Turbotodd

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

Archive for December 2011

Connecting @ IBM Connect 2012

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It was on this day in 1845 that Texas officially became the 28th state in the United States of America.

Happy Birthday, Texas.

But, Texas is NOT where I’ll be in a short couple of weeks.

No, instead, I’ll be visiting the 27th state admitted to the United States of America.

Any guesses on what the 27th state was?

Click to enlarge. At IBM Connect on January 16-17, 2012, in Orlando, Florida, discuss the why, what, and how of using social, mobile, and cloud technologies to meet common business challenges and to enable people to improve their business performance. IBM Connect registration fee includes access to IBM Connect 2012 keynotes and breakout sessions, dining, a Solutions Center, and two exclusive evening events.

That’s right, Sunny Florida!

Lotusphere, to be more precise.

And IBM Connect @ Lotusphere, to be perfectly precise.

I’ll be making my third return trip to Lotusphere, and I couldn’t be more excited.  Though I’ll be leaving Scott Laningham behind to cover the podcasting front remotely, I’ll be there in full regalia, and attending a number of the IBM Connect sessions.

If you’ve not heard of IBM Connect, think of it as a conference-within-a-conference for those forward-thinking business leaders who want to learn how to turn the opportunity that comes from becoming a social business into measurable business success.

At IBM Connect, C-level executives and business leaders from a wide range of disciplines — product development, R&D, marketing, sales, customer service, HR, corporate communications, and IT — and from a diversity of organizations around the globe will come together to discuss the why, what, and how of using social, mobile, and cloud technologies to meet their business challenges and to enable people to improve their business performance.

I’ve included a snapshot of the sessions from Day 1 of IBM Connect (see above), but in the meantime, you can go here to learn more about the event and to register.

Leading up to and during the event, stay turned to the Turbo blog for full coverage and highlights from both Lotusphere and IBM Connect 2012.

2011: A Year In Turmoil?

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How do you size up an entire year?

My headline noted that 2011 was “a year in turmoil.”

Photo: National Geographic. The Tohoku earthquake on March 11, 2011, was the most powerful known ever to have hit Japan -- and one of the five most powerful earthquakes in the world since modern record-keeping began in 1900.

I wasn’t sure how else to refer to it.  A year in disruption?  Evolution?

Change was not only in the air — it was patently self-evident, all around us, and all around the globe.

Social change.  Change in our physical world.  Political change.

It was Greek philosopher Heraclitus who said that change is the only constant.  Heraclitus was spot on with regards to 2011.

Social Media, Social Change

It was a year that seemed to have started with some broadened hope, with Estonia joining the Eurozone (and, maybe to their later chagrin, the Euro), and with Southern Sudan holding a referendum on Independence…but all that soon evolved into a river of mostly bad news: the flooding in Rio, the Moscow airport shooting, and yes, on a more promising note, the fall of the Tunisian government and the start of an Arab winter that quickly turned into spring.

After the protests spread to Egypt, fed both by the widespread use of Facebook and Twitter and on-the-ground collaboration, President Hosni Mubarak left office in February, but the simultaneous and simmering uncertainty in Libya caused crude oil prices to jump some 20%, and the world seemed as much in shock as did the CNN reporters on the ground in Tahrir Square.

Elementary, My Dear Watson

February also brought us the IBM Watson “Jeopardy” competition, where IBM’s supercomputer “Watson” challenged the world’s best “Jeopardy” players, and, in spite of a few snafus, ended up running away in victory, and demonstrated once again that in such a “man v. Machine” contest, it’s easy to forget it was the men (and women!) who built and programmed the victorious machine!

And then March 11.

A 9.1 magnitude earthquake and subsequent tsunami flattened part of the coast of Japan, killing over 20,000, and leading to a nuclear emergency at four different nuclear energy plants. The pictures we saw on our television screens looked like something out of a Hollywood disaster movie gone terribly wrong, and the world watched in solidarity as well as helped through generous outpourings of support and assistance.

In late March, the UN Security Council voted to create a no-fly zone over Libya, and soon NATO jets were flying recon over the country.

A Royal Breather

Then, just when things couldn’t seem to get any more heated and political, a lighter moment provided a sigh of relief in April: The “royal” wedding of the United Kingdom’s Prince William and Catherine Middleton.

And yes, of course, also one of the most Googled figures of 2011, Kate’s lovely younger sister “Pippa.”

