Todd "Turbo" Watson -- IBM Corporation
After months of build up and market anticipation, the IBM InterConnect event got kick started here at Royal Sentosa Resorts on Sentosa Island in Singapore, and after a quick introduction by IBM growth markets executive, John Dunderdale, IBM senior vice president Steve Mills hit the stage and outlined the core value proposition behind the event [...]
Read more at Turbo’s personal blog[Read More]
The last time Tiger Woods was the number one ranked golfer in the world was October 2010. That’s a grand total of 29 months ago. That all changed this week at Arnold Palmer’s Bay Hill Invitational, which Tiger Woods won running away at -13. That’s Woods’ eighth time to win the same PGA tournament. Justin Rose [...]
Read more at Turbo’s personal blog[Read More]
Turbo debriefs on a new partnership agreement between IBM and Saudi Arabian mobile telecommunications firm Mobily which will use IBM’s Spoken Web solution to create voice sites using the mobile phone network to establish a spoken version of the internet.
Read more at Turbo’s personal blog[Read More]
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]
Now that the Thanksgiving holiday is over with, and considering that this is "Cyber Monday," I figured it would be in order for me to go ahead and send you my Christmas wish list.
Not to be presumptuous or anything...because I've definitely been a bad boy this year (what else is new, right?)
But, I also have been very productive at the Big Blue beehive, and was just thinking perhaps that a little bit of that effort might...and I emphasize the might...you know, circle back my way a little sumpin sumpin, you know what I'm sayin'?
Like the rest of America -- 32 percent of which in a recent survey indicated that they would be shopping online on this wonderful celebration of all things digital e-commerce and the soon-to-be-arriving Kris Kringle (and which will likely contribute to a 1/3 drop in American business productivity for the day) -- I, too, am most interested in electronics...as every year.
(And I want to make sure I'm helping make my own contribution to the $700M US that comScore is projecting will be spent today alone in e-commerce purchases!)
First up on my list is the new Amazon e-reading device, the Kindle.
Yes, Jeff Bezos may, in fact, be using the Kindle as a Trojan horse way into his version of the electronic lock-in of the future reading experience.
But if I get a Kindle, I can charge myself to read my own blog, in which case I can then tell people there are paying customers of said blog.
My mom will be extremely proud. And I know, Santa, you wouldn't want to let my mom down.
Next up, I'd really like to get my own social networking agent. I've been spending more and more time trying to tell all my Facebook friends what I'm up to, and accept all those Plaxo Pulse invites, and write all those LinkedIn business recommendations...but...
Well, Santa, at some point a guy has to get some real work done.
So I was thinking: Perhaps you and the Elves could find it in your hearts to forego the coal and get me some hired help? I promise I'll use them exclusively to help on the social networking front (believe me, there's no shortage of stuff to do).
They won't have to make copies or go get coffee or anything, I swear. And, who knows, it could very well turn into a great permanent position for the right motivated little networker.
Next up...and was there ever really any question about this...I'd like to finally get my chance to get a Nintendo Wii ($579 U.S. at LowestDeal.Com!)
Last I heard, IBM made the "Broadway" 90-nanometer microprocessor used in the Wii, so by buying a Wii, you'll actually be helping to boost IBM's share price, which I just know has to lift your holiday spirits.
Moreover -- and I'm sure word's out around the North Pole on this front -- that Rayman Raving Rabbids game for the Wii is insane fun, Santa!
Santa, let me just ask you this one question: Have you ever thrown a virtual cow ball and hammer style? The elves? How about Rudolph?
Well, you guys have no idea what you're missing, especially after a long day at the office dealing with all the political in-fighting that I'm sure must be going on at the North Pole during this time of year.
I can tell you right now, Rayman Raving Rabbids alone is reason enough to get your own Wii (while you all are hunting through eBay to get mine.)
Best Buy's Cyber Monday price for Rayman Raving Rabbids 2: $48.99 U.S.
You can't afford not to buy a whole bunch of copies at that price, Santa!
Well, I have to get back to it. I've now done my small part in wasting precious American business productivity on Cyber Monday.
