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

Archive for February 8th, 2010

SuperBad SuperBowl

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You can listen in here to the podcast edition of the SuperBad SuperBowl blog post below (MP3, 4:34)

Written by turbotodd

February 8, 2010 at 11:28 pm

Power to the Planet

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IBM is announcing today the first of its Power7 processor-based systems and the Power7 processor itself at an event in NYC.

This new chip is a major step forward in chip design from IBM, integrating eight processing cores in one chip package, and with each core being capable of executing four tasks or “threads.”

Intel’s Xeon processors, by way of comparison, have two threads per processing core.

The new Power7 systems that IBM is announcing that use these processors include:

  • IBM Power 780: a new category of scalable, high-end servers, featuring an advanced modular design with up to 64 Power7 cores.
  • IBM Power 770: a midrange system with up to 64 Power7 cores, featuring higher performance per core than Power6 processors and using up to 70 percent less energy for the same number of cores as Power6 processors.
  • IBM Power 755: a high-performance computing cluster node with 32 Power7 cores.

The power of Power7 is the ability to facilitate millions of transactions in real time, the potential for which will be to support any variety of the smarter planet initiatives IBM is working on with customers around the globe (smarter traffic, smarter healthcare, and others which require high-performance processing at an affordable price).

As the world gets smarter, demands on IT are going to grow substantially, and workload optimized systems (including Power7) are going to be best equipped to help support that demand.

In the case of Power7, both IBM hardware and software have been optimized to handle the increased demand, with the hardware having been optimized with larger cache per core for data-intensive workloads, and the software optimized through multi-thread exploitation and near linear clustering.

In the following video, you can learn how IBM Power7 systems are assisting in cancer research at Rice University, and you’ll hear from IBM Power Systems GM Ross Mauri on the details of the new “smarter systems”:

The new Power7 systems, which build on IBM’s 12-point revenue share gains since 2004 in the $14 billion UNIX market, can manage millions of transactions in real time and analyze the associated volumes of data typical of emerging applications.

How can these systems be used for their greatest potential?

A smart electrical grid, for example, requires per-the-minute data to deliver electricity where it is needed most, in real time, while helping customers monitor their energy consumption in real time to avoid or reduce usage during the most expensive peaks each day.

A major U.S. utility moving to a smart grid pilot is moving from processing less than one million meter reads per day in a traditional grid, to more than 85 million reads per day in a smart grid.  The utility needs to collect, analyze, and present all that information to its nearly five million customers in real time versus the overnight batch processing of a traditional electrical grid which delivers monthly billing statements.

eMeter, a leading maker of software that runs e-grids, uses IBM Power Systems to process the extreme amount of data that comes in from millions of smart meters while analyzing that information on the fly.

In Canada, operators of Ontario’s grid — the Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO) — which provides centralized metering services for more than 90 utility companies within Ontario Province, uses eMeter software on IBM Power Systems to process hourly power consumption data from all residential customers and plans soon to move to 15-minute data for large commercial users across the province in the near future.

“eMeter ran a successful benchmark on IBM POWER6 systems for more than 20 million smart meters — more than four-times scale of any other utilities industry benchmark,” said Scott Smith, client business manager, eMeter. “We know that there are already markets in the world that are scaling significantly. Combining eMeter and IBM’s POWER7 we are confident we can hit much higher numbers to meet their needs.

You can read the Power7 emerging news coverage of Power7 here and the full press release here.

SuperBad SuperBowl

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Who dat?

First, take dem bags off yo heads.  You aint got no reason to wear dem no bags no more, N’awlins Saints!

Congratulations on your first ever SuperBowl victory!  And what a great victory it was for the great city of New Orleans!

The amigos watching the game at my house and I couldn’t have been more pleased.  What a SuperBowl!

I think this was my first SuperBowl ever where the game completely outplayed the advertising.

Of course, that wasn’t exactly a challenge this year.

In fact, I’d have to say this was probably the worst advertising year EVER for the SuperBowl.

As in bad.  As in really, really bad.

I Tweeted sometime mid-game “Did Al Qaeda strike Madison Avenue and nobody bothered to tell me?,” adding the hashtag #deathofadvertising

In the start of the first quarter, I just figured it was anomaly, that they were just saving the better spots for later.

But it never got any better.  I kept waiting.  And waiting.  And waiting.

I stopped counting at 78 spots (I included movie previews and most of the CBS promos, just to be consistent).

At the end of it all, there were two spots that stuck with me, remembering that good advertising should not only entertain, it should also inform and move the potential purchaser to take action — that is, an action other than running into the bathroom during commercial breaks to relieve one’s self because the commercials were so bad.

One was the Google ad.  That spot was cleverly done, well thought through, and there wasn’t a word spoken, all quite surprising considering that this was Google’s inaugural appearance in the big game.

It was hands down the winner in my book, specifically in terms of advertising value (not just entertainment value), because even if you weren’t aware of Google’s service, you would walk away from that ad with a very good idea of what the Google search engine could do for you.

And yes, it doesn’t strike me as being without some great irony that one of the best SuperBowl TV ads this year, if not THE best, was produced by an Internet search engine.

Go figure.

The other ad that I remembered was Denny’s space station floating, White House convening, chickens which were once again offering me a free Grand Slam tomorrow between 6 AM and 2 PM.  I remember that distinctly (then again, I like Grand Slams).

That’s it.  All the rest of ‘em, virtually the entire pack, were misogynistic, silly, flat, teenage drivel.

If you watched nothing else all year long, you’d think we were headed firmly for the futuristic banality of Mike Judge’s Idiocracy, where butt jokes rule the day and the World Wrestling Federation rules the government.

Speaking of which, I have just a few questions:

When, exactly, did Lance Armstrong start promoting beer drinking on TV?  What’s next, Olympic snowboarder Shaun White backs medical marijuana clubs?

Can we assume that The Simpsons is now in full pimp out mode, now that we’ve discovered that all of Springfield is a Coca-Cola town (although they had no choice!  Pepsi decided to gracefully bow out of this year’s SuperBowl in favor of doing some social media philanthropy instead, which is looking more and more like the most brilliant advertising decision of 2010).

Is a funeral really the most logical place one thinks of when trying to hawk Doritos?  Really? I say no, unless the funeral is for the now-defunct Taco flavored ones, in which case I concur, but only if you’re bringing the Taco flavored Doritos back.

Did Budweiser really think that driving a Bud delivery truck over a bridge made of people would help sell more beer, or was that perhaps the proverbial bridge too far?

Even longterm sellout rock band Kiss (and I’ll admit it, I’m a longtime fan) became a miniature sendoff of themselves when they used “a little Kiss” to sell Dr. Pepper Cherry.

Gene Simmons, helping sell a product where “Cherry” was a featured part of the product name?  Are you frickin’ kiddin’ me?!!

No, I think the real advertising winner of the evening was Bridgestone, which brought us The Who’s halftime show.

Love ‘em or hate ‘em, The Who delivered, which is more than I can say for the rest of the evening’s entertainment (excluding the game, of course).

And other than me and my amigos laughing our you-know-what’s off as Daltrey and Townsend sang “Let’s get together before we get much older,” it really was nice to meet the old boss, who really was the same as the old boss.

The next time I go shopping for tires, I am seriously going to have to consider shopping for some Bridgestones – if for no other reason than for their having salvaged the car wreck (brought to you by Toy…oh, never mind) that was Advertising SuperBowl 2010.

Written by turbotodd

February 8, 2010 at 3:30 pm

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