Despite all the hype, pomp, and circumstance, you had to be pretty hard-hearted not to think the Royal Wedding a magical event, despite the chintzy plates and royal potpourri for sale. The prince-to-be-king and his lovely royal bride provided a needed kiss seen round the world.

Bin Laden Been Gotten

Only a few short days later, it was back to reality, when the American president announced from the White House one late Sunday evening that Osama bin Laden, the founder and leader of Al-Qaeda, had been killed during an American military operation in Pakistan. One Twitterer in Abbottabad, Sohaib Athar, noted in realtime that “Helicopter hovering about Abbottabad at 1AM (is a rare event).”

Extremely.

Continued Monetary Turbulence

Later in May, the European Union agreed to a 78 billion Euro rescue deal with Portugal, continuing a long slided reach towards monetary stabilization in Europe.  There were more natural disasters, this time violent tornadoes wreaking havoc across the south and American mid-west, killing 552 people, the second worst year for tornadoes in U.S. History.

In June, more natural disastrous activity, this time with the Puyehue volcano eruption, which disrupted air traffic across South America, New Zealand, and Australia.  Also that month, on June 16th, IBM celebrated its centennial, it’s 100 year anniversary as a going concern.

July witnessed South Sudan’s succession from Sudan, as well as the world’s first artifical organ transplant (an artificial windpipe coated with stem cells).

Is it possible that the new Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter mission might find water on Mars? Stranger things have happened!

Space Shuttle: Back To Planet Earth

July also saw a bitter end to the longstanding NASA Space Shuttle program, as Atlantis STS-135 brought the shuttle back to earth once and for all.  But by August, we were looking back towards the heavens as NASA announced its Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter had captured photographic evidence of possible liquid water on Mars.

Maybe those first astronauts on Mars will be able to fill their canteens after all.

NASA also launched its first solar-powered spacecraft, Juno, on a mission to Jupiter. Juno will study Jupiter’s composition, gravity field, magnetic field, and also search for clues as to how it was formed.

But don’t get in any hurry — Juno’s not expected to arrive in Jupiter’s orbit until July 4, 2016!

In August, back here on Planet Earth, the Gaddafi regime was challenged in August at the Battle of Tripoli, as the Arab Spring proved it had legs into the summer and beyond. While back in London, peaceful protests soon turned into full-on riots, killing 5 and leading to over $275M in economic damages.

As summer turned to fall here in the west, more natural disasters reared their ugly heads, from droughts and fires in Texas to monsoons and floods in Pakistan, Cambodia, and Thailand.

Fire Everywhere, Water Nowhere…And Yet Everywhere

Where water was needed most, there was very little.  Where water was needed least, there was an overabundance.  That conundrum seemed to somehow aptly sum up 2011 thus far, a year in contradictions and juxtapositions.

In October, Colonel Gaddafi was no more, brutally killed in Sirte as National Transitional Council forces took control.  The Colonel’s reign of terror had come to an end.

A spark that had started in the spring had now spread into a conflagration.

Of course, there were more economic woes in Brussels, as the EU announced an agreement to take on the European debt crisis with a writedown of 50% of Greek bonds.

On the U.S. Halloween holiday, October 31, the UN indicated the global population had reached 7 billion. Ghoulish!

And finally, after eight long years, the U.S. War in Iraq came to an official and declarative end, even as the fate of the country continues to be debated and fought over.

And In Conclusion?

So what to make of it all?  Were there any constants amidst all this change and disruption?  Or was change the only constant?

I had an opportunity to mentor a group of very bright Notre Dame business undergrads this past fall, and so I’m going to turn to their research to try and put the year into some context.

Their central thesis centered around the growing role of social media on society and business. In their paper, they posed the following question:

Is it [social media] changing the way people organize and interact or is it just a fad that will pass with time? The findings of this analysis indicate that social media has a growing role in society, more than just helping people to connect with old friends. It is used at an alarming rate to organize protests, aid relief in areas of need, and disseminate information about global events. Social media is used in both positive and negative ways to change the way people react to global occurrences. — “What is Social Media’s Growing Role on Business and Society as a Whole?” Robert Blume, Emma Higgins, Rob Kirk, Morgan Kelley, 2011, University of Notre Dame

Certainly, their thesis seems somewhat self-evident.  Social media has certainly been used for both the positive and the negative, but in light of some of the anecdotes they cited, the Notre Dame students illustrated that the proof was really in the pudding.

That, rather than looking for broad, overarching themes, perhaps we should examine specific instances of how social media has been used, for both good and bad, and attempt to discern some broader lessons about the changing technology landscape’s impact on our evolving humanity?

