Turbotodd

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

Posts Tagged ‘golf

Tiger’s Roar

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I’m back! I had to take a little time off to chase a little white ball and disconnect from these amped up Interwebs for a bit. 

So what caught my eye on the return trip to the office? First, Apple’s new fancy AirPods that have active noise cancellation and are water resistance, and cost $249.

You won’t catch me dissin’ AirPods, or their price. My NPS for these things would be off the charts, and I highly recommend them to anyone who asks. So, yeah, I’d give the Pro versions a spin if I lost one of my 1st gens (which was a fear that, knock on wood, has so far never come true).

Next: Microsoft winning the JEDI cloud contract with Uncle Sam. Be interesting to read former SecDef Jim Mattis’ book which claims that Trump directed him to “screw Amazon” out of winning the contract. No Amazon Drone deliveries at the White House anytime soon!

But Amazon IS upping their grocery game, making grocery deliveries free in ~2,000 cities for all Prime members and removing the $14.99/month Amazon Fresh fee.

And speaking of golf, Tiger Woods tied Sam Snead’s record with 82 PGA Tour victories, this at last week’s Zozo Championship in Japan. Congrats, can’t wait to see you win # 83!

Written by turbotodd

October 29, 2019 at 12:56 pm

Who Turned Out The Lights?

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Happy Monday!

Okay, golf fans out there, how about that U.S. Open?  Hats off to Gary Woodland, who held off the always lurking Brooks Koepka (and previous two-years-in-a-row U.S. Open winner) and fastidious Justin Rose to win his first ever major championship.

And there was hardly any bitching about the conditions of the venue, Pebble Beach, which I consider to be a good sign (i.e., no out of control rough, crazy fast greens, streaking fans…okay, that last one I made up just to see if I have your attention).

Of course, it’s kind of hard to bitch much about Pebble Beach — I’ve never been there in person, but even on TV it’s breathtaking.

Now, if you happened to be at a Target over the weekend trying to buy some merch, you might have had reason to bitch. For two days in a row, Target experienced a register outage that caused long lines and forced some customers to pay with cash.

You remember cash, right? That green stuff issued by the Federal Reserve that has pictures of past presidents and stuff on it?

Target shares are down more than 1.5% today as investors figured the missing weekend cash into the investment equation. The Wall Street Journal “Morning Download” email newsletter this morning cited Target as explaining the incident wasn’t security related, but rather blamed the outage on a data center issued related to “routine maintenance.” 

Tell me about those self-driving cars, again?  You know, the ones inextricably linked to the same clouds that are running the Target cash registers??

It could have been worse. You could have been trying to do the tango in Argentina (and Paraguay…and Uruguay…and parts of Chile…and Brazil). The power went off and left tens of millions in darkness for several hours on Sunday, and nobody seems to know why.

This as The New York Times on Sunday reported that the U.S. is escalating cyber attacks on Russia’s electric power grid and has placed potentially crippling malware inside the Russian system. Moscow responded today by saying such hacks could escalate into a cyberwar with the U.S.

Mutually assured power outages, anyone?

And on the subject of mutually assured whatever, Huawei’s CEO is doing some advance damage control on the U.S./China Chill-But-Getting-Colder trade war, explaining he expects the company’s revenues to drop $30B below forecast over the next two years.

That’s due largely to a drop of 40 to 60 million international smartphone shipments. 

I would recommend he go talk to Alexa about his problems, but according to a recent survey of 1,000+ U.S. adults, 46 percent never use voice assistants, and 19 percent use them less than once a month.

And for those who do use virtual assistants, 49 percent use them via smartphones as opposed to 18 percent on smart speakers.

Siri, tell Google Assistant to text Alexa not to bother me!

Written by turbotodd

June 17, 2019 at 11:14 am

Facebook Coin

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Happy Friday.

For you golf fans, this year’s U.S. Open is off to a walloping good start, and, even better, if you’re a Tiger Woods fan, he’s in the hunt (-1 in the first round).

Justin Rose seems to have put together quite the round, tying the record 65 (-6) that Tiger himself set at Pebble Beach back in 2000. We’ll see if the wind starts whipping and the greens start firming up in round 2. Or perhaps the marine layer will blow, and nobody will be able to see anything, including the golfers.

While the golfers do their thing, Facebook’s long-not-very-well-kept secret blockchain/cryptocurrency payment project, "Project Libra," is getting some big named backers, according to a report from The Wall Street Journal.

Visa, Mastercard, PayPal, and Uber have all backed the new cryptocurrency, and each will invest around $10 million in a consortium that will govern the digital coin, the "Libra."

According to the Journal, that money would be used to fund the creation of the coin, one which will be pegged to a basket of government-issued currencies to avoid the wild swings witnessed by other cryptocurrencies.

The Verge also reported on the development, and addressed how the new "stablecoin" might be used:

As well as allowing users to send money over Facebook’s messaging products like WhatsApp and Messenger, Facebook hopes that its partnerships with e-commerce firms will allow users to spend the currency online. The company is reportedly also looking into developing ATM-like physical terminals for people to convert their money into Libra.

