Todd "Turbo" Watson -- IBM Corporation
Thank Heavens for small favors, the Austin ice has melted away just in time for the wicked good football that's gonna be on this weekend, all weekend long.
The Saints go marching into frickin' cold Chicago to take on Da Bears on their home frozen turf, while the Patriots travel to Indianapolis for the Manning/Brady showdown.
Meanwhile, across the pond, the British Premier League sees two classic matchups: League-leading Manchester United (57 pts) pays a visit to Arsenal (42 pts) to avenge their 1-0 defeat to the Gunners earlier this season at Old Trafford, while Chelsea (51 pts) pays a visit to Liverpool (43 pts).
Will MU striker Wayne Rooney break out of his goalscoring glut? Will Manning lead the Colts to Miami and take his first trip to the Super Bowl?
Only time and lots of body blows and dented shins will tell...but yours truly is destined not to leave his flat for the duration, stuck in front of the Sony Wega 55 watching one shape football after another.
And if you happen to be stuck immobile in front of the telly like I'll be, you'll be glad to know shortly you'll be able to buy Microsoft's new Vista operating system and have it downloaded via the Internet starting January 30.
While I doubt you'll be able to get that with pepperonis, extra sauce, or Parmesan cheese, being able to download the full OS is a first for Microsoft.
Too bad it won't be ready in time for the NFC/AFC championship weekend...it'll likely take that long to download Vista. Personal foul, fifteen yards!
And speaking of slow delivery, if you use a Web-based RSS feedreader, Hitwise just issued the latest score on who's leading the RSS delivery pack via your browser.
Bloglines outpaces the rest of the pack 3 to 1, and while Google Reader has grown respectably, it still has only 1/13 the market share of Bloglines, proving once again that Google can't own every Web 2.0 market segment...just most of them!
Me, I'll continue to live with my FeedDemon (which includes happenin' features like integrated Digging, YouTube Video Search, highlighted keywords...I can't help it, it's RSS subscription featuritis, bay-bay!)
Are you ready for some football!!!???
Reuters is reporting this morning that the number of people reading Internet blogs on the top 10 U.S. newspaper sites more than tripled in December for a year ago, and that they accounted for a larger percentage of overall traffic to those sites.
Specifically, they cite that unique visitors to blogs sites affiliated with the largest Internet newspapers rose to 3.8M from 1.2 the year before, according to Nielsen/NetRating stats.
Surprise surprise, I'm not real surprised by this news, and I think it's quite indicative of the acceptance of "socialization" that we're seeing across the media landscape. Or would that be "Diggification?"
In any case, I love going to the NYTimes site and seeing the most emailed, blogged and searched sites. At the end of the day, that's just one more view into the news landscape. Doesn't mean I don't still value the editorial judgment of the NY Times' editors. But, it's interesting to me to see what other readers are interested in.
And if they can make mo' money off that, more power to them.
Meanwhile, on the IBM front...
I've never been to Lotusphere. I'm not going to Lotusphere this year. I may never go to Lotusphere.
But 5,000 of our closest IBM and Lotus friends and colleagues WILL be making the trek to Orlando next week. And you can count on coverage from a number of bloggers,
In particular, I would recommend you keep an eye next week on the Domino Blog, Ed Brill's blog, and Alan Lepofsky's blog.[Read More]
Looking out at my Austin icicles today, it struck me that this two-and-a-half-day ice storm must have had a relatively significant negative economic impact on the Austin economy. So I was curious if there's anything a business can do to hedge against such weather.
Somebody at CNBC apparently was thinking the same when they ran a feature on WeatherBill.com
WeatherBill bills itself as a company that sells "weather contracts" to eligible buyers. WeatherBill contracts "can be used to protect [your] business from adverse weather conditions" by "paying you when those adverse conditions occur."
It's kind of like betting on the weather. Apparently, rolling the dice on weathers contracts is legal in these United States, unlike Internet gambling, which is not legal.
Croupier, I'll take $50 at 4-1 odds on that tornado missing the trailer park down the street!
Technorati Tags: weatherbill weather hedging
If you haven't gotten your new Second Life avatar all spiffied up yet with some new digital threads, you got "noob" written all over you.
Whatever you do, don't go to virtual Amsterdam.
You know that saying about if you don't know who the sucker in the room is it's probably you? That would be you the virtual Second Life noob in virtual Amsterdam.
