Turbotodd

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

The Weather Company and Lyft Collaborate On Personalized Recommendations

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The Weather Company, an IBM Business, announced today that it has collaborated with Samsung Electronics America, Inc. and the popular ride-sharing service Lyft to provide Made for Samsung app users with personalized transportation recommendations.

The new integration syncs Google calendar events with forecasts for a user’s selected location, providing the forecast for those specific events as well as the ability to get a Lyft to the event if they choose to do so.

As part of this seamless experience, Made for Samsung App users will see a Lyft section in their event card. When a user clicks on the Lyft section they will be directed to the Lyft app (or the app store if the Lyft app is not installed) to book their ride. 

As one of the initial launch partners of the Made for Samsung Developer Program last year, The Weather Channel collaborated with Samsung to co-develop a unique weather experience. The Weather Channel for Samsung app is an exclusive app designed for Samsung smartphones, including the soon-to-be-released Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8+, as well as Galaxy S7, Galaxy S7 edge, Galaxy S6, Galaxy S6 edge, Galaxy S6 edge+, and Galaxy Note5.

With the expansion of the platform, The Weather Channel invites service providers to connect with its users in a new and engaging way by helping them better understand people’s needs throughout their day.

“We know that weather can impact many areas of our lives and our users check our site and apps multiple times a day for the latest information. With this in mind, we want to seamlessly connect multiple services to help our users efficiently navigate the elements, streamline travel activities and potentially save time and money by providing them with the right information at the right time during their day,” said Domenic Venuto, general manager, consumer division, The Weather Company. “This is a great example of how we’re delivering on our goal to instill confidence and actively help people make better decisions.”

“With this integration with the Samsung mobile app and The Weather Company, we’re able to help users get from one place to another quickly and safely in varying weather conditions,” said Insiya Lokhandwala, director of strategic partnerships, Lyft. “We’re excited to collaborate with The Weather Channel on this new feature to provide users with enhanced service and travel experiences.”

The Lyft integration feature is now accessible for app users within the U.S., while The Weather Channel for Samsung App is accessible globally within the Galaxy Apps store.

Written by turbotodd

April 12, 2017 at 9:15 am

Posted in 2017, ibm, lyft, ridesharing, weather

Another Spanish Green Jacket

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If you’re a golf fan of any degree, and you watched the finish of the 2017 Masters in Augusta, Georgia yesterday, you know that once again it was a special Sunday finish for longtime Spanish pro golfer, Sergio Garcia.

Up to yesterday, Garcia had started in 73 major championship tournaments stretching back to 1999, and had never crossed the finish line first.

That all changed in a one-hole sudden death playoff after he, and English golfer and U.S. Open champion Justin Rose, walked the 18th hole for the second time in a day. With Rose’s drive off to the far right side of the 18th fairway and into the pine straw, the green nearly hidden from view, Sergio had his opportunity to strike.

And boy did he, planting his approach inside ten feet of the flag, and eagerly awaiting Rose’s bogey finish before Garcia sank his birdie putt to put an exclamation point on his strong finish.

That it all happened on what would have been the 60th birthday of now deceased Spanish golfer and two-time Masters winner, and Garcia’s idol, Seve Ballasteros …well, it writes itself.

I had occasion to visit Augusta National and the Masters for the first time last week, and as a longtime fan and player of the game of golf, I will only say nothing can prepare you for the real thing.

I’ve watched the tournament on TV and virtually for the better part of 20 years — ever since IBM first started building the Masters Website — and the undulations and diverse topography of the course are something that can only be fully grokked in person. It is, in a word, simply majestic.

And par for the course, IBM continues to partner with Augusta National in order to bring the best of this world-class competition to fans around the world.

This year, we brought Watson along for a tee time — you can read more about Watson’s work behind the scenes here.

In the meantime, congratulations to Sergio, and Viva Espagna!

Another fantastic Masters is in the bag.

Written by turbotodd

April 10, 2017 at 9:04 am

PC On Your Person

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The jokes about the new Samsung Galaxy S8 were all but inevitable.

I confess, I played as well, saying to one of my colleagues yesterday via IM, “Does it come with an asbestos burn bag??”

And that’s all the beating up I’ll do on poor Samsung — they’ve had one tough year and are trying to rise from the ashes.

The Wall Street Journal’s Geoffrey Fowler covered the basic speeds and feeds, its new Bixby virtual assistant, and other regular fare in his latest column.

But he also highlighted the looming possibility of the smartphone as desktop replacement:

The S8 has one other unexpected software talent: With an adapter, the S8 can transform into a computer, capable of driving a monitor, mouse and keyboard. It’s actually a Samsung-modified version of Android called DeX, which creates a desktop-like experience including resizable windows.
– via WSJ

That’s almost enough to stop your nightmares of phone batteries exploding in your pockets or while playing Angry Birds on airplanes!

Imagine, a computer in your pocket that you could take to work, plug it in, and not need to carry around a boat anchor (even today’s admittedly lighter laptop boat anchors).

As Fowler points out, at your desk, you’d obviously need a monitor, mouse, and keyboard, but other than that, you’d be good to go and you could always have your “computer” be on your person without much hassle.

Engadget put the S8 through some desktop paces during its own demo time and had this to say.

In summary, they wrote “The road to the perfect phone-desktop hybrid is littered with the carcasses of ambitious failures…” but that they were “…particularly impressed with the way Samsung has customized Android for bigger screens.”

Et tu, iPhone?

Written by turbotodd

March 30, 2017 at 9:15 am

A Stock Picking Machine

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If you’re looking for a little AI-related news, yesterday didn’t disappoint.

The New York Times reported that the largest fund company in the world, BlackRock, will be throwing a counterpunch against all those little pesky computer-driven funds that have sprouted up over the past several years.

Founder Laurence D. Fink, founder and CEO of BlackRock, “has cast his lot with the machines,” wrote the Times.

Meaning what, exactly?

BlackRock has laid out a plan to consolidate a large number of actively managed (read: by humans) mutual funds with peers that rely more on algorithms and models to pick stocks.

“The democratization of information has made it much harder for active management,” Mr. Fink said in an interview. “We have to change the ecosystem — that means relying more on big data, artificial intelligence, factors and models within quant and traditional investment strategies.”
– via www.nytimes.com

 

With Paul Bunyan, it was Man v. Machine…with the stock pickers, it’s the “quants” vs. the bots.

And oh, the sweet, sweet irony, to re-visit now last week’s comments from former Goldman Sachs banker and now Secretary of the Treasury Steve Mnuchin, who, when asked about the arrival of impactful artificial intelligence, suggested it was 50 to 100 years out.

Uh, how about next week, Mr. Secretary??

Oh yeah, if you want a great read about the looming possibilities and threats of AI, look no further than Vanity Fair.

None other than Maureen Down goes deep into the AI Matrix with Elon Musk, Greg Brockman, and a host of other tech thought leaders to try and ascertain how far and how fast humanity should build out AI capabilities, and the consequences of going both too slow and too quickly.

A conundrum? Sure, but one the machines will be able to figure out in no time…if we let them.

Written by turbotodd

March 29, 2017 at 9:22 am

Natixis, IBM and Trafigura Introduce Blockchain Solution For U.S. Crude Oil Market

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Natixis, IBM and Trafigura have pioneered the first blockchain solution in commodity trade finance for US crude oil transactions.

The distributed ledger platform, built on the Linux Foundation open source Hyperledger Fabric, allows major steps in a crude oil transaction to be digitized on the blockchain, ensuring improved transparency, enhanced security, and optimized efficiency.

By having the buyer, seller and their respective banks all on the same ledger, all parties can simultaneously view and share data on the status of a transaction, from the time a new trade is confirmed and validated, to when the crude oil is inspected, to its final delivery and cancellation of the letter of credit.

This initiative is part of a broader effort to modernize trading in the global crude oil industry, which today is predominantly driven by manual, non-digital processes.

Key benefits of the solution include reduced cash cycle times, improved efficiency via lower overhead costs and fewer cost intermediaries, increased transaction visibility to help reduce the threat of tampering, fraud and cyber-crime, and the creation of transparent transactions by using shared processes and recordkeeping.

The new trading platform allows trade documents, shipment updates, delivery and payment status to be shared across a single shared ledger, helping to reduce transaction time, duplication of documents and authentication processes among all trading partners. Traditionally these transactions require complex workflows and paper-based processes in which documentation is shared through courier, fax and email exchange. The solution, which is hosted on IBM’s cloud platform, Bluemix, was led and delivered by IBM France.

“Natixis wants to use blockchain to enhance client service by optimizing the antiquated arena of commodity trade finance,” said Arnaud Stevens, Natixis’ New York Head of Global Energy & Commodities. “The current process is paper and labor intensive, we have multiple friction points with high processing costs and limited automation. Distributed ledger technology brings some much-needed innovation into our industry.”

The platform will soon be expanded to allow all parties in the transaction to enter data directly onto the blockchain. For example, the shipping company, pipeline operator, inspector or warehouse can provide real-time status updates via the blockchain on the crude oil transaction, helping lower the risk of fraudulent transactions.

More importantly, the distributed ledger for crude oil transactions is designed to be adopted at scale across the entire industry. By creating a shared permissioned ledger for use across all trading partners, including multiple buyers, sellers, banks and trading partners, even further efficiencies can be anticipated.

You can learn more about IBM Blockchain solutions here.

Written by turbotodd

March 28, 2017 at 1:08 pm

Dormi

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While everybody else in America was focused on March Madness, I was focused on the Dell Technologies World Golf Championship here in Austin over the weekend.

For rabid golf fans, there’s nothing like watching professional golfers play head to head — you learn a lot watching pro golfers in match play (as opposed to the week in week out stroke play).

What did we learn this weekend? That Dustin Johnson has more than earned his world #1 ranking.

That an obscure 38-year old Japanese golfer named Hideto Tanihara was the only player who really gave Johnson a run for his money in the semifinals, losing only 1 up on the 18th hole.

That Tanihara earned himself a precious spot in the upcoming Masters, and, oh yes, made an ace on the longgg par 3 #7 in his consolation match with Bill Haas.

In the final match, the hard-charging 22 year-old Spaniard Jon Rahm was 5 down through number 8 before Johnson lost the plot for a few holes.

But in the end, he outsmarted and outplayed the rookie, and took home yet another trophy. Johnson keeps playing like this, that #1 ranking could reside aside his name for some time.

And if he does bring that particular game to Augusta National in two weeks…watch out. Although that fade doesn’t lend itself to Augusta, say, the way Phil’s lefty slice does….

Written by turbotodd

March 27, 2017 at 8:45 am

Get Your Popcorn (and Personal Data), Heah!

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If you’re not worried about the privacy of your ISP data, now might be a good time to start being concerned.

Yesterday, the U.S. Senate voted to make it easier for ISPs to share sensitive information about their customers, a first step in overturning landmark privacy rules for the digital age.

Those rules were passed by the Federal Communications Commission in Obama’s final months as president, and prohibited Internet providers like Comcast and Verizon from selling customer data, including browsing history and location data, without first getting consent.

Those rules also compelled providers to let customers know about the data they collect, the purpose of that data collection, and to identify the types of third-party companies that might be given access to that data.

From The Verge:

“This resolution is a direct attack on consumer rights, on privacy, on rules that afford basic protection against intrusive and illegal interference with consumers’ use of social media sites and websites that often they talk for granted,” Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) said in the Senate today ahead of the vote.
– via www.theverge.com

Your personal information will soon be available to the highest bidder, and you probably don’t even care.

Until you do.

Written by turbotodd

March 24, 2017 at 10:45 am

Posted in 2017, congress, ISPs, privacy

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