Todd "Turbo" Watson -- IBM Corporation
I couldn't let the afternoon continue any further without expressing my sympathies and solidarities with the students, family members, and citizens affected by the horrific shooting on the campus of Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, Virginia.
I have had the news on in the background and been absolutely horrified by the details that have been emerging from there.
Students, families and others can get direct communications from the university online via the Virginia Tech home page, where there is also a podcast statement from President Charles Steger.
turbotodd 100000388Y Tags:  ibm yahoo search omnifind information_on_demand 1 Comment 4,234 Views
Once upon a time, on an IBM white board and a napkin far, far away, three IBM colleagues sat around and posed the following question:
What if search were free?
Then, they made it so.
It's only been a few months since the IBM OmniFind Yahoo! Edition was made available, competing head-to-head with other search packages that cost a small fortune.
Since then, however, over 16,000 downloads have been recorded, and organizations of all shapes and sizes are using it to improve their own enterprise search experience. Early adopters have included manufacturers, consulting firms, state and local governments, school districts...the list goes on, and so do the free searches.
A new revision of the search tool to be announced later today will address the growing demand for local language support, including the addition of Brazilian Portuguese, Simplified Chinese, Traditional Chinese, French,German, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Spanish, Dutch, Hungarian, Polish,Portuguese and Swedish.
The new version will also help users more easily build new custom search applications or add customized content beyond Web pages and office documents, making it easier to integrate search results into the look and feel of existing applications or include content from a third-party content source.
You'll also be able to do advanced searches by using tagging and metadata to refine search results or create more targeted searches on top of initial search results.
Of course, we can't give everything away, so there's also an enterprise version available for larger organizations. You can learn more about that here.
There's one conference I've always wanted to attend, but at the recent price of $6,000 a pop I've not been able to.
However, now the "Technology, Entertainment, and Design" (better known as "TED") conference has gone full on digital, announcing a revamped Web site yesterday that now offers 100 of its 20-minute sessions.
If the BMW-sponsored "Ted Talks" from last year were any indication, this is some Prime Grade A content being offered up to the world gratis, ad-subsidized and now opening up content from this previously walled garden conference.
Muchos gracias, Ted...now build a full-fledged social network and bring what must be an enervating meatspace mingling experience to the Web and you'll be well on your way to the killer virtual conference app.
Speaking of great content, check out Conde Nast's new "Portfolio" business magazine in both bits and pulp.
I never considered myself much in the Conde Nast demo, but the online version of Portfolio is quite elegant, with plenty of white space and some compelling content in and of its own right (start with Matt Cooper's blog digestion of last week's news, "Imus Out").
One part Slate, one part Forbes, one part Huffington Post, the new pub makes its business rich info easy to consume, with obvious but appropriate sections like "Business Travel" and "Executives."
Feature/function-wise, out of the gate Portfolio has a portfolio of cost-of-entry features like "Email," "Print" "RSS subscriptions" and "Text size." However, I'm disappointed that their excellent roll-up of news from heavyhitters such as FT, Bloomberg, Economist, etc. is not provided via RSS. That's the kind of aggregation that can save me a lot of time and energy having to go out and hit the site.
But hey, it's a "beta," so there's plenty of room to grow. (And in the spirit of full disclosure, it seems IBM is buying some ads there...good for us!)[Read More]
Hey, what happened to Soledad O'Brien and Miles O'Brien??!! Bring them back!
I turn on the telly this morning, and there's Larry King live on "American Morning" interviewing Kiran Chetry and John Roberts!
I knew the cancellation of "Imus in the Morning" caused some disruption in the mass media marketplace, but c'mon, ya didn't have to bail on the O'Briens, now did ya?
Well, the ploy backfired in the Turbo household as I immediately showed "American Morning's" Nielsen representative out the back door.
Then, I dusted off my remote for the NBC channel to check out "The Today Show" after who knows how many weeks (months?? years??).
Looking real good in HD, Matt and Meredith, I must say...Long as you give me some real news between your cooking packages, ya'll will do just fine.
Meanwhile, the New York Times is reporting that Microsoft has called for government intervention in Google's announced acquisition of DoubleClick.
Turnabout is fair play, I guess.
GigaOM's Om Malik does a deeper dive on the merger in his interview with Organic CEO Mark Kingdon, highlighting the weekend flurry of Google news, including the partnership with Clear Channel Communications to sell radio ads.
This just in time for a possible private equity buyout of Clear Channel from Bain Capital and Thomas Lee Partners.
(Is it just me, or is it the M&A bankers and lawyers cleaning up with all this dealmaking??)
As Mr. Malik explains in his post, "If there was any need for proof that Google considers advertising its core competency, then last few days provide ample testimony to that fact...The DoubleClick acquisition showed that Google is willing to spend any amount of money to defend its advertising turf."
Boy howdy and then some.
I think it's probably a little too soon to tell if the free marketplace will be a winner or loser -- it could easily be argued that Google and DoubleClick businesses are sufficiently distinct enough not to merit warranted antitrust complaints.
Alas, logic has never stopped the inclination to drive antitrust suits, particularly by competitors and incumbents whose businesses could be negatively impacted by major mergers.
Me, I still maintain that consumer privacy is the big loser (Go head, hold a big "L" against your forehead) in the deal, and hope and pray that Google and DoubleClick can convince me over time that those concerns are unwarranted (in deeds, not words).[Read More]
What a way to end the week. Google is buying DoubleClick, says the New York Times, for $3.1B.
The press release from Google is here. (It includes a call taking place now that will be available for replay).
That's a pretty penny to pay for a company taken private in 2005 for $1.1B...then again, Google keeps DoubleClick out of Microsoft's hands. As an analyst in the Times' piece observes, "Keeping Microsoft away from DoubleClick is worth billions to Google."
Gonna be lots of blogosphere spin on this one over the weekend....
After sleeping on it overnight, and now having listened to the full conference call with the chief executives and leadership teams from both Google and DoubleClick, let me throw in my two clicks...er, cents.
Though some are saying that Google bought itself a Web 1.0 company (with cash, mind you..."Hey Sergey, it's Eric! Could you run into the Google vault and grab a few pallets of gold so we can pay for these DoubleClick guys, please?! Thank you!!"), what they fail to follow up with is that we're now living in a Web 2.0 world in which massive amounts of advertising dollars are fleeing the old world and sailing off in search of the new.
The new world promises even more gold on that great shiny adserving city on the hill, including mounds filled with data and the ability to integrate, which in turn provides more accountability to advertisers and publishers.
To do all that, search and display advertising must become more synergistic, and what better way than for the world's largest search advertiser to hitch its boat to the world's largest online display advertiser?
According to the press release announcing the intended acquisition, the primary beneficiaries were three-fold:
All that is basically difficult to argue with. The idea of having more accountability and more synergy is a positive. It brings efficiencies to advertisers and publishers alike, and can help provide consumers with a better advertising experience.
As to the observations about this deal being a "brazen attempt to take away Microsoft's future air supply" for its software-as-service model, there are other plenty other adserving vendors on the seas separating the old world and new, just none the size of DoubleClick.
No, I believe the big elephant swimming just offshore in this deal is consumer privacy.
As much as Sergey Brin attempted to play offense on the privacy question during the teleconference, we are about to find ourselves with two companies bringing lots of personal data (via cookies, existing ad profiles, search data, etc.) together in a thick soup of admittedly very powerful new world marketing mix.
Back in 1999, DoubleClick was taken to task (and ironically probably made this deal much cheaper than it would have been due to the pounding its stock took in the process) in the privacy spotlight for something it never even actually did (merging its Abacus offline sales data with online profiles of its adserving adherents).
This time around, the potential for misuse and abuse is much greater -- merging very personal search profiles which are probably already too invasive with those of the users' extensive clickstream across the Web -- than it was back in 1999 -- there is much decreased transactional friction with most of the data now being online, requiring much less calories for a massive merge and purge.
And yet hardly anyone has mentioned the word.
True, it is a vastly different world we live in than 1999, and folks are much more freewheeling with their personal information, particularly the younger set.
And yet we're also finding that there are prices to be paid for such frivolity with one's digital image, reputation, and personal information -- employers conducting online digital dossiers of new hires, scanning everything from Facebook profiles to newsgroup postings before making hiring decisions.
As a recent New York magazine article about young people and privacy observed:
"Every street in New York has a surveillance camera. Each time you swipe your debit card at Duane Reade or use your MetroCard, that transaction is tracked. Your employer owns your e-mails. The NSA owns your phone calls. Your life is being lived in public whether you choose to acknowledge it or not."
So sure, why not throw in their merged Google and DoubleClick clickstreams while they're at it? Who needs thoughtcrime when you've got a perpetual clickstream?
Then again, Julia and Winston got over it all...after a little convincing...eventually, I suspect, so will we.[Read More]
"We probably could have saved ourselves, but we were too damned lazy to try very hard … and too damn cheap." -- Kurt Vonnegut
That's what celebrated novelist suggested we carve into the Grand Canyon so that the creatures in flying saucers could get a quick tombstone read on what happened to Planet Earth should they happen to do a cosmic fly by.
Instead, we went and built a horseshoe skywalk version of "It's a Small World" (which, with all due deference to Disney, would have be coined "It's a Large Canyon") that gives us earthlings our own bird's eye view of one of the seven natural wonders of the world.
Vonnegut would have appreciated the irony. Unfortunately, he passed away overnight at the age of 84.
The New York Times has a worthy obituary.
Me, I'm just saddened by the news.
I can laugh, though, when I think back to Rodney Dangerfield's character Thornton Melon from the movie Back to School in which Dangerfield's character hires Vonnegut himself (who had a cameo in the movie) to write a paper on the topic of the novels of Kurt Vonnegut.
Professor Turner exclaims: "Whoever did write this doesn't know the first thing about Kurt Vonnegut."
And neither did most of the rest of us.
Vonnegut's alter ego and oft recycled main character, Kilgore Trout, did know a little something about Vonnegut.
So it is with no small irony, at least from my perspective that Kilgore also died at the age of 84 in Vonnegut's last novel, Timequake.
With Kurt Vonnegut, what was fact was fiction...or a reasonable facsimile thereof.
In looking so closely at humanity through his novels and other writings, he made us cry so hard we just had to laugh.
Kurt/Kilgore, see you at the horseshoe.[Read More]
Read/WriteWeb's Alex Iskold has a brilliant (as in Monty Python Guinness commercials "Brilliant!") on how Google is "the ultimate money making machine" in the context of Economics 101. Well, yeah.
It's complete with show and tell and pretty econonomicsish charts. (Sorry, you'll have to bring your own copy of Capitalism and Freedom.)
It's brilliant in its simplistic explanation and illustration of the unique characteristics and supply/demand intersection and frictionlessness of these here Internets, all in the context of how Google is taking advantage of all of the above for its 24 hour GoogleMint money printing press.
Meanwhile, if you'll hold please, I'll transfer your your call using Skype's new 2.6 for Mac Beta.
Yes, the Mac is no longer sitting in Skype's beta backseat, having the unique distinction of being the first Skype release to offer warm transfers from one Skyper to another. Speaking of which:
"Could you hold forever, please, while I transfer you to the office of the newly-replaced CEO of Vonage's office?"
Yes, I, along with a few million of my closest Vonage-using friends awoke today to find that Vonage CEO Michael Snyder has resigned from the "struggling Internet-telephone company."
I just wonder whether he's whistling that infernally memorable Vonage theme song as he dances out of the building.
Woo woo, woo woo woo!
This has got to be the bestest, shortest day of the rest of his working life.
Me, I'm not giving up on Vonage. I'll be "Woo hooing" to the very bitter end. You'll have to pry my Vonage calls out of my cold, dead...Internet telephony dial tone.
However, I did hedge with a trip to Office Depot yesterday afternoon to buy myself a Logitech Skype phone, and also bought myself a SkypeIn number (512-380-1080) just in case.
Feel free to call and leave me a message with your own "American Idol" interpretation of the Vonage theme song on my Skype Voicemail.
Now, if I could just get my Skype to work when calling into those 800 numbers.
Maybe it's a conspiracy to keep me from getting any work done?
Woo woo, woo woo woo![Read More]
System i announced some new SMB capabilities yesterday for you small and medium bidness proprietors out there.
(System i is the server formerly known as "AS/400"...I know, I have to do that translation in my head every time someone says "System [insert letter here] and it gets to be a real pain, but what are ya gonna do?)
These are intended to be "all in one" systems that businesses can leverage on a per-user basis, allowing your IT resources to grow with your business.
Pay as you grow, as it were. The System i Express solution was designed for 5 to 40 users and features IBM's POWER5+ processor.
We've found that the typical small business has, on average, seven servers deployed on site. This ends up driving the TCO way up, what with all those people and management costs keeping the servers up and running, the security patches installed, etc.
The System i Express solution features built-in workload manager that allows you to run multiple applications independently on one system, instead of deploying a new server every time you need another application (which is what you would typically do in a Windows-based environment).
Or in other words, add computing capacity without adding floor space.
You can learn more about the new bundle here.
If you're interested in getting a quote for your particular environment, click on that little "Request a quote" button at the top of the page. (And if, for whatever reason, you DON'T get a response within two days, as we promise, I personally want to hear from you.)[Read More]
MySpace exerted its alpha social network dominance overnight when it began blocking all Photobucket users from posting their videos to their MySpace pages.
As Mike Arrington reported on TechCrunch, "This is a major blackout, affecting millions of embedded videos." And yet, interestingly, videos from other competitors like YouTube "are still working fine."
Photobucket has become a massive create hub for building and sharing photos, graphics, slideshows, and videos to Web sites everywhere (they recently added a "Video Uploader" capability that allows users to submit video via their Webcam...scary, I know...that video you make for Grandma will never be the same).
A lot of folks aren't very happy about this situation, but Robert Scoble observes that you essentially get what you pay for when you use a free hosted service like MySpace. You sign up for the Ts and Cs, they can block services such as videos from Photobucket. Scoble suggests this will "chill investment in parasitic services for MySpace."
Although from a PR perspective, one ponders whether MySpace might have given its millions of users (many many many of whom are Photobucket users) some advance notice (I didn't get an email) about the block.
No use sending the MySpace Photobucket video natives off into the cyber jungle in a complete tizzy.
"Get your camcorders fired up, folks, we're going shootin'!"
As the MySpace "About Us" page indicates, you can "...create a private community on MySpace and you can share photos, journals, and interests with your growing network of mutual friends!"
But please, no videos....at least, none from Photobucket.[Read More]
iProspect recently partnered with JupiterResearch to understand how the U.S. online population is using social networking sites and search engines.
I'll spare you the details about the research methodology (but suggest to you, as with any research, you should always take into account how a survey was conducted as you interpret the results), which you can read about here.
Meanwhile, the social survey SAYS (with liberal interpretation on my part):
Social networking is important enough to pay attention to.
You don't control your brand anymore, but you can certainly participate in its influence in the market conversation.
Staying relevant means staying prominent means staying relevant: If they're not talking about your brand, it probably needs an oxygen boost...lest it start sucking down major doses of carbon dioxide.
Monitor the socialsphere for what they're saying about you -- it's real-time market intelligence.
Be thoughtful about how you leverage the socialsphere, and don't be afraid of criticism. Tough customer love can, and sometimes should, hurt. But it's all about getting better all the time.