Todd "Turbo" Watson -- IBM Corporation
turbotodd 100000388Y Tags:  telephony sxsw iphone jon_stewart mobile_computing series_of_tubes 1 Comment 5,383 Views
How do you like the new look? They've been trying to get me to migrate to the new developerWorks blogging platform for sometime now.
It's not that I didn't want to make the trip...it's just that I'd been so busy making all those other real ones, I'd had no time to sit down long enough to focus on the migration
or learn the new system.
So, my technology guru Jay "He's Got About a Nine Iron" Allen and I got together in the late PM yesterday and he helped me make the leap.
Oh great Jay technology guru, I am Turbo and I am not worthy.
So far, so good, but this is my first real post, and I figure the whole thing could blow up on me any second and I'll have no idea what it is that I'm supposed to do next.
I've been pretty busy today in the meanwhile, and have really had no chance until now to write and even look up to see what was going on in the world.
When I finally did, the one headline that got my attention was from The New York Times, the one entitled "Customers Angered as iPhones Overload AT&T."
Apparently, the new iPhone 3GS phones are so cool and so fast, and everyone who has one is apparently all trying to use them all at the same time to take advantage of that additional speed that they paid for, that they're bringing the whole system to its knees.
And the problem is? Who knows, but it seems to be that it's time for a 4G upgrade before AT&T can handle all that 3G traffic.
Me, I just shake my head.
I saw the iPhone meltdown start at SXSW this past April...remember, in fact, seeing the AT&T trucks in the streets outside the Convention Center trying to save the day.
All I can think about was the fact that when I went to Tokyo in 2000, and saw the DoCoMo iMode 3G phones already in place and working just fine!
In 2000, the year all our computers and stuff were supposed to come crashing down around us!
And don't get me wrong. I loves me some mobile computing and telephony.
But the stuff's gotta work. Like, it's gotta work 99+% of the time....
Otherwise, it doesn't live up to the promise of liberating us from our Dilbert cubicles. (Can I have another pellet, please?)
If the Series of Giant Tubes really aren't Giant enough to carry all the lottery balls and race horses and other things that need to be carried through the Tubes (Jon Stewart on the Internet as a series of tubes...)....well, ya gotta build us some bigger Tubes.
Or, at least stop charging me so much for my Blackberry data usage.
Seeing as my usage of the Tubes seem to be so much less and my lottery balls mostly seem to make their way through to the other side.
Quick blog update before I jet from one meeting to another here in NYC...
First, a big thanks to all who participated in the most excellent second IBM Social Media Summit yesterday up in Yorktown, including the 200+ of you who tuned in online and via videoconference.
To partners, customers, speakers, and IBMers alike, I hope you all got as much out of it as I did...I just wish I had a LOT more time to catch up with so many familiar (and new) faces. We must get together again soon!
Second, rain has delayed the kickoff of the U.S. Open golf tournament out at Bethpage Black.
Our own Adam Christensen is on the ground and getting soaked, but neither rain nor sleet or reTweets will keep him from his rounds...remembering he was possibly the first U.S. Open Twitterer in history.
See how you can follow all the action via the mobile U.S. Open here.
And lastly, check out this news that IBM will be investing $100 million U.S. over the next five years into a major research effort which aims to advance mobile services and capabilities for businesses and consumers worldwide.
This effort will help the 83 percent of the world that does not have easy access to the Web via PCs to get access to all this great information emerging from our smarter planet.
For now, I'll be using my own mobile device (my beloved Blackberry Bold) to find my way across town to the new Ogilvy offices at the former candy factory (make mine licorice, please).Read More]
turbotodd 100000388Y Tags:  president_obama turbotech mobile_computing blackberry_bold 3,766 Views
So now that President Obama can keep his souped up Blackberry with super duper, top secret encryption, I'm ready to spill the beans about my new Blackberry Bold.
As I mentioned in a recent TurboTech podcast, there were a number of considerations that went into my decision to continue down the Blackberry road.
After a good 11 days of use, I can safely say I'm a pretty happy camper.
Mind you, you have to consider the source.
There are not a lot of devices out there that I can't find something to like, just because I'm a gadget hound.
It's gotten so bad, I'm going to have to hold a mobile computing garage sale on eBay soon or else my old devices are going to fall out of the closet and smother me!
