Spaghetti Western Guns
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.
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: