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

Archive for April 2010

HP Gets A Mobile Hand From Palm

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You can certainly count on one of two things when I’m traveling overseas, particularly in Asia.

There will either be a natural disaster in the vicinity, or a major tech acquisition.

In May 2008 in a trip to Beijing, it was both: I felt the tremors on the far outskirts of the Sichuan quake in China, and HP announced it’s intent to acquire EDS.

Today, while in Sydney, though the real ground isn’t quaking, there was an announcement that HP intended to acquire Palm for $1.2B.

TechCrunch’s MG Siegler suggests the move’s not so much for the hardware, but rather to gain access to Palm’s 1,500+ patents and its webOS, which HP will be able to use in its own slate and mobile operations.

Also, check out ReadWriteWeb’s “smartest tweets” already emerging on this deal.

Whether or not the acquisition will give HP a mobile hand up remains to be seen, but anything that provides a countervailing force to Apple’s iPhone juggernaut and the gaining momentum of the Google Android is probably a good thing.

Meanwhile, back at the IBM mobile computing ranch, I’ll remind you of the strong hand that’s been emerging out of Lotus on this front.

IBM is helping customers big and small get access to their critical business information while on the move, including with products such as IBM Lotus Notes Traveler, IBM Lotus iNotes (for iPhone connectivity), and our VPN solution, IBM Lotus Mobile Connect (which is what I’m often using to stay tethered to the Big Blue Mother ship during my travels.)

To learn more about IBM Lotus mobility solutions, you can sign up for this webcast series.

No natural disasters required.

Written by turbotodd

April 29, 2010 at 12:27 am

The Old Business Workload Switcharoo

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G’day from early Wednesday in Sydney.

And I do mean early.

Oy vey, the jet lag bunyips won’t seem to stay away.

But that’s okay, because awaking at 3:30 A.M. gives me an opportunity to do some blogging catchup.

For example, just yesterday (or was it today here in Sydney?)…uh, whatever…

Officially on April 28th, 2010, IBM made an important and timely announcement: That more than 200 customers moved critical business workloads to IBM servers and storage systems from Oracle/Sun, HP, and other competitors in the first quarter of this year.

Since IBM established its Migration Factory program four years ago to help clients move to IBM systems, nearly 2,700 customers have switched to IBM servers and storage.

The majority of these migrations involve customers moving from Oracle/Sun and HP to IBM, including 117 from Oracle/Sun and 95 from HP so far this year.

Customers continue to turn to IBM for long-term investments in workload-optimized systems and stable, innovative product roadmaps, producing systems that reduce data center costs and are designed for emerging workloads such as analytics.

The number of migrations to IBM Power Systems in 2009, in a down market, was a record for the IBM Migration Factory with 574 migrations (an average of 143 per quarter), mostly driven by increases in Sun to Power migrations.

A total of 107 customers selected IBM Power Systems over Oracle/Sun systems, and 41 chose IBM over HP in the first quarter.

Clients also switched to IBM’s System x, System z and storage offerings. In the first quarter. System x had 21 migration wins, System z 16 and storage 27, all against either HP or Oracle/Sun.

IBM has built a world-class migration capability to help customers move from their current non-IBM gear to IBM Systems – the IBM Migration Factory, a program that includes competitive server assessments, migration services, and other useful resources.

You can also view videos from several of our migration experts to hear them explain how you could be migrating your workload on to IBM systems.

As to me, I’ve got to prepare to migrate myself across the Sydney Harbour Bridge for my second day of meetings here in Australia!

Written by turbotodd

April 28, 2010 at 7:37 pm

Nano Land Down Under

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I arrived in Sydney earlier today (Tuesday) with my merry band of IBM traveling colleagues.

We landed around 5:15 AM Sydney time, then promptly headed into town to grab a catnap.  As much as I tried to sleep on the flight from Singapore to Sydney, I was stuck in a middle seat bulkhead in coach class, and so sleep was cheap.

Thanks again to our colleagues in Singapore.  Our time together was brief but informative, and I look forward to returning there someday soon.

As to the Land Down Under, it’s my first visit here, but having seen a bit of Sydney now, it certainly won’t be my last.  The Sydney Harbour view is breathtaking, and yes, I saw the Opera House (it’s kind of hard to miss being right down the street from our hotel).

No bunyip sightings as of yet, but the week’s just getting started.

Even as I worked hard at getting small in my Qantas seat overnight, IBM scientists have been busy getting jiggy with their nanotechnology.

In fact, they’ve been so busy they created a 3D map of the earth so small recently that 1,000 of them could fit on one grain of salt!

They were able to accomplish this through a new, breakthrough technique that uses a tiny silicon tip with a sharp apex — 100,000 times smaller than a sharpened pencil — to create patterns and structures as small as 15 nanometers at greatly reduced cost and complexity.

This patterning technique opens new prospects for developing nanosized objects in fields such as electronics, future chip technology, medicine, life sciences, and optoelectronics.

To demonstrate the technique’s unique capability, the team created several 3D and 2D patterns, using different materials for each one as reported in the scientific journals Science and Advanced Materials:

  • A 25-nanometer-high 3D replica of the Matterhorn, a famous Alpine mountain that soars 4,478 m (14,692 ft) high, was created in molecular glass, representing a scale of 1:5 billion.**
  • Complete 3D map of the world measuring only 22 by 11 micrometers was “written” on a polymer. At this size, 1,000 world maps could fit on a grain of salt. In the relief, one thousand meters of altitude correspond to roughly eight nanometers (nm). It is composed of 500,000 pixels, each measuring 20 nm2, and was created in only 2 minutes and 23 seconds.
  • 2D nano-sized IBM logo was etched 400-nm-deep into silicon, demonstrating the viability of the technique for typical nanofabrication applications.
  • 2D high-resolution 15-nm dense line patterning.

You can learn more about this fascinating new development by watching the following video, which interviews several of the scientists involved in the effort.

Written by turbotodd

April 27, 2010 at 7:30 am

Singapore Sling

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I finally made it to Singapore.

Both metaphorically and literally.

My itinerary went like this: Austin to Dallas (1 hour); Dallas to Tokyo Narita (13 hours, 2 hour layover); Tokyo to Singapore (7+ hours).

All told, my travel time was right at 30 hours.

Normally, I would try to get a lot of sleep on the Dallas to Tokyo leg, but it was the middle of the day, and I was in economy class, so instead of sleeping I caught up on email, watched a couple of movies (“The Messenger” and “The Lovely Bones”), and read over half of John Perkins’ Hoodwinked (same guy who wrote Confessions of An Economic Hit Man.)

If you’re a student of the recent financial crisis or globalization in general, put it on your list.

As to Singapore, my colleague Laurie and I arrived at Changi International just after midnight Sunday AM and grabbed a handful hours of sleep (when you’ve gone mostly without sleep for 30+ hours, you don’t require much to catch up) before setting out to see the city-state.

The Republic of Singapore is located just off the southern tip of the Malay Peninsula, and is situated only 85 miles north of the equator.

So, I was a little overdressed in my sport coat, as my colleagues pointed out, but I’m from Austin, and by God if I want to wear a sport coat in the vast humidity of Singapore I will!

We took the requisite Singapore River tour boat ride, which was most pleasant, and learned a little history of the island.

My first impressions are most favorable.  I only wish I were going to be here longer than 42 hours!

Some other noteworthy factoids about Singapore from Wikipedia:  The island is 274.2 square miles, and is a microstate, the smallest in Southeast Asia, but substantially larger than the other present-day sovereign city-states, Monaco and Vatican City.

I can now truthfully say I have personally now seen every present-day city state there is to see!  W00T!

I can also report that I had a Singapore Sling at the Long Bar at Raffles.  It’s a most delicioso cocktail that is hard to describe (bitter, but sweet and yet tart), and apparently even harder to make.

Here’s the recipe, in case your mixologist self gets bored making Mojitos next Saturday night:

Singapore Sling

30ml Gin

15ml Heering Cherry Liquer

120ml Pineapple Juice

15ml Lime Juice

7.5ml Cointreau

7.5ml Dom Benedictine

10ml Grenadine

A Dash of Angostura Bitters

Garnish with a slice of Pineapple and Cherry

That’s it.  The old colonial fans you’ll find hanging in the Long Bar are, unfortunately, extra.

As for me, I’m up way too early on a Monday morning (like, 5:00 AM local time, 4 PM CST Sunday) preparing for meetings with my ASEAN colleagues.  This PM, we’ll be back to Changi International for an overnight flight to Sydney, Australia.  (“G’day, we were just in the neighborhood and thought we’d drop by!”)

Oh, and if you’re monitoring the Turbo Global Seismology Situation, there’s nothing to report…yet.

Written by turbotodd

April 25, 2010 at 10:12 pm

Posted in business travel

Can We Meet?

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I’ve made it through the most difficult part of my journey.  Getting safely from Austin to Dallas.

You’d be surprised at how many things can go wrong between the Austin and Dallas airports.

DFW to Tokyo Narita, no problemo.  Beijing, piece of cake.  Austin to Dallas, or vice versa, God rest your weary traveling soul, anything can and often does go wrong.

You may remember the time I was coming back from somewhere (Las Vegas, I think it was) and ended up spending what should have been an unnecessary night at the DFW Hilton.

Then there was the time it took me 1 hour and 45 minutes to fly from Dallas to Austin, typically a 35-45 minute flight (although to be fair, on that particular voyage, the weather was exceptionally bad).

It’s enough to make somebody want to have better scheduling software with their messaging systems.

So the timing is perfect for the announcement IBM and Tungle made just yesterday, whereby Tungle announced the availability of its Tungle.me software for Lotus Notes.

Already, more than 20 percent of Fortune 500 companies are using Tungle.me to save time scheduling meetings, and more than half of the largest global 100 corporations use IBM’s flagship collaboration offerings, Lotus Notes and Domino.

Tungle.me makes it much simpler for people to schedule meetings across organizations, calendar systems and time zones by eliminating costly double bookings and the endless back and forth of finding a time to meet.

As Tungle CEO Marc Gingras explained, “With the introduction of Tungle.me for Lotus Notes, many millions of additional business people around the world can spend more time being productive and less time playing scheduling ping-pong.”

I like ping-pong.  The real kind.  But not the how-in-the-world-are-we-going-to-find-a-good-time-to-meet kind.

The addition of Lotus Notes means that Tungle now works with all major business- and consumer-oriented electronic calendar environments, including Lotus Notes, Microsoft Outlook, Google Calendar, Apple iCal, Entourage, and is also available on the iPhone and BlackBerry.

With Tungle.me for Lotus Notes you can set custom availability and synchronize it with your Lotus Notes calendar. Once meetings are scheduled, they are automatically updated in the background.

Check out the video demonstration below to see Tungle and Lotus Notes in action:

Me, I’m off to crank up on the caffeine for my short flight to Tokyo.

See you from Singapore.

Written by turbotodd

April 23, 2010 at 3:32 pm

Blue Kangaroo

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I’m getting ready for a very long plane ride.

I’m heading over to Singpapore and Australia with some colleagues to meet up with some other colleagues manana.

We’ll be talking all things digital, and I’ll be traveling with my newfound lightweight laptop ThinkPad X200s.

The X200s is my new work-issued computer. Although it feels a little primitive returning to a machine with WindowsXP after using machines with Ubuntu Linux and Mac OS X, I have to say the whole weight tradeoff is worth the exchange.

The X200s is more than a netbook, but less than a full laptop.  Having less weight also meant less processor performance — it’s not the fastest computer I’ve ever had by a long stretch.  But, I added 1 extra GB of RAM and it does the job just fine.

Now if I only had an airplane adapter for the 20+ hour ride to Singapore!

That’s okay, it’ll give me plenty of time to try and digest the wealth of news coming out of Facebook’s f8 developer conference this week.