I won't embarrass myself by mentioning them all by name, but the collection still includes an original IBM Workpad, an original Palm Treo, some credit card-sized PIM device from circa 2000 that I can't even remember the name of the manufacturer for...so, you get the picture.
The Blackberry Bold is the kind of device, probably not unlike the iPhone, where you start to nod your head and say okay, this is what I was talking about.
I helped run an IBM Broadband and Pervasive Computing summit in NYC back in 2000, and even then my mind was already racing forward to the potential a collision between computing and mobile devices would present. We even had someone from Research in Motion come and speak.
I just never thought it would take another eight years to get to the device I had been imagining.
So, the specifics.
As I mentioned, the screen on the Bold is superb. Far better and cleaner than the iPhone and iPod Touch, albeit at a smaller footprint.
Of course, it doesn't do much good for filmed entertainment...I've found no way to play movies from iTunes on it yet...although I suspect there might be a hack out there somewhere.
It does, however, just fine as an iPod substitute, as I mentioned in my original post on the subject.
Where it excels is in the work productivity applications.
Once I got through the initial setup, I've had few issues with responding to email and checking/changing my calendar (I had one issue there, which I still haven't figured out, where a meeting disappeared into thin air...but it was one I didn't really want to go to, so that was okay!)
The mobile version of Lotus Sametime -- and yes, I *do* work for IBM Software, so feel free to keep that in mind if you're in the market -- is quite good.
I try not to spend an inordinate amount of time instant messaging from a mobile keyboard, but when I need it I want it to be there, and Sametime definitely steps up to the plate.
The Bold platform also does very well in the mobile versions of social applications, including namely Facebook and Twitter.
The Twitter client is almost as good as being in Tweetdeck, and certainly good enough for mobility's sake. I can walk out of the house for lunch or dinner and not miss a Twiterring beat, particularly if some news is breaking I want to keep track of while on the move.
With respect to Facebook, I could stand a little more "nativity," as the one I'm currently using seems a little too close to the Web experience, and I prefer those mobile apps that have been tuned a bit for the mobile device.
But, it's close enough for jazz.
In terms of navigating the Bold, because I had a Pearl before, I haven't had to learn much new. The Bold also has the little rollerball for moving about the screen, my only complaint of which is they tend to give out after a year (but the nice lady at the ATT store fixed my Pearl by replacing the ball).
So where's the bad news, you ask?
So far, it's in the tethering.
I wanted to be able to hook up to the Bold via my MacBook for those instances where I'm unable to get Internet-connected through a landline or wifi, and get connected via 3G.
So far, I connected once -- which means I know it can work, it just won't now, and so all the more frustrating. But I decided to let the tech stress on that front wear down a bit before I went back for seconds.
I welcome input from anyone who's attempted to pull that one off. If ATT would just release a Mac version of the Connection Client, I suspect the problem would be solved. But I guess they assume all the Macheads are using an iPhone!
That's it so far.
I expect the real test of the Bold will be my next international trip, but I'm confident based on my experiences thus far that it'll pass with flying colors.
If not, I can always try out the G-phone!
Man, I had a long weekend.
It didn't look like it was going to start out that way, but I had to do a bunch of tech stuff -- including reloading my Blackberry Pearl software -- that caused me no end of tech stress. The worst kind, right?
But, it was all good, and it paved the way for me to do one of my favorite things in the world: Get a new technology toy...err, device.
And, this time, I'll have you know once again I put my money where my mouth is: I upgraded to a Blackberry Bold.
Some fellow IBMers in Twitterland were giving me a hard time, asking why I didn't go ahead and make the switch to an iPhone.
It's a simple question: I can't get my work email via the iPhone. At least, not yet.
I looked on internal forums for everything from an internally available beta of iNotes to a VPN solution, and it just wasn't there.
I don't carry a mobile device just to be a hipster. I use it for work. Namely, for my work email and calendar. So, no amount of iPhone sexiness was going to do the trick without being able to have constantly synched email and calendar.
Second, I've got an iPod Touch, and i can do all that other cool stuff (load applications, play games, watch movies, etc.) on that without missing much in terms of the iPhone experience.
So, in preparation for making the transition, I did a lot of homework and reloaded the Blackberry software on the Pearl so I would know how to make the upgrade (my Pearl had gotten wiped recently).
