Turbotodd

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

Archive for February 5th, 2013

Turbo’s New Hammer

with 3 comments

Image

Turbo’s new “hammer,” a Samsung Chromebook that he loyally bought from IBM client Best Buy when he was supposed to be out just grabbing lunch. Read the full post to determine whether Todd will keep his new hammer and whether or not it’s worthy of a life lived mostly in the cloud.

I’ve not written a personal technology post in a couple of weeks, but I had occasion to acquire some new technology recently, and I decided that must change.

First things first: Never let me loose in a Best Buy with a credit card.  It’s not a pretty sight.

Which is precisely where I found myself last week during a lunch break, when I allegedly stepped out to get some food.

Of course, the place where I was getting the food was also close to where the Best Buy is located.  So, one thing led to another…

And to be fair, if not to myself, then to the telling of the tale, I didn’t wander into the Best Buy without having in my mind’s eye a certain technology I wanted to check out.

Mind you, I never had children, much to my mother’s chagrin, so my indulgence IS the acquisition of new technologies, of all varieties.  I could open a museum dedicated to the long dormant carcasses of technologies past.

Some of them I could make a good argument at the time I needed them, others I would have a difficult time in making that case to a mock court filled with sympathetic nerds.

But regardless, it is my passion and weakness (that, and golf).

Now for my juicy rationalization on this particular lunch break: Though I didn’t need a new computer, I wanted to try something new.

That’s as rational as it’s going to get.

Hey, it’s better than going out and buying a Porsche on a lark, right? Or a motorcycle of some kind, which would surely get me killed!  At least this Chromebook won’t kill me, I thought as I walked through Best Buy the parking lot.

So I walked into the Best Buy and *specifically* wanted to check out the Chromebooks.  That would help me limit the damage.

I already told you, this wasn’t an entirely rational act, although there was plenty of rationalizing as I went through the door.

Also, how’s this: Best Buy is an IBM client! When I buy stuff from Best Buy, I’m helping support a customer who helps support me because they buy our stuff!

That’s pretty good, you must admit.  I was about to close the deal with myself and I hadn’t even yet seen the Chromebook.

By now, I’ve walked past the mobile phone section of Best Buy, which for me is like a person who has a gambling problem having the willpower to walk through Caesar’s Palace without stopping at a blackjack table.

But I did it. And I kept on walking…past the 3D TVs, the Internet-enabled fridges, past the camera section (Wait, I’ve not bought a camera at least in a year!), and on into the computer section.

I asked the friendly sales guy if they had any Chromebooks on display, and he said, in fact, they did. Two models, one from Samsung, and one from Acer.

The Samsung had a 16GB hard drive, and the Acer, I think, a 128GB drive.

Of course, you’re missing the point with a Chromebook if you’re thinking about how much hard drive space there is.

The whole point of a Chromebook is to live almost entirely in the cloud.

And this was my goal. To see what it was like to live in the cloud.  Another rationalization. “I have to go live in the cloud, because…I must know what THAT’S like!”

That and to support one of IBM’s great clients, Best Buy, by buying more stuff from them.  Our client.  Who buys our stuff.

I know, I have a problem. I just want you to know how my mind works.

The nice sales guy answered a bunch of questions I had, machine gun fashion, Amy Poehler style, and then mentioned they had an “open box” of the Samsung, a return.

“Why’d they return it?” I asked him.

“Because, I don’t think they realized what they were getting into buying a Chromebook.”

Then, I saw the price. $216!!!  Aha, even better, I was going to benefit from the misery of another customer who had returned the thing because they didn’t understand they were going to have to live in the cloud.

I could feel my credit card literally melting in my back pocket. Like it was oozing between the seams and burning down my leg like hot wax.

“And can I bring it back if I don’t like it?”

“Thirty days,” he smiled.  Well there you go!  If I don’t like the thing, I’ll bring it back (Fat chance that was gonna happen, but it gave me an out).

The sales guy left me there to play with the Samsung Chromebook some more, but it was a no brainer!

$216 for an item that was listed at $249 and for which I’d seen folks charging close to $300.

So I bought it, the endorphin rush carrying me out the door back to my car.

It was supposed to come with 100 GB of free storage from Google for two years, but because it was an open box, the doofus who bought the thing and returned it, had cashed in the free storage and I was left to buy my own.

That’s okay, because as it turns out, I don’t need a lot of storage. I’m mostly saving small text docs.

And now, let me explain my net summary of the Chromebook experience thus far.

First, I’m a writer, first and foremost. So I like writing on something I like to write on.

Whether a typewriter, in a specific word processing app, or on a keyboard that has just the right feel…well, that’s the point: You know it when you feel it.

The Samsung Chromebook has the right feel, for me.

Second, less is more. For basic productivity, so long as you have a good Internet connection, most everything you need is in the Chrome cloud.