The Block reports that Facebook has also posted additional blockchain jobs this week, just ahead of the release of a whitepaper next week formally announcing Project Libra.

Be interesting to see whether or not the value of a bitcoin changes one way or the other over the course of the next week.

Written by turbotodd

June 14, 2019 at 10:00 am

Brooks and Bran

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Spoiler Alert!

If you haven’t watched the end of the PGA Championship yet on your DVR, I’m about to congratulate the winner, so stop reading this post now.

If you did watch, you know it was one half of the “Smash Brothers” who took his fourth major golf championship inside of 23 months: Brooks Koepka.

Pretty spectactular stuff.

My boss actually called this one, and I couldn’t say I disagreed with him. Brooks seems to be one of those once in a generation players who comes loaded to bear on the golf course, especially at the majors. 

And when I say loaded to bear, I’m talking about insane distance off the tee (but also accuracy in hitting fairways), great up and down (scrambling), and some great putting (which is an area where he has struggled in the past).

Dustin Johnson, the other Smash bro, put on a good run, especially in the middle of the round when Brooks bogied four holes in a row to take his lead to one, but it just wasn’t to be, and Koepka took the Wannamaker for the second year in a row.

Now, the other spoiler alert: GOT. 

If you don’t watch “Game of Thrones” you need to get with the program. Of course, now it’s all over, and as I predicted, Jon killed Dany and Bran became king.

Apparently a lot of folks didn’t like the last several episodes and/or the ending, but it all worked well for me.  Eight seasons is a lot to wrap up such epic storytelling, and I figured after the Drogon Burning Man fest from last weekend, Dany had to go.  And Tyrian convinced Jon, and that was that.

So what does all this have to do with technology?  Everything and nothing.

GOT certainly has everything to do with clashing empires, which is exactly what we’re seeing now with the “Chimerica” tech wars.

Over the weekend, Reuters reported that Google has suspended business with China’s Huawei telco business, for anything “that requires the transfer of hardware, software and technical services except those publicly available via open source licensing.”

That means no more licensing of Android to Huawei.

But what this is really about is the burgeoning big power battle over the evolution of 5G technology — meaning, the U.S. does not want China to be a primary provider of 5G equipment due to concerns around … well, you name it: surveillance, national security, concerns over economic power, technology transfer, etc.

So if Huawei loses in the 5G battle (and I’m not convinced they do, particularly if European and other partners don’t go along with the ‘Merica First 5G battle cry), who wins?

Vendors like Ericsson, HPE, Nokia, Intel, and Qualcomm, certainly. But let’s not forget, their products are typically much more expensive than those from Huawei.

We’ll see if it’s the almighty dollar — or the strengthening renminbi — that ultimately prevails.

 

Written by turbotodd

May 20, 2019 at 2:56 pm

Posted in 2019, 5G, china, golf

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Cray Cray and the PGA

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Happy Friday.

For golfers everywhere, it’s an especially special week (and weekend).

Normally, the PGA Championship is the last major championship of the year, played in the heat of the August sun.

This year, the tournament has been moved up to mid-May, and is being played at what they call the “peoples’ country club,” Bethpage Black.

Bethpage Black is the hardest of a number of golf courses open to the general public in Bethpage State Park in Long Island, New York.

It has also been home to a couple of U.S. Opens, one in 2002 and again in 2009…it was, in fact, the first public golf course to host a U.S. Open.

So, that’s the backstory. And while everyone is excited to hear about Tiger Woods play after winning the Masters this year, it was Brooks Koepka, three-time major and one-time PGA Championship winner who sunk putts from every which direction and every which length yesterday who took the lead at 7 under par.

Koepka is due back on the Black this PM, and while he has a couple of great players making chase, including Jordan Spieth who’s in today at a cumulative 5 under and Dustin Johnson (-4), it appears Koepka is in charge of his destiny this PM.

As for destiny, let’s jump over to some Friday PM tech news.

First up, for those of you who remember the hey day of supercomputing (whenever that was), you’ll remember Cray Inc.

Hewlett Packard Enterprise is taking Cray off the board for $1.30 billion, roughly $35 per share and a premium of 17.4 percent to Cray’s last close, according to Reuters.

At last count, Cray’s supercomputing systems can handle big data sets, converged modeling, simulations, AI, and analytics workloads.

If this news makes you ill, you might want to check into Health at Scale. TechCrunch is reporting that the AI healthcare startup has raised $16M in a Series A round.

The startup has founders with both medical and engineering backgrounds, and writes that it “wants to bring machine learning to bear on healthcare treatment options to produce outcomes with better results and less aftercare.”

The idea is to make treatment decisions more data-driven. While they aren’t sharing their data sources, they say they have information, from patients with a given condition, to doctors who treat that condition, to facilities where the treatment happens. By looking at a patient’s individual treatment needs and medical history, they believe they can do a better job of matching that person to the best doctor and hospital for the job. They say this will result in the fewest post-operative treatment requirements, whether that involves trips to the emergency room or time in a skilled nursing facility, all of which would end up adding significant additional cost.

Anything to improve the condition of the American healthcare system.

Written by turbotodd

May 17, 2019 at 12:41 pm

A Better Tiger Roars

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Holy moly macaroni, Batman!

You look away for the weekend and the next thing you know the last season of "Game of Thrones" has begin and Tiger Woods has won his fifth green jacket.

And this despite the fact that for a couple of hours yesterday morning millions around the globe couldn’t share their thrill and Tiger’s renaissance at Augusta National via Facebook because, well, for the third time in recent memory Facebook was busy making a triple bogey of its own.

If you’re not a golf fan, there’s no way to really explain how extraordinary the last few days were. If you play the game or love the game as I do, even more so.

I saw an article over the weekend that suggested the average handicapper of 15 (I’ve recently been playing to around a 10) would probably score around 95-100 at Augusta National, and that’s from the member’s tees.

The greens there are the stuff of nightmares, rolling almost as fast as an icy black diamond at Alta. It’s hard to hold an iron shot in the right place, much less a long downhill putt for birdie.

But, of course, most of these guys make it look easy (and none so more than Tiger). Certainly all the rain Augusta had made the greens more receptive he past few days, which is why we saw more and lower scores than usual, particularly on "moving day" (Saturday).

But that also made this year’s tournament so special, because the field was wide open. We saw early leads from the like of relative newcomers like Bryson DeChambeau and Corey Connors, and veterans like Francesco Molinari whose steely and consistent Italian nerves suggested he might be well on his way to his first green jacket.

And he was. He came into Sunday’s early round at 13 under, and Tiger at 11 under. They scrapped all the way until 12, the infamous par 3 where so many have faded under its magnolia klieg lights. Both Molinari and Tony Finau belted their tee shots into the water, probably one part mis-clubbing, one part misreading of the wind, and one part greed (they both wanted some of the far right pin action).

Tiger, ever the Augusta National expert and student of the game, knew better. He flopped what seemed to be a 1,000 foot shot into the air and dropped it into the middle of the green, knowing he could safely play for par while Molinari and Finau scrambled for bogey at best.

It turned out they both scored double bogey, giving Tiger the momentum he needed to move on to 13, tied for the lead, and prepared to become the Tiger of old, the one with the killer instinct, the one who, on 16, hit a gorgeous iron shot that rolled just below and right of the hole to take the lead at 14 under and never look back.

It had been 22 years since his breathtaking first victory at the ripe old age of 21. That was a Masters where he changed not only the game, but the actual golf course (Augusta National felt compelled to "Tiger proof" the course after that rout, making it longer and tougher than ever).

And yes, a lot has happened between now and then, to the world, to Tiger Woods. But that which doesn’t kill us…not only makes us stronger, but typically makes us better people.

I think that’s been the case with Tiger Woods. In 2005, I doubt there were many other golfers standing around waiting to congratulate Tiger as he came back into the clubhouse to sign his scorecard.

This year, I couldn’t count all his fellow players who were there to congratulate him on winning his fifth green jacket.To watch that moment, where he was recognized by his fellow players, many of whom would go on to play the game because of the inspiration he provided — that, to me, demonstrated the metamorphosis Woods had undergone.

He was once again a great golfer, yes, but through all his trials and tribulations had also become a better human being. And that was probably his biggest victory, on and off the course.

Written by turbotodd

April 15, 2019 at 9:52 am

Making the Cut

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The first round of the 2019 Masters is in the bag, and the second round is now well underway.

Tiger went 2 under in round 1 (70), which is what he shot in the first round in 3 of his 4 Masters victory’s first rounds.

But it was Bryson DeChambeau and Brooks Koepka who turned on the afterburners on the back nine at Augusta National, both rolling in at 6 under.

DeChambeau’s back nine was a sight to behold, inches away from making an ace on the par-3 16th, hitting a chip-in on 17, and hitting the pin on his approach at 18, and making six birdies on the back 9, and four of those in a row on the last four holes. 

Studying all those black holes in physics paid off, as DeChambeau’s ball was finding plenty of them on Augusta National.

Today, Francesco Molinari (one of my picks to win) has snuck up the leaderboard to 5 under, just two back from DeChambeau, who’s now 7 under through 8.

There’s still a lot of golf to be played.

If you’re looking to catch up an individual golfer’s round, you can now go to Masters.com, click on the leaderboard, hone in on any given hole for any given player, and watch video of every shot on the hole.  It’s another game changer for golf fans, because if you want to watch the progression of a player to come from out of nowhere, there’s really no other way!

Okay, of the players I put in my top box of likely winners, it’s Brooks Koepka, Molinari and Dustin Johnson who are hovering towards the top of the leaderboard. 

But like I said, lots of golf to be played, and possible weather yet to move in over the weekend.

My nerves are a wreck.

Written by turbotodd

April 12, 2019 at 12:13 pm

Posted in 2019, golf, masters

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