IBM doesn't really offer we IBMers much in the way of help for such things, although the internal forum we run is chock full of helpful advice. No, you're pretty much on your own, so I needed to set aside at least part of a Saturday to track all the info down to pull off the reimaging.
Reloading the IBM Blackberry image and synching took about four hours.
Four hours out of my Saturday. Yeah, no wonder I was stressed.
But, I got it working again, and all the research I did kept leading me back to the Blackberry Bold as the appropriate upgrade.
Well, for one, I wanted a faster Blackberry (read: 3G).
Two, I wanted a better screen for reading stuff on the fly (the Bold's screen is hands down the best I've ever seen on a mobile device).
Three, I wanted to be able to tether my computer via 3G, so I would ALMOST ALWAYS have mobile Internet access (and ATT's network is known for being pretty ubiquitous).
Four, I wanted to be able to do voice and do data transmissions simultaneously.
Five, I wanted to be able to edit/view documents/attachments easily, and the Bold came loaded with Word-/Powerpoint-to-Go, AND, has the speed to make it feasible.
Six, and most importantly for me, I wanted to continue with a physical, tactile keyboard.
Even on the iPod Touch, I just don't deal well with that virtual keyboard, and that's also the reason I passed right by the Blackberry Storm (that, and the fact that it's offered through Verizon).
So, those were the primary reasons.
The bonuses I've discovered along the way thus far: The Bold offers much better multimedia (due to the speed of the processor and the 3G connection), the ability to download and listen to non-DRMed iTunes music, the 3.5mm headphone jack (not proprietary sized), and the much better browsing capability of the Bold.
The device activation has been underway for about 35 minutes....well short of four hours...we'll see how long it takes to finish and whether or not it works.
More on my Blackberry Bold transition once I've got some more serious usage under my belt.
I had to stop by my local, friendly AT&T retail outlet the other day to see if they could help make my Blackberry Pearl well.
My Pearl ball had stopped going down. It would go in every other direction: Up, left, right. But not down.
It hadn't been a good week between AT&T and I. Something had trashed my AT&T home phone connection (not the first time), and I was sans my voice umbilical cord to the world for a good 36 hours.
When your home is also your office, these things are important.
So while I was in the retail outlet, a nice, cheerful young lady swapped out the ball on the Blackberry Pearl (there is no navigating a Pearl without its Pearl-like ball), and it worked fine after that.
While in the store, I took the opportunity to ask her what word she'd heard about the coming Blackberry Storm.
Not much, she replied.
In fact, she suggested her Research In Motion sales rep had been downright snarky with she and her staff.
To which I say, little hubris goes a long way, especially when you're allegedly moving into iPhone territory.
My other question for her was, will AT&T ever be carrying the Storm?
She indicated she did not know.
For the record, I will NOT be switching carriers just so I can jump on the Storm bandwagon, but I would still suggest AT&T and other carriers be in a position to have a definitive answer to the question.
In any case, after reading the Engadget review of the Blackberry Storm, one would have to give pause before flying down to one's local Verizon outlet.
The concern that concerns me most is around the usability of the new touch-screen interface, the navigation of which Engadget believes isn't in harmony with the Blackberry OS v. 4.7.
Specifically, they write that "the Storm's UI is not custom built for touch navigation -- touch navigation is added after the fact."
Considering the ease with which I've been able to navigate my Pearl, particularly in moments where time is a factor (i.e., I need to get access to this information NOW!), that certainly would be an issue in the "con" column.
Engadget also suggest the clickable touchscreen keyboard is designed in such a way that it can actually slow down the typing speed one has come to expect from RIM:
"As you press down to engage a 'key,' you're required to release before moving to another, which means that you can only type so quickly."
There's plenty more where that came from, and if you're in the market, I would encourage you to read the full Engadget review.
To balance things out, they loved the camera and said the phone had "loud and clear earpieces and speakerphones".
But if you're a Blackberry loyalist like me, a happy customer who's not in the market but still curious, the review is disappointing, and suggests the device may not have lived up to its hype.
I would reserve final judgment until I could go into an AT&T retail outlet and see for myself, but it seems that that may not happen anytime soon, if ever.
But based on what I read, I just wonder, in terms of innovation, whether or not RIM may have gone too far down the alley of "me, too."
Though I know they can't afford to ignore the iPhone threat, I think they also have enough existing market share and loyal customers to recognize there are certain characteristics and features that have become intrinsic to the Blackberry -- the ease of navigation, the easy-to-type keyboard, the trackball.
Don't throw the keyboard baby out with the touchscreen bathwater.
Don't lose the Blackberry forest amidst the iPhone trees.Read More]
turbotodd 100000388Y Tags:  blackberry switching_costs lifecycle_management mobile_computing 4,210 Views
I went to the ATT store the other day to buy some new protective rubber sheathes for my trusty Blackberry Pearl.
I decided to get really obnoxious and go with the radioactive yellow, blue, and pink colors this time around. There'll be no losing this Blackberry!
Anyhoo, while I was there, I chatted up the sales rep and asked what they had going on in the way of new Blackberries, and also whether or not I could transfer all my data from one Blackberry to another.
In terms of what they had going on with Blackberries, she explained that the Bold was holding its own but that everyone was waiting on the Storm.
As to my question about transferring data from one Blackberry to another, she told me that she could exchange my phone and contact data, but not transfer my applications for Notes email, Calendar, etc.
In other words, if and when I get a new Blackberry, it's on me to spend 24-48 hours (or longer) to set the thing up from scratch. Again.
Sometimes I wonder whether RIM and other companies give much consideration to such "switching costs" involved in moving from one device to another.
There's plenty about my Blackberry Pearl I like, and there's a lot I don't (No wi-fi, slow and ugly Web browsing). But when it comes time to make a decision about upgrading, believe you me, the time (an unknowable) involved in trying to get the new device (Bold? Storm? The "flip" Berry?") is going to be a central issue for me.
When I bought the Pearl, it only cost me $99, but I'm sure I spent a few hundred dollars of IBM's time getting it up and running.
As much as I'd like to have all those new features of the Storm 9500, which look really cool in this video, I'm not sure I'll be able to accommodate the expense -- and turbulence -- of acquiring a new device.
Once again, I'm going to miss the new iPhone street party.
Though we didn't see quite the hype this year that we saw a year ago June, the maturity of the iPhone device, combined with the move to a 3G network, seems to suggest upgrading or buying one of the new models is a no brainer if you're in the market.
Except, of course, for those of us enslaved to our Lotus Notes email platform.
In which case we can continue to salivate over the looming yet remote possibility...of....someday...soon....perhaps?
Access to my corporate email and calendar is requisite for any mobile device, and I'm very happy with my Blackberry Pearl, more so than any other mobile phone I've had.
But I can't help but look at all those folks lined up again for the 3G iPhone with a hint of envy.
The new iPhone does support Microsoft Exchange ActiveSync, so that Blackberry-like email synch feature can be adopted for those on the Exchange side of the house.
Based on the coverage I've read thus far, if you don't have the original iPhone, and you're in the market for a new one, the 3G iPhone is a good choice.
Between the 3G connection speed (Walt Mossberg of WSJ indicated data was 3-5X faster) -- which makes browsing and streaming media much more palatable; the lower price (although in the U.S., data access will cost you $10 more per month), and the new App store, where you can buy 3rd party developed applications, it's a pretty easy decision.
NOTE: It hasn't escaped my notice that this time around, the iPhone launched first in the East, in Asia Pacific, and then made its way to 8 AM availability in respective time zones here in the West.
The iPhone is going global, big time.
The one major downside seems to be the battery life -- remembering you can't replace the iPhone battery like you can with other phones.
If battery life is an issue, perhaps Steve Jobs is simply counting on you to buy...two?
turbotodd 100000388Y Tags:  google mobile_computing clyde android inky pinky blinky 4,269 Views
I'm completely hip to the notion of mobile technology, and have been for well over a decade.
I got my first mobile computing device when IBM released its branded version of the PalmPilot, the "WorkPad," way back in 1996. I must confess I spent more time trying to get it set up to use than actually using it for productivity enhancing purposes.
I also bought the first Palm Treo (bad idea) sometime around 2002, the first version of which was a little before its time.
Lesson learned, early adopter syndrome (almost) eliminated in Human Android Turbo.
More recently, my Blackberry Pearl has been my geographical computing compass and "Beam Me Up, Scotty" device, saving my hide numerous times during travels international and domestic, and keeping my news junkiedom fixed with a constant umbilical cord connection to the media and blogosphere mother ships.
Another key reason I use the Blackberry (as is the case with millions of others, I'm sure) is because of its capabilities in keeping me connected to the office as well. Lotus Notes email and its calendar function on the Blackberry serve as my lifeline back to the office.
Could all of this change as we go back to the future, entering the realm of the Android Community, which posted some of the first fullscreen Android demos yesterday?
Hey, I'm not so brand loyal that I'm not opposed to the idea of being persuaded to make a change, especially for the right reason.
If you haven't yet heard of it, as described on the Google Android web site, Android is "a software stack for mobile devices that includes an operating system, middleware, and key applications."
In other words, it's the stuff that makes the Google version of a mobile phone work.
As expected, it has a lot of the basics one would expect from a mobile device these days but the recent demos featured one killer app that no self-respecting 40-something can really do without: a full-on functioning version of Pac-Man.
Yes, you, too, will be able to search for the ghosts of Blinky, Pinky, Inky, and Clyde on a Google mobile computing device screen playing near you.
No word yet on whether or not the Android version will allow Pac-Man gurus to reach the infamous "split-screen" level, (one which I never mastered personally), or whether or not the Android is well positioned to gobble up the iPhone anytime soon.
Stay tuned...and please insert another quarter to continue playing.
turbotodd 100000388Y Tags:  vacation reality holiday 2008 mobile_computing blackberry 4,568 Views
Welcome back to my reality.
No sooner had I fled to the wilds of Colorado so that I could strap two boards to my feet and fly down multiple mountains in the below-zero cold did I find myself saved by technology once again.
If you didn't hear, there was a very cold snap and blizzard-like conditions in the Vail-to-Denver corridor earlier this week, which ultimately led to the closing of two highways (40 and I-70) and to displacing over 2,000 people on the roads to Red Cross Shelters.
Fortunately, I had my trusty Crackberry Pearl on my person (which performed beautifully at minus 15 degrees Farenheit), by which I was able to receive timely road closing updates from my girlfriend, another good friend, and the Colorado Department of Transportation.
On the mountain itself, trusted information was at something of a deficit. Several people thought they heard that 40 was now opened on the eastbound lane, but 70 was still closed in both directions. Yadda yadda yadda.
I just needed to know whether or not my friend and I could get back to Denver via the two highways, plain and simple, and preferably we wanted to find out before we hit the roads.
With the help of my trusted information brokers (said girlfriend and friend and the CO DOT), we were able to get enough information via my mobile device that indicated that the roads were reopened (in the direction we needed them to be) and that we were safe to set out on our journey.
We arrived in Denver safe, sound and warm, and I was able to share a few pics and even provide some Twitter updates along the way (when the ATT Edge data network was available).
Now if they could only build some kind of skiing anti-collision avoidance system. : )
turbotodd 100000388Y Tags:  ebooks mobile_computing mobile_culture ketai_shousetsu 3 Comments 5,009 Views
I've been to Japan a few times now. My first trip was in the summer of 1998, and my second the spring of 2000 (just before the Internet bubble popped).
One of the things I noticed while traveling around on the subway in Tokyo was the ubiquity of mobile phones. This was long before the pervasiveness of the flip phone or Blackberry in the U.S.
Culturally, this seemed to make a lot of sense. You could see that the Japanese were an extremely mobile society, particularly with their excellent train systems.
And Internet landline connections were, at that time, still prohibitively expensive.
So most Japanese users' connections to the Internet were via mobile handsets.
Hence, I was not surprised at all to read Duncan Riley's post this morning about a story that appeared in the Sydney Morning Herald.
In it, the Herald's Justin Norrie explains that half of this year's top sellers for fiction this year in Japan had been composed on the tiny handset of a mobile phone (selling an average of 400K copies).
(Hmmm. Methinks the keyboard on my ThinkPad simply isn't small enough. That's why I can't write the great American novel!)
All texting aside, I wasn't surprised to learn about this.
If you've seen anyone under the age of 25 using a mobile device, you know that texting is second nature to them, especially in Japan where you've got a generation that has grown up with these devices.
Me, I just wonder what these newfound mobile phone authors are going to autograph at book signings.
Perhaps said digerati literati could give away a unique author's ringtone?