Turbotodd

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

Archive for the ‘social networks’ Category

Unleash The Lion

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Today Apple released the latest version of its operating system, dubbed OS X “Mountain Lion,” which includes a more robust messaging capability, integrated dictation, expanded integration of social apps like Facebook and Twitter, and over 200 other new features.

Today’s the day Apple unleashed another wild cat out into the digital wild, this time in the form of Macintosh OS X “Mountain Lion.”

This release could be characterized as a more minor upgrade than that from “Leopard” to “Snow Leopard,” but still bears mentioning, particularly for all you Mac fan boys and girls.

Apple’s Web site for Mountain Lion asserts over 200 new features, including a new “Dictation” capability, which allows you to “talk anywhere you can type.”

Though this may seem pedestrian enough, as a Dragon Dictation user, I’ll look forward to giving this new integrated voice capability a test drive (and it’s certainly a deal, considering the $19.99 price tag for the upgrade, compared to the $100+ cost of full dictation products like Dragon Dictate).

Other notable features are the new and more integrated social applications supporting Facebook and Twitter. Now, you simply sign in once and your Mac can share to Facebook. Notification Center and Contacts also are now fully integrated.

Mountain Lion has similar capabilities for Twitter, allowing you to Tweet from key Apple apps (Safari, Preview, Finder, Photo Booth, Quick Look), and to more easily share links and photos from iPhoto.

Also notable, the new “Messages,” which allows you to send messages to anyone who has an iPhone, iPad, or iPod using iOS5 or later (or another Mac running Mountain Lion). This will also allow you to send iMessages to a phone number or email address associated with an Apple ID.

MG Siegler with TechCrunch has been previewing Mountain Lion for several months and blogs that “notifications are the most in-your-face and probably best new feature of Mountain Lion,” explaining that we’re used to dozens of apps alerting us to things. The Messaging app streamlines those messages into a more unified stream.

The details: Mountain Lion is available here in the Mac App Store, and for the princely sum of $19.99, you’ll be able to upgrade ALL your machines to ML.

Me, I’ll suffer the delayed gratification of waiting for the bugs to get cleaned up before I throw down my Mastercard.

Written by turbotodd

July 25, 2012 at 3:55 pm

Sewing Up The London Olympic Games

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The new Ralph Lauren-designed uniforms for U.S. Olympics athletes at the coming London Olympics games may look spiffy, but a number of U.S. politicians have come out recently to complain they were manufactured in China. Let the games begin!

Well, it seems that the London Olympic Games are only a couple of short weeks away now.

As we get closer and closer to the lighting of the London 2012 Olympic torch, we will also start to see lines get drawn in the digital and social sand, as this will likely be the most “social” Olympic Games ever.

There will be lots to juxtapose in this year’s games in London with those of Beijing in 2008.

Most notably, the fact that we won’t have a 12 hour delay by the broadcast networks. Instead, NBC has already indicated that they will show many of the events live.  American GDP could swoon to a new low in these London Olympic summer games!

If you’re looking for a place to follow the games, there will be no shortage of television and digital opportunities. Just this week, Facebook and NBC announced a collaboration for “transmedia” coverage of the London Olympic Games.

In that deal, data from Facebook will inform TV coverage on NBC and other channels that will carry portions of the Summer Games starting on July 27, according to The New York Times. The specific uses will vary, says the Times, but there will be a “Facebook Talk Meter”  occasionally shown on TV to reflect what is being said online.

Conversely, on Facebook the NBC Olympics page will get frequent updates with what the companies call “exclusive content” for fans only. Fans will then be able to share what videos and articles they’re perusing on the network’s Olympics website.

It’s hard to believe that in only 4 short years, Facebook has grown from 100 million users, the number they were at during the Beijing Olympic Games, to over 900 million.  There’s no question this will be a much more social Olympics, but let’s also not forget the projected TV audience is 4 billion (In Beijing, the global TV audience was estimated at 4.4 billion.)

Speaking of China, U.S. Senator Harry Reid (D-NV) castigated the U.S. Olympic Committee for its decision to have the U.S. Olympics team dressed in Ralph Lauren-designed berets, blazers and pants that were manufactured in China even as the U.S. textile industry struggles to keep U.S. workers at their sewing machines.

Maybe they should introduce sewing into the Olympics as an official sport and we can have ourselves a “sew-off?”

I recently did some Olympic scouting of my own, looking for Websites and mobile apps to help make sure I keep up with the Virtual Joneses during the London sports festouche.  Here’s a few of them I unearthed:

I also found an interesting app for the iPad, the “Ultimate Olympic Guide,” which cost me a whopping $.99 and provided some nice background and overviews of each of the Olympic sports.

Feel free to add any other useful London Olympics resources in the comments section below.

Google’s New “Jelly Bean”

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So did anybody else watch that Google I/O keynote earlier today from the Moscone Center in San Francisco?

Apparently, so, because at one point there were nearly 100,000 concurrent viewings on YouTube.

Yes, I said, 100,000.  Pretty impressive for a developer’s conference.

I’ll get to some of the key Android announcements momentarily…first, the show stealer, which for my money (and of which there’s not a whole lot), one-upped Apple’s keynotes in a way they’ll likely never be able to match.

As the team was preparing to introduce the much-discussed Google Glasses (which I hope, one day, I’ll be able to wear on the golf course and announce to my technophobe father exactly how many yards his shot is to the pin without missing a beat), Sergey Brin cut away to an airplane flying high over the skies of San Francisco, all featured in a Google Events Hangout.

I presumed the cutaway was Memorex, but soon found out differently.

The skydivers jumped from the plane, flew in their birdsuits a little ways, then opened their chutes and landed safely on a roof by or at the Moscone Center.

They delivered the Google Glasses to some manic BMX mountain bikers, who jumped a couple of roofs before handing them over to some dudes who were hanging by some ropes.

Before too long, they all came busting into the live keynote and up on the stage to deliver the glasses.

I’ll never think of my FedEx delivery guy the same again.

I guess everyone at Google Marketing and PR was pretty confident all their skydivers’ chutes would open and no Google Glasses were going to go splat along with their mules.  That, or they had a contingency plan to cutaway to poor voice-challenged CEO Larry Page trying to pick up the slack via ASL.

Like I said, the whole stunt got my attention.

There were a range of interesting announcements, including the Glasses (available to developers attending I/O sometime next year), the new Google streaming media player (Yawn), and Google’s own Nexus 7 (is that one step behind Windows8?) tablet.

But the new Android, 4.1, AKA “Jelly Bean,” was the storyline I found most interesting.

Google announced “Project Butter” as the new innovation in 4.1, which helps make transitions and animations in the Android OS run more smoothly (at a cool 60 frames per second).

Googlers also demonstrated more responsive widgets (I hate to wait on any mobile device app!), which users can drag and drop and move around on their home screen.

Android Heavens, open up and save me from thith mobile lag!

The Google voice recognition engine is now going offline, which means you can transcribe to your heart’s content without being connected to the Interwebs.

“Android, go beat up Siri and then send me some funny pics of such that I can view on my newfangled Android 4.1 home screen and share them via my non-lagging new Facebook app on Jelly Bean!”

The new “Google Now” was also a cool new feature, which allows you tor bring up new “cards” that contain relevant and timely information (“How tall is the Empire State Building?”).

If Trivial Pursuit ever makes a comeback, I want to play the Google Now-assisted edition!

Google Now also takes advantage of temporal and physical data it knows to make friendly suggestions to you.  For example, when it’s lunchtime, Google Now could suggest some local restaurants nearby and let you easily make reservations to go there.

I’d suggest you view the video below to learn more about Google Now, but despite my preference to stick with the Apple iPlatforms, me likey the new “Jelly Bean” and hope Apple responds with some similar features in a future iOS release.

Flame No Game

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What a week for cybsecurity matters last week was.

First, the story about the Flame virus discovered by Kapersky Labs in Russia, a new and improved “Stuxnet” virus that has apparently infiltrated computers throughout Iran (and, it seems, beyond).

Then, The New York Times reported on the code-named “Olympic Games” cyberintrusion program, in which the U.S. and Israel allegedly developed Stuxnet for the express purpose of disabling Iranian centrifuges that were being used to enrich uranium.

If you ever had the question as to when or whether the digital realm would meet that of the physical, Stuxnet and, now, Flame, are perfectly good examples of how that intersection is being brought about.

But Eugene Kasperksy himself, who’s team discovered the Flame virus, suggests this intersection is one of foreboding, explaining at CeBIT last month that “Cyberweapons are the most dangerous innovation of this century.”

Is he right?  More dangerous than the nuclear weapons they were intended to prevent the manufacture of in Iran?

More dangerous than Hellfire missiles zooming down from the skies of Pakistan?

I suspect it depends on your respective point of view, literally.  But there can be no question the cyberintelligence debate will heat up over the coming years.

Now that digital (and, often, very economically efficient, when compared to more traditional means) mechanisms can be used for the art of proven and productive warfare and espionage purposes, state actors will likely shift more investment into cyber territory, putting much more muscle into what had previously been the domain of fringe actors.

Such a trend could lead to the development of much more serious and sobering digital “agents” whose primary purpose — for espionage, for risk mitigation, and so forth — could ultimately be betrayed by Murphy’s Law of Unintended Consequences.

The virus intended to destabilize the spinning centrifuges in Iran could spin out of control and instead open the floodgates on a dam in China.  Or so goes the fear.

But perhaps the fears are not without some justification?  If you don’t know who you can trust in the digital milieu…or, worse, if your systems don’t know who they can trust…how can you trust anyone? Or anything?

Just overnight SecurityWeek posted that Microsoft had reached out to it customers and notified the public that it had discovered unauthorized digital certifications connected to the Flame virus that “chain[ed] up” to a Microsoft sub-certfication authority that had been issued under the Microsoft Root Authority.

If such certificates can be co-opted by the “Flames” of the world, and appear to be legitimate software coming from Microsoft…well, that’s a fast and slippery slope to cyber anarchy.

As SecurityWeek also recently reported about Flame, yes, the short-term risk to enterprises is low.  But Flame “demonstrated that when nation-states are pulling the strings, they have the ability to repeatedly and significantly leap ahead of the state of the art in terms of malware.”

As state-actors raise the table stakes by developing more and more sophisticated cyber intruders, they will, in essence, be raising everybody’s game.  These virii don’t live in a vacuum — they will be gathered by the non-state actors, hackers white and black hat alike, then deconstructed, disassembled, and, potentially, improved upon before being re-assembled and unleashed back into the wild.

So what’s the answer?  Unfortunately, there is no single cyber bullet.

Constant vigilance, education, monitoring, and adaptive learning will be mostly required, in order to both keep pace with the rapid evolution (or, as the case will likely be, devolution) with these digital beasts, and enterprises everywhere would be well-served to step up their Internet security game.

Finally, let’s not forget that state-actors aren’t just looking to instill damage — many are searching for valuable intellectual capital they can benefit from economically.

That alone is more than enough justification for enterprises to have a more comprehensive cyber intelligence strategy.

In the meantime, let’s just hope the next Flame or Stuxnet doesn’t lead to a more disastrous scenario than knocking out a few centrifuges in Natanz, one that starts to make a Michael Crichton novel look as though it’s actually coming to life!

Written by turbotodd

June 4, 2012 at 3:59 pm

The Virtual U.S. Open: Open For Olympic

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The United States Golf Association (USGA) today launched the redesigned official website of the 112th U.S. Open Championship. Offering exceptional functionality and new features that will entertain, inform and engage fans, usopen.com will present the best online coverage of golf’s toughest test, which will be played at The Olympic Club in San Francisco, June 14–17.

The setting: The Olympic Club in San Francisco.

The dates: June 14-17, 2012

The event: The 112th United States Golf Association (USGA) Open Championship, better known as, simply, “The U.S. Open.”

Today, the USGA launched the redesigned official website of the 112th U.S. Open Championship, and offers exceptional functionality and new features that will entertain, inform, and engage fans, and present the best online coverage of golf’s toughest test.

This year, the new usopen.com is powered by IBM’s cloud computing technology and will include a number of key features, including live-streaming video, live scoring, an interactive “PlayTracker,” along with access to Web and mobile applications that bring fans closer to the U.S. Open than ever before, wherever and whenever they want.

Also this year, the Virtual U.S. Open will allow fans to experience each hole at The Olympic Club just like the world’s best golfers.

Complete coverage of U.S. Open sectional qualifying, expanded social-media capabilities and enhanced near-time photo viewing are among the upgrades for 2012.

The official 2012 U.S. Open mobile application for Android and iPhone devices will be available for download on June 4.

Like usopen.com, the app’s tablet-friendly design will provide access to live HD video streaming, news, photos, real-time scoring and Twitter feeds.

Following is a debrief of some of this year’s new usopen.com features:

  • Sectional Qualifying Coverage: Scoring, photos and stories from the 11 U.S. Open sectional qualifying sites in the United States, all of which will be held on June 4th.
  • PicStream Photos: Watch all the action unfold from the 2012 U.S. Open through this near-time photo experience. Some of the best photographers in the industry will be transmitting vivid images directly from the fairways and greens of The Olympic Club.
  • PlayTracker Presented by IBM: An interactive leader board with graphic, dynamic representation of groups on the overall course map. Users can look up statistics, access scoring and trending information, and compare a player’s current stats to their previous rounds or to other players.
  • Enhanced Course Profile: Videos of The Olympic Club’s Lake Course that feature hole descriptions.
  • HD Live Streaming: Users can watch live streams of marquee groups during the first and second rounds on Thursday and Friday. Streaming-video coverage of select holes will also be available on Saturday and Sunday. In addition to watching video on usopen.com, fans can listen to the action via live ESPN Radio streaming.
  • Social Media: A page on usopen.com will be devoted to live updates of aggregated tweets from @USGA and @usopengolf, as well as players and broadcasters. In addition, fans will be invited to connect with each other by using the #usopengolf hashtag and by sharing their U.S. Open experiences, comments and photos at Facebook.com/usopengolf.
  • Virtual U.S. Open: Fans can play the challenging holes at The Olympic Club just as the best players in the world will. Developed in association with World Golf Tour, the Virtual U.S. Open will allow users to experience golf’s toughest test. Players who make the cut will qualify for a chance to win airfare, lodging and tickets to the 2013 U.S. Open at Merion Golf Club in Ardmore, Pa.
  • U.S. Open Mobile Application: Starting June 1, fans on the go can access live video, photos, real-time scoring and tweets on Android, iPhone and tablet devices. In addition, they can stream radio and utilize social media to interact with ESPN Radio analysts.

“We set out to create a multi-functional, easy-to-use website that will provide the outstanding digital experience that fans of the U.S. Open have come to expect,” said Sarah Hirshland, senior managing director, business affairs for the USGA. “With superb photography and video, compelling articles and enhanced interactivity, usopen.com extends beyond the desktop to bring the championship experience to the user.”

“We’re collaborating with the USGA to connect fans to the U.S. Open, no matter where they are located,” said Rick Singer, vice president of Client Executive Marketing for IBM, the official Information Technology partner of the USGA. “Our goal is to help golf fans feel like they’re on the course and part of the action in every round – from the first tee shot to the last putt on the 18th hole.”

About the USGA

The USGA conducts the U.S. Open, U.S. Women’s Open and U.S. Senior Open, as well as 10 national amateur championships, two state team championships and international matches. Together with The R&A, the USGA governs the game worldwide, jointly administering the Rules of Golf, Rules of Amateur Status, Equipment Standards and World Amateur Golf Rankings. The USGA’s working jurisdiction comprises the United States, its territories and Mexico.

The USGA is a global leader in the development and support of sustainable golf course management practices. It serves as a primary steward for the game’s history and funds an ongoing “For the Good of the Game” charitable giving program. Additionally, the USGA’s Course Rating and Handicap systems are used on six continents in more than 50 countries.

For more information about the USGA or to follow all the action at this year’s 112th U.S. Open Championship online, visit www.usga.org.

For golf fans like myself, I couldn’t ask for a better way to follow this year’s U.S. Open action!

Written by turbotodd

May 30, 2012 at 8:04 pm

Live @ IBM Smarter Commerce Global Summit Madrid: Jose Luis-Iribarren On Social Network Diffusion

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Jose Luis-Iribarren is a 25-year veteran of IBM who led the Olympics Web projects for the Atlanta Summer games in 1996, Nagano in 1998 and the Sydney games in 2000, where he received the IBM Chairman Award for his work. At the Institute of Knowledge Engineering, Jose Luis has most recently been applying Social Network Analysis techniques to e-marketing. His goal with that effort is to develop a quantitative model of information diffusion through online social networks.

The strangest things happen when you find yourself walking out of an elevator (or, as they call it here in Europe, a “lift”) in hotels halfway around the world.

In my case, I stumbled upon an old friend this morning, Jose Luis-Iribarren, a former IBMer and now social networks innovation manager with the Institute of Knowledge Engineering here in Madrid.

Jose Luis spent 25 years at IBM, where he led the creation of the first official Web Site for an Olympic Games for Atlanta in 1996.

I also had the opportunity to hear firsthand some of his experiences in “pathfinding” the early digital marketing milieu, as well as some fascinating stories about his experiences helping manage the Web (including learning about the “Bento Box” effect in the 1998 Nagano Olympic Winter Games).

It was a far-ranging discussion about the cutting edge of digital marketing, and a great opportunity to renew the acquaintance of old friend.

And all because of the serendipity of an elevator, and the real-world network effect!

New IBM CEO Study — Command & Control Meets Collaboration

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Just because I’m here in Madrid covering the IBM Smarter Commerce Global Summit doesn’t mean that there isn’t other important news emerging from back at the mother ship.

This year’s IBM CEO study reveals three new essential imperatives for changing the nature of business: Empowering employees through values, engaging customers as individuals, and amplifying innovation with partnerships.

In fact, there’s some major news that I always get excited to report on, and that’s the results from our annual CEO study.

The ink on the report is hardly dry and straight off the presses, but this year’s study of more than 1,700 CEOs from 64 countries and 18 industries has a headline that CEOs (and their C-level ilk) everywhere may be interested to hear: CEOs are changing the nature of work by adding a powerful dose of openness, transparency, and employee empowerment to the command-and-control ethos that has characterized the modern corporation for more than a century.

Now that, ladies and gentlemen, is a headline!

The study reveals that the advantages of this fast-moving trend are clear: Companies that outperform their peers are 30 percent more likely to identify openness — often characterized by a greater use of social media as a key enabler of collaboration and innovation — as a key influence on their organization.

Those “outperformers” are also embracing new models of working that tap into the collective intelligence of an organization and its networks to devise new ideas and solutions for increased profitability and growth.

For those of us who have been working in the social realm for some time now, we’re probably not exactly surprised to hear this news.  But to have it come from the lips and pencils of the CEOs themselves…well, change it is a comin’ and for many, has already arrived.

In order to forge those closer connections with customers, partners, and a new generation of employees in the future, CEOs plan to shift their focus from using e-mail and the phone as primary communication vehicles to using social networks as a new path for direct engagement.

Today, only 16 percent of CEOs are using social business platforms to connect with customers, but that number is poised to spike to 57 percent within the next three to five years.

And while social media is the least utilized of all customer interaction methods today, it stands to become the number two organizational engagement method within the next five years, a close second to face-to-face interactions.

Top Down To Bottom Up

With this news coming after decades of top-down control, this shift has substantial ramifications — not just for CEOs — but for their organizations, their managers and employees, and also for universities and business schools, not to mention we technology suppliers.

More than half of CEOs (53 percent) are planning to use technology to facilitate greater partnering and collaboration with outside organizations, while 52 percent are shifting their attention to promoting great internal collaboration.

Of course, greater openness doesn’t come without some risks.  Openness increases vulnerability. The Internet — especially through social networks — can provide a worldwide stage to any employee interaction, positive or negative. For organizations to operate effectively in this environment, employees must internalize and embody the organizations’ values and mission.

This also means organizations must equip employees with a set of guiding principles that they can use to empower everyday decision making. And championing collaborative innovation is not something CEOs are delegating to their HR leaders. According to the study’s findings, business executives are interested in leading by example.

That is, from the front.

Big Data Means Big Changes

Given the data explosion being witnessed by many organizations, CEOs also recognize the need for more sophisticated business analytics to mine the data being tracked online, on mobile phones and social media sites.

The traditional approach to understanding customers better has been to consolidate and analyze transactions and activities from across the entire organization. However, to remain relevant, CEOs must piece together a more holistic view of the customer based on how he or she engages the rest of the world, not just their organization.

The ability to drive value from data is strongly correlated with performance. Outperforming organizations are twice as good as underperformers at accessing and drawing insights from data. Outperformers are also 84 percent better at translating those insights into real action.

From Theory to Action

This latest study is the fifth edition of IBM’s biennial Global CEO Study series.  To better understand the challenges and goals of today’s CEOs, IBM consultants met face-to-face with the largest-known sample of these executives between September 2011 and January 2012.

1,709 CEOs, general managers, and senior public sector leaders were interviewed around the world to better understand their future plans and challenges in an increasingly connected economy.

For access to the full study findings and case studies, please visit the IBM CEO Study website.

In the meantime, check out the video from Shell CEO Peter Voser to hear what he has to say about partnering to drive innovation.

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