Turbotodd

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

Posts Tagged ‘scott laningham

TurboTech: Netflix/Qwikster, HP rumors, Facebook follies, Twitter ads

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So Scott and I recorded our latest “TurboTech” episode yesterday, and no sooner did we record the bit about Meg Whitman maybe taking over as CEO of HP than it seems like it’s actually gonna be a done deal.

That’s okay, things move fast in this industry, and it’s kind of like that old joke about how you don’t have to outrun the leopard — you just have to outrun the slowest gazelle.

In this case, I’m not sure if Scott’s the gazelle and I’m the leopard, or if Meg Whitman’s the leopard and Leo Apotheker’s the gazelle, but whatever the case, things change, watch us move your cheese.

We talked about that, the Netflix marketing debacle, and the latest changes on Facebook (which pretty much everyone seems to hate).

Me, I’m off to India tomorrow, and will be hanging in the IT hub of Bangalore for a week.  I hope to take lots of pics and NOT lose my camera there this go around, and am very much looking forward to some of that lovely South and North India Cuisine and to seeing all my IBM India friends.  Put some Kingfishers on ice, gang, I’ll be there momentarily.

Enjoy this episode, and the next dispatch may just be a video one from the streets of Bangalore, where crossing through traffic’s like riding in a sub-contintental rodeo with motor rickshaws and motorbikes!

Yeeee-hawwww, Sahib!

Written by turbotodd

September 22, 2011 at 7:29 pm

TurboTech Podcast: Irene, AT&T v. DOJ, Fraud Detection, & Facebook v. Google+

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Scott Laningham and I got together recently for Round 2 of “TurboTech,” our new video podcast focusing on all things tech and Internets.

For this week’s episode, Scott pulled out his stopwatch to time each news segment — whatsa matter buddy, you can’t just come out and tell me I’m longwinded?

I can take a hint.  You’ll also notice that Scott’s intro now also includes his famous Don Pardo-like voiceover: “It’s time for TurboooooTeeecccch!”  It’s simply classic.

On this past week’s agenda: Hurricane Irene, IBM acquisitions in the fraud detection realm, AT&T v. DOJ, and Facebook v. Google+.

Written by turbotodd

September 6, 2011 at 7:36 pm

Watson Redux

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If you missed your chance to watch the competition aired nationally in North America this past February between IBM and America’s favorite quiz show Jeopardy!, fear not: IBM announced today that Jeopardy! will broadcast an encore presentation of the first-ever man vs. machine Jeopardy! competition between IBM’s “Watson” computing system and the show’s two greatest contestants – Ken Jennings and Brad Rutter.

Millions of North American viewers will be able to again witness TV history as Watson successfully competes against two human champions in two matches played over three consecutive days, September 12, 13, and 14, 2011.

(Spoiler Alert: developerWorks’ Scott Laningham and I interviewed the principal investigator and project lead of the Watson effort, Dr. David Ferrucci, during this year’s SXSW Interactive conference in March of this year. Do NOT watch the video Q&A below if you haven’t yet seen the broadcast/re-broadcast if you don’t want to spoil the ending! In the interview, Ferrucci explains in some detail the AI methods behind Watson’s madness!)

“With the Jeopardy! challenge, we accomplished what was thought to be impossible – building a computer system that operates in the near limitless, ambiguous and highly contextual realm of human language and knowledge,” said Dr. David Ferrucci, IBM Fellow and scientist leading the IBM Research team that created Watson. “Watching the match again reminds us of the great power and potential behind Watson to be able to make sense of the massive amounts of data around us and to solve problems in new ways.”

Six months after the original competition, Watson’s Deep Question Answering (QA) technology has already driven progress in new fields such as the healthcare industry. IBM is working with Nuance Communications, Inc. to explore and develop applications to help critical decision makers, such as physicians and nurses, process large volumes of health information in order to deliver quicker and more accurate patient diagnoses. Working with universities and clients, IBM is identifying many potential uses for Watson’s underlying QA technology.

The technology underlying Watson analyzes the structure and wording of the question or challenge being investigated, and formulates an answer that it has the highest level of ‘confidence’ is correct.  Watson answers ‘natural language’ questions, which can contain puns, slang, jargon and acronyms that must all be evaluated as part of Watson’s confidence in returning an answer.

The Watson v. Jeopardy! man v. machine contest, featuring Jeopardy! champions Ken Jennings and Brad Rutter, will be re-broadcast in North America in mid-September.

“We recognized the Jeopardy! IBM Challenge was not only a historic moment for television, but also for scientific discovery and innovation,” said Harry Friedman, executive producer of Jeopardy! “We wanted to provide the opportunity for more viewers to once again enjoy this ground-breaking exhibition match.”

IBM and the other contestants gave $1.25 million to charity, with $1 million coming from IBM.

What is Watson?

Watson, named after IBM founder Thomas J. Watson, is a breakthrough human achievement in the scientific field of Question and Answering, also known as “QA.” The Watson software is powered by an IBM POWER7 server optimized to handle the massive number of tasks that Watson must perform at rapid speeds to analyze complex language and answer questions posed in natural language with speed, accuracy and confidence.

Beyond providing correct responses, Watson had to analyze Jeopardy! clues that involved subtle meaning, irony, riddles, and other complexities in which humans excel and computers traditionally do not. The system incorporates a number of proprietary technologies for the specialized demands of processing an enormous number of concurrent tasks and data while analyzing information in real time.

You can learn more about the Watson research initiative here.

Written by turbotodd

August 29, 2011 at 9:33 pm

New developerWorks Podcast: Steve Jobs, HP, Motorola, Turbo’s 20th

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This has been a crazy Friday, so I didn’t have much time to blog.

But, Scott Laningham and I were able to cut our first developerWorks “videopodcast,” where we covered some of the major recent IT and tech news, including the announcement of Steve Jobs resignation (I apologize in advance for saying his name both ways!), HP/Autonomy deal, Google/Motorola, and even a few bits on my 20th anniversary with Big Blue.

For those of you in the path of Irene, please be safe and heed all the warnings of your public officials.  We’ll be thinking about you all along the East Coast down here in drought-laden Texas.  We need some rain, but we prefer it not come in the form of a hurricane (although I’m sure some farmers in South Texas might argue with me about now).

Here in Austin, the forecast has us at around 109 degrees Fahrenheit tomorrow.  Yikes!

Written by turbotodd

August 26, 2011 at 9:35 pm

Market Meltdown

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Okay, okay, methinks I cursed the market.

I joked in yesterday’s post about hoping to avoid an economic meltdown, seeing as our U.S. Congress came through at the last minute with a debt ceiling bill.

Little did I know that only THEN would the market panic.

As an investor, and future retiree candidate, I’m not going to totally freak.  Like a good little investor, I’m in this for the long haul, what goes up must come down (and hopefully go back up again), and panicking didn’t do Chicken Little any good.

But Double-U Tee Eff!?!?!

I turn away from CNBC for a few hours to get some work done and the market sinks 500 points?! 

Not without some irony, I’ve been speaking with my financial adviser the last week, preparing for a possible meltdown.  We had the strategy all planned.  But that was assuming the meltdown would happen on Monday or Tuesday, or maybe over last weekend. 

NOT TWO DAYS LATER!

Okay, I feel better now.  I’m also going to turn lemons into lemonade. 

Buy low, sell high, right?  But maybe someone could warn me about the big hill in advance next time!

Well, back to techland.  Scott Laningham, my trusted developerWorks amigo and podcasting guru, finally got back into the studio, so to speak, to record a recent episode.  We talked about Operation RAT, the Google/IBM patent deal, and the 30th birthday of the IBM Personal Computer.

Check it out here. 

Me, I’m off to lick my investing wounds.

Oh, and if you don’t hear from me next week, that’s ‘cause I’m going to do a little vacating.  But I’m sure it won’t last nearly long enough, and you’ll hear from me again very soon.

Written by turbotodd

August 4, 2011 at 10:23 pm

Calling Dr. Watson

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My good buddy Scott Laningham from developerWorks recently conducted a Q&A with IBM Rational software guru Grady Booch.  You can check it out in the video down at the bottom of this post.

He also talked to the “hat lady.”  I’m not going to explain who the “hat lady” is.  If you don’t know who she is, you can find out via the video!

And FYI, Booch is going to be doing a keynote at Innovate 2011 about the Watson technology (remember Watson V. Jeopardy!, where the computer won back in February??). Booch is going to go deep on the subject from the Innovate stage in Orlando.  You can learn more in Scott’s interview.

Speaking of Watson, as we head into a long holiday weekend here in the U.S., let it be known that IBM announced earlier today the expansion of its Health Analytics Solution Center in Dallas, Texas.