Make sure you order mayonnaise with those virtual fries. You can not stand out at least that much.
No, you gotta get yourself at least a little 2L haute couture going on. And forget about all those virtual world naysayers. They haven't even found their way to the orientation trail yet.
Me, I'm still on the look out for a good digital felt Stetson hat, in case anybody knows of a Second Life western wear store.
Although with a couple of inches of ice on the ground, Interstate 10 shut down from San Antonio to Fort Stockton, Texas, and not having left my house in three days with a temperature in the high 20s, it's not exactly feeling like the wild southern frontier down here at the moment here in real world Austin.
What happened to global warming?
So, with the Big 2007 chill on, I wander aimlessly through Second Life, clueless as most of the rest of the noobs, trying to navigate my way to Virtual Sears (maybe I could just get a catalog???)
Although...drum roll, please....I did finally figure out how to sit down inside Second Life.
And a darned good thing, too...I'd been standing for several months and my legs were about to give out.
I'm just not sure what it says when it took me longer to learn how to sit down in the virtual world than it did in the real world.
Of course, I never got out of the first level of Myst, either, and didn't figure out the knave stole the tarts in "Alice in Wonderland" until the final dress rehearsal, and I was playing the White Rabbit.
So I'm a little slow. Shoot me.
Despite being one of the distributors of several original virtual worlds, mostly desktop bound, Electronic Arts is ready to pounce on the virtual worlds frenzy with "Sims Life Stories," a spin-off of "The Sims" (which, in case you have been hiding out in cyberspace somewhere, has sold more than 70M units).
So what's the story? Exactly.
Previously, The Sims had no real narrative structure, there was no storyline. It was a completely nonlinear experience. Kind of like this blog.
Now, The Sims virtual lives are gonna get a life and be broken out into 12-chapter story mode.
"I'll take 'Virtual Nervous Breakdowns on Wisteria Lane' for $500, Alex."
Have laptop, the new Sims will travel, no special graphics card required...unlike previous versions. This, too, is expected to go over well with the college digerati set.
Licentious romance, technological savvy, quick upward mobility...it all has the makings of an animated Hollywood virtual reality show movie...or something.
Can somebody please get Mark Burnett's agent on the phone??
Me, I'm holding out for "Sims Castaway Stories," due out in Winter 2008, which apparently takes a few pages from "Lost" and "Survivor."
Hey, as long as I can talk to Wilson the volleyball, life is good.
Remember Wilson from "Castaway," the movie starring Tom Hanks way back in the year 2000?
I know, I know, it was a long time ago, but just close your eyes and hearken back to that island out in the middle of nowhere, and you'll remember Wilson and Hanks' lengthy conversations.
Hanks did most of the talking.
Well, if you really think about it, virtual worlds are a lot like Wilson the volleyball.
Why would you want to befriend an inanimate object such as a virtual world or volleyball?
Well, an extreme lack of social contact, for one. To cope with extreme stress and separation from society, for another.
All this according to the extremely detailed and most thoughtful Wikipedia entry on Wilson the Volleyball.
You just go ahead and click on that link if you even think I'm kidding there's an entry on Wikipedia for Wilson the Volleyball, a non-talking inanimate character in a movie from 5 years ago and which helped Tom Hanks get an Oscar nomination for Best Actor.
So, all I'm saying is, we just have to find Wilson a good Stetson hat, too....it's awful bright out there on that island.
And to think, it all began with Hanks' character jokingly asking Wilson: "You wouldn't happen to have a match, would you?"
No? Too bad. I could sure use a fire about now.
Technorati Tags: second_life[Read More]
turbotodd 100000388Y Tags:  apple golden_globes digitollywood entertainment 2 Comments 4,086 Views
How about those Golden Globe awards?
I'd like to thank the Hollywood Foreign Press Association for honoring Texas-native Forest Whitaker for "Best Actor in a Motion Picture, Drama," for his performance in "The Last King of Scotland." Very cool.
I haven't seen that flick yet (it's on my increasingly long "movies to see" list) but I've been admiring Whitarker's work for years, most recently in "The Shield" and "E.R." and he's just a wicked good actor.
As to Tom Hanks' paen to the oeuvre and career of Warren Beatty, Hanks was only outclassed by Beatty's charming acceptance speech.
That's why he's Warren Beatty and you're not.
