Our prolific blogger and knowledge management expert, Luis Suarez,
is being featured on the ShortCuts podcast series
this week, and provides an extremely useful and quick-hitting overview of social bookmarking.
I've been a del.icio.us user for some time myself, but I've had to force myself to become more disciplined about organizing and tagging my bookmarks. However, I've come to realize in the capacity of my gig here at Big Blue that there is great benefit to going through the trouble of going through such organization, because those shared bookmarks make it a lot easier for me to share useful resources with my IBM collegues as well as friends and family.
If you have any interest in social bookmarking, definitely check out Luis' ShortCuts episode on the subject. And if you have absolutely no clue what social bookmarking is, fear not, as we include a link to the Wikipedia entry which describes it in some detail.
And as we head on into the weekend, I wish the Europeans and the Americans the best of luck in the Ryder Cup. The Europeans took an early lead, 5-3, but there's still plenty of golf to be played.
As to my good friend Andrew who is probably out there right now wandering around the grounds of the "K Club," no words can describe my golfing envy...I'll be sure to keep an eye out for you on the telly.[Read More]
I wrote a couple of weeks ago about the need for better filters of information. If you're an Information Age junkie like myself, using tools like RSS, social bookmarks, e-mail filters, and any other garden variety of personal information management tools can be overwhelming at times.
The whole point of all this great technology was that it was supposed to allow us to be more liberated from singular sources of information, allowing us to keep in tune with many more sources of information.
And it has.
But boy, can trying to monitor them be exhausting.
So I had suggested in the previous posting there was a very quickly emerging need for such smart information filters and aggregators, whether they be through new businesses or individual tools.
This morning, I read about one such filter in an article on the Financial Times online. Monitor110, scheduled to launch next year, is apparently providing an automated system that will "trawl through more than 40 [million] internet sources -- from blogs to regulator filings -- on behalf of hedge funds."
Check out this page from the Monitor110 site to get an idea of the kind of real-time information hedge funds will be receiving.
What I found most interesting about the story was a quote from the COO for investment research at Citigroup, Scott Lessing, who was quoted as saying that "the service could help analysts who currently track blogs 'only to the extent that it provides an idea which the analyst can independently verify.' "
Would that be a grudging, but formal acknowledgment, that there is great potential to find nuggets of information gold in them thar Internet hills?
Ah, but the quote goes on: "It's important to know that the smoke is out there, and that others see it. They may be more information value in online trends in the aggregate: 5,000 more web mentions of a product than the week before could be an important signal for an analyst covering the product's manufacturer."
Ah, so there's also potential collective wisdom from the maddening Internet crowds as well? The site hasn't launched yet, but according to the FT story, 10 hedge funds have already signed up, so they must think there's fire out there somewhere amidst all that smoke.
The IBM Information Fire Department refuses to stand by and watch the whole Internet go up in smoke. If you want to create some information heat yourself and integrate all your disparate data sources, check out this Website explaining our new IBM Information Server.
Aggregating my Aggregation
Meanwhile, in Wired magazine's "Monkey Bites," they listed the best and worst of Web 2.0 recently, and tuned me into NetVibes, which has been characterized as a "Web 2.0 personal portal featuring AJAX." Others are calling it just another RSS reader.
Curious, I checked it out yesterday, and decided it was much more than just another RSS reader, and am going to give it a whirl as my own next personal portal (Warning to Yahoo, MyYahoo has been my window to the Web for several years, but you've got some serious competition now, in my opinion).
In my work, I have to access all kinds of various Web-based information sources (both inside and outside IBM) on a daily basis, and I have been spending WAY too much time trying to navigate my way to those various sources, as well as just monitoring key information sources useful to my job.
Within about 10 minutes, I had completely customized the front page of NetVibes with a number of key blogs (via their RSS feeds) that I monitor, as well as added my Flickr photos, a weather map, an Alexa traffic widget that helps me monitor the traffic of several Websites, my del.icio.us bookmarks...the list goes on.
But the best part was being able to mix and match and move the boxed apps from one part of the page to another with my mouse. No programming, no HTML required.
This is smart computing. Kudos to the NetVibes team based in London and Paris, which apparently just received a $15 round of financing. As my dad used to tell me, don't spend it all in one place!
One of my favorite topics when I was studying for my MBA was economics. Previous to that class, I had absolutely no real background or exposure to the dismal science, but I was immediately taken by the laws of supply and demand, scarcity, etc.
Witnessing the laws of economics via the Internet I find to be even more interesting. For example, Paul Kedrosky found a unique use for Google Trends over the weekend, where he analyzed the top cities from which the search query "real estate crash" emanated.
The top of the list was San Diego, California, followed by several other California cities including Irvine, Los Angeles, Pleasanton, San Francisco, and Sacramento. As Kedrosky noted, this is where the "real estate natives are most restless." I suspect if one dug a little deeper, one might find a correlation between available houses on the market and those queries from California?
If you've never tried out Google Trends, check it out here. You might be surprised what you will find out about just about almost anything.
It's a truly sad day here in Austin, Texas.
Overnight, it was announced that former Texas governor Ann Richards died after battling esophogeal cancer, which was discovered just earlier this year.
Although Richards was probably most famously known for her comments about then presidential candidate George H.W. Bush at the 1988 Democratic National Convention ("Poor George...he can't help it...he was born with a silver foot in his mouth."), Richards was better known here in Texas for being a sometimes controversial, but always witty and emphathic public official whose life and career served as a role model for people across Texas and the country.
In a state filled with good ol' boy backroom politics, Richards walked right smack into their club and announced she had arrived and was ready to go to work. Starting her political career as Travis County commissioner, and later elected as state treasurer and later still as Texas' 45th governor, Richards helped modernize (read: computerize) the Texas state government's financial system, just as she protected the environment and helped make our state friendlier to business.
In everything she did, it always seemed to be with great humor and verve. When I think about politics in the U.S. today, there are very few politicians who put a smile on my face. Richards always put a smile on my face, not only because none of us ever knew what she might say, but also because she always seemed to represent the consummate spirit of Texas: bold, brash, funny, yet serious.
Richards helped make it more difficult for people to get ahold of handguns (not a popular move in gun-friendly Texas), while also helping bring many more women and minorities into public office here in Texas during her administration. As the Austin-American Statesman cited in their story announcing her passing, Ms. Richards said as she started her career in public office: "Naturally, I want it to be easier for women to get involved in politics. I want them to think of politics and public service as a good place for them, as something honorable and something worthwhile for them to pursue. And the way they are going to do that is to say, 'If she can do it, I can do it.'"
She did do it, and in the process helped pave a path that allowed so many others to follow.
The stars at night won't be nearly as big and bright here deep in the heart of Texas with her passing.
Ann Richards' star will be greatly missed.[Read More]
Just last week, I made a panel submission for next spring's SXSW Interactive conference here in Austin.
