Well, my hats are off to the Italians, and my condolences go out to the French. It was a well fought battle, and despite Zidane's headbutting incident in overtime, I was pretty much on pins and needles the entire World Cup finals match.
To be sure, I watched a lot of football the last four weeks. If there's one thing I learned about watching soccer matches on my Time Warner digital video recorder, it's that you must always record at least the next 2 or 3 scheduled shows after the one you're watching if you want to be sure and catch two overtimes and a penalty kick-off. On more than one occasion during this year's tournament, I missed the endings of games that went into overtime because the Time Warner time slot expired before the game was over. Doh!
A remedy for those World Cup football die-hards going into withdrawal...know that you can reminisce via video highlights here on the FIFA site. FIFA and Yahoo did a nice job of providing 2-3 minute highlight reels of most every game where you can relive the best and the worst moments of the 2006 tournament. Now if they could just build in a "Groundhog Day" feature.
Speaking of creatures in the animal kingdom, and entirely away from the soccer pitch, our own Lotus guru Ed Brill tells us that Lotus Notes is donning a black and white penguin suit. Cel-e-brate good times, c'mon!
Lotus Notes on Linux 7.0.1, which was built based on the Eclipse open-source framework, will soon provide IBM customers around the globe a Notes client running on Linux.
The new version will be available on July 24, and will no longer require IBM Workplace but rather be a stand-alone Lotus Notes on Linux client.
Judging from the comments thus far on Ed's blog, customers are receiving the Notes/Penguin marriage with great enthusiasm. And, they also seem to be pleased with our delivering this -- as well as other -- code on or ahead of schedule.
Ben Langhinrichs wrote that "It is amazing to see how IBM manages to keep releasing software ahead of schedule while some other companies can't seem to ever release it on time (and sometimes can't seem to release it even late). IBM has come a long way since the days when it routinely announced vaporware, and has earned a lot of healthy respect for its ability to release regularly and promptly. Well done!"
Ben, please know that our developers are treated humanely and are allowed out for exercise every few days.
Another blog commenter, Paul Mooney, indicated that "This is fantastic news...and really starts to push the argument for Linux desktops. Brilliant!"
Lotus Notes on Linux stirring up a march of the corporate penguins?!? Say it ain't so, Batman!...Be sure and stay tuned to the Ubuntu desktop for the latest release nearest you![Read More]
I've been in World Cup hibernation mode these last few days, watching France's Zinedine Zidane zig and zag around Brazil, Portugal, and anybody else who gets in his way.
Mon Dieu, the man has a look of absolute determination in those fierce eyes, and considering he's retiring from both club and Cup after this world championship...c'est finis...I can't say as I blame him. Though his penalty kick against Portugal yesterday was mildly amusing (sorry, Portugal), his sweet cross to Thierry Henry in the quarter finals against Brazil was pure soccer...err, football...poetry in motion.
Will there be more poetry against Italy in the final match on Sunday (where tickets can be found from a London ticket broker for a mere $7,400 U.S., according to the Wall Street Journal [registration and a rather large cheque required])? While I'd love to hop across the pond and revel in the streets of Berlin to see for myself, I think I'll stick with the ABC/ESPN HD coverage, despite the red card their announcers have been garnering.
Hey, I told you in a previous posting we in the U.S. don't get soccer...err, football.
Although I am glad to announce that a reported 10 million people here in the U.S. watched Italy's drubbing of the U.S. -- 10 million viewers is much, much better than a goalpost falling on an empty pitch.
Back on the Open Standards Range
Meanwhile, back on the open standards range, IBM's own Bob Sutor blogs a seemingly scored goal for the OpenDocument Format (ODF) movement. In an apparent second-half substitution, Microsoft has announced a plan to expand document interoperability with the creation of the Open XML Translator project, an effort intended to "build a technical bridge between the Microsoft Office Open XML Formats and the OpenDocument Format."
Coach Sutor, in a post-game interview, indicated that while this is a positive step in the right direction, he notes that "Open XML formats are unique in their compatibility and fidelity to billions of Office documents" and that there are "virtually no documents in existence that use the Open XML formats; any existing binary Office documents will have to be translated to it, warts and all."
Translation: Sure, you can use Open XML, and be sure to throw in some serious bonuses and a pizza party while your IT staff coverts all those gazillion Office documents into the Open XML format. Can you spell "office productivity"?
I'm Ready for My Close-up, Mr. Demille
And finally, speaking of warts, the rapid rise and fall of renowned video blog "Rocketboom" is currently all the rage in the blogosphere. Though I have no clue why all those bloggers aren't doing something much more interesting -- like watching the World Cup, for example -- it appears that Rocketboom's Amanda Congdon has launched her own rendition of a virtual cyber soap opera with her decision to jump rocket ship.
BusinessWeek has all the skinny in an article titled "Splitsville at Rocketboom." But the net seems to be that Amanda wants to leave behind her guerilla video roots to move to Los Angeles to become a serious actress, and this despite a loyal audience of 250,000 viewers per day and an estimated cash till of $40K per week in advertising revenue.
Good luck in those cattle call auditions, Amanda. And be sure to let Mr. DeMille know you're ready for that close-up.[Read More]
My fellow blogger, Lotus Notes and Domino guru Alan Lepofsky (we're not worthy!), just released some killer IP via his even more killer blog. If you're a Notes user of any variety, I think you'll find his tips and tricks to be extremely helpful.
Called simply the "Lotus Notes Tips Presentation"-- aka, "I didn't know Notes could do that!" -- the presentation is a simple-to-consume presentation that, in screen show mode, links you directly to the featured Notes/Domino tips on Alan's blog (I don't follow instructions very well -- I know, I know, difficult to believe -- so the show-n-tell like overviews Alan provides are most useful.)
For those of you who like Cliff Notes, you'll love this presentation -- in about two seconds, you'll be able to judge whether or not it's a tip you can use...and if not, simply hit page down and keep on truckin'.
Just the way I like to learn in this ADD world of ours...Thanks, Alan...really great stuff.
Meanwhile, if you didn't see the hullaballoo around our Lotus Sametime 7.5 announcements yesterday, following are some details on some of the key headlines featured in the press release.
In order of the Turbo excitement meter:
1) Multiple person VOIP -- The next best thing to being there is...well...being there with 5 of your closest colleagues...without having to look up a bunch of phone numbers.
2) Mobile support for the RIM Blackberry, Nokia, and Windows Mobile Devices -- instant messaging anywhere and everywhere, bay-bey. Hey, no driving and Sametiming! You might run into a cute little emoticon on the side of the Information Superhighway!
3) Location-based Awareness: Sir, we know where you are. Now put down the Blackberry. We're just gonna take a look at those poor blistered thumbs of yours.
4) Integration with Microsoft Office, Outlook, and Sharepoint. Same Microsoft products, new and improved integrated conferencing and collaboration with Lotus Sametime 7.5
5) Open Programming Model via Eclipse -- If you're a Business Partner or developer, get ready to be able to build mashups and new applications on the fly (Think Google Maps integration with your location-based awareness capability, and suddenly you can build a mashup that indicates all your salespeople are actually focus group testing a new Pina Colada mix at the very chic Hard Rock Hotel pool in Las Vegas instead of attending that sales conference in Des Moines. Can you say busted by the mashup?)
This announcement, I know of which I type. Many of we IBMers live on instant messaging these days, as we are a very distributed workforce and Sametime is the only way to track down a fellow IBMer in real-time. The integrated telephony and real-time meeting capabilities have already begun to meet some key needs inside these Big Blue Walls, so I suspect our customers and partners are going to be digging the new release.
But seriously, no Sametiming and driving. Those cute little emoticons never hurt a thing.
Much of what I think about and write about on this blog...nay, the essence of my very digital existence, and of Internet commerce, communication, and collaboration everywhere...is predicated on that most basic of prerequisites: a viable and working Internet.
But what would happen if there were to be a catastrophic cyber disruption?
That was the very question recently posed and explored by the Business Roundtable (of which IBM is a participating member).
