Connect With Back-End and Cloud-Based Systems. Mobile business apps are not independent entities. They should be tightly connected to a variety of existing back-end and cloud-based systems.
- Manage Mobile Apps, Devices, Data. Managing applications after they are downloaded and installed on devices has become critical, with the bring-your-own-device (BYOD) trend specifically challenging IT departments. A growing number of organizations are starting to adopt a combination of management approaches, both on the application level and the device level.
- Evaluate Supporting Services. The mobile channel is transforming the way companies are doing business, and with that transformation, new challenges arise on both the business and the IT levels.
- Protect Your Investment. As the mobile landscape develops, success lies in the ability to adapt to change.
IBM: Goin’ Mobile…and Then Some
IBM has been steadily investing in the mobile space over the past decade — not as a device manufacturer, but as a provider of mobile enterprise application and platform technologies, including tools for developing software in the mobile realm, and also to provide endpoint management (management of all those various and sundry devices your employees are now bringing to the office and expecting you in IT to support!).
We acquired Worklight in February to help more quickly deliver mobile application management capabilities across a range of industries, and as eWeek observes, Worklight’s software “enables organizations to efficiently create and run HTML5, hybrid and native applications for smartphones and tablets with industry-standard technologies and tools.”
If you’re looking to get into the mobile game, a good place to start is our webcast, “Harnessing the Power of Mobile in the Enterprise.” (Registration required)
Guaranteed, if you asked any CIO or VP of IT what was one of their chief concerns as they think about enabling their enterprise to take better advantage of the opportunity that mobile computing presents, the subject of security would come up.
And I’ve got the data to prove it. But I’m not going to bore you with the gory details just yet. I want to instead turn to discussing some new solutions (we’ll come back to the data shortly).
Mobile Security By Design
Today, at the IBM Innovate event down in Orlando, Florida, IBM announced new software to help organizations develop mobile applications that are more secure by design.
Now, clients can build security into the initial design of their mobile applications so that vulnerabilities will be detected early in the development process.
Today’s announcement further expands IBM’s strategy to provide clients with a mobile platform that spans application development, integration, security and management.
With more than five billion mobile devices in the world — and only 2 billion computers — the shift to mobile devices as the primary form of connecting to corporate networks is increasing rapidly. Securing those devices is becoming a top priority for security executives and CIOs.
As companies embrace the growing “Bring Your Own Device” (BYOD) trend, the need to secure the applications that run on these devices is becoming more critical.
I said I’d returned to some data. How about this: According to the 2011 IBM X-Force Trend and Risk Report, mobile exploits increased by 19 percent in 2011.
In addition, according to the recently released data from the IBM Center for Applied Insights study, 55 percent of respondents cited mobile security as a primary technology concern over the next two years.
The rapid consumerization of mobile endpoints, applications and services has created the urgent need to secure corporate applications on employees’ devices.
With the latest release of the IBM Security AppScan portfolio, IBM now offers a robust application development security solution, allowing clients to integrate mobile application security testing throughout the application lifecycle.
“We are seeing increased demand from companies looking to extend their corporate applications to mobile devices,” said Stuart Dross, Vice President of Sales and Marketing, Cigital, Inc. “The ability to scan native and hybrid mobile applications for security vulnerabilities is a major step forward in securing sensitive data and mitigating security risks.”
Security On the Go
Mobile applications represent a new threat target, since they carry a higher risk of attack compared to web application vulnerabilities.
Attackers are increasingly focusing on mobile applications because many organizations are not aware of the security risks introduced by the most basic mobile applications.
Beyond the traditional threats, for example, a hacker could perform a SQL injection or scripting attack on the applications. Mobile applications also come under attack from malware and phishing, or scanning QR codes with malicious scripts.
Additionally, mobile applications have vulnerabilities specific to mobile devices because they often store sensitive data that can be leaked to malicious applications. This data, once stored locally, typically is outside the protection of the corporate security programs.
The new AppScan analysis capabilities will find these vulnerabilities to help developers build more secure mobile applications.
Mobilizing the Workforce
With today’s announcement, IBM extends its market leading static application security testing to native Android applications, which allows clients to conduct their own testing for mobile applications.
In the past, for mobile application security testing to be done, clients would have to send their applications and software IP (Intellectual Property) to an offsite vendor to test for vulnerabilities. This approach doesn’t scale and the response time is too slow, as mobile applications undergo constant revisions and updates.
Organizations need to address mobile application security testing in-house early in the software development life cycle.