And Santa, just one final reminder: that's Todd "Turbo" Watson, with two 'd's, and a "Turbo" in the middle.
Happy e-shopping!Read More]
The news broke today in the Wall Street Journal that Abby Kohnstamm, IBM's senior vice president of marketing -- in essence, if not title, IBM's "chief marketing officer" -- is leaving Big Blue after a 12-year reign.
If you've worked in the marketing discipline at IBM anytime over the past decade, or even in marketing in the technology industry at large, you know that Abby's name has become virtually synonymous with the dramatic impact in marketing that occurred at IBM under her watch.
It's no secret that, historically, IBM has been a very sales-focused culture, with marketing often an afterthought. But as the Big Blue ship teetered on the abyss in 1991-93, and after Lou Gerstner took the helm, Abby and her collective team -- along with our friends at Ogilvy and Mather Worldwide -- worked virtually around the clock to breath new life into the IBM brand as they helped redefine what we stood for as a company, one committed to helping our customers bring new value to their businesses around the globe, to articulate the key role the Internet would play in that transformation, and even to leverage that new medium as a key channel for delivering our e-business message where our audience lived and breathed.
From those early "Solutions to a Small Planet" commercials (the ones with the nuns and contemplative Frenchmen walking along the Seine?) to the recent "Help Desk" campaign, the ground-breaking advertising that Abby's global marketing team produced was an external reflection of the vast, hard fought organizational work going on behind the scenes to build and refine a professional marketing discipline inside IBM.
For those of us who have practiced in that discipline -- from market intelligence to interactive marketing (my own specialty) -- the instruction and experience that this transformation produced helped formulate not only a career path, but also a great deal of pride among its practitioners. We watched the emergence and evolution of both discipline and message -- ones which would reshape the consciousness of the company inside and out, something any effective marketing effort should aspire to accomplish.
So, Abby, we thank you for all your hard work, persistence, and leadership, and we wish you the very best in your new endeavors. You leave behind a legacy of marketing excellence that any successor would be hard pressed to follow.
More importantly, you leave behind the tools and expertise future marketers at IBM will need for marketing to a much smaller planet than the one you found when you first arrived.[Read More]
turbotodd 100000388Y Tags:  browser_wars google antitrust microsoft chrome 7 Comments 6,214 Views
But by panel (page) 15, I was lost in the technical gobbledegook and just wanted to get past all the multi-threading stuff to understand why I should switch from Firefox to Chrome.
I'm sure I'll download it and give a test drive nonetheless, but jeez, folks, a little bit can go a long way.
I like Richie Rich as much as the next guy, but I can also really appreciate a 30 second elevator pitch, too.
Comics were meant to be quickly understood and consumed, not dissected like a PhD in computational complexity theory.
Warning: Marketing by Silicon Valley engineers is a danger to consumers everywhere!
To add insult to injury, the Mac version of Chrome was not released concurrently with the Windows version, so we know whose heart this stake was being hammered towards.
Where's vampire Lestat when you need him? Ah, that's right, he was relegated to the land of comic books way back in 1990-91!
It's soooo 1998, when you think about it, this new front in the browser war.
What's next, Microsoft files an antitrust lawsuit claiming Google's new browser is anti-competitive because it's integrally intertwined with the Google cloud operating system?
Whoa, there, cowboy, them browser chickens are finally coming home to roost, and the Google fox is guarding the Microsoft henhouse!
The more things change, the more they stay the same.
Me, I think I'm just gonna go take in the latest Opera.Read More]
turbotodd 100000388Y Tags:  cio information_management media ibm_software 7 Comments 4,097 Views
The feature on this week's ibm.com home page is "The Future of Sports," and as I read through drafts of some of the story's components -- including listening to the excellent future of sports podcast - it dawned on me that there may have never been a better time to be an athlete or a sports fan.
Full disclosure: My name is Todd, and I'm a sportsaholic. I grew up in north Texas, near Dallas, where football was as close to a religion as one could get without going to church, and where Little League baseball diamonds were a fixture permanently etched into the landscape. In my adolescence, I played both baseball and football, and also dabbled in soccer, basketball, cross country, golf, and even rodeo (yes, we do consider rodeo to be a sport...same with NASCAR...but more on that later).
I was never a star player, particularly in team sports, but I relished the opportunity and experience of playing both organized team and individual sports, and my participation taught me no end of lessons: teamwork, collaboration, cooperation, sacrifice, perserverance, how to throw my golf putter into a lake with style and finesse but also with the appropriate amount of anger...all qualities that I would inevitably call upon in later years for my business life.
Sporting Solutions for a Small Planet
In my travels for and work experiences on behalf of IBM, I've been most fortunate to have escaped the boundaries of my own geography and culture, and witnessed what sports means around the world, both virtually and up close.
Instant replay: On one of my international business trips, to Munich, I watched in fascination at the complete preoccupation of my European colleagues with the 1998 World Cup, and realized that no matter where in the world you are, football is football...except in Europe, where soccer is football, which my European colleagues were quick to point out...but my real point in mentioning it was this: sport is sport around the globe, certainly even as one man's sport is another man's bore.
I also learned that sport, like politics, is mostly local, even as it plays a crucial and necessary role in shaping national and even state identity...but it's mostly local. My tribe...err, I mean my team, is always better than your team, except when my team loses, in which case it's time to elect a new president...err, I mean hire a new coach.
Yet with the dramatic changes in technology over the past decade, what was once local has become instantaneously global.
Just this past weekend, by way of example, I watched as Tiger Woods played (and eventually won) the Dubai Desert Classic, a golf tournament halfway around the world -- sometimes in real-time and at others in instant replay. I had no end of options to read about or follow it closely, including the IBM-sponsored PGATour.Com But the best part was that I had any option at all, something avid sports fans didn't have when growing up with Jim McKay and ABC's "The Wide World of Sports."
The agony of victory and thrill of defeat was all well and good in the wide world of sports, up until about the time the shackles of broadcast commercial TV delayed replays or blackouts and forced you to miss the one game you really wanted to see in that not-very-wide-world-after-all. Call it the agony of oligopoly, where the channels of opportunity were limited by the scarcity of broadcast spectrum and, in turn, the limited number of sports media outlets. The endless capacity of the Internet precludes that from being an issue for the virtual world of sports.
IBM: Helping Fans Get Closer to the Action
Sport has always been very much an "on demand"-oriented endeavor, especially in terms of the need for instantaneous information and results. Thus, the global and individual accessibility of the Internet pairs nicely with the required immediacy of sports.
IBM's innovation in bringing technology to sports occurred early on in the Internet game, beginning with our early IT sponsorships of the U.S. Open, the Masters and PGA Tour, the Olympics, and others. In those experiences, we learned a great deal about the utility and applicability of our technology and the unique power of the Internet to address some very time-sensitive business problems, the lessons of which informed and shaped our product development.
These efforts helped us more effectively address other customers' problems through the lessons we learned from these sports sponsorships, some harder than others. Like the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta, when IBM stumbled onto the javelin after being unable to deliver a critical scoring results feed to the news media, who were using the timely information in that feed to inform the rest of the planet. Lesson learned.
That very same year, IBM delivered live results of Tiger Woods' historic and relentless march up the fairways of Augusta to take his first green jacket. The Java-based Internet scorecard developed expressly for the Masters was the first of many innovations in our sports coverage efforts (read my account of a more recent one about the "Point Tracker" from last September's U.S. Open).
And from what I can surmise as I scan the fast-changing digital media landscape, this game is just getting rolling. IP-based digital media online is probably the most recent and important evolution for sports coverage in recent years, and is opening up whole new opportunities for athlete and fan interaction. You've also got fantasy sports leagues, online and console gaming, IPTV...all putting fans closer and closer to the action, and sometimes even directly into the driver's seat.
Gentlemen, Turn On Your Remotes
Take NASCAR, as an example. Just recently, Time Warner Cable sent me an invitation to subscribe to its new "NASCAR In Car" digital cable offering, which will allow me to watch "6 drivers on 6 in-car camera channels with live team audio and real-time in car-data." Does that mean I also get to experience driving into the wall of the Texas Motor Speedway at 180 MPH??? (Read a recent story in CIO magazine to learn how technology is changing NASCAR and helping it build its booming business.) Without the ability to provide multiple feeds through an IP-based broadband pipe, such a feat would have been impossible even just a few short years ago.
The point is this: Moving forward, no matter where in the world you may be, technology is going to allow you to follow your favorite team or athlete no matter where in the world they may be at the moment of, at - and even after -- the event, and increasingly via the device of your choice (Anyone see those ESPN Mobile TV ads in the Super Bowl last night? You thought people talking on the phone at the movies or restaurants was an etiquette issue? Just you wait until you can watch them jump up and down cheering at your cousin's wedding when the Steelers go for two and make it.)
People's behavior and the technology opportunity will certainly have to catch up with one another and make some adjustments, but the best news of all is that fans are going to be able to become a more integral partner in the experience, making the convergence of technology and sports the new team to watch.
I'm personally very much looking forward to the day when I can play in a virtual 3-D foresome with Ben Hogan, Jack Nicklaus, and Tiger. Until that time, I'll keep practicing my course management on the X-Box.[Read More]
turbotodd 100000388Y Tags:  windows apple microsoft mac_os_x productivity 6 Comments 6,188 Views
I've enjoyed reading the recent press coverage about the IBM Research "Macintosh" adoption program.
I recently bought my own Mac, a MacBook Pro, to use as my primary workstation at IBM.
For the record, my doing so had absolutely nothing to do with any ill sentiment to ThinkPads.
I've been using ThinkPads since they came out. I bought my own IBM "pre-ThinkPad" L40SX back in 1991, for Pete's sake. I've traveled with one model of ThinkPad or another from the start.
They're awesome machines, and my blood runneth blue.
No, to be perfectly honest, I just hate Windows.
To paraphrase the movie "Network," I was fed up and I wasn't going to take it anymore.
I had bought a Macbook a couple of years ago for my own personal use, and you may remember me glowing about my nano on this blog when I first got it in 2005.
Beyond that, I was no Machead.
Of course, IBM hadn't exactly made a commitment to Mac applications, and without Lotus Notes and Sametime on Mac OS X, the "switch" couldn't happen for me, not from a work perspective.
But finally, this year a seemingly worthy Notes and Sametime client appeared for the Mac, and that made the transition feasible.
And I haven't looked back.
The only product I do have a problem with on the Macbook Pro is PowerPoint. How ironic.
My own personal Microsoft curse continueth.
Beyond that, it's been a pretty smooth transition, and life is sweet.
I don't wait on the Microsoft hour glass anymore, and I'm not constantly rebooting. What a change!
I do see the Apple pinwheel from time to time -- usually when PowerPoint crashes -- again, the irony is not lost on me.
Everything else with the Mac seems to work like clockwork, and with the horsepower (and additional RAM), it's the first time in my life I feel like my computing productivity lives up to my nickname (Turbo).
In short, I don't wait on the computer. It does what I need it to do, and I can focus on my productivity instead of my operating system.
I don't know whether the IBM Research pilot was any great conspiracy to move towards Macs or not, and I honestly don't care.
How do I feel now a month in with the MacBook Pro?
Liberated. Free. Productive.
In fact, upon retrospect, I wonder what the heck took me so long.
I have now become the Turbo I always envisioned myself I had the potential to be.
And I, and IBM, are much better off for my having made the switch.
turbotodd 100000388Y Tags:  mobile_collaboration microblogging van_halen prologue twitter productivity email 6 Comments 16,920 Views
I'm still reeling from the Van Halen show I attended in Dallas this past weekend.
Yes, I'm dating myself, but so were all the other 40-something metal heads in attendance at Saturday's show at the American Airlines arena.
Oh thank Heavens, we didn't see any spandex. Some things deserve to stay firmly rooted in the 80s.
But not Van Halen. And hey, if you're not a fan, you wouldn't understand. I started listening to those guys when the middle of a song was interrupted by that switchover on the eight-track. If you're under 35, you probably have no idea whatsoever what I'm talking about -- consider yourself lucky.
If you are a fan, check out this dream set list. It was a Van Halen smorgasbord, the boys (including 16-year-old Wolfgang) were in fine form, and it was Eddie Van Halen's birthday, so David Lee Roth put on quite the spectacle and had 16,000 of his closest friends sing Eddie a happy 53rd.
Eddie Van Halen, 53 years old? Oy vey.
Anyhow, the way I see it, if those two can kiss and make up after all these years, I figure there's hope even for Hillobama after the recent nastiness in South Carolina.
But enough politics and rock n roll: Let's talk email.
Google's Matt Cutts offers up "11 Power Tips for Gmail" in this recent blog post, including some how-tos on inserting images into Gmail emails, and the use of text macros (so you don't have to type the same thing over and over again).
Me, I use Thunderbird, but if you're a browser-email practitioner, this could be your day.
If Gmail's too slow for your communication needs, and you need something a little quicker on the draw, Houston native Matt Mullenweg's Automatic has released a new microblogging tool, "Prologue."
The best I can tell, it's a Twitter for groups, complete with RSS feeds and tagging, and, most importantly, privacy controls, so you can keep your microblog group private, invisible to search engines, and even password protectable.
No ETA for a prime time version, but in keeping with the spirit of VH, if it turns into a microblogging enabler of small workgroups that could serve as a mobile collaboration platform, everybody (will) want some.
turbotodd 100000388Y Tags:  ratings_and_rankings social_commerce noise_canceling_headphone... bose 5 Comments 5,013 Views
I used to own a pair of those most excellent Bose noise-cancelling headphones.
If you don't know what I'm talking about, you don't know what you're missing. On airplanes, such headphones allow you to tune out most of the noise -- the crying babies, the whining businesspeople, the banal conversation in the seats directly behind you -- and escape to another place.
As a matter of fact, it was the headphones that escaped to another place. One minute I was on a flight somewhere with them, and the next I'd walked off without the Bose headphones.
To my little Bose noise-cancelling headphones, if you're out there somewhere, I just wanted to get a message out and let you know that it's okay, you can come home anytime you like, but that if you're enjoying your new home, that that's okay, too, you can stay there.
I'd been pondering getting another pair for sometime now, but I also couldn't see spending another $350 to replace the originals.
But with all the flying I'd been doing, and all the crying babies I've been encountering, I figured it was time to at least investigate other options.
So of course, my first stop was Google:
"noise cancelling headphones."
Just like that (I know, I know, "canceling" should only have one "l.")
That, of course, brought some basic results, including some listings from "Google's Product Search" catalogue.
Between Google and a NY Times' feature on headphones, I was able to whittle down to a short list of vendors. They included, of course, Bose, but also Panasonic and Sony.
With the top end cost in mind (Bose' $350 new QC3 along with the traditional QC2), I began looking for quality and value.
How did I go about doing that?
Easy. I started looking at ratings and rankings on various e-shopping engines, including Amazon, PriceGrabber, MySimon, and anything else I could find.
So why'd I do that?
Easy. Though I had had a personal experience with the Bose headphones and knew them to be of excellent quality, I wasn't so brand loyal that I wanted to pay another $350.
Instead, I wanted to see if I could find some headphones that were good enough to serve the purpose of drowning out noise on an airplane, and allow me to watch a movie, listen to music on my iPod, etc. without being droned out by the engines and Baby Henry.
The ratings and rankings I surfed through helped me narrow the short list down even further, because I was able to read about real peoples' experiences with the actual products, and see how they went about identifying the pros and cons of each headset against its price target.
So where'd I net out? I am now the proud owner of a new set of Panasonic RP-HC500 noise canceling earphones.
Barry, on his Amazon review from January 12th of this year, explained to me that "The Panasonics have better cancellation, better construction around the yoke area (hopefully making them less apt to break).
Barry also pointed out that he had had some experience with Bose as well, and that "I would not buy another pair. After comparing the Boses to the above earphones, I feel the Boses are far overpriced and far more prone to breakage."
Sinclair from San Jose indicate that they have "Terrific noise cancelling, sounds as good as Bose, and these things fit very well and are comfortable."
Now, I don't know Sinclair and Barry from Adam, but both were clearly in the market for headphones, and both had had some experience and seemed to be looking for the same kind of value that I was looking for.
And I'd just as soon take a product recommendation from someone who has some direct experience with the product as I would coverage from some online tech magazine and/or blog.
So the DHL truck showed up before I left for the office this morning.
Like a kid in a candy store, I rapaciously opened the box, unboxed the headphones, put the battery in, and cranked the Panasonic RP-HC500s on.
Mission accomplished. The noise from my laundry machines disappeared in an instant.
And here I sit this afternoon at an IBM mobile facility in north Austin cranking to some Whitesnake via Pandora.
The song? "Is This Love?"
Yes, David Coverdale, it is love, indeed.
Thanks to Sinclair and Adam and everybody else who helped me find my new headphone love.
As to my lost Bose headphones...well, I loved you, too, but not that much.Read More]
turbotodd 100000388Y Tags:  infoondemand2007 brand_reputation_manageme... text_analytics 5 Comments 4,483 Views
Sunday, October 14, 2007, 9:30 PM PST
I made it out of Austin to Viva Las Vegas via Dallas, only to arrive at McCarron airport finding myself in need of a ride to the hotel.
IBM skipped the whole shuttle thing this year, leaving we Beamers to fend for ourselves. The taxi stand resembled a queue for the biggest rollercoaster at Six Flags, but after much patience, and with a few check-ins on the Dallas/New England game (I know, I know) via ESPN Mobile, I was finally on my merry way to Mandalay Bay.
Being cashless after paying the taxi driver, my first stop after check-in was in the hotel lobby ATM. Talk about service!
Considering I'm in a city that thrives on the dispensation of lots of cash, I expected getting my hands on a few George Washingtons from an ATM wouldn't be an issue.
But little did I expect the ATM transaction to travel at the speed of light. That sucker was the fastest ATM in the West (all $100s...no low rollers at the Mandalay...perhaps they're running IMS???)
After retreating to my room to watch and cringe as the Pats finished herding my Cowboys into the north 40 of Texas Stadium, I decided it was time to drown my sorrows on the Information On Demand 2007 exposition floor with some demo action and lukewarm munchies.
So I made my way to the IBM Advanced Technology peds, where I stumbled upon a coiled text analytics snake, the IBM COBRA.
Better known as the IBM "COrporate Brand and Reputation Analysis" tool, think of COBRA as the semantical analysis antidote to Joan Jett's "Bad Reputation." It allows we mere mortals to keep pulse of who's saying what about us on the Internets using an extremely proactive monitoring and reporting tool.
By monitoring blogs, newsgroups, news sources, internal complaint databases, RSS feeds, and other real-time information sources, COBRA helps companies use SOA services to custom monitor what's being said about them via the Web and, presumably, be in a position to better respond in a timely fashion.
But overwhelmed by all the possibility of all the news that even I couldn't use, I have now fled to the environs of my perch overlooking the Vegas strip, ready for a short Pandora stream fix and a long set of Zzzzz's in preparation for tomorrow's opening session of Information On Demand 2007.
turbotodd 100000388Y Tags:  beehives impact2008 flying_elvi websphere b52s jimmy_wales drew_carey las_vegas soa 4 Comments 5,683 Views
If you missed last year's WebSphere Impact conference, and if you haven't registered for this year's, there's still plenty of time to do so.
And only at this massive Impact event will you be able to see Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales, "Whose Line Is It Anyway's'?" Drew Carey, and the B-52s -- all on the same stage.
Yes, you read that right: The B-52s are playing an IBM event centered around the integration and optimization of your IT infrastructure.
Rock lobster with that WebSphere Common Connector, anyone?
Yes, yes, I know, it's not your father's IBM. Way not.
If you sign up now you could still enter the contest to win a Smart car in the IBM Innov8 Smart SOA Challenge.
And if you do make it out to Viva Las Vegas, don't forget to stop by our Purple Lounge to celebrate WebSphere's 10th birthday.
Yes, I understand it's kind of weird to celebrate a product line's birthday, but the B-52s are playing and Jimmy Wales is keynoting and Drew Carey is emceeing, so come to Vegas and bounce off the satellite with us for a few days.
And please, no gifts.
Registration information is here.[Read More]
turbotodd 100000388Y Tags:  rss newsreaders symphony lotus free_software 4 Comments 5,009 Views
Everybody loves free software.
I know I do. In fact, I'm a self-admitted software junkie (comes with the territory of working in the software business).
Most recently, I downloaded our new IBM Lotus Symphony beta product, which comes with a word processor, spreadsheet, and presentation tool.
I'm like George Washington, I cannot tell a lie. I've used Microsoft Office software for as long as I can remember. But after working on my first Lotus Symphony document this morning, I'm thinking that a word processor is a word processor is a word processor, and that the transition from Office to OpenOffice-ish suites could be easier than I had anticipated.
Interestingly, thirty-four percent of CIOs in a recent IDC study indicated that they would cut back on Office software first and foremost, suggesting the cost of such software is increasingly out of line with their tightening budgets.
My recommendation: Take a look at the free Lotus Symphony suite, pilot it with a few employees, and see how it goes. Soon, you may find that the money you spent on Office can be re-routed to more critical, revenue-generating projects.
IBM is not the only one offering up free software recently.
Just yesterday, one of my favorite RSS client-side engines, NewsGator, surprised the marketplace by making several of its RSS desktop and mobile clients free.
If you're an RSS fan and you prefer desktop clients to browsers (which I do), then you probably are aware of NewsGator.
They make the leading RSS clients in my book, including NetNewsWire (Mac) and FeedDemon (PC). I've long been a paying FeedDemon user, and now with the free downloads, have already downloaded the Mac client.
It's hard to describe all the additional benefits of having a desktop client RSS reader, but at the top of the list are the synchronization capabilities, the search filters, the easy categorization, etc.
If you don't use one yet, I would suggest you download one of these now free tools and try them out for yourself.[Read More]
Looking back on 2007, there's but no question in my mind that Apple's iPhone dominated much of the tech conversation.
I opted for a $99 Blackberry Pearl instead (partially because of its form factor, partially because it's what allows me access to needed IBM resources like email and calendaring), and it's done me just fine -- especially considering it was about 5X cheaper than the iPhone.
But, the iPhone cultural phenomenon and technology footprint couldn't be escaped, nor questioned.
I was at the Apple campus in June visiting with a friend, just before the first iPhones went on sell, and I didn't see a single iPhone unit while on the Apple campus (allegedly only top execs had them prior to the launch), they were so tightly held.
No big surprise, considering Apple's tight grip and embargo on its launches.
But the phenomena that was the pending iPhone couldn't be constrained.
Months prior to the launch, Google and other search engines were inundated with search inquiries about the iPhone...blogs were abuzz about the product features...podcasts explained its virtues...the mass media mass brainwashed the masses about its planet-saving capabilities.
For weeks after, the halo of the afterlaunch melted into the tech landscape, complete with new tech lore about being the first in line, or waiting in line with one's Apple brethren, or etc ad nauseum ad infinitum.
When was the last time you bragged about waiting in line?
I succumbed to the hype myself, long enough to go into the store and touch an iPhone firsthand.
It was all I could do to leave the store without buying one.
But then I came back to my senses and started thinking logically about the problems that an iPhone would or would not solve for me personally (what a concept! Purchase a product only because it actually solves a problem!), and the Blackberry Pearl would do just fine.
And it has.
So I wouldn't be the coolest kid on the cubicle block...so I wouldn't be able to personally extol the virtues of the new touch screen interface...so I wouldn't be able to becoming a walking, talking Apple salesperson in my spare time, despite all the constant complaints about the lethargic AT&T Edge network (which never seemed to slow me down much with the more text-oriented Blackberry).
Life would go on.
And it has.
But the milestone it demarcated would be clear.
Because the real phenomena behind the phenomenon for me around the iPhone was not the device itself, but rather the notion that mobile IP-based multimedia computing was finally coming into its own.
After years of the U.S. lagging behind the SMS craze in Europe (which launched well before most Americans knew what a text message was), or the DoCoMo iMode craze in Japan in the late 1990s and early 2000s (which was how many Japanese first experienced the Internet), I felt as though the U.S. was getting a clue and catching back up.
If nothing else, the iPhone demonstrated what was becoming possible at the intersection of mobile data and voice, of mobile computing, after years of overpromising and underdelivery.
That a cell phone didn't just have to be a cell phone, but that it could evolve into a true multimedia personal information manager and portable computing and communications device, using an interface that we mere mortals could understand and learn quickly.
It was the opportunity presented by the possibility of a nuclear intersection between computing, communication, collaboration, personal entertainment, and mobility.
That we could use it to communicate and get directions and do work and listen to music and watch videos and find somebody's phone number.
No, for my money, the iPhone was only a starting place, the beginning of something much, much bigger to come. A mile marker on the way to a much more promising land.
It was the Star Trek communication device brought down to reality here on earth.
"Beam me up, Steve."
It was a great start, but it was only that.
So, go ahead, use your index finger to scroll down. It works well enough.
Me, I can't wait to see where that scrolling finger might take us next.Read More]
turbotodd 100000388Y Tags:  mitchell_report major_league_baseball knowledge_sharing google google_knol 4 Comments 5,205 Views
I've been heads down working much of the day, but the moment I lift it seems there's another controversy brewing.
No, I'm not talking about the Mitchell Report on steroid use in baseball. (I'll come back to that momentarily.)
No, I'm talking about Google's intent to enter into the knowledge gathering world.
Or, as others are referring to it, the Wikipedia-killer.
Google's new "knol" project (a knol being a unit of knowledge...see, you learned something already!) will allow "people who know a particular subject to write an authoritative article about it."
For example, based on yesterday's news about said Mitchell Report, Roger Clemens could write a really insightful knol about steroids.
The concern about the new Google Knol is that it will suck the oxygen out of Wikipedia, and that Google has many more resources to devote to it.
Moreover, Wikipedia is extremely dependent upon Google's search referrals for its visits (and therefore its contributions from the crowd).
I'm not sure it's an either/or proposition myself, and I use both frequently. And now that I know where Wikipedia is, I don't really need Google to drop me off on their doorstep.
But I can see where the scrum could be concerned. This could very well shape up to the be the "David and Goliath" story of 2008.
Then again, Google Knol could go the way of the now-retired Google Answers tool. Only time, and a few thousand knols, will tell.
Now, back to more important things, like baseball.
I hadn't heard much about the Mitchell Report until it reared its ugly curve ball head yesterday on the news.
As someone who has been a lifelong baseball fan, and who played baseball from T-ball to Little League to "Pony" league...
And as someone who found the third game of the Yankees and Braves World Series in NY one of the most thrilling sporting experiences of my life (the one where Chad Curtis hit a game-winning homer in the 10th, the first game-winning World Series homer since 1993...and the one after which Roger Clemens closed out the next game, game 4, in a shutout for the Yankees)...
Well, the whole episode just leaves a bad taste in my mouth...and I'm not sure any amount of Cracker Jacks will take it away.
Major League Baseball has taken a major black eye, no doubt about it.
Then again, so this year did cycling. And hockey. And basketball.
Am I leaving anything out?
I guess I was just a little too naive to think the problem was as epidemic as the Mitchell Report makes it out to be.
I only wonder if the MLB is really going to do anything about it...or if the whole thing will simply blow over, with little action and no repercussions.
If it's the latter, it's the small frys out there playing Little League today who will be the biggest losers.
When I was a kid, my baseball coaches (including my own dad) always told me it's not whether you win or lose, it's how you play the game.
This is no way to play it.Read More]