Turbotodd

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

Archive for the ‘tablet computing’ Category

(Not) Home For The Holidays

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I’m pretty happy I don’t have to travel today.  I’m going to wait until tomorrow, when all the turkeys have gotten off the road.

Of course, watch out for Wal-Mart and other big retail parking lots.  The consternation about having to work on Thanksgiving is pervasive, and I wouldn’t want to see any customers attempt to play Frogger in those big parking lots.  It’s dangerous enough just trying to get through the doors and into the store!

As always, my wise counsel is to shop from the comfort of your couch.

Walt Mossberg, the ever-dependable tech journalist with The Wall Street Journal, has written an article about “Making Sense of All the New Laptop Flavors.”

He goes on about the various flavors of Windows 8 PCs and tablets, before concluding that the “least costly Mac laptop” is the 11-inch MacBook Air, for $999.

I bought one just about a year ago, and I maintain it’s still the best, fastest, lightest, most dependable computer I’ve ever owned, and I’ve owned plenty.

If I had to do it all over again, I would have splurged for more SSD, but that’s it.

If you want to make sure your personal shopping engine is fully revved before Black Friday, Gizmodo’s providing its Ultimate Black Friday guide for geeks, grouping deals by category, and offering a list of when every retailer is slated to be open on Black Friday, just in case you prefer shopping in a mosh pit.

As for an update on my new Apple Mini-me “mini,” otherwise known as the 5th generation iPod touch, I can only say I have no buyer’s remorse, even now after having seen the iPad mini in the flesh.

The retina screen and the small form factor on the newest touch are working perfectly for me thus far. I bought a new “Need for Speed” racing game just to be able to check out the graphics in full force, and the retina screen is simply stunning (as are movies and Netflix streams). I’ve always read what a great gaming platform the touch is, but playing that racing game has cemented it.

Over the next several days, if you want to keep pace with IBM’s annual holiday campaign “Digital Analytics” benchmark, just follow IBM’s e-shopping analytics guru, @jay_henderson (a fellow Texan!).

Jay and his team will be working and posting reports throughout the weekend and into next week to keep us all informed how the holiday e-retail season is going. Jay’s already indicated we can expect to see growing numbers on the mobile and tablet shopping footprint this year.  You can read Jay’s holiday set up piece here.

That said, don’t ignore those retail emails piling up in your in-box — email continues to be the e-retail Trojan Horse, with lots of Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals already being distributed. From Amazon to Golfsmith, I’ve received a number of holiday email deals, and it’s all I can do to keep my credit card filed away in my anti-scanning wallet!

If you’re looking for gainful employment this pre-Thanksgiving Wednesday, you might want to try somewhere other than LinkedIn. LinkedIn’s Website had a “service unavailable” message this morning, and TechCrunch has been reporting a LinkedIn site outage.

As for me, I’ll be (mostly) disappearing from the cyber maze over the course of the next week. It’s my parent’s 50th wedding anniversary, and I’m taking them on a cruise in the Caribbean to celebrate. I may send a post or two via email if I’m so inspired, but mostly I’ll be spending some quality time with my parents and some extended family, and gazing out at the Gulf of Mexico in a pina colada-induced haze (virgin pina coladas, of course).

For all of my readers here in the United States, I wish you a very happy and restful holiday weekend. For those of you outside the U.S., enjoy the email and conference call silence from your U.S. colleagues…it won’t last long!

Think Big, iPad Small

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It’s a big day in tech, all the way around.

We’ll continue our mission to “Think Big” here in Las Vegas at the IBM Information On Demand 2012 event.

We’ll also get a glimpse into how big the mobile market is becoming as Facebook announces its earnings after the bell later today.

But of course, one of the biggest stories of the day has to do with the downsizing of one of our favorite tablets, the Apple iPad.

Rumors abound about the new iPad “Mini,” which I very look forward to referring to as my “MiniMePad.”

If you’re using an Apple device (including an AppleTV), you should be able to tune in to watch the announcement live starting at 10 AM PST.

If not, there will be shortage of bloggers out there giving you the blow-by-blow.

Why am I so interested in the Mini iPad?

First, Apple set the bar for tablets with the original iPad, which I still use to this day.

Second, the smaller form factor is raising a lot of questions about price. Can Apple afford to take down the price from $499 to the $200 range, especially when their iPod Touch is still priced at $299 (the last time I looked…I can’t look this morning, as the Apple store is down getting busy for the Mini introduction).

I’d say the question more is, can they afford not to? Like the early browser wars, this is a market AND mindshare battle.  iOS and Android are lined up for a full cage death match, and if Apple’s to maintain its market share lead of 69.6% (as of Q2 2012), they’re going to have to compete aggressively on price.

The new Nexus 7 and Kindle Fire HDs are coming in at under $200, and while I doubt that’s a price Apple can match, they’re going to have to strive to stay somewhat price competitive, figuring the Apple premium could be worth $100 per unit or so.

Third, the original iPad was the starting line of the shift away from desktop-centric technology, and as Microsoft attempts to come into this market with its Surface tablet, a key question emerges: Can Apple continue to entice productivity hounds away from the Microsoft ecosystem, despite the advent of the Surface, and stay price competitive in a burgeoning competitive market?

As for me, you might ask, will I buy one?  I’ll never say never. The iPad has become a full-on personal entertainment and productivity workhorse for me, an elegant blended use case of both the personal and the professional.

I watch movies on the thing, I use it for blogging and broadcasting, I play games, I do email, I read books, I hold conference calls.  There’s not a lot I can’t do on it.

So, I can easily justify the upgrade, and I’d love to get a faster iPad, but like with the original, I may wait for an initial software upgrade so Apple has the opportunity to work some of the kinks out.

Then again, I may not.

Live @ IBM InterConnect 2012: Marie Wieck On Business In Motion

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Marie Wieck is general manager of IBM’s Application & Integration Middleware (AIM) business unit, where she leads an organization of more than 7,500 software development, marketing, services, and sales professionals. She is responsible for IBM’s WebSphere software portfolio and other strategic middleware products, including Web application servers, transaction and messaging systems, integration, and business process management solutions.

Marie Wieck is the general manager of IBM’s Application and Integration Middleware organization (home of IBM’s distinguished market-leading WebSphere brand), and has held a variety of technical and executive roles across our software, services, and finance groups.

In her current role, Marie leads an organization of more than 7,500 software development, marketing, sales, and services professionals. There, she is responsible for IBM’s WebSphere software portfolio and other strategic middleware products, including Web application servers, transaction and messaging systems, integration, and business process management solutions.

During our sitdown at IBM InterConnect, Marie shared some of the proceedings from her two “Hot Topic” sessions in Singapore, one on the Mobile Enterprise, and the other on Business Process management.

Marie also expanded on IBM’s emerging “mobile enterprise” strategy, explaining that rather than see mobile as another blip on the technology evolutionary radar screen, that rather it’s an opportunity to be transformative across the enterprise.

From fomenting front-line employee’s opportunity to be more collaborative in the field, to enabling back-office overlords to use their smartphones to watch over and manage business process management processes, IBM is working to bridge systems of record and of data together with employees and external constituents in a much more transformative story than has been communicated to date.

It’s an exciting narrative, and as Marie conveyed in the interview, mobile is touching the entire IBM portfolio.

In Search Of The Mobile Enterprise

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The new mobile business model — with anytime, anywhere transactions and a blurring of lines between corporate and individual — can make your IT organization feel like it has lost control. For all the good that comes with mobilizing your workforce, there are challenges: maintaining security and compliance, managing multiple device platforms and addressing complex mobile requirements.

You can’t throw a rock these days without hitting a new smartphone or tablet device.

Last week, it was the iPhone 5 and the new Kindle Fire HD. Tomorrow, HTC’s expected to introduce some new mobile products.

And Apple still has yet to introduce the Apple “mini” iPad, currently expected in October.

The move to mobile computing raises some intriguing questions about the nature of work. What is it? Where does it take place?

As someone who’s worked their entire career at IBM, I can certainly attest to the idea that here, increasingly, work is not a place you go but what you do.

I’ve spent nearly nine full years working from my home, and several of those years, spent at least a week a month living (and working) in airplanes.

As the IBM “Services for the Mobile Enterprise” team recently observed, the new workplace is now undeniably a mobile enterprise.

CIOs On Mobile: 66% Plan To Increase Mobile Investments in 2012

Which makes it no big surprise that 66 percent of CIOs plan to increase investments in mobile services in the next year.

And of course, there’s the “BYOD” movement to contend with (“Bring Your Own Device”), with employees expecting whatever device they have to fit into their corporate environment.

This new mobile business model, with anytime, anywhere transactions and a blurring of lines between corporations and individuals, can send IT folks into a conniption fit.

Despite all the goodness — for employees, management, and most importantly, the bottom line — there are challenges that accompany this mobilization of the workforce.

Issues such as maintaining security and compliance.  Managing multiple device platforms.  Addressing complex mobile requirements.

IBM recently released this interactive infographic that has some interesting statistics I thought worthwhile sharing here.

To start, 35 percent of the world’s total workforce is expected to be mobile by 2013.

Here in the U.S., up to 72.2 percent of workers are already plugged in remotely.

This year, some 43 billion mobile applications are expected to be downloaded.

And yet on average, mobile workers spend only a total of 28 minutes a day on technology distractions…there’s too much work to do, otherwise!

The Mobile Upside: 240 Extra Hours Worked Per Worker Per Year

And here’s the upside bonus for you managers: Such mobile workers work an average of 240 extra hours per year.

But as the infographic observes, with those benefits come expectations.

This new mobile generation of workers demands flexibility. Today’s employees expect to use their own devices and applications at work to access information and social networks at will. They even value this flexibility more than a higher-paying salary (Can you say “Mobile enables work/life balance?”).

Cisco’s Connected World Technology Report in 2011 found that 66 percent of workers said they would take a job with less pay and more flexibility in device usage, access to social media, and mobility than a higher-paying job without such flexibility.

Mobile Presents New Challenges

So, as businesses work to embrace these new productive mobile work habits, they must also face the requisite challenges asscoated with the growing number of devices, networks, and applications. Enterprises need a solution that intertwines cross-platform compatibility, security, cost management, compliance, and the inevitable complexity.

By way of example, 21 percent of mobile workers say they have experienced a security issue related to their smartphone (lost, stolen, hacked, virus) in the last year alone.

Fifty-four percent of enterprises rate security and authentication as one of the two top concerns for their mobile environments.

Seventeen percent say they need to meet compliance/regulatory requirements in mobile environments.

And yet 45 percent of IT departments say they aren’t prepared policy- and technology-wise to handle this more borderless, mobile workforce.

Bridging Your Mobile Gap

To overcome those challenges, enterprises need an experienced partner with a strategy capable of spanning the distance between mobile advances and existing infrastructures.

Those early adopters are leaping ahead: They’re already experiencing 20 percent cost savings and productivity improvements.

And 75 percent of CIOs say mobility solutions are a top priority of theirs for 2012.

On the mobile front, IBM workers are walking their own mobile talk, connecting to 10 different networks located around the world, and with 100K+ of them connecting using their own handheld devices (using at least five supported device platforms).

IBM’s own app store, Whirlwind, offers over 500 applications and was recognized by CIO Magazine with the “CIO 100 Top Innovation Award.”

All of that experience IBM has had with its own mobile enablement has informed and shaped the company’s customer-facing mobile initiatives, both through product development and through the introduction of its mobile services offerings.

IBM can help your staff develop the right strategy and governance and deliver a wide range of mobile enterprise services to create a more productive, connected workplace.

You can read about some of those offerings here.

A New Pulse

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We’re getting down to the wire on these London 2012 Summer Olympic games.

First off, bonne chance to the U.S. Women’s soccer team, who will have another go at the Japan women’s team, a powerful side that beat the U.S. last summer in the Women’s World Cup finals in penalty kicks.

Kick-off should start around 1:45 CST, and can be found on NBCOlympics.com.

I also wanted to send a shoutout to the ThinkPad, which is celebrating its 20th birthday.

Though IBM sold its PC business to Lenovo a few years back, it was 1992 when IBM introduced its first IBM ThinkPad laptop — I remember it well, because I was an early and proud owner of one of those first machines.

To celebrate the ThinkPad’s birthday, Lenovo is introducing some new machines, including a tablet aimed at business professionals and which runs Windows 8, the Thinkpad Tablet 2.

This new machine will have a 10.1-inch screen and is a mere 9.8mm, and it includes a new Intel Atom processor.

Because it will run Windows 8 Pro, it will be able to run those legacy Window apps you can’t afford to be putting in your desktop recycling bin!

And for you news junkies out there who use Pulse on your iOS or Android devices, there’s some new news on that front: Pulse is now available on the web. 

Click to enlarge. The new web-based edition of the Pulse news reader makes it easy to quickly check in on the latest stories broken down by your favorite topics.

The Web version will include most of the features you see on your mobile device, although the list of news sources will now be on your left, with the stories appearing in an elegant grid layout.

Nice way to catch up all the news you can (and cannot) use with a quick glimpse.

I added the “sports” category to my web edition, among others, so let’s hope there’s a nice big picture about the U.S. Women’s soccer team victory over Japan a little later in the day!

You can find your new Pulse here.

Written by turbotodd

August 9, 2012 at 5:06 pm

Below The Surface

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So Microsoft went and introduced a tablet computer, huh?

I watched some of the live blogging coverage from the Milk studios in LA, where the announcement was made.

And though it seemed like an interesting product, doing Surface means I’d have to do Windows, and I’ve done everything possible to minimize my exposure to Windows, and I’m going to keep it that way.

I learned as much as possible about Mac OS X.  I’m now getting much more familiar with Linux (Ubuntu 12.04, in particular). And so I’venot been in a steady Windows environment for some time now.

And you know what?  I really don’t miss it.

This has nothing to do with the old OS/2 v. Windows grudge match.

I’ve long been over that.  It simply has to do with what environment is it that helps me get my job done day in and day out, and be productive with minimum interference from  the realities and demands of the operating system.

And the UNIX-based Mac OS X does that.

So, for the most part, does Linux (although Linux can be a little more of a challenge until you get the basic hang of it as an OS).

Windows, on the other hand, I always felt was intruding in my productivity.

There was always something going wrong in Windows for me.  There was always something crashing.  Something needing to be moved from one place to another for something else to work.  Some file to associate with some thing to get the app to open. And on and on and on.

Mac’s don’t do that.  For me, Macs just work.

As much as I liked PC guy, Mac guy definitely won the computing platform war.

And I have a feeling that will be the case with tablets as well.

First, Apple has a two year head start.  Apple has a massive application install base, one that increasingly links the Macbook line with the iPad, and an audience of several million happy iPad campers.

But, admittedly, Microsoft does  have going for them the massive Windows footprint and install base of their productivity apps stretching eons into the past.

If they can convince the market the Surface is a productivity tool, and capitalize on that massive footprint, there could be a there there.

But if they think they’ll compete on a feature match as a leisure tablet device, I think the Surface will soon sink well below it.

Written by turbotodd

June 19, 2012 at 1:52 pm

Fear And Loathing At The Venetian

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Well, I arrived in Vegas this morning just as quick as I could get here, my purpose being to cover the National District Attorneys Association’s Conference on Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs…oh, hold a minute…sorry, that was Hunter S. Thompson.

I’M here for the IBM Impact 2012 event being held at the Venetian Hotel and Casino (which is NOT to be confused with the Venice that’s located in Italy and which is slowly succumbing to the seas around it).  No, this Venetian doesn’t have that particular problem to worry about.

The next four to five days, depending on the length of your stay and the size of your bank account, is going to be entirely dedicated to technology-related topics: SOA, BPM, cloud computing, enterprise mobility…it’s a virtual technology funfest.

Oh, and let’s not forget the Goo Goo Dolls, who will be playing Tuesday night.

A few housekeeping details you might want to be cognizant of: First, check your bathroom for Bengali Tigers FIRST THING.

Look, you can never be too careful, particularly in the wilds of Las Vegas.

Second, go get your badge at registration.  Unlike “Blazing Saddles,” at Impact 2012, you’re going to need your stinkin’ badge. You can find them on Level One of the Venetian Convention area.

Third, plan your escape route NOW in the private confines of your hotel room.  Err, I meant to say, your conference itinerary.  I know, I know, most battle plans go out the window the moment you hit the battlefield, but it’s nice to have some general semblance of where you are and where you’re going to go next, even if it’s just a strawman.

Fourth, make room for serendipity.  No, that’s not the name of a dancer from Cirques Du Soleil.  That’s more along the lines of improvisation — as in, give yourself room for some. You never know who you meet just hanging around the canals of Venetian (but hey, don’t blame me if you fall in with the wrong crowd!  I told you to have  a plan, just in case!)

This year’s conference theme is “Change the Game: Innovate, Transform, Grow.”  So, what are you waiting for?  Get to it!

As for me, I’m going to finish writing up some interview questions for ImpactTV (which starts tomorrow at 5 PM PST, 8 PM EST — check it out at www.livestream.com/ibmsoftware), then I’m going to head on down to the Pai Gow Poker tables.  I’m feeling lucky!

If you’re feeling lost, or even unlucky, just follow the #IBMImpact hashtag on Twitter — you’re sure to find plenty of others who are feeling just like you.

And if you have a question for the event organizers, send that question on Twitter to the #AskImpact Twitter ID and surely someone will get you an answer and soon…ahem, it may not be the RIGHT answer, but social media operators ARE standing by.

And most importantly, smile and enjoy yourself…you’re in Vegas, bay-bey, NOTHING could go wrong now!

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