To which we’ll now return, and close, on the topic of the Japanese earthquake.  Horrific though it was, the Notre Dame students explained the positive, life-affirming role social media played in the aftermath of the earthquake and tsunami:

One way in which social media helped was that it allowed the victims connect with people all over the world. People used social media to connect with their friends and family instantly to let them know that they were alright or to receive word on the condition of others. People also turned to social media to demonstrate their support for those in Japan. Twitter hashtags such as #prayforjapan‖ and ―#japan‖ were tweeted at an alarming rate, some of which were tweeted thousands of times per second. Brad Shimmin analyzed this by saying — While there are so many technologies at this time that isolate us from our fellow beings, social networking tools have shown their ability once again to unify us as human beings, and to bring out what is most altruistic and empathetic in our natures,‖ (―Twitter…‖, 2011, ~1). Beyond giving people physical support in their time of need, social media brought about emotional support by letting everyone in Japan know that they were being thought of, and that they were not alone in the situation.

And perhaps that’s best object lesson of all for 2011.  That despite all the turmoil, conflict, and disruption — engendered either by acts of God, or of man — we still simply want to be connected one to another.

To know others are out there, virtually or otherwise, witness to our travesties and our triumphs, and ultimately, to know wherever we are in the world, we are most certainly not alone.

Written by turbotodd

December 28, 2011 at 8:26 pm

TurboTech: A Humorous Look At 2011 Technology Trends In Review

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It’s not many people who have the opportunity to be able to say that they’ve worked with a true broadcasting professional like Scott Laningham.

Blogger's Note: No dolphins were harmed during the making of this video. Green pigs who stole bird's eggs, well, that's a whole other story!

It’s even less people who would take the opportunity to actually come clean and admit to having done so, especially on more than one occasion.

Because I’m neither a true professional nor someone who likes to allow the skeletons in his closet to begin to accumulate, instead of facing as many of them as I can take head on like some egregious out-of-control episode of “Walking Dead,” or, worse, a full-on “Angry Birds” like assault come to life (but only if it’s the ad-supported version, as we’re too cheap to actually buy a copy), it is with great pleasure that I feature for you my readers the latest episode of “TurboTech,” another fine example supporting the postulation by Gartner and others that broadband video is here to stay…even if Scott and I are not destined to be ourselves.

The following is video documentary evidence of what happens when nature cannot simply abhor a vacuum, but instead must attempt to fill it with technology forecasting tripe at the end of another grand year of massive technological disruption.  In our case, the year 2011, which was filled with much technological wonder and wonderment, not the least of which included fabric-based computing.

It shall also not go unnoticed by somewhat regular (assuming there are any of you) viewers that Scott continues to look and sound much, much better than me in these episodes, indicating once again that Scott continues to have better technology than me.

This, too, must change.

Don’t Do Windows…Yet

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More Christmas analytics tidings to share.

Apps metrics provider Localytics shared a lengthy blog post earlier which suggested that plenty of good boys and girls around the globe got Apple iOS and Android devices in their stockings.

Their first hint? The number of new devices that appeared on Localytics dashboard was 12 times higher than previous weekends.

They also reported that there was some interesting geographical diversity, although the two platforms were mostly tied.

Apple took the top growth spurt for the U.S., Germany and the UK, while the ‘Droid grew the most in South Korea, Sweden, and Spain.

Source: Localytics. Among the top 20 countries for mobile devices, Localytics saw a huge increase in both Apple iOS and Android devices over the December 23 – 26 weekend compared to previous weekends since November 25. The US and Germany registered the highest growth rates for iOS, while South Korea and Sweden had the highest growth rates for Android.

I’ve believed (and even expressed) for some time this will be a largely two-horse horse race, and that Android will inevitably take victory.

But, the i-Juggernaut lingers on, both with the iPad and iPhone, and Google’s victory may not be as inevitable as it once seemed.

Of course, these are still early days, and if you’re looking for a deeper analysis of the mobile market, and also wondering why Windows Phone 7 isn’t one of those lead horses, check out Charlie Kindel’s analysis.

Having been at the scene of the Windows and OS/2 operating systems war crime, I would suggest you ought never rule Redmond out of the equation.  All About Windows Phone just posted that the new Windows Phone Marketplace has now passed the 50,000 app mark, and is generating some 256 items per day.

That means the Windows Phone App pace has picked up some serious steam in recent weeks, and I suspect many of those Windows Phone Apps could fit elegantly into the Windows Azure and overall Microsoft cloud/desktop landscape, particularly with respect to a lot of business applications.