In addition to the mobile application testing capabilities, there are significant new capabilities from which customers can benefit:
- Integration with IBM’s QRadar Security Intelligence Platform allows for increased security intelligence when an application is moved into production. By correlating known application vulnerabilities with user and network activity, QRadar can automatically raise or lower the priority score of
- A new Cross Site Scripting (XSS) analyzer which uses a learning mode to quickly evaluate millions of potential tests from less than 20 core tests. This new XSS analyzer finds more XSS vulnerabilities faster than any previous version of AppScan.
- New static analysis capabilities help companies adopt broad application security practices through simplified on-boarding of applications and empowering non-security specialists to test faster than with prior releases.
- Predefined and customizable templates that provide development teams the ability to quickly focus on a rule set prioritized by their security teams, helping corporations focus on key issues for them across their organization.
In addition to the QRadar integration, AppScan offers integration points with IBM Security Network IPS and IBM Security SiteProtector, and is a regular complement sold with IBM Guardium and IBM Security Access Management solutions for end-to-end application security.
The approach is to provide a comprehensive and integrated security framework for applications across the development and production lifecycle.
IBM has a broad portfolio of mobile security solutions, ranging from helping secure data on the device, to running safer mobile applications.
IBM has been steadily investing in the mobile space for more than a decade, both organically and through acquisitions, building a complete portfolio of software and services that delivers enterprise-ready mobility for clients.
IBM Security AppScan will be generally available this quarter.
IBM Impact 2012: A Q&A With Steve Jobs’ Biographer Walter Isaacson On Steve Jobs And Innovation, The Renaissance In New Orleans, And His Forthcoming Book On The History Of Computing
The opportunity I had to sit down and interview Steve Jobs’ biographer Walter Isaacson last week at IBM’s Impact 2012 event in Las Vegas was a kind of career denouement moment for me. Let me explain: In 1994, as I was finishing work on my Master’s degree in Radio/TV/Film (they hadn’t yet added “Internet” to the RTVF degree in 1994) at the University of North Texas, I distinctly remember sending my resume off to the new inner digital sanctum of Time magazine, “Pathfinder,” which had recently been started to put some muscle behind Time’s digital presence. They didn’t hire me, but they did hire Walter Isaacson, who would be asked to run the groundbreaking digital media organization for a short period before he was later promoted to editor of Time and, later, chairman of CNN.
As for me, information technology, and the Internet in particular, would become central to Isaacson’s life, first at Pathfinder, later at Time magazine, and of course as the biographer of great figures ranging from Albert Einstein to Benjamin Franklin to Steve Jobs, all of whom were unique innovators in and of their own right. What’s not as well known about Isaacson is that he is a Renaissance Man of sorts himself. To read his biography (see below) is to witness the firsthand account of a personal witness to and participant in American life over these past forty years, one whose own accounts will be cherished for many years to come. I hope you enjoy reading the interview as much as I did conducting it!
Turbo: First of all, thank you for taking the time to speak with me, I know you’re very busy. You’ve now written biographies across a range of iconic figures of American life — Einstein, Franklin, Kissinger, and now Steve Jobs — I’m curious across all of these if you start to see some common traits and characteristics?
Walter Isaacson: Yeah, well like I said in the speech today, curiosity, a passion for what you do, an ability to think different, an ability to be imaginative and to think out of the box. You know Steve’s great mantra was “Think Different.” He also loved “Stay Hungry, Stay Foolish.” The fact that Einstein and Benjamin Franklin, even in their final years, were thinking different, being creative, being innovative….to me, that’s the goal of life.
Turbo: Were there other characteristics? Some not so positive?
Walter Isaacson: They were different in some ways. Benjamin Franklin is a nice counterpart to Steve Jobs, because Steve was more of a genius, more creative…but Franklin was more collaborative, kinder to the people around him, and more open to different viewpoints. So, Benjamin Franklin was really great at collaborating with other people. Franklin tells a wonderful story in his autobiography of listing all the virtues you need to have to be good in business: industry, honesty, frugality…and after he has all twelve of the virtues and he practices them, a person in the club he’s formed, called the “Leather Apron” club, says “You’re missing a virtue.” And Franklin says “What’s that?” And the friend says “Humility, you might want to try that one.”
Walter Isaacson: And Franklin says, “I was never very good at the virtue of humility, but I was very good at the pretense of humility…I could fake it very well. And I learned that the pretense of humility was as useful as the reality of humility. Because it made you listen to the person next to you, it made you try to see if you could find common ground.” And that was something that was part of the nature of Benjamin Franklin. It was not part of the nature of Steve Jobs.
But, that’s why biographies are not how-to manuals…they’re tales about real people. And you have to extract the lessons from each character that you think might apply to you. So for me, I’ll never be a genius like Steve Jobs…I’ll never drive to the concept of an iPad, drive into existence an iPad…I’m just not that genius…but I try to think about Steve’s passion for perfection, and I also try to think about Ben Franklin’s ability to bring people together, and be very nice and kind to people of all walks of life.
Turbo: I know you conducted 40-something interviews with Jobs, and I know you spoke with a lot of his friends, his family members and even his rivals…Was there anything that they all consistently said when they talked about Jobs as a person?
Walter Isaacson: I think that they consistently said that he was on the surface, very impatient and petulant. But once you got to know him, the important thing to understand, was that the petulance, that brattiness at times, was connected to a passion for perfection, and that’s what the narrative of the book is about, which is anybody can be a jerk. It wasn’t that Steve was a jerk, it was that he had a passion for perfection and that’s why by the end of the book, you should be admiring him.
Turbo: We got to speak with Steve Wozniak at our IBM Pulse event earlier this year, and I asked him…and I’d like to ask you the same question I asked him, which is what do you think the world lost with him leaving us so soon?
Walter Isaacson: I think Steve was a person who reinvented at least seven industries: Personal computing, the music business, retail stores, digital animation, tablet publishing, journalism, phones…he would have reinvented more industries — digital photography, textbooks, television — we lost with Steve somebody who, because of his ability to think different, was able to transform industries. And that’s what the book is about: Sometimes you have to have a driven, intense personality in order to have the passion it takes to change industries.
Turbo: Okay, thank you for that. I wanted to now take a step back in time to 1995-1996…I don’t know exactly what year it was, but I believe it’s when you took over the Time digital arm, Pathfinder.
Walter Isaacson: Yeah, actually it was a couple of years before that…when I took over Time, the magazine, at the end of 1995…
Turbo: Could you just describe for me that time at Time?
Walter Isaacson: It was very interesting during that period. In the early 1990s, there was a sea change happening. The Internet up until then had been based on community and networking and chat. It had the BBS boards of the original Internet, you’d had the communities like The Well, and you had online services like CompuServe and AOL, where people gathered in chat rooms and on bulletin boards.
In the early 1990s, there was a shift from that type of Internet to a web-based Internet. That had some great advantages, but a few disadvantages. The Web became a place that we could put all of our content up on Web sites, but it was more of a publishing medium than it was a community medium. You know, comments got relegated to the bottom of the page, as opposed to the smart bulletin boards and discussion groups, and Listserves, we used to have before the Web dominated the Internet.
Secondly, the business model for putting up your content online with a service like CompuServe or AOL, you would make money because people paid to be on those services, and people shared the money with you, if you were Time magazine. But once you started to put stuff on the Web, it sort of became free, and it undermined to some extent the business model of having journalists and bureaus around the world.
Of course it had much more of an upside than it had a downside, because it opened up reporting and journalism and commentary to everybody, not just those who owned a magazine.
Turbo: What are your thoughts on the greater impact of not only the commercialization of the Internet, but some of the trends it has enabled. If we look at some of the workforce dislocation, and creating new market opportunities in countries like India and China, because of this wonderful connection via first satellites and later the Internet…When we’re looking back 100 years from now, what do you think historians will be saying about this time?
Walter Isaacson: They will be saying that the Internet was, like every information technology starting with the invention of papyrus and paper and Gutenberg’s movable type, that it empowered individuals. The free flow of information tends, over the course of time, to take power away from authorities and elites and empower individuals. The Internet’s role 100 years from now will be this transformation that not only did it take power away from the elites and mainstream media, but also the people running authoritarian regimes around the world.
Turbo: So, in looking at some of what we’ve seen with the Arab Spring….and China now trying with this recent situation (the social media crackdowns by the Chinese government)…
Walter Isaacson: I don’t think that it’s a simple process where free flow of information automatically leads to democracy. Because you’ll have a lot of back and forth. But, it does bend the arc of history towards empowerment and democracy and, eventually, whether it takes 10 or 50 years, what’s happening with the Arab Spring, what’s happening in China, what’s happening in many places, will be a trend towards more personal freedom and more democracy.
Turbo: You were chairman of the Broadcasting Board of Governors, and for people who don’t know them, they oversee Radio Free Europe and the Voice of America. What’s the changing role of the Board and the VOA in this increasingly Internet connected world?