In a report entitled "Essential Steps Toward Strengthening America's Cyber Terrorism," the Roundtable concluded that the U.S. is ill-prepared for a cyber catastrophe.
The deficiencies, however, seemed to be more political and organizational than infrastructural (that is to say, the lines of accountability are not yet clear were something to go greatly amiss in cyberland. Sound familiar? Hurricane Katrina, anyone?)
Edward B. Rust, Jr., Chairman and CEO of State Farm Insurance and head of the Business Roundtable, said in a press release accompanying the report that "If there's a cyber disaster, there is no emergency number to call and no one in place to respond because our nation simply doesn't have the kind of coordinated plan in place that we need to restart and restore the Internet....Government and industry must work together to beef up our cyber-security and recovery efforts."
Specifically, the report identified three major shortfall areas:
- Inadequate Early Warning System -- The U.S. lacks an early warning system to identify potential Internet attacks or determine if the disruptions are spreading rapidly.
- Unclear and Overlapping Responsibilities -- Public and private organizations that would oversee recovery of the Internet have unclear or overlapping responsibilities, resulting in too many institutions with too little interaction and coordination.
- Insufficient Resources Existing -- Organizations and institutions charged with Internet recovery should have sufficient resources and support. For example, little of the National Cyber Security Division (NCSD)s funding is targeted for support of cyber recovery.
As Rust continued, "Our nation's Internet and cyber infrastructure serve as a critical backbone for the exchange of information vital to our security and our economy, but our analysis has exposed a significant weakness that could paralyze the economy following a disaster."
Although the underlying beauty of the architecture of the Net has been its decentralized and distributed nature, an Internet Katrina could, like the overflowing levees in New Orleans, demonstrate both our personal and economic interdependence on the Internet in one fell swoop. Hopefully it won't come to that.
If you have trouble imagining what such an Internet disruption would be like, imagine this: You need to book a quick business trip to NY, hold an electronic meeting in advance of your physical meeting with colleagues distributed around the globe, get an email out to your staff, get a map to/fro the meeting site...and check the latest World Cup scores (not necessarily in that order) -- all without Internet access.
Yeah, good luck with that.
The first step always seems to be admitting you have a problem...only then can you do anything about it.
The report offers numerous recommendations for both government and business in the case of such a cyber disaster. Industry will need to undertake principal responsibility for "reconstituting the communications infrastructure," while the government must fund longer-term programs and establish national response plans that treat major Internet disruptions as a serious national problem.
Specifically, private sector enterprises should consider designating a point person for their cyber recovery, and update their strategic plans to prepare for such a widespread outage and its impact on everything from the movement of goods and services to restoring Internet service and corporate communications. Meanwhile, government needs to cooperate more closely with industry to conduct large-scale cyber emergency exercises, with key lessons learned integrated into programs and procedures.
Look no further than recent worm attacks -- 2003's SoBig virus caused an estimated $30B in damages -- to get a clue that Internet risk management could be the best strategic planning investment you've made in years.[Read More]
I've had occasion in recent times to ponder upon the changing nature of industry conferences and events, both apropos to some discussions going on inside IBM about our own events and conferences (we LOVE throwing conferences, in case you hadn't noticed), and also because of some of my own personal experiences in recent times.
In a call with some colleagues yesterday, one of the points I tried to get across was the fact that actual physical events no longer need be bounded by four walls and a clock. That, in fact, the runway leading up to the event, as well as the conversation and sharing of information that continues long after the event, can be just as important and useful as the event itself.
The fact of the matter is that not all people can make all the events they would prefer, which is why it's nice to see some of the more cutting-edge Internet industry events getting a clue by sharing in real-time both the information and the conversation for those who, for whatever reason, couldn't transport their atoms.
Today, I used some of my Friday afternoon "think" time to tune in to some live sessions at Dave Winer's BloggerCon and also to the conference I mentioned in my post below, SuperNova.
One of the points I shared with my IBM colleagues in the conversation yesterday was that there are a variety of reasons each of us go to events and conferences. We go to meet new, exciting and smart people. To network. To get out of the office. To learn. To share. To complain. Did I mention to get out of the office? I'm sure there are plenty others.