So, the net of it all is, the iPlatform enjoys continued momentum with some nice Christmas pick-up, but Android enjoys a device diversity that should keep it gaining mobile share for some time to come.

And Windows?  Well, a lot of folks don’t do them yet on mobile devices…the key word being “yet.”

Santa’s E-Commerce Play

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Ho ho ho!  Merry Christmas!

IBM Benchmark data revealed that online shopping jumped 16.4 percent on Christmas Day, compared to last year, and the dollar amount of those purchases that were made using mobile devices leaped 172.9 percent!

And apparently, it was.

I didn’t try to track Santa via Santa Norad, but apparently Santa didn’t need nearly the help he might have.

According to some more IBM Benchmark e-commerce tracking numbers from the holiday shopping season, lots of folks were ready for more virtual commerce even on Christmas Day.

I count myself among the guilty.

The IBM data discovered that online shopping jumped 16.4 percent on Christmas Day, compared to last year, and the dollar amount of those purchases that were made using mobile devices leaped 172.9 percent.

IBM tracks shopping at more than 500 websites (other than Amazon.com, which is where *I* was shopping!).

It also found a huge increase in the number of shoppers making their purchases via iPhones, iPads and Android-powered mobile devices. In fact, nearly 7 percent of all online purchases were made using iPads, just 18 months after the tablet computers were released by Apple Inc..

The online shopping increase continued on Monday. As of 3 p.m. Eastern time, shopping was up 10 percent over Dec. 26, 2010, and the expectation was that the pace of buying would increase as the day wore on and consumers clicked on sales at various retailers.

The data did not show what portion of purchases was made using gift cards, which typically see a big bump just after holidays as folks start cashing those gift cards in and make purchases (online and off).

Speaking of online gifts, IBM has been making some pretty heavy duty investments in Santa’s e-commerce play, what we’re calling “smarter commerce.”  Between the numerous acquisitions and continued organic investment, IBM’s smarter commerce effort recognizes that the final sale is just one aspect of the overall commerce experience.

Last year, IBM researchers surveyed more than 500 economists worldwide and estimated that our planet’s system of systems carries inefficiencies totaling nearly $15 trillion, or 28 percent of worldwide GDP.

Much of this waste is found in our systems of commerce — in inventory backlogs, failed product launches, wasted materials and ineffective marketing campaigns.

Today’s customers have no patience for this kind of waste. They will not remain loyal to products or brands while the cost of inefficiency is passed along to the buyer. And it will not take them long to find the same product or service from a competitor.

These customers are empowered by technology, transparency, and an abundance of information. They expect to engage with companies when and how they want, through physical, digital and mobile means.

They want a consistent experience across all channels. They compare notes. And they can champion a brand or sully a reputation with the click of a mouse.

Nowhere is this shift more visible than in the retail industry, where companies are rapidly adapting to this new reality, integrating their  marketing efforts and using analytics to better understand their new, more fickle customers.

But retail is only the beginning. It is merely the front line of a customer revolution that will eventually reshape the entire value chain, from the way raw materials are sourced to the way they are manufactured, distributed and serviced.

Keeping up with today’s customer will take more than an email marketing campaign and a Facebook page.

It’s going to take a better system of doing business. It’s going to take smarter commerce.

Just as with traditional commerce, the customer is at the center of all operations, and smarter commerce turns customer insight into action, enabling new business processes that help companies buy, market, sell and service their products and services and, in the process, make for happier customers.

Smarter commerce reaches deep within the businessto-business supply chain, integrating business partners, suppliers, and vendors, enabling the entire value chain to anticipate customer needs, not react to them.

And it identifies and addresses the unsustainable inefficiencies of our global systems of commerce.

Visit here if you’d like to learn more about IBM’s smarter commerce strategy.

In the meantime, we’ll be sure to keep an eye on Santa’s post Christmas holiday sales!

Written by turbotodd

December 27, 2011 at 4:53 pm

Healthier Hong Kong

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I’ve been too busy to keep an eye out for Norad Santa this year, but for those of you with children out there, you’ll be happy to know you can now track Santa via the NORAD Tracks Santa app, available for both Android and the iPhone.