Question: Does Mark Zuckerberg want to take over the Interwebs as we know it?

Answer: Uh, duh.

The ever reliable Scobleizer goes long on explaining what the FB is up to in its quest for global digital domination.

Uh, and you thought you didn’t understand those privacy controls on Facebook before?

Good frickin’ luck figuring them out as they expand their tentacles onto the Facebook API info superhighway.

Me, I’m just hoping to see a kangaroo.

Written by turbotodd

April 22, 2010 at 2:52 pm

Crowdsourcing, Hold The Anchovies

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Since returning from gun camp, I’ve been holed up here inside the AT&T Executive Conference Center in Austin, Texas, these past couple of days attending the Third Annual BazaarVoice Social Commerce Summit.

There’ve been a lot of buzzwords about the continued evolution of the social media, how consumers (particularly in the retail space, but also in B2B) are leveraging the opportunity to exude peer influence in a big way using tools like Twitter, Facebook, et al.

Me, I drank this Kool-Aid long ago, having gotten on the Cluetrain in the late 1990s.

But judging from the audience size, which has clearly grown from last year’s Summit — as has the BazaarVoice customer set — others are getting on the train and fast.

Which is a good thing.

The more the merrier, I say.

The faster we evolve towards a transparent marketing orientation around the globe, the faster consumers and business people everywhere can enjoy better products and services, and more open communication between themselves and their producers.

Of course, as BazaarVoice CEO Brett Hurt explained in his opening comments, the age of social media isn’t something we should be surprised by.

Ever since our friends the cavemen (the real ones, not the ones from Geico) stood around swapping stories in front of the campfire, word of mouth has ruled as the most ubiquitous and influential form of marketing.

The difference today is, word of mouth is now an archived medium. Everything you say can and will be recorded in perpetuity on Google and can and will be held against — or, as the case may be — for you or your brand.

Sam Decker, survivor of Dell Hell and now BazaarVoice chief marketing officer, related a story during his opening comments that better tells the tale.

Dominos Pizza (Full disclosure: I was once employed as a Dominos pizza maker and driver) recently underwent a brand transformation, one in which their pizza recipe was completely overhauled after being informed by social media input from its customer base.

After the recipe was overhauled based on that crowdsourced input, Dominos then put up a Twitter feed requesting unvarnished input from the crowd, good and bad, about their new pizza.

Overwhelmingly, folks seemed to agree the new pizza was much improved from the old, and in turn Dominos realized a stock boost of some 75% after the new recipe launched.

A coincidence?  You decide, but make sure you also watch Domino’s new and very open and transparent TV commercials, in which my former employer admitted as much that their old pizza recipe sucked.

I’ve not ordered one of the new Dominos pizza yet, but based on this new information, and the fact that the crowd helped vet the new pizza makings for Dominos, I can assure you I will.

But please, hold the anchovies.

Written by turbotodd

April 21, 2010 at 4:06 pm

Spaghetti Western Guns

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The rumors of my disappearance are greatly exaggerated.

But, for the record, I will be blogging on and off these next several weeks as I combine both some personal and business travel and find myself away from the computer more than normal.

In fact, I was on the road back from a long weekend of camping and firearms practice in West Texas when IBM quarterly earnings were announced.

Thank Heavens for the BlackBerry.

Here were the headlines, just in case you missed the news:

  • Diluted earnings per share of $1.97, up 16 percent;
  • Revenue of $22.9 billion, up 5 percent, flat adjusting for currency;
  • Net income of $2.6 billion, up 13 percent;
  • Pre-tax income of $3.5 billion, up 13 percent;
  • Pre-tax margin of 15.4 percent, up 1 point;
  • Gross profit margin of 43.6 percent, up 0.2 point;
  • Free cash flow of $1.4 billion, up approximately $400 million;
  • Software revenue up 11 percent;
  • Systems and Technology revenue up 5 percent;
  • Services revenue up 4 percent;
  • Services signings of $12.3 billion, down 2 percent;
  • Consulting services signings up 18 percent;
  • Strategic Outsourcing signings up 6 percent;
  • Services backlog of $134 billion, up $8 billion year to year;
  • Full-year 2010 earnings-per-share expectations raised to at least $11.20.