With die-hard interactive spirit, the SXSW conference team has opened up the development of the conference agenda this year to the Internet masses. Simply go to the SXSW Interactive Panel picker to help mold the agenda by picking your favorite session topics. Giving the people what they want, and a voice in the shaping of the conference. Gotta love it.
While I won't go into great detail as to my own panel submission, it generally revolved around Web 2.0 technologies moving into the enterprise. So I laughed out loud this morning when I found this story on social networking technologies in the enterprise (subscription required) in the Wall Street Journal Interactive Edition.
The article does a nice job outlining how such technologies are being used in BBs (Big Businesses), also highlighting IBM's own "Dogear" social bookmarking tool, for which inside our own Big Blue Firewall we've already garnered some 100K bookmarks, according to the account.
There are also some nice mentions of Socialtext software being used inside SAP, as well as blogging at Honeywell. Worth a read if you're trying to stay on top of how all this blossoming innovation is filtering into big companies.
Meanwhile, while we're in the orbit of the Wall Street Journal, in yesterday's announcement of the Wall Street Journal Innovation Awards, IBM's "Clipped Tag" RFID technology was feted for its privacy protections, a technology which allows consumers to "opt-out" of RFID tracking by tearing or scratching off the RFID antennas.
This eliminates the tag's ability to communicate with other devices or systems -- just in case you were worried about anyone tracking your package of Charmin out of the Big Box store, into your SUV, and back to the homestead!
Go here if you'd like to learn more about IBM's sensor and actuator technologies in general, and click here if you'd like to read the specifics of our Clipped Tag technology.
I've joked in the past about no one ever having made a computer fast enough to suit my "Turbo" needs. Well, we may get one step closer with the new supercomputer we're going to be building for the U.S. Department of Energy.
Nicknamed the "Roadrunner" (who says we IBM folks don't have a sense of humor!), the new 1,000+ teraflops-speed machine was ordered by the Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico.
The Roadrunner is expected to be nearly four times faster than the world's current fastest supercomputer, our BlueGene/L.
I suspect outrunning the Wile E. Coyote is going to be no problem, considering this new machine will be powered by the IBM/Sony/Toshiba Cell chip (which also happens to run your kid's Sony PlayStation 3).
For the record, I hope our purchasing group changes the bill of laden we send to Los Alamos to reflect a purchase from the "Acme Corporation" -- it would only be fitting. (Check here if you have no idea what I'm talking about and you'd like to read more about Wile E. Coyote and Road Runner lore).
From Roadrunners to Seals
Speaking of roadrunning supercomputers, if you're going to be hightailing it to South America anytime soon, know that IBM just announced the opening of its sixth "SWAT team" centers in Sao Paulo, Brazil.
Known as the "High Performance Software and Services Lab, think of the "HiPODs" as our version of the Navy Seals. They focus on large-scale computing issues for IBM customers.
The center in Brazil will be the sixth of the family, the others being located in in our Santa Teresa Lab in San Jose, California; Beijing; Bangalore, India; Yamato, Japan; and Hursley, United Kingdom (which, for the record, has a pub onsite in case you need a brief respite from cranking through all those petaflops!).
The HiPOD centers all collaborate with one another and have some serious computing power in and of their own right, using grid computing to come together quickly in project teams and appropriate the necessary resources for unique customer needs and requirements. Focus areas in the past have included process automation, virtualization, SOA workloads...the list goes on.
But sorry, even we have never caught the Roadrunner.
Read more about the work of the HiPODS here.
Having returned from my American Labor Day holiday respite restored and rested (not to mention greatly alliterated), my golf handicap no better (or worse) for the wear, I found myself having to remind myself how to use my computer again.
Yes, for the most part, it was a technology-free weekend. I opted out of opting in to to much computer usage during the holiday weekend, saving my labor for the links and giving my PC-weary eyes a needed rest.
So, there was no technology, save for the Bushnell yardage binoculars my dad's country club pro demonstrated on the 2nd hole of the Denton Country Club in my hometown of Denton, Texas (the "Home of Happiness," for all you "Rocky Horror Picture Show" fans out there.)
Just a jump to the left, and I was able to leverage the Bushnells' laser-bouncing Yardage Pro Trophy Laser Rangefinder to identify that I was precisely 173 yards from the pin.
For those non-golfers in the audience, knowing your yardage in golf is a very important piece of information, particularly for those subtle 10-20 yard differences one often finds in one's iron play.
Yardage markers stuck in the ground that you can never find? Ppp-shaw, an historical relic of golf's past.
Get yourself some laser-precise golfing binoculars and play some smart golf! You'll never have to worry again about how many yards to the right of the hole you knocked that six-iron with your teeth-grinding slice (although you still may be liable for the collateral damage of those broken windshields or fairway-facing living room windows).
If the Bushnell ain't doing the trick, and you'd prefer a geosatellite view of where your little white ball rests, there are now wireless providers apparently providing GPS readers for mobile phone services, so that if you're out on the links and not quite sure how far away you are from the #5 pin, Ma Bell will hook you up with a quick GPS read via your Motorola Razr.
Free Intertubes Access in the Valley
And speaking of wireless networks, yesterday IBM and a consortium of other tech companies announced they would be providing free high-speed wireless Internet access to large portions of Silicon Valley and the surrounding environs, some 1,500 square miles!
The service will provide free basic wireless access at speeds up to 1 megabit per second in outdoor areas (special equipment estimated to cost from $80 to $120 will be required for bolstering the signal so that it's strong enough to receive inside buildings).
So does this mean that golf carts will soon be wi-fi-enabled as well?
Does this mean I'm now going to have to take my laptop to the golf course?
Is there no sacred ground?
What's next, underwater wi-fi so I can instant message with the dolphins???
I followed a thread this morning from TechMeme over to the most unobvious of sites, www.thinkvitamin.com, where one Ryan Carson explained "Why I Don't Use Social Software."
I was sympathetic to the essence of his plight. So many social networking apps, so little time. Who has all the free time to pursue and take advantage of these sites, particularly when such sites are spawning faster than an upstream salmon sprint?
As he explains, "I'm a fairly typical web citizen. I'm 28, married, make a reasonable wage, own a house and I have a few close friends. You'd think I'd be a Web app company's dream, but I'm not."
I understand from where Mr. Carson comes. It's part of my job at IBM to try and keep up with Internet technology trends and opportunities, and I am constantly overwhelmed by the breakneck pace of innovation and new sites and technologies. It's enough to drive a man to stop surfing and go lay on a black sand beach, sans Blackberry.
But despite all the Bubble 2.0 talk, I do think there's something important and noteworthy going on with respect to social apps and networking. And while I agree with Mr. Carson that it becomes prohibitive to personall participate in every new social site that comes along, I think that that has to be distinguished between one individual's participation (or lack thereof) and the larger emerging trend.