Some background: Since opening in Big D in late 2009, the HASC has worked with more than 150 hospitals, health plans, and other healthcare organizations to drive smarter healthcare.  It provides clients access to health analytics experts, tech architects, and specialists, as well as to hundreds of health industry experts from across IBM.

As part of HASC’s expansion, the center is incorporating some of the same technology used in IBM’s Watson. Using sophisticated analytics to understand the meaning and context of medical information, advanced health analytics is increasingly being used to help healthcare orgs gain new insight from the explosion of health data growing at the rate of 35 percent per year!

You can learn more about this new expansion here, and about IBM’s smarter healthcare initatives here.

In the meantime, have a great, long, restful holiday weekend, and please, for those of you in the American family, don’t forget to remember those who have given their lives in the service of this country.

Until next week…and now, here’s Scott, Grady, and the “hat lady!”

Written by turbotodd

May 27, 2011 at 5:59 pm

Deep Q&A: An Interview With IBM’s Dr. David Ferrucci On Watson Beyond Jeopardy!

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During the recent SXSW Interactive fest here in Austin, developerWorks’ Scott Laningham and I had the opportunity to sit down and do an interview with the principal investigator behind the Watson Deep QA technology, Dr. David Ferrucci.

You may recognize Ferrucci from some of his recent TV appearances (or the IBM smarter planet TV spots addressing the power and opportunity the Watson technology presents).

Me, I was just glad to have the opportunity, along with Scott, to ask some specific questions that had been on my mind about Watson. And also to point out to Dr. Ferrucci that I had the last name Watson before our supercomputer did!

It was a fun and fascinating 13 minutes, and, for my money, one of the highlight interviews Scott and I have conducted in recent times.

Continued kudos to Ferrucci and his entire IBM team for such a great success with Watson.  Clearly, the Jeopardy! victory is just a launching point for the exciting new places where this new technology is likely to take us from here.

IBM Industry Summit: The Podcast Recap

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Though my partner-in-crime Scott Laningham wasn’t able to join me live and in person during my recent trip to Barcelona, he was certainly there in spirit, and he was also gracious enough to join me for a recap discussion earlier this week for developerWorks.

In the 13-minute recap, Scott and I walked through some highlights of the trip and the first-ever IBM Industry Summit — and even sneaked in a few holiday shopping tidbits to boot.

Enjoy our short walk down IBM Industry Summit memory lane, and for those of you in the U.S., I hope you enjoy a restful and thankful long holiday weekend.

You can find the podcast here.

Written by turbotodd

November 25, 2010 at 4:23 pm

IBM’s Social Media Night Watchman

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The thing I love about working at IBM, and what’s probably kept me here for far longer than is probably wise, are the great people who work here.

Seriously.

You get to work with some of the smartest people in the world at Big Blue (and a handful that aren’t so smart).

If it weren’t the world’s second largest democracy (behind India), then it might be downright nirvana-like.

But I digress.

One of those really smart people is my colleague, Bill Chamberlin, who sits on our corporate market insight team. His official title, Market Insights, Principal Analyst – Social Insights Practice and HorizonWatch Community Leader, doesn’t truly reveal the scope and breadth of his portfolio and impact inside the company.

IBM's Bill Chamberlin

IBM's Bill Chamberlin: Chicago winter golfer and all around social media night watchman for the IBM company.

Bill is IBM’s social media night watchman, keeping an eye on both the competition and the social media big picture.

My developerWorks amigo Scott Laningham and I sat down with Bill for a free-ranging interview over the phone last week, one in which Bill expounded on all things Smarter Planet, the maturation of social media in business, and his unique comparison of the Industrial Revolution to today’s knowledge economy (what Bill called the “industrialization of services.”)

You could do worse than spend the next 26 minutes of your life listening (26:44, MP3) to this big picture Q&A with Bill.

Me, I did some of the interviewing and I’m still learning from it.

Written by turbotodd

September 14, 2010 at 1:31 pm

SXSW Interactive 2010: Day 2 Recap Podcast

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Scott and I took our weary bones (and minds) into the front foyer yesterday, found ourselves a table, and had a nice twelve and a half minute recap of the day’s topics, including the disruption of business models, privacy, influence, education, and more.

Go here to check it out (12:30 MP3)

Written by turbotodd

March 14, 2010 at 3:18 pm

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