Whatever your reasons, the great thing these days is that if you don't have the time or inclination to get on an airplane and go from Point A to Point B, the technology is such that you can "tune in" to many events -- real-time, or, if the event organizers had some foresight, after the fact, utilizing podcasts, media streams, etc -- and still gain plenty good information and insights. And, using IRC, chat rooms, etc., you can also participate remotely in real-time.
Speaking of which, if you'll excuse me, here I sit in Turboville in Austin, Texas, but have to get back to a SuperNova panel being held out at the Palace Hotel in San Francisco. I'm attending a session entitled "Discussion on the Future of the Desktop."
I'm sorry I'll miss out on the dim sum, but the main course is being delivered straight to my ThinkPad.[Read More]
Mark Wallace at 3pointd.com was blogging from Supernova 2006
earlier today, and put up a good recount of IBM exec Linda Sanford's head nod to the joystick jubilant. But more on that in a moment.
For those of you not in the know of the now, Supernova is produced in partnership with the Wharton School of Business...."because technology is everyone's business."...and has become all the rage with the digerati.
As the lead quote on the Supernova site from former Xerox chief scientist John Seely Brown suggests: "One of the must-attends of the digerati and forward thinkers of the networked age."
Alas, I couldn't make it. I was too busy locked up in my own digital den tracking the quick demise of the U.S. World Cup soccer team (thank you, Mr. Dempsey, for that one U.S.-inflicted goal...the people of Nacogdoches and Texans around the world are most proud of you!) and continuing to pine over the beating of my Dallas Mavericks by the Miami Heeeeaaaattttt on Tuesday night.
I've had enough Shaq attacks for one season, thank you very much. But hey, Mark Cuban, feel free to not curse at the zebras just one time and make that $100K check out to "Turbo@IBM" instead. I promise not to spend it all in one place.
Now back to the Supernova. IBM exec Linda Sanford was in the house, speaking on a panel with Sean "DrKW" Park and SpikeSource's Kim "Remember Marimba?" Polese. The subject? "Innovation in Established Organizations (a.k.a. Web 2.0 Meets the Enterprise)"
Wallace's online commentary indicated that Sanford gave a shout-out to the gaming generation, remarking that companies "need to tap into the creative minds of gamers and apply that in the work world." She also discussed "reputational capital" (those little reputational digital dots that follow you college students from your MySpace profile to your first employer), and suggested that "traditional employer-employee relationships are going to be antiquated based on what we're seeing today."
That all sounds well and good, Linda, but if you're gonna assign a borg to be my new boss, I just hope he's not decked out like one of those dudes from the original "Star Wars" bar scene. I'm a Lucas fan to be sure, but a man has to have some pride and I've already had enough IBM robot bosses (just kidding!)
Serially folks, It sounds like the real point Sanford made was one I firmly support, joystick and all: Today's X-Box 360 will absolutely influence tomorrow's workers and leaders, and those institutions which don't keep up and on track with the Virtual Gaming Joneses could likely miss crossing the next major chasm -- the influence of avatar- and virtual gaming environments on workplace training and education.
And all this time here I am thinking that playing "Halo" on those long boring conference calls was goofing off? It turns out I was simply preparing myself for a step up the IBM workplace ladder.
While I wait for said ladder to be lowered, just know I'm sorry I wasn't at Supernova in the flesh. I would love to have followed the backchannel IRC, as well as heard firsthand Linda's story about interviewing Kinks' lead singer Ray Davies about the process of inspiration and creativity.
Not your father's IBM, to be sure...Not even close.[Read More]
We announced a new transistor today,
one that runs at 500 GHz, about 250 times faster than those currently available.
We did it by way of exploring the limits of silicon-germanium chips (Silicon-germanium is much better for performance and power consumption than traditional silicon.).
Specifically, we put those suckers in the deep freeze, in a manner of speaking. By cryogenically "freezing" the chip to 451 degrees below zero Fahrenheit (4.5 Kelvins, in case you were counting), we were able to push the limits of silicon-germanium chips.
