It's the end of a long week and an even longer Friday, and then this hits my newsreader: "Tech makes working harder, not easier."
Well, I knew I was doing something wrong when I saw the results of this study sponsored by Day-Timer (maker of organizers and such) and reported by Reuters.
The headline: Most U.S. workers say they feel rushed on the job.
Worse, we feel like we're getting less accomplished than we were a decade ago. Can you imagine???!
Take a Memo...Err, an Instant Message
For example, in a similar 1994 study, us U.S. workers completed three-quarters of our work in an average day. That number is now down to two-thirds.
And guess whose fault Day-Timer tells us it is? Exactly. All that great technology that was supposed to make our work lives quicker and easier (and allow us more leisure time!).
But instead of speeding everything up, all those emails and instant messages and Blackberry pings and voicemails and Skypemails and you name it are actually slowing us down.
Speaking for myself, I feel as though my work life is in overdrive, yet I'm going nowhere fast. It's like sitting in the time warp that is my job with the parking brake on and the gear in reverse.
I Have No Idea What I'm Supposed to Be Doing Right Now...But I'm Definitely Doing a Lot of It
I'm multitasking to the point of work schizophrenia. I have multiple personalities flying off the keyboard as I work to keep up with all the projects and to dos and conference calls and...Calgon, take me away!!!
So my question to you is, do you think this multitasking, never-do-one-thing-at-a-time, ABC (always-be-communicating) is a productive endeavor or, rather, do you think the GDP of knowledge workers is headed straight into the very wrong end of the productivity curve due to all this new technology?
I'm not sure myself, but I can't really focus on this right now...it's Friday afternoon and my cell phone is ringing and my beeper is beeping and my instant messaging client has multiple windows and my fire alarm is going off and....and I just have to run to a meeting down the street at my local watering hole where I'll be bemoaning to my colleagues the fact that I can't get anything done because I'm always too busy telling someone else what I'm trying to do!!![Read More]
Todd "Turbo" Watson -- IBM Corporation
turbotodd 100000388Y Tags:  personal_productivity web2.0 digital_media 1 Comment 4,473 Views
Whew, that's a mouthful...but it sure is del.icio.us
Matt McAllister rebounds a post as to how the WashingtonPost.Com and Columbia Journalism Review have both added "del.icio.us" bookmark buttons to their article templates.
This will help users who want to tag and add news stories to the now widespread, Yahoo!-owned social bookmarking tool...and in turn, drive up Yahoo!'s page views (read: ad revenue).
Smart, and smart...consider that one del.icio.us-ified.[Read More]
turbotodd 100000388Y Tags:  intellectual_property personal_productivity 1 Comment 4,113 Views
If you've ever read Michael Crichton's nanotechnology techno-thriller novel "Prey," you know that smaller isn't necessarily always better.
Getting chased through New Mexican desert by a swarm of nanotech bits gone haywire isn't exactly my idea of a good time. But then again, neither is carrying around a 5 lb+ notebook computer through various security screening areas around the globe.
Crichton's "Bill Joy-sian" nanodelusions aside, smaller is better. And that's difficult for me to admit, considering I hail from and live in the great state of Texas, second only to Alaska in land area (with 268,601 square miles) and the largest in the lower 48. Where gargantuan pickup trucks are as common as Smart cars in Amsterdam, and where Callaway Big Bertha drivers are considered to be an excellent fairway wood.
Has Anyone Seen the Xenon Atoms on the Nickel Substrate?
For anybody who travels frequently these days (which I used to, but thankfully don't anymore), smaller is much better. When I was a jetsetting IBMer, I devolved into the master of small.
I had the smallest of everything: The smallest of headphones, the smallest portable DVD player (for which, at the time, I also paid not the smallest of fortunes), the smallest of cell phones, the smallest of suitcases...if I could have made myself smaller, I would have given it a shot.
My inclination towards Lilliputianess got so out of control, one time, as I was about to leave on a trip out of Austin, my suitcase broke directly in the middle of Bergstrom airport! The only suitcase available for sell at the airport store? An extremely diminutive rollaround. Perfect!
As big a multinational corporation as IBM is, we like making small things (We created an IBM logo out of xenon atoms on a nickel substrate just to prove it!). And making big things even smaller is a critical component of innovation...if it wasn't, we'd be travelling through airport security like Neanderthals, pulling Eniac computers around on little red wagons (Sir, could you please take your Eniac out of its case and place it in the scanning bin?)
Feeling Smaller All the Time
Yesterday, the IBM Research team announced that it was making the next giant step towards smaller computing. Our research group announced that they have now created the smallest, high-quality line patterns ever made using deep ultraviolet (DUV, 193-nanometer) optical lithography.
This is less than one-third the size of the 90-nanometer features now in mass production and below the 32 nanometers that industry consensus held as the limit for optical lithography techniques. (I don't know what that all really means, actually, because I'm not an IBM Research scientist and don't even play one on TV. However, it sounded really, really good in the press release, so I figured it would also sound really cool here in the blog).
Take that, Michael Crichton.
Translation into Semi-Coherent English: The semiconductor industry has relied on ever shrinking circuits to maintain its increasing profits and to also drive performance increases and functional improvements of semiconductors. Now that those nasty little atoms are starting to get in the way - they're simply no longer small enough, those darned atoms! - we're seriously coming close to the edge of Moore's Law (which, according to Wikipedia's definition, indicates that the complexity of an integrated circuit with respect to minimum component doubles about every 18 months...at least, it did until the atoms stopped shrinking.)
Now that we at IBM have created a "high-index immersion" variant of DUV lithography that will help enable the extension through the 45- and 32-nanometer technology nodes, we may have very well provided a path for extending Moore's Law.
I don't know about you, but with that announcement I feel a whole lot better...and a whole lot smaller.
Dont give up! I believe in you all
A persons a person, no matter how small!
And you very small persons will not have to die
If you make yourselves heard! So come on, now, and TRY!
Dr. Seuss, "Horton Hears a Who" (1954)[Read More]
Though I've talked extensively in past postings about identity theft and what we as consumers can do to protect ourselves (and our identities), I also wanted to point out some new IBM solutions and approaches that can help organizations with this critically important challenge.
As a reminder of how pervasive that challenge is, in the U.S. alone identity theft has already touched one in 20 adult Americans. To help drive this number down, companies need to be taking a more holistic approach to identity management.
To that end, earlier this week we launched the IBM "Identity Management Services," an end-to-end portfolio of capabilities that cover the entire identity management lifecycle - from identity proofing to user provisioning to access control. You can learn more about this offering here.
Also, don't think you have to be a gargantuan company to benefit. This week we also announced IBM Tivoli Identity Manager Express, a software tool that provides those of you in the SMB marketplace a way to manage passwords, user accounts, and access permissions from a single point. This can help streamline your user permissioning and password resets, as well as better prepare your organization for internal and external audit compliance.[Read More]
True story: I have a lawyer friend in Philly who has, on occasion in his capacity as a public defender, defended some of the better known alleged organized criminal elements in that fair city (In the spirit of "everybody's entitled to a fair defense").
A few years ago, as "The Sopranos" was gaining momentum, I attended an annual party at my friend's house in one of the more upscale neighborhoods in Philly. Two couples who belonged to the alleged criminal organization were sitting at the table next to mine.
While I did not see any FBI agents walking the streets writing down license plate numbers, I could not not eavesdrop on their fascinating conversation (although I did wonder if I might well find myself asked to be a witness for the prosecution). Finally, it dawned on me what it was that they were discussing: The latest episode of "The Sopranos."
Life imitating art imitating life. Or something to that effect.
Now, life imitates art imitates a Google Maps mashup.
Not That Kinda Mashup
According to AdAge, HBO has figured out a whole new way of using Google Maps, becoming the first advertiser to leverage the useful tool for promotional purposes by "celebrating the New Jersey sites of some of the Sopranos' most infamous deeds."
The Sopranos' Google Maps mashup -- which includes a wide shot map of New Jersey -- is expected to help viewers track the actions of Tony, Carmela, Dr. Melfi, and others from the show, providing markers on the Google maps that correlate to key plot points. When you click on the markers, they provide a popup with information on the episode, including video clips. (How about just getting me to the Garden State Parkway???)
Recognizing that the series has been off the air since May 2004, HBO is evidently doing everything they can to help viewers find their way back to the new season and back into the storyline ("You remember, Tony is Tony's cousin who is Janice's brother!")...let's just hope no innocent but curious fans find their way to the wrong neighborhood and get whacked.
Bada Bing Bada Boom.[Read More]
...No, not the Vice President of the United States. The other VP's office...the Fortune 500-ish boardroom.
The key indicators?
First, Stephen Baker from BusinessWeek brings us "The Inside Story on Corporate Blogs." Although he indicates that only 22 of the 500 largest U.S. companies operate public blogs from the executive suite (i.e., 4.4%), Baker notes the real focus has been for companies to build "social networks" and connections with customers -- even as many Fortune-sized companies continue to be "scared" of critical comments in public blogs.
Which brings us to number two: For those who aren't convinced, blogging help is on its way. The micropersuasive kind, the kind where changing one opinion at a time makes all the difference in the world.
On the edge of the Tipping Point and leading the charge of putting the Cluetrain Manifesto into practice, longtime blogger and PR change agent Steve Rubel (see Micropersuasion, an influential and thoughtful blog focusing on the new new public relations) has left his perch at CooperKatz to join the senior VP ranks at Edelman PR Worldwide.
His mission: Helping the clueless publicus relationless manifestoless catch the blogging Cluetrain....if anybody can pick the lock to get into the corporate communications boardroom, it's Steve. And for a PR guy, he's got more RSS and blogging hacks than any one human should be able to manage.
Very best wishes to Steve in the new gig. It's good to see the train finally pulling into the station.[Read More]
The problem with information technology is that there's too much of both. Particularly the information part.
Remember the flying toasters screensaver? The one where all the flying toasters take over your screen while you stare out the window into the abyss, daydreaming? That's kind of what it's like sometimes working on the IBM Web site (or IBM in general). I've got more toasters (read: bits of information) flying at me than I have the mouse clicks to take 'em down.
Anyone who works with me will likely tell you I have "high bandwidth" -- i.e., I can consume vast amounts of information and process much of it. But at times I feel as though I'm absolutely drowning in information. (I'm hoping to supplement my Turbo-brain with a new IBM POWER6 chip, but need for our Research folks to make that critical last mile wet ware-to-hardware connection!).
Of course, there's a big difference between information and insight, which brings me to the real point: How to distinguish the toasters from the toast. Figuratively speaking. In fact, more than 60% of CEOs agree that businesses need to do a better job of leveraging their information.
Without the Right Information, How Can You Manage Your Business?
Today, IBM announced a $1 billion (with a "b") initiative that combines our software and industry consulting expertise to help customers around the globe get "uninhibited access to accurate, reliable, and trustworthy business information."
This investment will include an expansion in both our information management software development as well as the dedication of 15,000 skilled information management practictioners to help IBM customers get more insight from the increasing mountains of information they're acquiring.
To learn more, check out the information on demand Website. Or, if you'd like to hear directly from some of the IBM information management experts, check out the new information on demand blog. Be sure to check out the posts from century cycling madman Jeff Jonas, who believes drinking water on the 107-mile Tour de Palm Springs is for wimps...but that context for enterprise information sharing is for everyone.
Even the toasters.
turbotodd 100000388Y Tags:  intellectual_property it_security cybercrime 2 Comments 4,552 Views
In the so-called knowledge economy, your most valuable assets are said to walk out out of the office every night. A report from C:NET suggests that they could also be taking some of your next most valuable assets (your intellectual property) with them.
The story indicated that a U.S. security expert has built an application that can fill an iPod with business-critical data "in a matter of minutes." Called "pod slurping" (you think I'm making that up? That's what they're calling it, I swear!), the application can grab about 100MB every "couple minutes" and store them on your favorite iPod.
The story also says that the FBI estimates the average cost of data theft at $350,000...which could buy a whole beaucoup songs on iTunes (353,535 songs @ .99/pop, to be exact).
If you don't trust your employees and are afraid they're walking out of the office every night with the company goods while listening to the BlackEyed Peas' latest, check out the Sharp site to learn more about pod slurping.
What you do NOT want to see is your wares on the "Stolen Patents Top 100" making the rounds on Bit Torrent.[Read More]
Following up on my post about the future of sports...we're a few days into the Olympics and I've become a complete couch potato. And I'm blaming it all on technology.
First, there's my "Enhanced TV" feature that Time Warner Cable added to my already killer HDTV signal. I can switch between stations covering the Olympics like a true channel surfer.
Two, my DVR built into the Time Warner set top box (I swear this is not a commercial for TW). I can record two separate programs at the same time at once, then play them back in fast forward action mode (with the exception of the sport of curling, which completely eludes me...sorry, it just looks like shuffleboard on ice, and I figure I can hold off on that until I'm permanently living on a cruise ship...but I do support the American curlers!)
Three...get this, as it falls into the camp of "My VCR is still flashing 12:00s..."...I finally learned how to do picture on picture with my digital cable remote!...the Turin Winter Olympics are suddenly a whole new world (Hint: Click that "On/Off" button at the very bottom of the remote to get pic on pic).
And four, I've discovered some nifty Web addresses to help me program this Olympic madness...the MSNBC Winter Olympics TV Schedule, for example. And also the NBC Olympics RSS feeds, for those so inclined to subscribe to RSS feeds for results in specific events.
Now if I could just another 24 hours to the day so I can keep up with it all.
It's amazing the IBM lore you discover one day stumbling around the Internet, even after 14 years of working here.
I was travelling down some non-linear Internet rat hole this PM, trying to avoid finishing up a presentation that's due later today, when I discovered that the reason it's not easy for Kermit the Frog to be green is because the Cookie Monster started out by being blue.
IBM blue, that is.
Cookie Monster Need Coffee Break
The story goes like this: Way back in 1966, the year yours truly was born, Jim Henson built a puppet called the "Wheel-Stealer." Originally used for a General Moods commercial, Henson pulled it out of his back pocket to use in an IBM training film called "Coffee Break Machine."
In the sketch, the moster apparently devoured a complex talking machine, and later exploded in a puff of smoke. That sketch was later performed on The Ed Sullivan Show in 1967, and it was this very same monster that later evolved into the "Cookie Monster" on "Sesame Street." A show I watched for years, and which helped me learned to read at a very young age.
Which just goes to show that IBM's investment in puppets in the late 1960s proved to be an excellent employee recruiting tool.[Read More]