First and foremost, follow the eyeballs. It's no secret that eyeballs for traditional media such as network and broadcast TV are shifting to the interactive media, and social applications are capitalizing on that shift. Anybody checked MySpace's ad rate card lately?
Mr. Carson notes the "most successful sites right now are ones that have engaged a largely younger audience that is now growing up with tagging, online identity issues and blogging."
Precisely. And as those kids grow into adulthood and get careers and get busy like all the rest of us, while they will indeed spend less time on such sites, their expectations of what a good online experience is will have been shaped by tagging and social networking and all the other emerging -ings out there.
Second, it's very easy to miss the consumer forest for the enterprise trees here. As these technologies become embraced by all the 18-24s out there, their usage will penetrate into the enterprise (in many cases they already are). It certainly happened with instant messaging, and I suspect the boom in social computing will follow suit.
At IBM, we're already exploring the benefits of social bookmarking as a useful way of classifying online information through our Dogear project (think of it as an inside-the-firewall del.icio.us).
I, as do so many others, spend more of my time these days trying to find the right information than I do acting on it. As the features and functions of these social applications (hopefully) continue to seep into the enterprise, there will be huge opportunity for social innovation and collaboration in business.
Because business is, by its very nature, a community-oriented activity. The more these social applications can embrace the need for widespread communication and collaboration inside the enterprise, particularly as business becomes increasingly globalized and on demand, the easier all of our jobs have the potential to become.
Now, will somebody please invent a wi-fi social computing tablet with all the requisite Social 2.0 apps that I can put on the steering wheel of a golf cart, right next to my golf GPS navigation system?
On second thought...
Flickr just added a nifty geotagging capability, one which allows photosurfers to explore photos by place as well as by topic.
Based on my initial preview, it's not unlike the capability of Google Earth to enable you to zoom in on a place and get a satellite view. Only now, that geospatial view in flickr can allow you to get access to peoples' public pictures in the context of that place.
One can only imagine the potential uses (and abuses) of this technology. On the one hand, one can imagine how useful it would be to the virtual tourist who's trying to get a sense of place before they land on the ground (I hearken back to my own first trip to Rome, where I walked around cluelessly for at least a couple of days before I got my geographical bearings).
On the other hand, one can imagine using this technology for more nefarious purposes, using the pictures and associated addresses to conduct reconnaissance before dropping off a suitcase bomb.
But such geospatial capabilities have already been used for such nefarious purposes (the use of Google Maps for identifying bomb sites during the recent war in Lebanon), and I take the glass-half-full POV that their potential for good far outweighs the bad.
I also like that flickr has taken great pains to respect the privacy of the purveyors of the photographs. The new feature allows you to publicly display a picture, while preventing the association of the locale with the photograph (just in case you were somewhere where you weren't supposed to be...which leads me to ask, why are you posting that picture on the Intertubes in the first place???)
As an interactive marketing aficionado, I also really like the flickr "screen casts" explaining the new features and functions. I always find it extremely useful for a software or Web site provider to provide a quick, down-and-dirty explanation of what the new capabilities of a site or Web experience are, and how to "do" them without having to spend endless minutes I don't have reading an FAQ.
Call it easy learning for the interactive ADHD set.
I've been reading about Amazon's new EC2 service (Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud), which is not to be confused with its Amazon S3 (Amazon Simple Storage Service), which it positions as a "Web service that provides resizable compute capacity in the cloud."
BusinessWeek Online's Rob Hof tells us that this service will let "software and Web developers set up virtual servers with the software and services they want to provide," without having to buy computers or hire a hosting company. All at the bargain basement price of 10 cents an hour to run the custom server, plus data and bandwidth charges.
To me the interesting angle about the emerging Amazon cloud is that capacity can be quickly added or subtracted. As we've seen with so many Web services (particularly the popular Web Two Point Oh apps), demand utilization is often difficult to project (IBM's Tivoli Intelligent Orchestrator product is designed to help with just such a dynamic resource allocation in your own environment).
We'll see what kind of an uptake it gets, but I think the idea is sound, and I would never underestimate Jeff Bezos (and I hope our friends in IBM Global Services Outsourcing/Hosting are taking note of this emerging cloud.)
Meanwhile, you can check out my first episode of the IBM Short Cuts podcast series. To date, my esteemed and knowledgeable colleagues have covered "Beating Spyware," "Is Instant Messaging Confidential?," "Archiving E-Mail," and "Managing Contacts."
I pile on and hit the waves with some perspective on one of our favorite blogging nemeses, comment spam (which I encountered when this blog first tried to go anonymous).
Check it out and be sure to comment yourself with any remedies you've found useful in fighting off the comment spammers.
Also, note that you can subscribe to Short Cuts via iTunes or add to your MyYahoo page or listen directly from the Short Cuts home page.
Remember, we can all comment together or we can all....well, not comment together.
IBM announced the acquisition of Internet Security Systems, Inc. (ISS) earlier this morning.
ISS provides security solutions to thousands of companies and governments around the globe, helping to proactively protect against Internet threats across networks, desktops and servers.
With increased concerns regarding data and identity theft, regulatory compliance, and cyber security challenges, addressing IT security has become one of the most complex challenges companies face, regardless of size, location or industry.
The acquisition of ISS will augment IBM's position in the rapidly growing area of Managed Security Services, combining ISS' complementary automated security platform, services, software and expert consultants with IBM's broad security portfolio, innovative research and global reach.
"Companies recognize that rapidly evolving security threats and complex regulatory requirements have turned security into a mission-critical priority," said Val Rahmani, General Manager, Infrastructure Management Services, IBM Global Services, said of the announcement. "ISS is a strategic and valuable addition to IBM's portfolio of technology and services. This acquisition will help IBM to provide companies with access to trained experts and leading-edge processes and technology to evaluate and protect against threats and enforce security policies."
ISS has more than 11,000 customers worldwide including 17 of the world's largest banks, 15 of the largest governments, 11 of the top public insurance companies and 13 of the world's top IT organizations. ISS also brings to IBM a network of business partners skilled in selling the ISS product line and an expanded product set to the IBM Business Partner channel.
You can read more about the deal here.
Meanwhile, if you feel like reminiscing about the early salad days of the Web, long before pervasive cyber attacks, SPAM, and worms, check out our developerWorks' podcast featuring World Wide Web consortium director Tim Berners-Lee.
In a wide-ranging interview, Berners-Lee talks about his early history with the Web, opportunities and challenges at present, and his current project: the semantic Web.
If you were following this blog back earlier in the summer, you read that my dad had been diagnosed with a 90% blocked artery near his heart and had to go in and have a stint procedure.
I'm glad to report that he continues to do well, and continues to drive his golf handicap far below where I expect to ever take my own (He reminded me via email that he's back down to a 7 -- Go ahead, rub it in, why don't ya?!)
This past Sunday, my golf buddy Doug and I were out on the course that Harvey Penick made famous teaching the likes of Ben Crenshaw, Tom Kite, and countless other golfers (both amateur and professional), Riverside Golf Course, which is situated in east Austin.
We took the course about two and a half hours before Tiger Woods teed off on his final 18 for this year's P.G.A. Championship. I needed fear not missing any of the action, as my Time Warner DVR was recording all the action.
When I came home and cranked up the DVR, I immediately started having flashbacks to April 1997, the time Tiger ran away with his first major, The Masters, ending then at 18 under and far ahead of the pack. It was history repeating itself, only this time something seemed a little different.
Seven years after winning his first of now twelve majors, Tiger seemed more composed, more focused than ever.
Every putt. Every chip. Every drive (whether a 3-iron, 3-wood, or driver)...Every single shot he seemed laser focused.
I wrote in an email to my dad yesterday, jokingly, that Tiger Woods is a freak of (*&$%*&$% nature.
My dad wrote back that no, Tiger had been programmed and helped by his own dad to play the game of golf and that he worked as hard or harder on his game as anyone on the P.G.A. Tour.
Dad's are almost always right, and I think mine was right here. But Tiger's play was still a sight to behold.
With other players wilting (no names necessary...most everyone wilted compared to Tiger's play) under the challenge of Medinah #3, Tiger's game made it all seem like he was out on a round of windmill-laden putt-putt golf.
40 foot putts melting into the cup like butter. The sand shot at 16 (or was it 17) that was like watching the golfing equivalent of David Copperfield, the ball rising out of the sand and land as if guided by a sleight of hand (or was that a GPS-targeted missile?) a few short feet away from the hole.
Hitting 10 of 14 fairways. Needing only 27 putts for the round. Scoring 270 (seven strokes better than the record Tiger set when he won the 1999 P.G.A!)
I found myself cheering for him to get to 19-under to break yet another of his own records!
I don't know if the course superintendent at Medinah Course #3 had to go drown his woes in Scotch Sunday night, but don't feel bad, amigo. I know after 1999 you all tried to create a more formidable golf course. But Tiger just roared his way through like it was another day at the 18-hole office.
Ultimately, what was most compelling was not that there was no real competition -- it was watching Tiger play so well against himself.
That's what golf demands, and that's what Tiger delivered.
On being a Tiger, indeed.
The Internet-propelled "Snakes on a Plane" flick opened with great fanfare and after an endless loop of e-driven hyperbole. And though snakes may not be able to chew their food (in spite of their carnivorous nature), they sure chewed their way through the "Intertubes" over the past year.
Even sandwiched between the 7x24 news binge of JonBenet Ramsey's alleged killer being caught in Thailand and Mel Gibson's no contest plea in his DUI case, "Snakes" was able to hold its own and keep the spotlight on its rattler long enough for every cable and broadcast news outlet, save for Al Jazeera, to do the standard three-minute package on Samuel L. Jackson's romp through the snake-friendly skies.
Excuse me, Stewardess, I speak snake.
Whether the snakes on Samuel L's plane are of the Chrysopelean nature must, by necessity, be left up to the ophiologists -- I'm just not interested in getting that close to snakes, on a plane or anywhere else.
Just know this: The venom being flung around the Intertubes about this movie is a harmless grass snake bite compared to the Cobra fangs being revealed over Nick Carr's blog posting entitled "The Great Unread," in which Carr bemoaned "the loneliness of the long-tail blogger."
To see what all the fuss is about, slither on over to Technorati and enter the tag "Nick Carr" to wallow in this particularly vituperative den.
"A List" blogger Shel Israel had an especially logical rejoinder to Carr's dispatch.
From his perch high upon the Castle ("Hey Shel, how's the view up there? Could you throw me a beer while you're up there?!"), Israel writes that:
"Like all other blog readers, I have the right to choose and the right to be fickle. I have the right to link or not and so do you and so does everybody else. A committee does not get to decide from high within the castle."
Not even a committee of annointed, venomous snakes.
Now, if you'll please excuse me, I have to get back to paying attention to Samuel L. Jackson's endless press tour for "Snakes on a Plane." (E Online has all the snakespin here on the Megaplex.)
I don't know about you, but I'm about CNNed, MSNBCed, FOXed, and PBSed out on terrorism and national security.
But having just finished reading Ron Suskind's "The One-Percent Doctrine," having just taken a quick round-trip flight to San Jose myself, having wondered about some good friends who were still in the U.K. when the recent bombing plot was revealed and whom I knew would be trying to come back to the U.S. with their two small children in tow, having learned about all these new acronyms (to me, anyhow) like "TATP" (which stands for "Triacetone Triperoxide," just in case you've been curious)....after all that, I realized continued vigilance was still crucial despite our collective weariness.
Of course, our continued vigilance should be exerted both in a continued focus on improving our ability to know what's going on out there, while also balancing the risks of our needing to know with the inadvertent (or purposeful) misuse of information.
IBM's Jeff Jonas recently participated in the Markle Foundation's Task Force on National Security, which last month issued recommendations on how to reconcile national security needs with civil liberties requirements.
Its report (PDF, 4.8MB) offered a "new 'authorized use' standard for government handling of legally collected information that bases authorization to view information on how the information is going to be used, rather than on the nationality of the subject or the location of collection."
In his own public remarks made when the document was released last month, Jonas observed that "The Task Force has never called for the wholesale transfer of data between systems or agencies; rather, we have called for leaving the data with the original holder."
He pointed out that this approach enables users to discover who has information specifically relevant to their case, and that holders of such information can then grant access, based on policy, to each information request. Such a "discoverability" approach delivers on the "need to share" goal by first answering the question "share what with who?"
Read Jeff's post here to learn, which also includes links back to the press release outlining other key tenets of the report.
Connecting...while protecting...the dots.
Riding on the heels of the 25th Anniversary of the IBM Personal Computer, and smack dab in the midst of this week's LinuxWorld out in San Francisco, Lenovo just announced a new ThinkPad T60p that comes preloaded with Linux.
For all you penguinistas, the new ThinkPad specifically comes preloaded with Novell's SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop 10 and uses an Intel Centrino Due processor. It also includes the Lenovo version of the airbag, in the form of the Active Protection System that can help prevent data loss when you accidentally chunk it across the room at the doofus who won't turn the volume down while he's playing LugRadio.
The T60p also comes with a ThinkPad HDD Shock Absorber, just in case you do nail the doofus and you need to minimize any potential for scratching of your hard drive.
Check it out here.
I haven't completely disappeared, but it continues to be a heavy planning time just as some other projects are starting to take root. I could tell you about them, but then I'd have to delete myself.
Speaking of getting deleted, video-sharing site YouTube.Com went off the air (ether?) for a spell yesterday, even as comScore Media Metrix announced that YouTube had broken into the Internet Top 50 for the first time. Hmm, one has to wonder if these two events are remotely connected?
According to a story on YahooNews, YouTube garnered 16 million unique U.S. visitors in the month of July, a 20 percent month-over-month increase. Considering that YouTube had about 58,000 unique visitors in August 2005...yeah, well, you do the math.
Then again, how many visits might they have lost in that multi-hour outage yesterday?
This I know for certain: My TV typically doesn't go out on me, just as my car normally doesn't refuse to start.
If more of these Web 2.0 companies are to stay in the Internet Top 50 and their Top XX brethren, their availability and uptime are going to have to move up in conjunction with their traffic. When's the last time you saw ABC or CBS posting a message that said "Down for Maintenance?"
Why I remember back in the Jurassic days of the Dot Com Era when we had to walk three miles through the Internet snow to keep our servers running and to garner our Web metrics (and we were darned happy to get 'em!)
Media Metrix was the early-in king of the Web measurement heap (long before all the M&As and bouncing around from one owner to another) and M&M's eyeball ratings led directly to valuations of pre-IPO companies ready to take on the world. But we're a long way away from walking in the snow with respect to Web measurement.
I would submit to you based on my own experience within IBM that it's as important to ensure the definition of what you're measuring is as clear and agreed upon as the voluminous amount of them you have generated.
Apples to apples and all that.
So here's to having plenty of available apples, agreeing that they are, in fact, apples, and to better apple counters for knowing how many one has picked.
It was 25 years ago today that IBM announced the IBM 5150 personal computer.
The 5150 had a whopping 16K of memory, and before it was announced, as our archive site reminds us, an IBM computer often cost as much as $9 million and required an air-conditioned quarter-acre of space and 60 people to run and keep it loaded with instructions.
Think about 60 people standing around your ThinkPad with a portable AC under their arms in an office the size of a quarter acre while you try to get some work done. : )
Happy Birthday, PC. You can read more about the debut of the IBM Personal Computer here.
I'll certainly never forget the first IBM PC my dad bought....especially after I accidentally erased its hard drive. Doh!
GigaOm tells us that open-source PBX and telephony software maker, Asterisk, has received $13.8M in Series A funding from a Boston-based telecom specialist venture fund, Matrix Partners.
Asterisk runs on Linux, BSD, and Mac OS X and operates with many standards-based telephony equipment, and provides voicemail, directory features, call conferencing, interactive voice response, and call queing.
Meanwhile, IBM announced its third software acquisition in a little over a week's time. This time, it was enterprise content management software provider FileNet, based in Costa Mesa, CA. FileNet's software is intended to help companies manage content throughout their organizations while automating and streamlining business processes.
We're gonna be some busy beavers back at the IBM Software Web dam.
I'm a bit of a news junkie, if that wasn't evident. My social studies teachers always told me it was important to keep up with what's going on in the world, to read the newspaper, to watch the evening news, etc. Of course, now with the explosion of personal media (blogs, podcasts, news aggregation engines and filters, etc.), it's all a bit overwhelming.
To my mind, filters are more important than ever. Within IBM, I've often distinguished between the old and new media as being the difference between hunting-and-gathering and the Domino's pizza guy. With hunting-and-gathering, during the first decade of the WWW and the early evolution of search engines, we primarily characterized our behavior in terms of going out and looking for information.
Next, with the advent of various content syndication standards (namely RSS 1 and 2, and Atom), we saw the Domino's pizza delivery guy arrive on the scene. Now, we can "subscribe" to information, filtering it upfront and indicating our specific interests so that only the most relevant information (hopefully) arrives on our virtual doorstep.
What I rapidly see happening is a whole new layer of structure both necessary and inevitable with the firehose of information being developed and distributed. Call it the "Super Duper Wisdom of Crowds Hyper Meta Information Filter" (My term!) This filter will, increasingly, with all the rapid-fire evolutionary technologies like social bookmarking, tagging, etc. work in conjuction with the increasingly meta-oriented search capabilities -- whereupon we search existing searches (Rollyo, etc.) for that single and elusive information nugget -- then have our RSS newspaper delivery boy drop it off on our doorstep.
Here's the problem with all this: One could spend more time filtering and sifting and looking for information than consuming the information itself.
Maybe I should just start back up my subscription to the New York Times?
Speaking of filters, topix.net just announced a new search filter out at the Search Engines conference. Check it out here and see how you can search for news results over the past year and beyond. It seems especially useful for backtracking and searching for past news stories on a specific topic or from a specific region (city, zip, etc.)
I just got back from Silicon Valley...in fact, just yesterday afternoon I was standing in the glorious northern California sunshine outside the San Jose Convention Center yesterday as the Search Engine Strategies conference was about to get underway...but alas, I had to catch the Nerd Bird back to Austin and didn't get to stick around for the festivities.
Too bad, so sad, as I suspect the festivities got off to a rocking start with AOL's search privacy snafu, for which Jason Calacanis now apologizes profusely and indicates that he wishes AOL would "NOT KEEP LOGS of our search data."
You'd have thought AOL would have learned from the Google/U.S. Justice Department search fishing expedition last year, but alas not. It's yet another indicator of the increasing friction between Big Business' opportunity to leverage search marketing information for marketing advantage and the consumer/citizens' right to privacy.
Former Sun Microsystems CEO Scott McNealy told us several years ago to get over it, that "you have zero privacy." I'm starting to think he was right, even though I certainly didn't agree with him at the time.
You can catch the latest and greatest here on CNET, and to AOL's credit they have issued a whopper of an apology. Meanwhile, I think it's high time, if they already have not, that more of these companies appoint a Chief Privacy Officer or even a Chief Customer Data Protection Officer...it's long overdue, and until this issue is put higher up the marketing agenda, these kinds of ridiculous breaches are going to continue to occur.[Read More]
IBM acquired Webify Solutions earlier today, a privately-held company based here in Austin which helps insurers, health care companies, banks, and other companies share data among disparate software systems that might not otherwise be able to do so.
Webify's offerings will work with the existing IBM service-oriented architecture (SOA) portfolio to help speed up the delivery of SOA composite business applications. The company's pre-built, customizable SOA assets, semantic models, and policies can help streamline the definition, assembly, deployment and management of SOA-based business services and processes that support industry and semantic standards.
To learn more about this acquisition and its import, go here.
"ShortCuts:" New IBM Podcast SeriesIf you haven't checked out IBM's new podcast series, "ShortCuts," click here to learn more. ShortCuts is a free podcast series that provides technology tips on current trends and issues such as computer security, instant messaging etiquette, and email management.
Each four-minute "ShortCuts" segment begins with a "Question of the Week" geared to listeners of all knowledge and skill levels. Questions in the series range from: "Is it proper etiquette to send a graphic smiley face or 'wink' to my boss?" to "How can I 'unsend' an email?"
Ben Edwards, IBM's new media communications guru who joined us from the Economist magazine, is the mastermind behind this new series and indicated that the ShortCuts podcasts would be distributed from the IBM Web site, as well as via Apple's iTunes and MyYahoo's RSS feeds.
So what's the first short cut? IBM Lotus software engineer Rocky Oliver walks us through the spyware and adware minefield, offering some helpful tips and tricks on how you can clean up your computer's act. Upon a quick listen (the first episode is fast and furious at around 4 minutes), it's actionable intelligence real mortals can use.[Read More]
I don't give a damn'Bout my reputationThe world's in troubleThere's no communicationAn' everyone can sayWhat they want to sayIt never gets better anywaySo why should I care'Bout a bad reputation anywayOh no, not meOh no, not me
-- Joan Jett
And you might ask yourself...what do the lyrics of one rock n roller named Joan Jett have to do with a bad reputation?
On eBay, reputation is everything. But apparently a new scam is turning good reputations into bad.
In a story posted yesterday on CMP's TechWeb site, writer Gregg Keizer informs us that there's a "new twist on an old con" on eBay, where cyber fraudster's are setting up bogus auctions in order to boost their eBay rankings and reputations...then turning around and capitalizing on those bot-generated reputations to sell things via auctions that they have no intentions of shipping to the buyers.
It reminds me of an online Texas Hold 'Em Poker game, where two or more players are collaborating behind the backs of the other players through instant messaging, working to increase the antes and working the cards against you in the poker "back channel."
As the old saying goes, if you can't spot the sucker in the game, it's probably you!
The most amazing part of the scam is that the bots are interacting with other bots to build the reputation of the individuals who then work to scam us mere mortals! Not only do you run the risk of getting taken! You get taken by a bot who was collaborating with another bot! Mr. Bot, meet Hal.
You can read Fortinet's roundup of the scam here.
Meanwhile, watch your back...and your bot.[Read More]
It's Monday at IBM, what can I say. My day has been monopolized with calls and emails and work and...I just had to pause long enough to take a blog commercial break.
Okay, I'm centered and ready to blog. Can you say "I Been Monopolized?"
Speaking of commercial breaks, on the very same day that increased rumor and innuendo swirls around about the longer-term fate of AOL, and as CNN announces a revamped video portal that encourages contributions from citizen-journalists entitled "CNN Exchange," a completely and seemingly unrelated report suggests that houses with digital video recorders (DVRs) watch less TV than adults in the general population who don't have DVRs.
Excuse me? Can you hit the rewind button for just a sec?
They clearly did not survey yours truly's household.
Anecdotal though it may be, let me just set the record straight: I lived and worked in NYC for several years, where there are plenty of amusements and diversions of all varieties. Watching TV was not high on my cultural agenda.
But in 2000, when I had occasion to use my first DVR, I went from watching virtually no TV (the evening news, the occasional sports broadcast, etc.) to becoming a full-fledged TV junkie. Why?
Though some might have attributed this partly to my not having a life -- which would be at least true in part -- the more likely culprit was the shifting of control that the DVR presented.
For far too many decades, the commercial TV networks have been the traffic cops of our collective blissful idiot box entertainment schedule. From where I sit (which in recent times is way too much on my sofa in front of the TV), the digital video recorder changed all that forever. It unenslaved me from the confines of that evil broadcast programming schedule.
In just a few short years, I've gone from a world where the broadcast schedule dominated (at least from the perspective of the networks) to becoming largely irrelevant (My TV schedule is now called the "Time Warner Interactive Programming Guide").
Second, yes, I do fast forward during the ads (Oops, did I say that out loud?) Yes, I did. Again, I do fast forward during the ads. You want me to rewind and say it again?
But guess what else? Sometimes I also stop and watch the ads, especially if they're entertaining! Can you imagine??? Hitting the rewind button to go back and watch an ad that I missed?
Geico? I am all about that Gecko. I could envision getting together with that really cool little lizard and talking a little auto collision probability sometime over a Vodka Gimlet.
Or those new Apple commercials contrasting Windows and Macs? You know, the ones where the Windows guy freezes in his startlingly realistic recreation of the "Blue Screen of Death?" I wish I had a button on the remote to download those ads...talk about knowing your audience.
Yes, in Marketing 1.0, good and entertaining advertisements were optional. In Marketing 2.0, gaining -- and more importantly, keeping -- peoples' attention is going to be all about getting them to hit the stop, rewind, and play buttons. In that order.
Madison Avenue ad agencies' new mantra for training their TV commercial producing folks should go something like this:
"Stop, rewind, play. Stop, rewind, play. Stop, rewind, play." My thumb hurts! "Stop, rewind, play." This is worse than the Crackberry! "Stop, rewind, play." Cut!
No, I'm more inclined to believe the CBS proprietary research and my own experience which suggests that whatever their level of TV viewing, the audience tends to watch more telly after getting their DVRs than before.
The boob has been unleashed on the tube, and their vote is now the remote.
This had escaped my attention during my travels, but I wanted to ensure there was a mention of it here in the Turbo blog.
Last week, we made a couple of key announcements intended to help our friends with smaller businesses to secure, protect, and "redundify" their IT perimeters.
One was the IBM Express Managed Security Services for Firewall and VPN...I know, the name is a mouthful, but this "plug and play" appliance can help SMB customers manage their security without having to add an additional piece of hardware to their environment (that's included as part of our service).
It includes a firewall, as well as the capability to connect multiple locations and provide remote access using a VPN technology. The best part is, no IT skills are required on your part...IBM does all the heavy lifting.
On the data redundancy front, our Tivoli team (I'm a former "Tivolian", a badge I wear proudly) has established a distribution agreement for its Tivoli Continuous Data Protection for Files software with Digital River, which will be selling the product through its oneNetwork online marketplace (which in turn sells through reseller sites such as Circuit City, CompUSA, OfficeMax, and Staples).
I believe I've actually written about this product in a former posting many, many moons ago, but as a refresher, the Tivoli Continuous Data Protection product is differentiated from the rest of the pack in that it saves users' information continuously in real time, rather than in periodic snapshots (Forget to hit the "Save" button? No worries!"), and once saved, is automagically sent to a remote location (DASD, USB drive, etc.)
You can try out a trial here.[Read More]
Back in Texas, thus far we've been able to keep our own lights (and air conditioning) on...for the time being. But then again, the temperature actually dropped below 100: a virtual late July cool wave here in Austin.
In California, things are a little more heated, particularly in the Central Valley where temperatures pushed into the 102-3ish range yesterday. Governor Schwarzenegger, sir, might it be possible to do a little heat terminating?
Of course, the electricity demand is apparently being driven not only by the need for AC...there also seems to be an endless supply of Web 2.0 data centers cranking up in Silicon Valley which are in turn cranking up the need for more AC/DC
Speaking of hot currents, the weather is not the only hot thing out in Kal-ee-forn-ay-ee this week. Yesterday, the Stanford Technology Ventures Program's AlwaysOn conference launched. Other than a terribly confusing conference Web site, the agenda looks fantabulous and I'd love to be a fly on that wall for what clearly seem to be some compelling sessions. You can follow the little bouncing Sand Hill Road ball by watching the Webcast here.
None other than IBM's own Irving Wladawsky-Berger (whose TypePad-hosted blog you can read here) will be speaking at the conference tomorrow (Thursday, July 27th) on a panel entitled "Does America Still Have a Lock on Innovation?" Last week Irving posted an interesting piece on the conference blog entitled "Some Personal Reflections on the Changing Nature of Strategy."
This Apple Fell Far From Darwin's Tree
Meanwhile, bad news back at the Mac OS X ranch. Darwin's natural selection has gobbled up the OpenDarwin Mac OS X development initiative. In a posting yesterday on the Open Darwin Web site, a communique cited that "OpenDarwin was originally created with the goal of providing a development environment for building and developing Mac OS X sources" but that "Over the past few years, OpenDarwin has become a mere hosting facility for Mac OS X related projects."
I guess Darwin never got to reap the Apple fruity benefits of evolution, after all. Be sure to wave goodbye to him on the U.S.S. Beagle for me, guys.
Finally, returning to where we started: In a desperate plea to find the power on button for the AC -- or was that the power converter so MySpace could turn its servers back on?
Om Malik tells us this week's downtown LA blackout was caused by a "switch meltdown" (and not a Sean Penn core meltdown, as many Hollywood agents had intimated). Malik cites Fox Interactive Media exec Ross Levinsohn who indicated that MySpace will be looking to "add more data centers, preferably on the East Coast to make the system even more redundant."
Ross, one suggestion: Don't put those new servers out anywhere near my old abode of Woodside, Queens, lessen you wish MySpace to remain redundantly dark.[Read More]
I survived the 40th birthday soiree in NYC, celebrating with some old (as in "I-used-to-work-with-them-a-long-time-ago" old, not age-old) ibm.com amigos along with some other non-work friends Saturday night. This was after taking in the rain-delayed Mets/Astros game at Shea Stadium, which the Mets ultimately won 4-3 (still, the 'Stros got off two a great start with two first-inning homers to start the game 3-Zip).
I was having flashbacks to the NLCS baseball drama that was October 1986!
While in NY, I kept reading about the enduring blackout that continued in some major areas of Queens, a blackout that has lasted for nearly a week now. Once upon a time, more years ago than I care to count, I lived in Woodside, Queens, while attending New York University. Turns out, Woodside was one of the areas affected.
Anyhoo, I sympathize with my former neighbors, as it was extremely hot and humid in NYC over the weekend. And apparently, power outages are one technology trend having potentially huge impact on another: Software as a Service
Over this very same weekend, the now-highest trafficked Web site in the U.S., MySpace, apparently endured two separate extended power outages at a key L.A.-based data center.
A result not of greedy Enron traders this time, but rather a heat wave that has swept over Kal-ee-forn-ee-ya the past few days, one which raised electricity demand and left tens of thousands of consumers without power.
Judging by my math (which isn't very good...but the point remains regardless), MySpace was down for nearly 18 hours. I don't know exactly how much in lost advertising revenue that would add up to, but I suspect Mr. Murdoch was strongly encouraging the California utiliies to get the lights back on as quickly as possible.
What's most interesting to me about the timing of the blackouts was that they pre-empted a story in today's Wall Street Journal entitled "Is It Time to Dump Your Desktop?" (WSJ Registration Required) The piece covers the evolution of Web-based software, highlighting offerings from Google, Microsoft, Yahoo and others. It was a mostly balanced story, saying that Web-based software has come a long way in a short period of time and that small businesses are prime candidates for moving to Web-based technologies.
But hold your software migration, there, Tonto.
Not once did the story mention the potential for power or power-related data outages that could bring same said small businesses to their knees were a major power outage to strike as it did MySpace over the weekend.
It's one thing to lose access to your MySpace song list...it's another thing entirely to lose access to your online customer database.[Read More]
Ah, the life and times of the adventurous business traveller. I just arrived here in foggy Somers after having taken a Beechcraft puddle jumper from Boston to Westchester County Airport, where I watched out the front window and prayed the USAirways pilot could put that sucker down on the little white stripe.
It's been many moons since I flew in a Beechcraft, and yet words can hardly describe the feeling of the wind dropping out from under those wings and, subsequently, feeling the plane, and one's stomach, drop with it. Calgon, take me away.
But thus far, the busy week of busy beaver business travel has been worth the hassle. Let me start at the end and work my way back to the beginning.
If you read this blog back in March, you remember that I spoke highly of my experiences at SXSW Interactive in my hometown of Austin, where I had the opportunity to hear from the founders of 37signals. This morning, the Chicago Web 2.0 "skinny software" stalwarts make news with an apparent private equity investment by Jeff "Amazon" Bezos in the company.
While this may seem contrary to the formerly stated 37Signals' approach to business -- at SXSW they explained "Why take money if you don't have to?...Get a server and some friends and go to town" -- apparently Bezos was too good a friend to pass up.
I suppose this deal makes big the new small...just as 40 is the new 20. (Jason and team, I'll be happy to turn you guys on to one of our server salespeople to spend some of that cash infusion from Mr. Bezos).
Could Somebody Please Pass the Water?
Meanwhile, back in Boston, I had the occasion to visit some old and good friends from our Cambridge-based Internet Technology team (Sean and Chet, muchas gracias for last night's Net Client assist -- I'll never quite look at IP trace routing the same again), and even took in a few pints of...really good water. I highly recommend the water at the Cambridge Brewing Company.
Now that we've solved the intricacies of collaborative filtering as it relates to social tagging intersecting with the power of ranking personal referrals, I think we need to package up our new team and sell ourselves to Bezos as well. With IBM earning a patent commission, of course. Who knows, we might even end up inside the "Amazon Fishbowl with Bill Maher"!
Now, despite the wonderful meetings I had with my team, most of whom work remotely, the technological highlight of the journey was the opportunity I had to meet Blue Gene.
Actually, Blue Gene is more of a concept and research project than a single computer, but like DNA, the concept -- and hence, the computers -- have replicated and recombined to form numerous instantiations. With a peak speed of 360 Teraflops (as in trillions of calculations per second), Blue Gene systems occupy the #1 and #2 positions in the TOP500 (a list of the sites operating the 500 most powerful computer systems in the world.)
While in Cambridge, one of my colleagues had occasion to power up the Blue Gene ...and, well, speaking of 500s, the rush of air was like sticking one's head over the finish line at Indy -- I could sure use one of those back in Austin to speed up my PowerPointiness!
If you'd like to learn more about Blue Gene, feel free to cruise on over and read the detailed entry in Wikipedia. Just please be careful to keep your head inside the browser at all times....Oh, and if you don't blink, you just might catch a glimpse of the blue checkered flag.
As for me, seeing as I couldn't socially engineer my way into Fenway, I'm off to a communications love-in here in Somers before taking in the Astros and Mets at Shea in celebration of my turning the new 20 tomorrow.
The way I figure it, being a native Texan and a onetime New Yorker, I simply can't lose.[Read More]
I'm about to get on a plane to go from Austin to Boston. If anyone has a single Red Sox ticket they want to get rid of, I've always wanted to see a game at Fenway live and in person. Otherwise, I'll be watching the game from the Hotel Marlowe.
Meanwhile, I've been building out the sleek new black MacBook I acquired as a 40th birthday gift to myself. Lest you accuse me of being a traitor to Lenovo and Thinkpads, fear not, I own several...but I'm tired of living in a Windows world, and I really dig the Mac OS -- and now that I can run Windows on the Mac, it was too enticing not to have the best of both worlds.
Of course, the one thing I needed most, my AT&T VPN "Net Client," which is what enables me to connect back to IBM's network, was the one thing that didn't pop right up...seen those Mac vs. Windows commercials recently? Yeah, they're pretty much spot on...(If anyone in IBM IT is listening, please please please find a way to make it easier to get the AT&T Net Client up and running. I'm pretty good at troubleshooting stuff on my own, but I've spent more hours troubleshooting that technology on multiple machines than I care to count -- I'll never get those hours back, and trust me when I say it's not a good use of my time, which is ultimately IBM's dime. And from talking to others I get the sense that I'm not alone.)
Back to the Mac...I was torn between loading the Apple "Bootcamp" software, which requires one to boot back and forth between Mac OS X and Windows, and the new Parallels virtual machine technology, which allows you to run both Mac OS X and Windows at the same time. I tried Parallels out over the weekend using Windows 2000, but reloaded it when my new Windows XP CD arrived yesterday.
So far, it's mostly good, and the downsides are outweighed thus far by the fact that I can run both OSes at once. It's clear there are some issues, as reported, with DirectX controls running smoothly or at all (I couldn't get my virtual golf program to run!), but on the other hand, Firefox, FeedDemon, and others came up without a hitch. I also got streaming video to run under Windows just fine, able to see both YouTube and CNN videos with no problemo.
Finally, having been one of those geeks who used to load the new builds of OS/2 Warp everytime they released a new beta circa 1992-1994, I'm most excited about being able to use Parallels to load Warp as a virtual machine. I haven't run OS/2 in years, but I miss that OS/2 command line so.
If anyone has a CD of Warp they're not using, feel free to email me at email@example.com I suspect I can find one on eBay for a buck or so. LOL Meanwhile, if anyone has had any experiences working with Parallels, feel free to share your experiences here in the comments.[Read More]
This has been one crazy week. The tragic Big Dig accident in Boston (Please firm up those tunnels, Beantown...Ill be visiting your Tea Party house next week, and don't fancy a swim in to the harbor from the airport)...a guy in NYC blew up his apartment building right around the corner from my old office in Manhattan because he didn't want to lose it in a divorce...the commuter train bombings in Mumbai...the escalating violence in Israel and Lebanon.
Can't we all just get along?
Despite all the major geopolitical tidings, however, it was a week that, for me, started with more personal news. My 60-something father took the first step towards becoming a bionic man.
Let me explain: After a routine stress test that turned out to be not so routine, my dad's doctor advised him that he wanted to do a nuclear CAT scan late to check things out in a little more detail. Not satisfied with the results of the CAT scan, the doctor explained he was going to need to perform a heart catheterization.
Yes, that would be the procedure where they push a camera atop a thin wire through an artery in your upper leg and then all the way up near the heart.
As it turned out, my father's doctor's initial suspicion from the stress test was an astute diagnosis, for it so happened dad had a major artery that was 90% blocked -- not good.
To remedy the situation, the doctor took immediate action, performing an angioplasty and the placement of a stent to keep a healthy flow of oxygen-rich blood to his heart.
This all happened on Tuesday. I'm happy to report now, today, so far so good. This morning my mom informed me that my father is out and about, going to the post office to check the mail and stopping in for a while at his workplace.
Just a few short years ago, such a condition would likely have demanded a full bypass operation and down time of multiple weeks. Today, my dad was headed back to work three days after the procedure (he promised he would take it easy -- we're holding you to that, dad).
With all this week's increased geopolitical instability, I just wanted to take a few moments and report some good news. Even if that news may only be important to a handful of my friends and family members, I thought it important to let you know that there was some good news out there. These days, a little bit of good news can go a long way.
Meanwhile, I want to extend my thoughts and prayers to my IBM colleagues in our Haifa Labs and with all people throughout the impacted Middle East region. I hope and pray cooler heads prevail and that some good news reaches you soon as well.[Read More]
Our friends at Dell have finally decided to launch a blog,
called "one2one," although judging from the reaction of several longtime bloggers, it's sudden appearance may fall under the blogosphere category of "too little, too late."
In particular, Jeff Jarvis, longtime TV critic and journalist and author of the "Buzz Machine" blog -- has penned an ongoing one-way conversation about his challenges with the Dell support. His conclusion: Dell has started talking, but still isn't listening.
As Jarvis wrote yesterday in Buzz Machine, "the conversation is already happening out there without you. Join in that conversation. [But] Dell continues to believe that it can control the conversation. That horse is out of the barn, over the horizon, dead, and buried."
In fact, I could swear I saw that horse galloping through Zilker Park down the street from my residence here in Austin the other day. It had a wild look on its face, and seemed awfully thirsty. I tried to coax it in for a drink of water, but that horse was having none of it.
I say good luck to that horse on finally finding a watering hole where it can settle down and rethink its contrariness. Being an Austinite, I'm all about supporting the local economy (where Dell is headquartered), even when it may seem contrary to my own economic interest. Dell has done wonders for Texas and beyond, bringing low-cost PCs to people around the globe.
But being a blogger myself, I think Jarvis is correct when he says that blogging is about both talking and listening...heck, I'd even take it even a step further: Listening to -- rather than just talking to -- customers is just plain good bidness.
And that is ultimately what Jarvis' conversation has all been about: Business, not blogging. The fact that such criticism may be emanating via the Internets...well, hey, welcome to the 21st century. Were it the year 1855 here in the Texas Hill Country, the message just as easily could have been transmitted via smoke signals. It's the message that really matters here, not the medium.
For "one2one" not to even mention or incorporate a head nod to Jarvis after all his Dell trials and tribulations suggests that the horse has evolved into a great big blogosphere elephant: one which hasn't been acknowledged, much less given anything to drink.
Dell blogger Manish Mehta writes in his first post about the rebuilding of the Dell Web site: "The unfortunate truth is that we ended up concreting the cow path."
Among other things.[Read More]