(Brief Sidebar: Just so we're clear, the "we" does not include me -- I'm talking about researchers from IBM and the Georgia Institute of Technology. I'm sure I'd look all official and cool in a lab coat and all, but at the sub-zero temps we're talking about, I'd probably just end up getting my tongue stuck to the liquid nitrogen tank and...well, it just wouldn't be pretty, that's all I'm sayin'.)
This new technology is a major step forward in semiconductors that could lead to "more faster" computing and soon.
Such low temperatures are only found naturally in outer space (although after seeing Al Gore's new movie about global warming, "An Inconvenient Truth," last night, we may need to see if we can't put some of that freeze on the polar ice caps fast!)
When we turned up the thermostat a bit (to room temperature), the chip still performed at around 350 billion cycles per second, about 250X faster than that Treo lodged against your hip.
As our press release noted, such ultra-high-frequency silicon-germanium circuits have potential applications in commercial communications systems, defense electronics, space exploration, and remote sensing.
Ultimately, "achieving such extreme speeds in silicon-based technology which can be manufactured using conventional low-cost techniques could provide a pathway to high-volume applications."
I'd like to go ahead and put my order in for one now, if that's okay. They have never made a computer fast enough for my needs, and I'm not sure they ever will. (Hey, they didn't give me the nickname "Turbo" for nothing).
And if I have to wear one of those funky white clean room suits in order to get a jump on the rest of the world, that's cool. But know that I draw a line at dancin' in the streets in TV commercials.
The rest of you will just have to chill and wait...developments such as this typically find their way into commercial products at IBM in one to two years.[Read More]
Let me just say, I'm still in shock over Phil Mickelson's bad golfing choices
on 18 at Winged Foot yesterday, as, I'm sure, are most golf fans around the globe. It was his to lose, and...well, he certainly lost it.
It didn't go unnoticed by this particular fan that he lost it at Winged Foot. Winged. Foot. As in Mercury, messenger of the Gods for trade, profit, and commerce...Mercury as in mercurial: something erratic, volatile, or unstable. That pretty much describes Mickelson's play on 18.
And on a course with so much rich history! Forget for a moment Ben Hogan and the other golf legends who struggled on this great golf course. It's been reported in the past that Winged Foot was built atop some of the very same turf covered during the Revolutionary War! That British General Sir William Howe occupied (along with his Hessian Granadiers) leading up to the Battle of White Plains in October 1776 (stone arrowheads and other artifacts were apparently found there during Winged Foot's construction.)
With just a little bit of historical revisionism and creative thought, I can easily envision all the action taking place through my monocular: George Washington, standing up to the Hessians with a Calloway Big Bertha in one hand and his Titleist Pro V 1 in the other, teed up and ready to knock Howe and company back to the first green.
Now that is some golfing history.
Of course, Howe didn't likely have to worry about whether or not if Washington was going to use his driver, although he and General Washington both had some pretty strategic decisions to make. Fortunately for these United States of America, Washington and his staff made the right ones. Mickelson, on the other hand, dug his hole in the bunker and kept on digging.
For us hackers, it was a testament to the challenge and continued worthiness of the great sport of golf. For those pros, an opportunity to remember that even the Pro-V'est of pros can turn into a Sunday afternoon hack.
At the end of the day, golf is a sport where you're playing absolutely nobody but yourself, and where nobody else can beat you but you. It's the ultimate in personal accountability...kudos to Lefty for owning up to that in his post-tournament press conference.
Now, it's time for Phil -- and the rest of us -- to forget all about 18 at the Winged Foot as he prepares to wing his foot across the pond to Holylake for the British Open to seek a little revenge...George Washington style.[Read More]
When Sony announced last year that it was going to discontinue production of its robot dog, AIBO,
I was greatly disappointed. I'd been thinking of getting a dog for some time, but I always hesitated.
You gotta go to the store and buy dogfood, you gotta take it to the vet, you gotta find somebody to take care of it when you're out of town...just too high maintenance, those real dogs.
But the more I read about Aibo, the more I was convinced it was the perfect pet for me. I'd always wanted a robot. And though Aibo's official name was "AIBO ERS-7 (MIND 3)," I'm certain I could have come up with something that rolled off the tongue a little more smoothly ("Spot," "Butch," even "GeekDog" would have worked).
GeekDog would have been able to play music for me via its wireless Internet connection, it could respond to my voice commands, it could shake its robotic canine bootie...it could even blog!: Oh yeah, GeekDog, the robotic canine blog.
And now, it turns out, GeekDog could have had the opportunity to play in the Robot World Cup.
Yes, that's right, while the real thing goes on in Germany, the 10th annual RoboCup has kicked off in Bremen. According to a report from a human at the BBC, the World Cup of Robots will feature more than 400 teams of robots competing across 11 leagues. This in preparation for a match against us humans in 2050.
And you're not digging Alexi Lalas as a commentator on ABCHD? No worries, Isaac Asimov is here to help. Live commentary will be provided by a pair of robots -- Sango and Ami (not exactly Madden and Michaels, but hey, you take what you can get) -- developed by scientists at Carnegie Mellon University (there clearly is not a lot to do at Carnegie Mellon...Just kidding! I have friends who went to school there...flesh and blood friends, even!)
The end goal (You think I was gonna pass that one up?): An opportunity for 2,500 experts in artificial intelligence and robotics to meet, greet, and compete.
And to think, all I wanted was a dog.[Read More]
Despite the U.S. team's loss to the Czech Republic on Monday, my World Cup fanaticism rolls on. There have been some incredibly riveting matches (France and Switzerland in a draw!, Spain trouncing Ukraine this afternoon [Germany time]).
Every time I tune in I wish I could wiggle my nose and transport myself to Munich or one of the other host cities in Germay. Kudos to Google for providing their nifty World Cup quick access to match scores and standings so I can keep up with the action while workin' for the man. And God bless ESPN2 and ABCHD, as well as the Time Warner digital video recorder. Ya gotta love being able to time shift the World Cup.
Speaking of keeping tuned in, eBay announced that sellers are soon going to be able to add a link to their auction listings that allows potential buyers to reach them through Skype.
For weeks, analysts, pundits and bloggers alike have been publicly wondering how eBay was going to get back some of that $2.6B they invested when they purchased the VOIP startup.
Next Monday, they'll apparently start to see the answer when the new "SkypeMe" feature is made available to sellers in 14 categories (including high-consideration purchase categories such as real estate and automobiles, among others). The idea is to pair buyers and sellers via IP telephony so that buyers can ask questions and get more information via a real-time conversation using Skype than is conveyable via the basic information listed in the auction page.
I think this could be most helpful. Just earlier today, I was checking out this listing for a 2004 Lamborghini Murcielago. I have been pondering the idea of cashing in my 401K and selling everything I own to buy a Lamborghini (one must pull up to the stadium in Munich in style!).
The current bid is a mere $220,300, which seems a fair enough price.
But with all the concerns around rising oil prices, I was hoping I could ping the seller of the Murcielago and find out whether or not the car can safely burn ethanol. While I want to be tres Euro chic in my new Lamborghini (which, considering its cost, will also now be my new residence), I want to be energy conscious as well. SkypeMe would be the perfect way for me to contact the seller directly!
Stop...Need More Heifeweizen...Stop....Send Deutschmarks...Stop...Lots of Them...Stop
Just as interesting are the stories floating around about being able to send Paypal money via Skype.
Imagine this: I'm standing outside the World Cup stadium in Munich in a telephone booth, and I need some money for more of those big beers and brautwurst (okay, also throw in one of those $160 Official World Cup game balls).
You're my buddy back in Austin with a fat daddy bank account and a phone into which you can send me a bag full of Euros, kind of like those old pneumatic vacuum tubes through which you used to cash a check at your friendly drive-through bank (this was back when you still had a real bank.)
In goes the money, out of the phone booth pops my hot dogs and Heifeweizen. I'm all set for the next game!
The difference being, of course, that now you'll be able to do all this real-time over the Internet (the money part...the hot dog and beer was just an example of...oh, never mind).
Think Western Union for the extremely impatient eBay auction set, and you get the idea.[Read More]