Walter Isaacson: I think that if, sixty years ago, when VOA and Radio Free Europe were being created, if they had had the ability to sketch out on the whiteboard what would be the perfect technology to help their cause, they would have invented the Internet. Something that doesn’t respect national boundaries that well, that allows people to find proxy servers to get through to information they need. So there will be a big shift towards digital information. And I hope towards community and discussion, not just handing down information the way Edward R. Murrow would have done when he ran Voice of America but creating communities and discussions that can be facilitated by the Internet.
Turbo: A couple of other quick questions…You have deep roots in New Orleans: You grew up there, you went to school there. And after Hurricane Katrina, Governor Kathleen Blanco appointed you vice chairman of the Louisiana Recovery Authority. We’re now seven years on — how do you feel New Orleans is doing? Have you been back recently?
Walter Isaacson: I go back all the time. And New Orleans has not only come back, but in most ways, it’s better than before the storm.
Turbo: How so?
Walter Isaacson: We have a better school system. More choice for kids in the schools. More than 70 percent of the kids are in charter schools which allows innovative, entrepreneurial people like KIPP Academy to create schools that stay open until seven in the evening, eleven months a year, which is the way we should have education in our society. Likewise, there’s more entrepreneurship in New Orleans.
I think Forbes magazine called it maybe the best city for startups and entrepreneurship because so many young people are coming in. There’s a brain magnet in New Orleans. Teach for America has almost tripled in size in New Orleans since before the storm, bringing young people in who want to be part of the educational renaissance there. Tim Williamson has created Idea Village, which is an incubator for start-ups right in the heart of New Orleans. Tulane University has three times as many applicants as it did before the storm because eager, adventurous, entrepreneurial people want to be part of a city that’s rebuilding.
Mitch Landrieu is a great mayor — we have a political system that is much better than it was before the storm. There are even more restaurants than there were before the storm, probably more bars. So, for those of us who were worried that New Orleans would never come back, it is a great case study not only in resilience, but in reinvention — to say, if we were to build a school system from scratch, would we build it the same way we had it before the storm? No. Let’s start a more entrepreneurial school system where the schools are open later, they spend more of the year where they compete for students, and you’ve had double-digit test score gains, every year for the past three years.
So, these are the types of things that keep me coming back to New Orleans, but also make me glad that so many young tech and web entrepreneurs have moved to the city to create this vibrant start-up community there.
Turbo: That’s great. My ears perked up in your keynote when you talked about how you’re working on this new book about the information revolution. Any themes you’re starting to see in your research that you can share with us in advance of its publication?
Walter Isaacson: One major theme, which is the theme of the Steve Jobs book and everything else I’ve written, which is innovation comes where there’s an intersection between the arts and the sciences. When there’s an intersection between poetry and microprocessors. Where a great feel for beauty and design is connected with a great feel for technology and engineering. That’s what Steve Jobs is all about, that’s what Ben Franklin was all about, that’s what Einstein was about.
So it starts with Ada Byron Lovelace, the daughter of Lord Byron, who becomes a great mathematician, because her mother doesn’t want her to grow up to be like her dad. And, she also has within her the poetry of her genetic code, of her heritage. And so she works in the 1830s with Charles Babbage, who creates the first prototype of a computer, and she helps describe and envision how computers can become universal machines, and not just mathematical calculators.
And then it leaps forward from that chapter to Alan Turing, who also has a great feel for beauty, but helps invent the first computers at Bletchley Park when they’re breaking the German Enigma codes in England. And then to places like IBM, which is doing the Mark I computer at Harvard, and the University of Pennsylvania where they’re doing the Eniac, and the University of Iowa where John Atanassof is creating in the basement of the physics building an early version of the computer.
The computer and the Internet are the two most important inventions of the modern era. And yet most people don’t know how poetic, ingenious, and creative the people who invented those things were. In fact, most people don’t even know exactly who invented them.
And so this is a tale of inventiveness that will take us from Ada Lovelace all the way to, I hope, people who are doing social networks, mobile computing, and artificial intelligence today. It starts with Ada Byron Lovelace concluding that machines will never think, they will never originate their own creative ideas, and that’s certainly something that Alan Turing explores, but now it’s something that with Watson at IBM, and with the notion of artificial intelligence, is still something we look at and wonder will it ever happen?
(Blogger’s Note: I wanted to extend, as always, a special thank you to the consummate professionals with Drury Design Dynamics, a family business whose primary focus is nothing less than excellence. In particular, I’d like to thank Chris Drury and Mark Felix — they always keep me on my toes and are integral to making these Q&As happen at IBM customer events.)