All in all, a very strong quarter in a continued challenging economic climate.

As for my firearms training, fear not, I’m not part of any militia.  Shooting firearms is considered good and proper sport here in Texas, and I was just camping out and having some good times with some very good longtime friends.

We shot everything from a Kalashnikov to an M1 to a Colt AR-15 to a Beretta .40 caliber PX-4 Storm, along with a few various and sundry shotguns as well as my friend George’s new “Spaghetti Western gun,” one of those rifles that Clint Eastwood might have used in movies like “The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly.”

For the record, I’m much better on skeet than I am with the pistol — but I’m getting closer and closer to the center of the target with the pistol, too.

The targets?  Some unfortunate and various and sundry beer cans, plastic Coke bottles filled with agua, and a whole covey of clay pigeons.

As we traveled out to San Angelo and parts beyond in my friend’s Ford pickup for our long weekend, I noticed how light the traffic was on Highway 87 compared to other parts of the world.

I missed another key announcement late last week while on my short road trip, but I didn’t want to let it go unremarked upon in this blog because it’s a matter near and dear to my heart.

Traffic.  I know I’ve mentioned in this blog how much in the past I hate it.

But for the past year, IBM has been working on the problem by helping one of my favorite cities in Europe, Stockholm, to monitor and improve traffic flow during peak hours.

The congestion management system has reduced traffic in the Swedish capital by 20 percent, reduced average travel times by almost 50 percent, decreased the amount of emissions by 10 percent and the proportion of green, tax-exempt vehicles has risen to 9 percent.

As part of its continued commitment to business analytics, IBM on Friday announced a new collaboration with KTH Royal Institute of Technology to give city of Stockholm residents and officials a smarter way to manage and use transportation.

Researchers at KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Sweden are using IBM’s streaming analytics technology, to gather real-time information from the Global Positioning System (GPS) devices on nearly 1500 taxi cabs in the city and will soon expand to gather data from delivery trucks, traffic sensors, transit systems, pollution monitors and weather information.

The data is processed using IBM’s breakthrough streaming analytics software, InfoSphere Streams, giving the city and residents real-time information on traffic flow, travel times and the best commuting options.

For example, a resident could send a text message listing their location and desired destination.

The technology would instantly process the real-time traffic, rail and weather information and provide anticipated travel times via car and public transportation, giving people an accurate and instant view of the fastest way to get to their destination.

Real-Time Predictions

Additionally, IBM announced a new version of its streaming analytics software that includes enhanced processing speeds of up to three times faster and real-time predictive analysis for data in motion.

The new version includes predictive analytics capabilities that allow organizations to make real-time predictions and discoveries based on data in motion.

Predictive analytics allows organizations to better understand and predict future behavior and answers questions like, which type of vehicle part is most likely to fail, where will crimes occur at a given time of day, and what is the likelihood a patient has a heart attack during surgery?

Because predictive models can be applied directly to the huge volumes of data in InfoSphere Streams, it generates real-time analysis and determines the likely outcomes in seconds and minutes.

Streaming analytics software is a part of IBM’s more than $10 billion investment in business analytics which includes organic innovation and acquisitions.

In addition, IBM has assembled 4,000 analytics consultants with industry expertise, and opened a network of seven analytics centers of excellence.

You can learn more in this Business Analytics and Optimization press kit. You can also watch this helpful animated video on analytics:

Written by turbotodd

April 20, 2010 at 4:05 pm

How Now Brown Cloud

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Yesterday, IBM announced some additions and enhancements to its LotusLive cloud collaboration tools family, including the ability to access UPS shipping functions from within the product.

LotusLive delivers cloud-based, integrated email, Web conferencing, social networking and collaboration services to simplify and improve daily business interactions with customers, partners and colleagues.