For more than 50 years, NORAD and its predecessor, the Continental Air Defense Command (CONAD) have tracked Santa’s flight. The tradition began in 1955 after a Colorado Springs-based Sears Roebuck & Co. advertisement for children to call Santa misprinted the telephone number. Instead of reaching Santa, the phone number put kids through to the CONAD Commander-in-Chief’s operations "hotline." The Director of Operations at the time, Colonel Harry Shoup, had his staff check the radar for indications of Santa making his way south from the North Pole. Children who called were given updates on his location, and a tradition was born.

It’s good to know that Santa’s multi-platform!

If, on the other hand, you’re all about tracking leading healthcare providers, look now towards Hong Kong-based Quality HealthCare Medical Services (QMHS), which partnered today with IBM to build a virtualized infrastructure for its practice.

The project involves the consolidation of more than 100 servers into a cloud environment that hosts QHMS’ mission critical systems that serve over 600 medical centers in Hong Kong and Macau.

The optimized infrastructure will enable QHMS to reduce IT maintenance and disaster recovery costs, ensure production system maintainability and performance, and achieve energy-savings.

By reducing the number of physical servers from over 100 to eight IBM System x3650 servers and centralizing storage, QHMS is expected to reduce IT operational costs by 25 percent and software license and related maintenance costs by 23 percent.

The new and highly redundant server infrastructure also includes an automated centralized back-up system of IBM System Storage DS3500 Express that enables fast, secure and cost-effective storage management, back up and recovery.

“We are always looking for ways to further improve the patient experience. Our new cloud allows us to deliver information to our doctors faster and in a more reliable way,” said Elaine Chu, Chief Operating Officer of QHMS. “As a result, we will be able to serve our patients more effectively and with higher levels of care. It is very exciting to see how we can make a difference to our patients with the help of technology.”

Additionally, the deployment of the IBM Cognos Business Intelligence solution provides financial key performance indicator (KPI) and analysis, creating the opportunity to gain more timely business information for better business performance management and smarter decision-making.

QHMS aims to monitor business performance in over 600 medical centers. With IBM Cognos BI, QHMS can build a standardized and centralized information delivery platform that enables QHMS to monitor the performance of a wide range of services running on different systems.

QHMS’ management team can now access timely business information with just a few mouse clicks, speeding response times to business needs and patient demands.

About Quality HealthCare
Quality HealthCare Medical Services Limited is a physician led provider group offering an integrated range of healthcare services including facilities management, third party plan administration and paramedical support. The Group provides care for private and corporate contract patients through a network of more than 580 Western and Chinese medical centers, and 47 dental and physiotherapy centers.

In 2010, its network recorded more than 2.8 million healthcare visits. It also operates Hong Kong’s longest-established nursing agency and one of its medical practices has been serving Hong Kong people for over 140 years.

Turbo’s Crazy Christmas Gifts

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Now that things are slowing down a bit here in IBM-land, but recognizing there are still a few shopping days left before Christmas, I thought it might be constructive for you, and psychologically assuaging to me, for me to sit down and make a list for Santa.

You know, a kind of “Technology Gifts For The Geek Who Already Has (Almost) Everything.”

In so doing, I decided to identify those gadgets, thingamabobs, widgets, and other tech wizardry that, were I not to have to worry about price constraints, would inevitably wind their way into my gadget portfolio.

Which, being nicknamed “Turbo,” I can assure you, is already vast and expansive.  I could also open a small personal technology history museum with devices gathering dust in my various closets, but hey, this is about the future, not the past!  Stop dwelling on dollars spent previously in the great expense of being an early adopter and look into the holiday electronics abyss for the next new thing!

1) Video glasses.  I’m not yet sold on which brand or SKU, as there’s still some controversy, it seems, in the area of video glasses, as to whether they’re worth the investment or not.

iTV Googles new WideViewXL model provides a 72" virtual display, so while all the other suckers in coach are watching that runty TV, you're back in the exit row watching "Avatar" in full steroscopical, HD bliss -- and looking like the geek you truly are while you're watching it!

But, remembering this is a wish list of stuff I don’t necessarily need but would like to have, and assuming the moolah’s not coming from my pocket, it seems to me no self-respecting technology geek in the 2010s should be without a good pair of video glasses so that I can ignore people on airplanes while I watch the latest version of “Jackass” in 3D or play “Call of Duty: Modern Warfare” all up close and personal.

And I mean REALLY up close.  So for now, I’m going with the ITG-WideView XL Edition.  Amazon cost: $369.99

 2) Kindle Fire.  Let’s face it: I don’t need anything else to read.  I subscribe to more print magazines than I care to admit to (yes, me, “Dr. Digital,” still traffics in parchment), I have an iPad with more books I’ve downloaded than I can read, and my MacBook Air serves in a pinch for watching content on the road as well.