Writing apps, presentation apps, spreadsheets, games, music (Pandora, etc.)…

IF you need anything else that’s specifically hidebound to Mac OS or Windows or even Linux, the SAMSUNG CHROMEBOOK IS NOT FOR YOU!

Third, I haven’t had to try and use it offline yet. Though I’m told a number of the Google apps work great offline, I haven’t yet gone there. So, stay tuned for more on that.

The ONLY thing that doesn’t yet work that I want to work is Netflix…and, I’m told, Google’s working on it (they’re having to do some recoding due to the ARM processor used in the Chromebook).

Everything else has been great, including, as mentioned, job one, the ability to write.

I found an application in Chromebook called “Writer” that’s free and that’s where I’m writing this post. My post saves every few seconds to the cloud, autosave extraordinaire, voila…no lost posts, no local OS or app crashes.

And the Chromebook display is gorgeous.  The multitasking is no problemo, due to the light footprint for Chrome.

And you know something else, I think one of the things I like most about it is its simplicity.  It just works!  The operating system doesn’t get in the way, as it so often does when I’m using Windows or Mac OS or even Linux.

The footprint is SO light there’s really not much there to crash!  And after twenty years of fighting operating systems, I have to say, this is one helluva breath of fresh air.

This is the network computer as it was being banted about in 1998, that’s actually come to fruition because the bandwidth has matched the application capacity.

Ultimately, it’s pushing technology the hell out of my way so I can get real work done.  What a concept!

And yes, this is mainly a “second” computer for me, but it’s a powerful second computer, and because so much of my life is now spent in the cloud, and considering that a computer is for me like a hammer is to a carpenter — well, that’s how I ultimately justified the purchase: I got myself a new hammer for only $216, and I’m out there just hammering away nails like it’s nobody’s business.

So before you go spending $800+ on that 128GB iPad, make sure it’s going to do what you need to do…that can’t be done on a $216 Chromebook!

Written by turbotodd

February 5, 2013 at 10:12 pm

Big Data, Big Security, Big Boxes

leave a comment »

There’s been some substantial “Big Data” announcements over the past week from Big Blue.

Late last week, on the heels of the public disclosure of security breaches at a number of major media organizations, including The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and the Washington Post, IBM announced its new “IBM Security Intelligence With Big Data” offering, which combines leading security intellignece with big data analytics capabilities for both external cyber security threats and internal risk detection and protection.

You can learn more about that offering here.

IBM is also working to make it easier for organizations to quickly adopt and deploy big data and cloud computing solutions.

Today, the company announced major advances to its PureSystems family of expert integrated systems.

Now, organizations challenged by limited IT skills and resources can quickly comb through massive volumes of data and uncover critical trends that can dramatically impact their business.

The new PureSystems models also help to remove the complexity of developing cloud-based services by making it easier to provision, deploy and manage a secure cloud environment.

Together, these moves by IBM further extend its leadership in big data and next generation computing environments such as cloud computing, while opening up new opportunities within growth markets and with organizations such as managed service providers (MSPs).

Big Data Only Getting Bigger

Across all industries and geographies, organizations of various sizes are being challenged to find simpler and faster ways to analyze massive amounts of data and better meet client needs.

According to IDC, the market for big data technology and services will reach $16.9 billion by 2015, up from $3.2 billion in 2010.1

At the same time, an IBM study found that almost three-fourths of leaders surveyed indicated their companies had piloted, adopted or substantially implemented cloud in their organizations — and 90 percent expect to have done so in three years. While the demand is high, many organizations do not have the resources or skills to embrace it.

Today’s news includes PureData System for Analytics to capitalize on big data opportunities; a smaller PureApplication System to accelerate cloud deployments for a broader range of organizations; PureApplication System on POWER7+ to ease management of transaction and analytics applications in the cloud; additional options for MSPs across the PureSystems family including flexible financing options and specific MSP Editions to support new services models; and SmartCloud Desktop Infrastructure to ease management of virtual desktop solutions.

New Systems Tuned for Big Data

The new IBM PureData System for Analytics, powered by Netezza technology, features 50 percent greater data capacity per rack3 and is able to crunch data 3x faster4, making this system a top performer, while also addressing the challenges of big data.

The IBM PureData System for Analytics is designed to assist organizations with managing more data while maintaining efficiency in the data center – a major concern for clients of all sizes.

With IBM PureData System for Analytics, physicians can analyze patient information faster and retailers can better gain insight into customer behavior. The New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) relies on PureData System for Analytics to handle an enormous volume of data in its trading systems and identify and investigate trading anomalies faster and easier.

You can learn more about these and other new PureSystems capabilities here.

To aid in the detection of stealthy threats that can hide in the increasing mounds of data, IBM recently announced IBM Security Intelligence with Big Data, combining leading security intelligence with big data analytics capabilities for both external cyber security threats and internal risk detection and prevention. IBM Security Intelligence with Big Data provides a comprehensive approach that allows security analysts to extend their analysis well beyond typical security data and to hunt for malicious cyber activity.

%d bloggers like this: