Turbotodd

Ruminations on IT, the digital media, and some golf thrown in for good measure.

Rooting for the People Who Make the Machines

leave a comment »

Happy Monday.

And go, those Houston Astros (sorry, Yankees fans…there’s always next year, and you have a great team).

We’ll see how the ‘Stros can hold up tomorrow against the Dodgers in what’s expected to be a very heated environment in game 1 of the World Series (literally…the temperatures at game time are expected to be around 95 or beyond!).

Some tech news you can use for the morning of October 23…Cisco is making yet another acquisition (just last week they bought San Jose-based startup, Perspica, which specializes in machine learning and stream analysis.)

This time the deal’s a wee bit bigger, some ~ $1.9B for BroadSoft, a 28 percent premium. As Bloomberg reports, the deal will give Cisco a “major new presence in cloud-based communications products and services.”

Also on the M&A/IPO front, Chinese online loan provider Qudian raised some $900M in a U.S. IPO, but is already coming under fire from local media about the “legitimacy of its business.”

According to TechNode, the company claims to have suspended student-targeted loans in November 2015 as the state issued a ban on online loans to college students following outrage over exorbitant rates and various financial scams.

The story went on to suggest added risk with the company’s reliance on Alipay for new user acquistion.

And the AI war for talent continues. The New York Times’ Cade Metz looks deep into the AI talent bench, and writes that salaries are spiralikng so fast that “some joke the tech industry needs a National Football League-style salary cap on AI specialists.”

No word as of press time as whether or not the AI gurus stand on the sidelines during the National Anthem.

Written by turbotodd

October 23, 2017 at 8:58 am

I’ll Gladly Pay You Tuesday…

leave a comment »

Yesterday, Cisco announced plans to acquire San Jose-based startup Perspica, a company that specializes in using machine learning to analyze streams of data.

According to a story from NetworkWorld, Cisco intends to integrate the Perspica technology into its AppDynamics product, which provides network and application monitoring and analytics.

If you’re on the lookout for a better word processing and spreadsheet mousetrap in the cloud, former Googler Alex DeNeui has launched a private beta of Code, writes The Verge.

Here’s the pitch:

“It’s a document so powerful you can build apps in it.” Open it for the first time and you’ll see a blank canvas that will be familiar to anyone who has ever used Google Docs or Microsoft Word. But drop in a table, add a few rows and columns, and you’ll find a powerful engine underneath. Coda wrote its own, modern formula language design to integrate other services into your spreadsheets. Enter “GoogleDirections” into a formula, for example, and Coda will insert a Google Map with directions from an origin location to a destination.
– via The Verge

And if you’d rather pay someone Tuesday to grab a hamburger today, check out the new PayPal capability in Facebook Messenger.

TechCrunch is reporting that PayPal users in the U.S. will now be able to send and receive person-to-person payments over Messenger, and this new integration will also include PayPal’s first customer service bot for handling customer questions and requests for help.

No word yet on whether the Messenger bot gives change.

Written by turbotodd

October 20, 2017 at 11:12 am

Not So Crazy Dreamers

leave a comment »

Happy Friday.

Reuters is reporting that nearly two dozen major companies in technology and other industries are planning to launch a coalition to demand legislation that would allow young, illegal immigrants a path to permanent residency.

The Coalition for the American Dream intends to ask Congress to pass bipartisan legislation this year that would allow these immigrants, often referred to as “Dreamers,” to continue working in the United States, the documents said.

Alphabet Inc’s Google, Microsoft Corp, Facebook Inc, Intel Corp, Uber Technologies Inc [UBER.UL], IBM Corp, Marriott International Inc and other top U.S. companies are listed as members, one of the documents shows.
– via U.S.

Reuters continues by asserting that the push for this legislation comes after U.S. President Donald Trump’s September decision to allow the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program to expire in March

 

“Dreamers are part of our society, defend our country, and support our economy,” said one of the coalition documents, which is being shared by the group to recruit additional companies.
– via U.S.

Written by turbotodd

October 20, 2017 at 8:47 am

Go…Go

leave a comment »

Google’s DeepMind subsidiary which focuses on artificial intelligence has unveiled a new and improved version of its Go-playing software, AlphaGo Zero, according to a report from The Verge.

The story claims that the new version of the program is a “significantly better player than the version that beat the game’s world champion earlier this year.”

But more notably, it asserts the new version is entirely self-taught.

The Verge explains the original AlphaGo demonstrated superhuman Go-playing ability, but needed assistance from humans to win, building on a dataset of more than 100,000 Go games as a starting point.

The new version has only been programmed with the basic rules of Go, while everything else it learned from scratch.

A paper published in Nature outlines how Zero developed its Go skills by competing against itself. Starting with random moves on the board, every time it won, Zero updated its own system and played itself over and over, millions of time, “learning” as it went.

The Verge reports it took AlphaGo Zero only three days of self-play to become strong enough to defeat the version of itself that beat 18-time world champion Lee Se-dol, winning 100 days to nil.

