Travel much for business?
If so, a New York Times story published yesterday highlights how you're increasingly turning to blogs for up-to-date travel information, news, etc.
The story cites a Forrester Research study which indicated that 21 percent of business travelers who use the Internet read blogs: those about business travel as well as other topics (business, finance, sports, etc.)
It also highlights a recently launched travel blog portal entitled "BoardingArea.Com," which arrives to us via Randy Petersen, frequent flying guru and founder of FlyerTalk.
We'll now be seating first class passengers only -- would you like an RSS feed to make your journey a little more comfortable?
Meanwhile, back at the IBM terminal, the company announced yesterday that it will be bringing its POWER6 microprocessor-based technology to small and medium businesses, as well as delivering virtualization offerings designed to help customers consolidate their server capacity, save energy, and better manage their IT costs.
If you've not tuned into virtualization technologies, its essence is this: It lets you do more, with less, allowing multiple server functions to run on fewer servers.
The "PowerVM Express" offering supports virtualization solutions for a broad range of operating systems, including IBM's AIX, Linux, and i5/OS for System i customers.
It can also be combined with IBM's new System p and BladeCenter servers to create up to 160 virtual partitions in a single system, helping small(er) businesses get the most bang for their virtualized buck.
Apologies in advance, but you'll have to bring your own peanuts.
You can learn more about PowerVM here.
I'm still reeling from the Van Halen show I attended in Dallas this past weekend.
Yes, I'm dating myself, but so were all the other 40-something metal heads in attendance at Saturday's show at the American Airlines arena.
Oh thank Heavens, we didn't see any spandex. Some things deserve to stay firmly rooted in the 80s.
But not Van Halen. And hey, if you're not a fan, you wouldn't understand. I started listening to those guys when the middle of a song was interrupted by that switchover on the eight-track. If you're under 35, you probably have no idea whatsoever what I'm talking about -- consider yourself lucky.
If you are a fan, check out this dream set list. It was a Van Halen smorgasbord, the boys (including 16-year-old Wolfgang) were in fine form, and it was Eddie Van Halen's birthday, so David Lee Roth put on quite the spectacle and had 16,000 of his closest friends sing Eddie a happy 53rd.
Eddie Van Halen, 53 years old? Oy vey.
Anyhow, the way I see it, if those two can kiss and make up after all these years, I figure there's hope even for Hillobama after the recent nastiness in South Carolina.
But enough politics and rock n roll: Let's talk email.
Google's Matt Cutts offers up "11 Power Tips for Gmail" in this recent blog post, including some how-tos on inserting images into Gmail emails, and the use of text macros (so you don't have to type the same thing over and over again).
Me, I use Thunderbird, but if you're a browser-email practitioner, this could be your day.
If Gmail's too slow for your communication needs, and you need something a little quicker on the draw, Houston native Matt Mullenweg's Automatic has released a new microblogging tool, "Prologue."
The best I can tell, it's a Twitter for groups, complete with RSS feeds and tagging, and, most importantly, privacy controls, so you can keep your microblog group private, invisible to search engines, and even password protectable.
You can get the lowdown on Prologue here in Matt's introductory post, or check out the Prologue Demo blog.
No ETA for a prime time version, but in keeping with the spirit of VH, if it turns into a microblogging enabler of small workgroups that could serve as a mobile collaboration platform, everybody (will) want some.
What a week, huh?
Although I'm feeling much better about my world considering I didn't lose IBM $7.2B making fraudulent derivative trades.
No such luck for a 31-year-old trader at French bank Société Générale, who now is allegedly on the lam, and who overnight revamped former Barings trader Nick Leeson's career as a TV commentator.
It's been a busy news week in general, what with all the news and announcements from our friends coming out of Lotusphere down in Orlando, and the World Economic Forum in Davos.
Perhaps Merrill Lynch CEO John Thain said it best in Davos in this report from Bloomberg: "Fraud is the CEO's ultimate nightmare...You can have all the systems in the world, but you can't prevent fraud."
Maybe not, but many will be questioning how a 100,000 euros/year trader was able to let $7.2B slip through his bank's fingers.
While the executives were complaining about recession and fraud in Davos, Digg's CEO Jay Adelson was attempting to keep the crowd sourcing crowds from revolting on Digg.Com.
After Digg changed its news voting algorithm earlier this week, some top Diggers apparently held an emergency chat and podcast to discuss their response.
CEO Jay Adelson explained to Wired that "it wasn't a revolt," that it was a small group of users who "voice[d] their concerns."
Whether or not they storm the gates of Digg or not, it's pretty clear we've stepped from Web 2.0 into at least the Web 2.5 sphere:
"You can change my algorithm by prying that mouse out of my cold, dead fingers, mister!"
Mathew Ingram calls Digg a "social media Petri dish," and I would have to be inclined to agree with him.
I just hope that Kevin and Jay are wearing gloves and biohazard suits.
You never know what you might catch from the crowd.
Lotusphere continues to release a rolling drumbeat of announcements and news.
Yesterday, it was an early preview of IBM Lotus Mashups (did you ever think you'd see an official IBM product named "Mashup???"), which allows non-technical users to easily build enterprise mashups.
IBM Lotus Mashups includes several components, including a browser-based tool that helps provide easy assembly of new mashups; some out-of-the-box, business-ready widgets; a catalog for finding and sharing widgets and mashups; and a builder for widgets that can access enterprise systems.
IBM also announced a new version of its Lotus Connections software (v. 2.0), whcih includes a new homepage built atop the Lotus mashup technology, and which can aggregate and filter social data from all five of Lotus Connections' services.
Lotus also updated its community component in Lotus Connections, with planned enhancements that link discussion forums and leading wiki services from SocialText, Atlassian, and IBM Lotus Quickr.
Learn more about these new technologies here.
Wikis, widgets and mashups, oh my!
Technorati Tags: lotus, lotusphere2008, mashups, social computing
IBM announced this morning that it is acquiring AptSoft Corporation, a privately-held software company based in Burlington, Massachusetts.
AptSoft technology helps businesses uncover the cause-and-effect relationships between seemingly disparate business events that occur in milliseconds or throughout defined periods of time.
Business event processing software helps customers identify patterns and establish connections between events and then initiates a trigger when a trend emerges.
Event processing's role in business is becoming increasingly important to help companies proactively analyze and respond to minute market changes that can significant business impact. This allows companies to seize critical business opportunities or mitigate risks before they negatively affect their ability to compete.
AptSoft products will become part of the IBM Software Group WebSphere software brand.
You can learn more in the press release here.
Technorati Tags: acquisitions, business event processing, websphere, soa
Just in time for the subprime mortgage and real estate meltdown, there's a new real estate search engine called Roost to help you search those MLS listings in search of rock bottom housing deals.
TechCrunch provides a summary preview here, indicating that it was "inspired by the lean look and feel of travel search engine Kayak" (Blogger's note: I'm a big fan of Kayak) and negotiates Multiple Listing Services (MLSs) in key metro areas to get a comprehensive view into houses and related real estate available for sale.
I'm not in the market myself (although I did find my own residence online back in 2002 using Realtor.Com, which also provides MLS listings), but my drive-by of Roost would suggest once they get more metro areas included (only 14 were available on their home page map as of this morning) this could be a very handy tool.
But is it so compelling that it would steer home searchers away from existing real estate Web and search sites?
The left hand side of the search screen does provide quick-and-easy slider bars to slice and dice by neighborhood, school district, square feet, beds, baths...and beyond, and its performance seemed quick (important in my book when you're searching scores of MLS listings).
Roost's business model is to host a directory of real-estate broker sites, delivering traffic back to those sites based on a combination of natural results and paid search.
One click later and you land on the broker's listing. Redundant, perhaps, but at least a direct link to the people you need to talk to if you're interested in the property.
My Net: It's a basic, but useful blocking-and-tackling real estate search site in a down market.
Hope they got themselves a low interest adjustable rate mortgage to weather the economic storm.
Technorati Tags: real estate, web 2.0
There seems to be some disruptive forces at work in the universe this week.
The week began with downturns in markets across the far east, Russia, and Europe.
Rumors abound about Yahoo's coming layoffs (although Giga Om's Sramama Mitra explains in a lengthy post that Yahoo ought to be doing much better in capitalizing on all its diverse niche properties).
The Wall Street Journal informs us that Ebay Chief Executive Meg Whitman is allegedly about to ride off into the Internet auction sunset as she prepares to retire.
And as I write this post, the Dow Jones Industrial Average is down 352 points, in spite of an inter-meeting Federal Reserve rate cut of the federal-funds rate by three quarters of a percentage point to 3.5%, the biggest cut in interest rates since August 1982.
Calgon, take me away!
There is some good news on the horizon, particularly if you're a social networking fanatic.
Circa January 2008, I will absolutely admit to having a bit of social networking fatigue...me and my 456,000 other Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, and Orkut friends.
It's getting to the point that I need my own personal social network to keep up with my participation in all these social networks.
But I have to admit to being excited by the public, out-of-beta debut of Pownce, a social network that lets users send messages, files, links, and events to friends.
At first glance it appears to be a kind of Twitter-Meets-Gmail-Meets-Napster-Meets-StumbleUpon, and oh thank Heavens, it allows me to easily import all my friends from many of those other aforementioned social networks.
All 456,000 of them.
So, you can Pownce me at "turbotodd" (where else?), and you can get the full Pownce lowdown here from TechCrunch's Mike Arrington.
Technorati Tags: economy, pownce, social networking, stock market
For those interested in a more timely, on-the-ground view of the key announcements coming out of Lotusphere, check out Ed Brill's liveblogging of the main tent here.
So far, there's some doozies, including a new Lotus Notes 8.5 beta available only for the Mac (is it just me, or did IBM and Apple start getting a lot cozier over the past week? I'm not sure I remember a time when IBM announced anything for the Mac OS platform first!)
Anyhow, I'm a Machead, so me likey.
There's also apparently support coming for Google widgets in Notes 8.0.1....400K downloads of Lotus Symphony and counting, with a coming beta update in February that includes the full Lotus Expeditor environment and Symphony API (and also a coming Mac version of Symphony).
For you Linux Ubuntu fans, yes, there's plans to support Lotus Notes on Ubuntu.
Lotus Quick 8.1 ships in March....on and on and on.
Check it all out here on Ed's blog (thanks, Ed, for the liveblogging...hugely helpful for those of us chained to our desks).
Technorati Tags: collaboration, ed brill, lotusphere2008, productivity, announcements
Man oh man, what a couple of football games yesterday, eh?
First, while the Patriots/Chargers brawl was a little more docile and a little less of a nail biter than the Packers/Giants game, both were excellent championship series games and a great way to wrap up each of the AFC and NFC divisions.
And I give due credit to Fox Sports co-host Terry Bradshaw for being the only one on the pre-game show to go out on a limb and call it for New York. I just didn't see it coming.
Also, as my friend Ed said, that was real football weather (below zero being the qualifying line), with no dome overhead to protect the players from the snap, crackle, and pops of those bone-crunching hits.
I do believe we've now got ourselves a nice little intra-East coast rivalry Superbowl that...will be played in the desert sands of Arizona on February 3rd. Hey, sounds like a good enough reason to me to escape those arctic cold snaps.
Meanwhile, in the sunnier environs of Orlando, Florida, Lotusphere 2008 had its own kickoff over the weekend, and the news is already starting to break.
This morning, IBM announced the IBM Lotus Foundations line of small business software servers, installed on-premise and offered primarily through IBM Business Partners.
Geared to the needs of companies from 5 to 500 employees that want to spend more time on growing their business and less time on running their office systems, the Lotus Foundations family of servers includes a Domino mail and collaboration platform, file management, directory services, firewall, backup and recovery, and office productivity tools.
IBM also announced "Bluehouse," a set of extranet services that make it easy for small-and-medium sized companies to securely collaborate beyond their organizational boundaries without requiring any in-house technical expertise.
You can learn more about these new additions to the IBM Lotus family here.
Technorati Tags: collaboration, football, lotus, lotusphere2008, productivity, small business, smb
Steve Lohr's The New York Times Bits
blog leads his last post
posing the following question:
"IBM: A Separate Reality?"
The upside surprise being that IBM didn't seem to suffer fallout from the 4Q beating taken by financial services companies, which Lohr points out is IBM's "largest single customer category."
Instead, he observes that revenue from those customers rose 11 percent in 4Q.
He also points out that two-third of IBM's revenue now "comes from outside the United States," with emerging markets (including the BRIC countries) representing 22 percent of IBM's overall sales.
Like my broker always says, "Location, location, location...diversify, diversify, diversify."
To that end, IBM just announced some new services signings in several key markets, including an SOA/WebSphere deal with one of Indonesia's largest financial institutions, Bank Negara Indonesia, a new portfolio construction and risk management solution at Guotai Junan Securities in China to assist with security trading and fund management, and several others you can read about here.
Speaking of China, TechCrunch is reporting new statistics released by the Chinse government that show China will surpass the U.S. as the nation with the most Internet users in the coming months.
The Chinese government report is indicating that the total number of Internet users in China rose 53% to 210 million at the end of 2007, up from 137 million at the end of 2006, which leaves them just five million shy of passing the U.S.
Surf's up in China!