But hey, you can’t ignore how big that frickin’ Amazon Cloud is, and there’s a reason they’re selling the Fire for a mere $199 (and apparently at a loss).

What they lose in volume they expect to make up in razor blade margins — content razor blades, I mean to say.  And with 19 million movies, TV shows, magazines, and books, with the Kindle Fire, the flames won’t go out in Amazon’s content cloud anytime soon! Amazon cost: $199

According to Panasonic "the VIERA ST Series Full HD 3D Plasmas create an all new viewing experience by putting you inside the action and creating a new world of TV viewing realism." The really cool fish are sold separately.

3) An Internet-Ready TV.  It’s pretty obvious to me where TV-land is headed: Straight for an interstellar crash with all things IP.  Which means the more Internet-ready my next TV is, the more TV-ready I’ll be for the coming Internet content wars.

Not that I need a new big TV, mind you: My 6-year old Sony Bravia 55”-inch is still working just fine, and with the recent addition of a Roku box, combined with an Apple TV, a WII, cable, and a Sony Playstation hooked to the thing, I’ve got more content than I can keep up with.  But this is about conspicuous-consumption, and the next big thing is Internet-ready TV, and I’m simply not ready!

So, enter the Panasonic Viera TC-P50S30 50-inch 1080p plasma HDTV. When I get bored with that Kindle Fire small fry screen, I can rev the Viera up on the Panasonic and grab me a content smorgasbord, built-in, including Amazon Prime, Netflix, Pandora, Napster, and Facebook integration.

Could the Panasonic be my next new computer??  At $799.99, it could be the TV-top deal of the century! Amazon cost: $799.99

4) A Portable Hard Drive.  I cannot tell a lie: I have too much digital stuff.  And it’s all over the place. On multiple computers.  Multiple clouds.  In multiple universes.  Or was that meta-verses?

In any case, I’m well into digital overload, particularly now that I’ve learned how to make iMovies on my MacBook Air.  I need an overflow valve, so-to-speak.  And the Western Digital My Passport Essential SE 1 TB USB 3.0 Portable External Hard Drive could be a step in the right storage direction for helping me pack away all those exciting skateboarding bulldog videos.

The upside: It has up to 3X transfer rates via USB 3.0  The downside: It’s saying it only supports USB 2.0 on Snow Leopard (nothing about Lion!).  And that’s assuming the floods in Thailand haven’t put a damper on supply.  Amazon cost: $169.00

5) A Gaming Laptop.  Let’s face it, with a nickname like “Turbo,” I can’t ever have TOO much processing power in any of my computing devices.  The more horsepower, the better, I say.

The Battalion 101 X7200 from iBuypower says it will "give you an absolutely amazing gaming experience every time. The NVIDIA GeForce GTX 560M graphics card, 6GB of DDR3 memory and Intel Core i7 760QM processor give this computer plenty of power to handle even the most demanding games on the market. " Yes, I know, you're just waiting to ask: It will handle any variety of "Angry Birds" just fine!

And now that I’m trying to learn to fly via my computer, just any old laptop won’t do.  My poor Dell laptop is chugging along, and I fear I may crash into somebody else’s airplane in virtual space due to limited computing horsepower.  I did a little checking, and the Battaliion 101 X7200 seems to be a very highly rated, and somewhat affordable (remembering we don’t care about money in this list!) portable gaming maachine.

It comes with an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 560M graphics card, 6GB of DDR3 memory, and an Intel Core i7 760QM processor — all of which ought to get me off the ground from the virtual Austin Bergstrom International and off to Charles DeGaulle for evening cocktails at Harry’s New York Bar in no time at all. iBuypower cost: $1,959

Of course, it took some serious restraint not for this list to go on and on and on and on.  There are so many gadgets across so many galaxies far, far away that I could have included, and yet, so little time. And, even affording myself the luxury of no cap on spending for my gift list, it still feels wrong, like we’re having ourselves a very merry but still austere holiday season.

So, Mr. Klaus, I hereby respectfully request that you deliver my coal this year in the form of some multi-carat eco-diamonds — manmade, no labor issues, easy to transact.  If I’m going to take my coal, I’m going to take it in style, thank you very much.

But I also wouldn’t argue if you just dropped me off an iPad 2, Santa.  I’ll even sit on your lap, if I must.

I’m already a generation behind with this first run iPad and I’m starting to get paranoid that I won’t be able to keep up with the virtual Joneses!

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