Though you won’t get that cool looking guy from the UPS TV commercials – you know, the one where he makes it all seem so simple while drawing at the whiteboard – what you will get is the ability to get quick access to UPS shipping details directly from your LotusLive dashboard.

UPS serves more than 200 countries and territories worldwide; this solution places the ubiquitous UPS shipping services at the fingertips of LotusLive business users.

IBM also announced additional language support (15 languages, including the addition of Danish, Finnish, Norwegian and Swedish, and adding to the current availability of Brazilian Portuguese, Dutch, English, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Simplified Chinese, Spanish and Traditional Chinese) and other new integrated services from Skype, Salesforce.com, and Silanis.

Skype, E-Signature Services, $7 A Month Per User

With the LotusLive Engage for Salesforce CRM integration, customers can take advantage of LotusLive Meetings, Files, and Activities to collaborate with colleagues around the world from within Salesforce CRM.

Silanis e-SignLive e-signature services enables people from multiple organizations to use LotusLive to easily participate in a fully electronic signing process, helping to complete business transactions and legal contracts faster, more efficiently and with fewer errors.

This partnership will expand the potential reach of LotusLive to the world’s largest insurance and financial services companies, government agencies, integrators and service providers that trust Silanis to move their business processes online.

As an example, Signature Mortgage Corporation, a beta customer for Silanis e-SignLive, is enabling clients to complete and sign mortgage applications using the combined Silanis e-SignLive and LotusLive solution. This will help to improve customer experience and retention at Signature Mortgage Corporation, as well as enable the 10-person mortgage consulting team out of Canton, Ohio to compete in a market where low rates alone aren’t enough to win new business.

LotusLive users can now also use Skype to make voice calls via a simple click of a LotusLive contact’s Skype name or phone number. Millions of individuals and businesses use Skype to make free voice calls, send instant messages and share files with other Skype users — and now, LotusLive users can have convenient access to these same global communications tools right from within LotusLive.

These partner integrations from LotusLive help people work the way they want to work, demonstrate the power of the open Web and showcase the power of the cloud – allowing people from any company to easily come together to get business done. For more information on these integrations, please visit here.

Available now, businesses can purchase a new bundle of secure, enterprise-grade cloud email and social networking for only $7 USD per user, per month. 

Combining the capabilities of LotusLive iNotes and LotusLive Connections, the bundle provides essential email, file store and share, activity management, instant messaging and social networking services to enable businesses to work with anyone from anywhere and is available today at www.lotuslive.com/bundle.

A no-cost, 30-day trial in these languages is available at www.lotuslive.com/compare.  To see these new capabilities in action, you can watch the demo below.

For information on the IBM LotusLive Partner Program — including a no-cost, 365-day demo account for IBM business partners – visit www.lotuslive.com/businesspartners.

Written by turbotodd

April 15, 2010 at 1:48 pm

POWER Overload

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IBM announced today a slew of new servers, services, and software to help minimize the rising costs and complexities of operating modern data centers.

These new offerings are intended to help IBM clients around the globe reap the benefits of IBM’s three-year, $3 billion (U.S.) investment in POWER7 systems that are primed to handle new workloads and perform powerful, real-time business analytics.

The announcement includes new blade servers (see image below) built on IBM’s POWER7 workload-optimized systems’ design and new systems software design to reduce time to workload deployment.  They also include new services to help remotely implement the systems (and in turn reduce deployment costs by 25%).

In the announcement, IBM also announced that the POWER7 technology achieved record performance for a range of workloads.the same 64-bit POWER® technology at work in some of the world’s most critical data centers in government, research, finance and high-tech industries, among others.

The IBM BladeCenter PS700

The IBM BladeCenter PS700 takes advantage of the workload optimization features of POWER7 technology.

There are many facets and contours to this announcement, so to get the full read I would recommend you check out this press announcement and then follow the links to the information that will be most useful to you.

But make no mistake as to the headline here: More computing capacity at a lower price point designed to optimize your workloads faster in the pursuit of more actionable business insights.

Written by turbotodd

April 13, 2010 at 11:07 pm

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