Turbotodd

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

Archive for December 2016

Not A Pro Battery

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If you’re still looking for those holiday stocking stuffers or gifts under the tree, you might want to grab a copy of Consumer Reports before you invest in a new Apple MacBook Pro.

The company just conducted their most recent evaluations, and while the new Pros did very well in measures of display quality and performance, “the models varied dramatically from one trial to another.”

As a result, CR went on to explain, “these laptops are the first MacBooks not to receive recommended ratings from Consumer Reports.”

CR acknowledges that complaints about MacBook Pro batteries have been raised since the laptops first went on sale in November, and Apple’s guidances was that these computers “should operate for up to 10 hours between charges.” Only users in Apple support forums reported they were only able to use their laptops for three to four hours before the battery ran down.

You can see CR’s full read out here.

Written by turbotodd

December 24, 2016 at 9:58 am

Posted in 2016, apple

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The Weather Company Named Most Accurate Forecaster

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The Weather Company, an IBM business, was shown to be the most accurate forecaster in a study by ForecastWatch, the U.S.’s premier authority in meteorological validation.

The study named The Weather Company’s consumer brands The Weather Channel and Weather Underground as the most accurate forecasters overall across diverse geographic regions and time periods covered.

The study evaluated the top forecasting services in three regions independently: the United States since 2010, and Europe and Asia Pacific since 2013. Within each region, data was broken out into three different forecast time ranges.

According to ForecastWatch, The Weather Company was the overwhelming leader, offering the most accurate one- to three-day and three- to five-day forecasts in the U.S., Europe and Asia, and the most accurate six- to nine-day forecasts in the U.S. and Asia. The study collected forecasts from eleven different providers and analyzed a total of more than 139.3 million forecasts.

“Our users and clients turn to us to help them make weather-related decisions with confidence. This study shows The Weather Company as the undisputed accuracy leader, confirming the trust of more than 250 million people who choose The Weather Company for weather information every month,” said Mary Glackin, senior vice president of science and forecasting operations at The Weather Company. “Making a claim is easy, but backing it up takes continued effort and focus on who you’re serving. With IBM, we’ve stepped up investment and made a dedicated effort toward advancing our forecasting skill in 2016.”

You can learn more about The Weather Company here.

Written by turbotodd

December 24, 2016 at 9:34 am

Posted in 2016, ibm, internet of things, weather

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Shipbuilder Fincantieri Selects IBM Cloud to Meet Growing International Demand

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IBM today announced that Fincantieri, one of the world’s largest shipbuilding groups and number one by diversification and innovation is adopting a hybrid cloud solution from IBM to improve the efficiency of designing, building and deploying new vessels in response to the growing global demand for shipbuilding.

According to Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA), demand for cruising has increased 68 percent over the last 10 years, helping the global cruise industry generate revenues of 37.1 billion U.S. dollars in 2014 — a figure that is expected to grow to approximately $39.6 billion by the end of 2016.

Faced with rapidly growing international demand for cruise as well as naval vessels, Fincantieri needed a modern and global IT infrastructure to manage its new Integrated Ship Design and Manufacturing system, which manages the process of designing, fabricating and deploying ships. This capital-intensive and time-sensitive process also required rapid provisioning capabilities, high elasticity and security.

With more than 50 cloud data centers worldwide – including one in Milan – and expertise in managing enterprise cloud services, IBM will provide Fincantieri with a modern IT infrastructure to advance Fincantieri’s global growth goals.

Fincantieri selected IBM Cloud out of a crowded field of competitors to create a global hybrid cloud infrastructure. The hybrid infrastructure connects 13 Fincantieri private distributed data centers with the IBM Cloud data center in Milan.  The result is a hybrid cloud for high-availability, fault tolerance and secure enterprise service levels.

You can learn more about IBM Cloud solutions here.

Written by turbotodd

December 19, 2016 at 9:04 am

Posted in 2016, commerce, ibm cloud, italy, shipbuilding

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Unruly Taps IBM Watson Personality Insights Service For Improving Online Marketing Campaigns

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The power of IBM Watson has already been unleashed on the advertising industry with Equals 3’s “Lucy” media planning tool.

Now, British ad tech company Unruly is using IBM Watson to create a new cognitive powered psychographic targeting tool to increase the effectiveness of digital video ads.

Unruly DNA combines the company’s emotional intelligence tools with IBM Watson’s machine learning capabilities to help identify and engage the people most likely to increase a brand’s sales. The company is tapping Watson’s Personality Insights service to help advertisers to learn how and why people think, act, and feel a certain way.

The Unruly DNA tool analyzes social media and other digital data from consumers and learns personality traits such as empathy, trust, assertiveness, and imagination.

Unruly’s new audience targeting tool creates profiles of light buyers who, according to academic research, are more likely than heavy buyers to increase sales because they have a greater capacity to purchase more. Unruly DNA then generates a recommended list of third-party audience segments based on these characteristics, which can be used by advertisers to improve the efficiency of their targeting.

Scott Button, Unruly’s Chief Strategy Officer, said, “Cognitive technologies and Artificial intelligence (AI) have made massive strides in the last few years and are now at a point where they can recognize quite subjective and very human qualities, such as emotion and personality.”

“We’re really at the beginning of the journey when it comes to using cognitive technologies in advertising. Machines can be a powerful tool for marketers to recognize human desires and aspirations. We’re really excited to be at the forefront of this new world with integrating Watson capabilities into our Unruly DNA tool, helping brands increase penetration and sales by targeting their light buyers,” added Button.

Unruly’s new tool is built on large scale consumer panel studies with more than 10,000 respondents combined with insights from social media accounts of participating consumers. By tapping IBM Watson, Unruly DNA uses a mix of linguistic analysis and machine learning to determine the sociodemographic and psychological profile of each panelist, clustering and aggregating the profiles based on buying patterns and purchasing frequency.

All people participating in Unruly’s online consumer panel provided personal data with their express permission and consent. In Unruly’s internal and external reports and analysis, all personal data is anonymized and aggregated. When targeting adverts, Unruly uses anonymous third-party cookies which are not linked to any personally identifying information and enable users to opt out.
According to recent research by Weber Shandwick, in association with KRC Research, more than half of global CMOs expect artificial intelligence to have a greater impact in marketing and communications than social media ever had.

You can learn more about the IBM Watson Personality Insights service here.

Written by turbotodd

December 16, 2016 at 9:32 am

The Yahoo Repo

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And you thought bad security didn’t cost your business anything to the downside?

A few months ago Verizon was posing the question “Should we Yahoo!?” and the answer was a resounding “Yes We Should!”

But after yesterday’s report of another Yahoo! hacking incident, this time dating back to 2013 and involving as many as 1 billion user accounts, the answer is quite different.

Bloomberg is reporting that Verizon is looking for either a price cut (“Hacker’s Discount!”) or even a “possible exit” from the $4.83 billion pending acquisition.

Yahoo shares have fallen as much as 6.5 percent since the news broke of the latest hack.

Me, I stopped Yahooing the first time around, going so far as to completely delete my Yahoo! account (one, by the way, I’d probably had for going on 17 years!)

(See IBM’s cognitive security to learn how you can prime your company’s digital immune system.)

In other breaking tech news and also from Bloomberg, VC-backed unicorn and developer-can’t-live-without coding platform, GitHub, lost $66M in nine months over 2016.

GitHub received a $250M funding round by Sequoia Capital in 2015, but has apparently been burning through cash as fast as developers can create new repos.

And seemingly straight outta the HBO show, “Silicon Valley,” GitHub’s San Fran HQ apparently has a lobby modeled after the White House’s Oval Office, which in turn leads to a replica of the Situation Room.

Let’s hope they won’t be needing to go to DefCon 4 anytime soon — the software development world would likely come to a screeching halt if GitHub were to head south.

If only they could just commit!

{{IF you think that was a bad joke, THEN I’ve got plenty more where that one came from.}}

Written by turbotodd

December 15, 2016 at 4:16 pm

BMW Group And IBM Watson Partner On Intelligent Driving

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It’s the ultimate driving machine. And the ultimate cognitive computing technology for providing a personalized driving experience.

IBM has announced a new collaboration with the BMW Group in which the two companies will work together to explore the role of Watson cognitive computing create more intuitive driver support systems for cars of the future.

As part of the agreement, the BMW Group will collocate a team of researchers at IBM’s global headquarters for Watson Internet of Things (IoT) in Munich, Germany and the companies will work together explore how to improve intelligent assistant functions for drivers.

IBM recently pledged to invest USD $200 million to make its new Munich center one of the world’s most advanced facilities for collaborative innovation as part of a global investment of USD $3 billion to bring Watson cognitive computing to the Internet of Things.
BMW, which also has its company headquarters in Bavaria’s capital, is one of the first companies to sign up to be collocated inside IBM’s building within one of the newly-launched industry ‘collaboratories’. A team of BMW Group engineers will work alongside IBM’s own team of technologists, developers and consultants.

To further its automotive research and demonstrate the possibilities of Watson IoT technologies to clients, IBM will locate 4 BMW i8 hybrid sports cars at its Munich Watson IoT HQ. Prototype solutions which will run on IBM’s Bluemix cloud platform will help demonstrate how Watson can enable new conversational interfaces between cars and drivers.

Watson’s machine learning capabilities offer new opportunities for vehicles to learn about the preferences, needs and driving habits of their drivers over time, customizing the driving experience accordingly and improving levels of comfort and safety.

The car’s manual will be ingested into Watson so that drivers can ask questions about the vehicle in natural language while still being able to focus on the road. The aim is for the solution to also incorporate data from the Weather Company (an IBM business) as well as realtime, contextual updates about route, traffic and vehicle status in order to enrich the driving experience and make recommendations to the driver.

Written by turbotodd

December 15, 2016 at 10:04 am

Droning On A Bad Santa

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Trying to get ready for the holidays?

You’re not the only ones.

United Parcel Service and FedEx Corp. are having a hard time keeping up with holiday shipping volumes that have “blown past expectations,” writes The Wall Street Journal. And the delayed delivery of millions of orders could rapidly become the Cyber Grinch that stole this Christmas.

Meanwhile, back at the Santa’s workshop located in Cambridge, U.K., Amazon has apparently made its first customer delivery by drone. It’s cargo? Some popcorn and — of course — a Fire TV video-streaming device.

Also according to the Journal, the drone made the trip in about 13 minutes, well ahead of the promised 30 minute windows for its “Prime Air” drone delivery service.

“But can it keep the pizza warm for that duration?” we ask.

If you’re tired of waiting for the drones to arrive, perhaps you’d like to learn more about our coming machine overlords?

The New York Times Magazine goes deep and long on the “Google Brain,” and the advances the company has made with its neural network capabilities for human language translation.

Before you get too excited about all these machines doing all this learning, however, you might want to take a second look at your vendor’s privacy policy.

As an example, Evernote is slated to announce a new policy on January 23, writes TechCrunch, one that is expected to “let its machine learning algorithms crunch your data” and also “let some of its employees read your notes so it can ensure that the machine learning is functioning properly.”

But worry not, Evernote responds, they’ve got someone watching the watchers: “Evernote claims that only a limited number of employees who have undergone background checks will be able to access user data and that users can encrypt notes they consider sensitive to prevent employees from reading them.”

How reassuring! If only I had my smart Amazon drone that I could hire out to keep an eye out on all those Evernote monitors?!!!

Written by turbotodd

December 14, 2016 at 3:10 pm

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