Speaking of Hollywood, I've been watching those recent Blockbuster commercials -- you know, the ones where Blockbuster goes out of its way to explain that the difference between them and Netflix is that with Blockbuster you can go pick up a movie that evening down the street at their store -- and wondered what Netflix's counterpunch would be to take the lead in creating the new "Digitollywood."
Having just ordered the new Apple TV, I have a vested interest in the outcome. I'm all about watching movies on demand via my computer or TV, although I would prefer to watch them on the big screen.
Yet, to date, no one's delivered a very compelling experience for such a service. As much as I love my Time-Warner movies-on-demand feature, its movie library is about as large as my personal movie DVD collection.
Which is to say, there's not much "there," there.
According to a report in the New York Times, Netflix is introducing a service today to put more there by delivering movies and TV shows directly to users' PCs, not as downloads but as streaming video.
Their initial catalog is expected to be about 1,000 movies and TV shows, which, as the Times piece points out, is a "tiny fraction of the more than 70,000 titles that Netflix offers for rent." And the service is expected to be a free feature as part of a Netflix subscription.
Meanwhile, while all the players that could lead us to on demand Internet movie salvation pause infinitely before the widening download chasm, the Wall Street Journal tells us (reg required) that many workplaces have had exactly the opposite problem of instant video access -- too many employees are watching too many videos wasting too much time -- helping boost the sales of Web filtering software that prevents access to social network and video sharing sites (namely YouTube) at work.
Bad employee, watching that "I Keep My Box in a Box For You" Saturday Night Live rip off over and over and over and over again.
Me, I'll stick with Frank the Skateboarding Bulldog.
That vert was old school, Frank! Bust that grind!
Perhaps our online video entertainment salvation will come from the founders of Skype?
Their new venture, apparently beta-named "Joost" (not to be confused with that most excellent stand-up video game vintage 1982, Joust) is intended to distribute high-quality video over the Internet and will leverage the peer-to-peer technology that brought us Skype and Kazaa.
No intellectual property protection required?
You can Digg it here.[Read More]
Wow. Soccer moms everywhere, beware!
Former England football captain David Beckham is coming over to play in les ces Etats-Unis!
Apparently, the European star decided to leave Real Madrid and set out for these U.S. shores to play some good ol' American football...err, soccer...with the Los Angeles Galaxy.
I don't even want to speculate what the Galaxy are paying him!
But Madrid's loss is most assuredly our gain.
For American soccer fans, this is the equivalent of someone like Michael Jordan suddenly up and defecting from the Chicago Bulls to a basketball club somewhere in Western Europe in his slam-dunking prime.
It could go a long way towards revitalizing American soccer...err, football...and breathe some much-needed life back into soccer as a professional sport here in the U.S.
And Posh Spice will most assuredly fit comfortably into the LA scene.
Meanwhile, eBay continues on its acquisition spree with the purchase of StubHub, an online site for reselling tickets to events, and Cisco has crashed Apple's iPhone lovefest by filing a trademark infringement suit against Jobs et al in an attempt to protect Cisco's iPhone trademark.
Apple Phone, anybody?[Read More]
Being the technogeek that I am, I have a WinTV card hooked into my now-ancient (circa 2001) IBM NetVista PC, which is also hooked up to this newfangled Google Cube USB radio device I got as a tchotchke at a recent Google-in-a-Box seminar here in Austin.
I use the NetVista as a glorified computer-ish TV set so that I can monitor breaking news from CNBC (have I ever mentioned I'm also a newsgeek?)
I bring all this up because this week I've been closely monitoring both CNBC and CNN this week to get a read on their breaking CES and Macworld coverage.
However, every time I start to see the beginning of a report from the floor of CES, the reporter is mid-sentence interviewing or doing a standup when the signal is interrupted and they go off the air, forcing the anchors to scramble and try to recover and pick up the ball.
When it happened once, I figured it was a simple technical glitch.
However, now that it's happened several times and on more than one network, I'm starting to come to the conclusion that it's a curse.
Does the grand irony of this strike anyone other than me?
Here we are, at one of the world's most high-tech consumer electronics pavillions, in the midst of a massive convergence between the computer, the TV, and the Internets, and the cable TV companies can't get their broadcast signal out of the building.
Is someone trying to send them a message??? Maybe they should consider sending smoke signals???!
The explanations I've witnessed thus far have been that the overwhelming wi-fi signals coming off the floor of the convention center are somehow interfering with (overpowering?) the broadcast signals from the cable news channels.
Thank heavens the blogs are still getting through. See below in another post for some that I've been following this week...meanwhile, if you still like to watch the telly, please pray for the enhanced integrity of the major cable networks' broadcast signals.[Read More]
It's pretty clear judging from all the coverage coming out of MacWorld yesterday that the new Apple iPhone is going to save the planet...or darn close.
I'm as big an Apple fan as the next guy (I'm blogging on a first gen MacBook), and after watching Jobs' keynote replay earlier today and watching some liveblogging on Macrumors, the new iPhone is definitely wicked cool (especially the patented "Multitouch" capability).
However, being a longtime early adopter who has been burned on any number of first gen devices, I believe I will safely wait in the wings chatting on my Motorola Razr and let the more eager early adopters dive head first into Apple's newly chartered waters.[Read More]
I was still trying to put Tony Romo's dropped hold for the field goal that would have taken the Dallas Cowboys forward from NFL Wild Card Saturday's playoff round, when I awoke today to find that the only dead birds coming out of this weekend could be found here in downtown Austin.
The Austin-American Statesman blog led with this story about the city closing Cesar Chavez to 11th Street overnight (and, apparently, now on up to the Texas Capitol) because of a dozen dead birds having been found in the downtown Austin area.
I tell ya, it's a little freaky to wake up and see pictures of very serious people driving golf carts dressed in full hazmat suits down Congress Avenue in downtown Austin, especially before one has had their proper morning coffee and only a day after seeing Clive Owen's excellent but depressing, anarchy-laden futuristic thriller, "Children of Men."
Alas, the birds' timing couldn't be more suspect. Tomorrow was set to start the next every-other-year session of the Texas Legislature. Could this be some form of dramatic ornithological protest??
Further west, what happens in Vegas is clearly not staying in Vegas, as the massive and massively hyped International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) kicks into full gear today (pun intended).
It seems that every news outlet and blog known to man has armies of pundits and reporters on the ground highlighting the details of the latest 100 gazillion inch HD screen and newfangled MP3/phone/mini portable computer/toothbrush/electric razor device. I'll take three, thank you.
To get the Big Blue play-by-play out at CES, check out our speaker panel here.
Meanwhile, I'm standing by not holding my breath, but always curious to see, whaznew with Apple out at Macworld Expo, which gets rolling tomorrow out in San Francisco.
Which, in Silicon Valley buzz code means, Steve's gonna be making a really special announcement tomorrow. Or, he just has really cool and supportive friends who are always there for him.Read More]
I have just returned -- mostly in one piece -- from my white-less Christmas and a celebratory Feliz Ano Nuevo in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico (about 12 hours by bus from Nuevo Laredo on the Texas/Mexico border), where I spent some quality -- and mostly -- unconnected time.
The last and only other time I visited San Miguel was back in December 1993.
As I walked the streets of historical San Miguel, unleashed from my digital umbilical cord, I had some time to reflect on how much had happened and changed over the past 13 years, and also to remember what a landmark year 1993 was for technology and the world.
To put it in a little perspective, 1993 was the year that CERN announced that the World Wide Web (WWW) would be freely available to anyone, with no fees due for access.
It was the same year that Marc Andreessen and his team helped put a face on the the formerly text-intensive WWW, via the release of the Mosaic web browser from the National Center for Supercomputing Applications.
For my money, 1993 was the year that the Internet really began to seep into our collective conscience. With tools like gopher, FTP, telnet, and with a flashbang, the WWW beginning to unleash on the world the power of information interconnectedness in a way previously unknown to humanity.
1993 also saw the dissolution of Czechoslovakia in the so-called "Velvet Divorce."
George H.W. Bush and Boris Yeltsin signed the second Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty in early 1993.
Former president Bill Clinton took office in 1993.
In January 1993, IBM announced a $4.97 billion loss for 1992, the largest single-year loss in American corporate history.
In March 1993, the first edition of Wired Magazine was published.
The same month, the term "spamming" came into being after a bug in a software program inadvertently sent an article to 200 Usenet newsgroups (remember those???).
The Dallas Cowboys beat the Buffalo Bills in Super Bowl XXVII that year, 52-17, making the Bills the first team ever to lose 3 consecutive Super Bowls.
A lot happened in 1993, across the board.
But I will always remember it as the year I discovered San Miguel...and the Internet.[Read More]