Lead programmer David Silver had this to say at a recent press conference about the advance:

By not using human data — by not using human expertise in any fashion — we’ve actually removed the constraints of human knowledge. It’s therefore able to create knowledge itself from first principles, from a blank slate…This enables it to be much more powerful than previous versions.

 

Elon Musk had better speed up development of that Mars program.

Written by turbotodd

October 19, 2017 at 8:13 am

IBM 3Q 2017 Earnings

leave a comment »

IBM announced its third quarter 2017 earnings this afternoon.

Highlights

  • Diluted EPS from continuing operations: GAAP of $2.92; Operating (non-GAAP) of $3.30
  • Revenue of $19.2 billion
  • Strategic imperatives revenue of $34.9 billion over the trailing 12 months, up 10 percent; represents 45 percent of IBM revenue
    • Third-quarter revenue up 11 percent (up 10 percent adjusting for currency)
  • Cloud revenue of $15.8 billion over the trailing 12 months, up 25 percent year to year (up 26 percent adjusting for currency)
    • As-a-service annual exit run rate of $9.4 billion in the quarter, up 25 percent year to year (up 24 percent adjusting for currency)
  • Maintains full-year EPS and free cash flow expectations

“In the third quarter we achieved double-digit growth in our strategic imperatives, extended our enterprise cloud leadership, and expanded our cognitive solutions business,” said Ginni Rometty, IBM chairman, president and chief executive officer.  “There was enthusiastic adoption of IBM’s new z Systems mainframe, which delivers breakthrough security capabilities to our clients.”

Written by turbotodd

October 17, 2017 at 3:49 pm

Posted in 2017, earnings, ibm, wall street

IBM 3Q 2017 Earnings

with one comment

IBM announced its third quarter 2017 earnings this afternoon.

Highlights

  • Diluted EPS from continuing operations: GAAP of $2.92; Operating (non-GAAP) of $3.30
  • Revenue of $19.2 billion
  • Strategic imperatives revenue of $34.9 billion over the trailing 12 months, up 10 percent; represents 45 percent of IBM revenue
    • Third-quarter revenue up 11 percent (up 10 percent adjusting for currency)
  • Cloud revenue of $15.8 billion over the trailing 12 months, up 25 percent year to year (up 26 percent adjusting for currency)
    • As-a-service annual exit run rate of $9.4 billion in the quarter, up 25 percent year to year (up 24 percent adjusting for currency)
  • Maintains full-year EPS and free cash flow expectations

“In the third quarter we achieved double-digit growth in our strategic imperatives, extended our enterprise cloud leadership, and expanded our cognitive solutions business,” said Ginni Rometty, IBM chairman, president and chief executive officer.  “There was enthusiastic adoption of IBM’s new z Systems mainframe, which delivers breakthrough security capabilities to our clients.”

Written by turbotodd

October 17, 2017 at 3:49 pm

Posted in 2017, earnings, ibm, wall street

KRACK

leave a comment »

I just got back from chasing a little white ball around the Texas Hill Country for a week.

Upon my return, I discovered the wonderful news about the KRACK attack (who comes up with these names??!).

First, the Equifax breach, now this.

If you’re not familiar, the KRACK exploit has to do with a serious weakness discovered in the WPA2 protocol (wifi).

According to a rundown in Ars Technica, the exploit allows attackers within range of vulnerable device or access points to intercept passwords, emails, and other data presumed to be encrypted. In some cases, the report goes on, it could allow perpetrators to inject ransomware or other malicious content into a website a client is visiting.

You can learn more details about the exploit and fallout here.

FYI, it won’t help to change your wifi password. Microsoft has issued a Windows patch for the exploit, Mac has beta fixes in developer releases of iOS, macOS, tvOS and watchOS, and Android is expected to have a fix in the coming weeks.

Now, on to the more positive news. Yesterday, IBM announced a new blockchain banking solution that will help financial institutions address the processes of universal cross-border payments, designed to reduce the settlement time and lower the cost of completing global payments for businesses and consumers.

TechCrunch captures the current situation and the blockchain remedy:

Currently, international transactions take days, if not weeks, to be completed. Frustration with that has seen services like TransferWise rise, but, great as they are, they remain solutions for savvy consumers or small businesses rather than all. A blockchain solution for banks addresses the root cause, and it could minimize the potential for errors thanks to the ledger-based system while also providing transparency and flexibility to banks. In one example, IBM said its service could be used to connect a farmer in Samoa with a buyer based in Indonesia, while covering more than just the payment itself. “The blockchain would be used to record the terms of the contract, manage trade documentation, allow the farmer to put up collateral, obtain letters of credit, and finalize transaction terms with immediate payment, conducting global trade with transparency and relative ease,” it said.
– via TechCrunch

Very cool stuff.

If you’re not yet on the blockchain, you can learn more here.

Written by turbotodd

October 17, 2017 at 8:32 am

%d bloggers like this: