The citizenry of my (mostly) progressive city of Austin, Texas, kicked out the likes of Uber and Lyft earlier this year. Vocativ called us a “ride-sharing wasteland.” Very Dostoevsky-ish, don’t you think?
I would call it Austin’s “Brexit,” only instead of separating from a continent, we separated ourselves from companies and technologies that would have very likely helped liberate the traffic-congested roads of Austin — all under the auspices of “security.”
So, now rideshare drivers in Austin are subjected to a fingerprint-based background check (yay, security!) before they can work for a ridesharing company, but just not for Uber and Lyft (who opted out of Austin).
We have embraced Google Fiber in Austin, and now The Wall Street Journal has written that Google is moving onto Uber’s turf “with its own ride-sharing service in San Francisco that would help commuters carpool at far cheaper rates.”
The idea is to take the technology behind Waze (a Google acquisition) and connect fellow commuters who are heading in the same direction with one another. The pilot’s current pilot charges a mere 54 cents a mile.
This has the making of an interesting turf battle, and WSJ’s Jack Nicas reminds us Google and Uber were once allies and that Google had invested $258M U.S. In Uber back in 2013.
But that was back in 2013.
They say competition is supposed to be good for the marketplace, so we’ll see.
I just wish here in Austin I could get a Lyft.
Today at VMworld 2016, IBM and VMware made several key announcements, including the availability of industry-first cloud services that help organization to quickly and easily move enterprise workloads to the cloud.
There are already more than 500 clients engaged in partnership with IBM and VMware to extend existing workloads to the cloud in hours, as opposed to weeks or months.
These are fruits borne of the challenge the two companies tackled earlier this year, and one of the industry’s most pressing challenges: extending existing VMware workloads from on-premises environments to the cloud without incurring the cost and risk associated with retooling operations, re-architecting apps, and re-designing security policies.
The more than 500 mutual clients that have begun moving their VMware environments to IBM Cloud included Marriott International, Clarient Global LLC and Monitise. With almost 100 percent of the Fortune 100 customers using VMware technologies, the partnership is designed to preserve and extend customer investments across thousands of data centers.
Today is also seeing the introduction of VMware Cloud Foundation, which combines VMware’s market-leading compute, storage and network virtualization solutions into an integrated platform.
For the first time, organizations can now automatically provision pre-configured VMware Software Defined Data Center (SDDC) environments on IBM Cloud in hours versus weeks or months.
The platform integrates VMware vSphere, VMware Virtual SAN, VMware NSX and VMware SDDC Manager, and gives customers broad choice in their infrastructure decisions.
In addition to new services, IBM is training more than 4,000 service professionals with the expertise required to provide clients with VMware solutions.
This expansive team of sellers and advisers will provide clients with the expertise to extend VMware environments to the cloud.
You can learn more about IBM Cloud here.
IBM announced the opening of a new IBM Cloud Data Center in Korea, in collaboration with SK Holdings C&C. Located outside of Seoul in Pangyo, the new data center is designed to support growing cloud adoption and customer demand across the country.
According to IDC, a leading information technology research firm, the public cloud services market in Korea is expected to grow from $445 million in 2015 to approximately $1B in 2019.
The new facility in Pangyo is IBM’s ninth Cloud Data Center in the Asia-Pacific region, and part of the company’s growing global network of 47 Cloud Data Centers.
With access to a local on ramp for IBM and SK Holdings’ Cloud services, Korean enterprises and start-ups can accelerate their digital transformation, business innovation and global expansion.
Clients in Korea are expected to benefit from faster time-to-market, improved performance, support for industrial-strength public and hybrid cloud, and access to IBM’s global network of 47 Cloud Data Centers so they can manage their data more securely and efficiently across global markets to drive expansion.
Modeled after IBM’s standardized pod design, the new facility in Korea will have the capacity for thousands of physical servers and offer the full range of cloud infrastructure services, including bare metal servers, virtual servers, storage, security services and networking. With services deployed on demand and full remote access and control, customers can create their ideal public, private, or hybrid cloud environments.
The new Cloud Data Center builds on the existing partnership between IBM and SK Holdings C&C, with more than 20 local companies already using their joint hybrid cloud capabilities across the gaming, IT, manufacturing and retail industries.
As Korean companies increasingly look to extend the value of their existing systems to the cloud, the two companies anticipate a high demand for hybrid cloud services with the opening of the new facility.
The new data center will further accelerate the commitment of IBM and SK Holdings C&C to foster the growth of cognitive and Artificial Intelligence (AI) technologies throughout the region.
The two companies plan to make a cognitive cloud platform available at the Cloud Data Center in Pangyo, enabling local startups and IT developers to create cognitive apps and industry-specific services that leverage Watson.
Developers in Korea will also have access to Bluemix, IBM’s Cloud platform, and more than 150 APIs and services spanning key areas such as cognitive, blockchain, Internet of Things and big data.
Local universities are also participating by cultivating future cloud talent. To prepare the next generation of cloud-based app developers, IBM and SK Holdings C&C have been teaming with leading universities, including Dankook University, Ewha Woman’s University and Sungkyunkwan University, providing students with education and training based on the IBM Cloud.
“Cloud computing has rapidly become a key driver of digital transformation throughout Korea,” said Goodhyun Kim, a well-known developer and IT columnist in Korea. “By making IBM Cloud and its easy, fast, and robust APIs and services available on Bluemix to local developers, I anticipate that we will rapidly see a whole new wave of cloud-based innovation across Korea.”
For more information on IBM Cloud, visit www.ibm.com/cloud.
IBM Research today opened its second research location on the African continent and announced several new project collaborations in the areas of data driven healthcare, digital urban ecosystems and astronomy.
IBM researchers in South Africa with backgrounds in machine learning, mathematics, computer science, robotics, genomics and computational biology, are exploring the use of cognitive computing, the Internet of Things and Big Data to support South Africa’s national priorities, drive skills development and foster innovation-based economic growth.
"South Africa is a tremendous growth and transformation story, yet its increasing population and healthcare delivery shortfalls continue to pose challenges in the country,” said Solomon Assefa, director, IBM Research – Africa. “With the ability to detect patterns and discover new correlations, cognitive and cloud computing and the Internet of Things can provide potential solutions.”
The lab’s team of scientists are already collaborating extensively with local universities, research institutions, innovation centers, start-ups and government agencies. This will help foster South Africa’s emerging technology ecosystem and develop and scale new innovations.
As part of a 10-year investment program through South Africa’s Department of Trade and Industry and working closely with the Department of Science and Technology, the new research lab is based at the University of the Witwatersrand (Wits). The university was recently ranked amongst the top 10 in emerging economies by the Times Higher Education World University Rankings.
IBM has operated in Africa for almost 100 years. Today, its operations span 24 countries, including South Africa, Morocco, Egypt, Nigeria, Ghana, Angola, Kenya and Tanzania. IBM Research – Africa is the first commercial research organization on the continent, conducting applied and far-reaching exploratory research into Africa’s grand challenges and committed to delivering commercially-viable innovations that impact people’s lives.
IBM’s first African research lab was opened in Nairobi, Kenya in 2013. The South African research facility supports IBM’s Equity Equivalent Investment Programme (EEIP). In recent years, IBM has also invested in the development of an IBM Client Centre, an Innovation Centre, Service Delivery Centre and a number of offices and data centers across South Africa.
Tom’s Guide informs us that their new “Disco” drone, introduced earlier this year at CES, is ready for the dance floor…err, open drone-approved skies everywhere.
Before you break into Donna Summer’s “Last Dance,” you should be aware this particular drone is special. More stealth fighter than quad-copter, the new Disco is a fixed-wing drone that flies at some 50 MPH and stays in the air for 45 minutes at a time.
To add to the Disco’s lift, it also includes a new version of Parrot’s Skycontroller and gives the pilot a first-person view of what the Disco is seeing from high above.
No word as of press time as to whether or not the Disco includes miniature Hellfires to take out all those pesky little quads floating around the Disco’s air space.
Last dance…last dance for loo-oovveee.Yes it’s my last chance, for romance, toni…ght…..
Cue that mirror ball!
If a stealthy drone doesn’t work for you as a back-to-school gift, how about getting some new life out of those old PSP 3 games.
VentureBeat reports that Sony Interactive Entertainment has announced it’s bringing PlayStation Now game streaming to Windows PCs.
Now broadcasts PS3 games over the Internet, and costs $20/month (or $45 for three months).
It’s a great way to play some of those older titles you haven’t yet found on the PS4…and to keep your small adults from fighting drone wars over the streets of America with miniature stealth bombers!
IBM has announced new, cost-conscious, enterprise class, all-flash storage designed to provide small, mid-sized organizations and global enterprises with primary storage for cloud or cognitive applications and workloads.
IBM also announced “Flash In,” a storage migration program designed to help companies looking to leverage IBM’s expertise, like Dell and EMC clients, easily transition to IBM storage solutions as part of a journey to become cloud and cognitive businesses.
Clients today are embracing all-flash storage to deliver speed and response times necessary to support growing data workloads across public, private and hybrid cloud environments, including the demands of cognitive applications and workloads.
Built with IBM Spectrum Virtualize, the Storwize all-flash solutions reduce the cost and complexity of data center and cloud environments. The award-winning IBM management software improves storage efficiency with features such as real-time data compression, thin provisioning, and snapshotting across nearly 400 different storage arrays from a multitude of vendors.
IBM Spectrum Virtualize also optimizes data security, reliability and operational costs. The software automatically tiers, migrates data from one storage array to another, provides secure data at rest encryption, and remotely replicates data for disaster recovery and business continuity purposes.
IBM Storwize V7000F and IBM Storwize 5030F also bring enterprise-class availability and function to mid-range and entry-level all-flash storage delivering greater performance and requiring less time to provision and optimize systems.
The all-flash Storwize V7000F and Storwize V5030F are also built to manage a variety of primary storage workloads, from database management systems such as SQL Server and MySQL to digital media sources that include broadcast, real-time streaming, and video surveillance. The new technology can also handle huge volumes of Internet of Things (IoT) data.
For more information about IBM Storage, visit www.ibm.com/systems/storage, and follow IBM Storage on Twitter at @IBMStorage
The Android Official Blog revealed today that the new Android 7.0 “Nougat” has begun rolling out to Nexus devices, calling it their “sweetest release yet.’
What makes the Nougat sweetness so sweet? Well, there are 250 major features, and life’s too short, but their post hit the wavetops:
- Expanded emoji. Over 1,500 different built-in emoji, including 72 new ones.
- Quick settings. Provides quick and easy access to stuff like Bluetooth, WiFI, the flashlight.
- Multi-locale support. For all you polyglots (the language language kind, not the computer language kind.
- Better multitasking. Including a multi-window for running two apps side-by-side (with resizability…yes, I just made that word up), messaging direct reply (without having to open an app), and quick switch (to switch quickly between your two most recent used apps)
- "More battery smarts." Ergo, better power usage.
- More immersive. Including support for advanced 3D rendering technology, VulkanTM, and Daydream (Google’s platform for mobile VR)
Google indicated the new chewy Nougat would get over-the-air updates starting today (and over the next several weeks) to the Nexus 6, Nexus 5X, Nexus 6P, Nexus 9, Nexus Player, Pixel C, and General Mobile 4G (Android One).
They also indicated that the LG V20 would be the first new smartphone that would ship with Nougat "right out of the box."
Bodhi Healthcare Group, part of the BAHEAL Pharmaceutical Holdings network, works to apply and manage advanced technology solutions to address pain points in the healthcare industry, helping drive decentralization and greater efficiency.
With this dedicated cloud, Qingdao Municipal Healthcare Group can provide its users with an integrated information platform containing physician and patient data. The platform helps support the various steps of the healthcare process, including disease screening, cause analysis, diagnosis and treatment, care and rehabilitation and pharmacy and health management.
To better engage and empower users, Bodhi Healthcare provides physicians with a tablet device that allows them to communicate with patients, remotely manage patients’ care and make treatment decisions. And by leveraging the security, scale and reliability of LinuxONE, the Bodhi Healthcare Cloud Platform offers an integrated, private cloud solution to promote information exchange within and between hospitals and aid in treatment decision-making.
If you thought that whole self-driving autonomous vehicle thing was a thing of the future, think again.
Bloomberg is reporting that Uber will be rolling out its first self-driving pilot in Pittsburgh later this summer, “crossing an important milestone that no automotive or technology company has yet achieved.”
Fear not yet our robot overlords, as there will still be a humanoid in the driver’s seat just in case HAL decides to take over and run one of the new Volvos into the Monogahela.
As Bloomberg writes, this new driverless fleet:
consists of specially modified Volvo XC90 sport-utility vehicles outfitted with dozens of sensors that use cameras, lasers, radar, and GPS receivers. Volvo Cars has so far delivered a handful of vehicles out of a total of 100 due by the end of the year. The two companies signed a pact earlier this year to spend $300 million to develop a fully autonomous car that will be ready for the road by 2021.
– via Bloomberg.com
On how the riderless rides will be optimized:
Uber can use the data collected from its app, where human drivers and riders are logging roughly 100 million miles per day, to quickly improve its self-driving mapping and navigation systems. “Nobody has set up software that can reliably drive a car safely without a human,” Kalanick says. “We are focusing on that.”
– via Bloomberg.com
If the driverless Uber tries to drive you somewhere other than your destination, I would have you remind him of Isaac Asimov’s Second Law of Robotics.
The Second Law of Robotics states that a robot must obey orders given it by human beings except where such orders would conflict with the First Law.
The First Law of Robotics states that a robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.
There seemed to be no comment in the story on whether or not it was appropriate to tip the Uber robot overlords — depending on how well they do or do not perform on Pittsburgh’s road, Asimov’s Laws may need to be amended.
If so, considering it’s a robot, I’d say 10% is plenty.
Then again, it’s a robot…driving you around in a car…at potentially high speeds!….okay, 20%.
Busy week at the Intel Developers Forum this week in San Francisco.
At yesterday’s keynote, Intel CEO Brian Krzanich unveiled a new VR solution entitled “Project Alloy.”
Positioned as an “all-in-one virtual reality solution made from the ground up” (uh, wasn’t that from virtual space up?), Alloy uses Intel’s RealSense technologies optimized for VR.
Some key features:
- No tethered umbilical cords. All the computing power is in the “Alloy Head-Mounted Device,” and allows for a free range of motion
- Immersive experience. Through merged reality, see your hands, see your friends, see the refrigerator you’re about to walk into. In short, see the real world merged with elements of the virtual world. Kind of like Picachu, only locked up in your living room!
- No external sensors. Alloy’s merged reality is made possible by Intel RealSense cameras attached to the headset. Which means you don’t have to deploy external sensors and/or cameras around your already overteched living room.
- Roll your own VR. This is where the Alloy could appeal to developers, as Intel is opening up the hardware and providing open APIs for the ecosystem. This will allow developers and partners to create their own branded products from the Alloy design (starting in 2017).
In short, completely wireless VR, but you’d better start working on those neck lifts to keep your head from drooping!