Turbo Todd

Ruminations on IT, the digital media, and some golf thrown in for good measure.

Tech Talent Dog Fight

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Longtime CIO publisher Gary Beach penned an interesting post in The Wall Street Journal  CIO blog about the “dog” fight for tech talent.

Beach cites several technology executives to highlight where the demand is highest, and at the top of the list is security.  But seemingly right behind are cloud computing skills, as well as skills in the emergent Big Data and Analytics space.

In the piece, Bobby Patrick, a VP of marketing for HP, suggests “The cloud skills gap is the single biggest barrier to the future adoption of cloud infrastructures.”

Beach then cites a Corporate Executive Board report entitled “Seeing Through the Fog of the Talent War,” stating that “…claiming cloud tech workers are the hardest to find because IT workers in cloud environments must balance between being ‘technology brokers, cloud integration specialists, service architects, and user experience designers.’”

Hmm, me wonders if that had anything to do with yesterday’s five-hour, widespread Azure outage?

Beach also cites Adecco North America, a recruitment services firm, reporting there also seems to be a shortage of “soft[er]” skills like communication, critical thinking, and creativity, one that spans the entire U.S. workforce.

Sounds like a huge opportunity for Toastmasters chapters, everywhere!

For the record, Beach cites U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics that indicate IT jobs grew 19 percent in the past 12 months.

Unleash the dogs of IT talent war!

Written by TurboTodd

August 19th, 2014 at 9:56 pm

U.S. Clears IBM/Lenovo Deal

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IBM announced late today that it has received notice from the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) of the successful conclusion of the the committee’s review of the divestiture of its x86-based server business to Lenovo.

The clearance by CFIUS of this transaction is good news for both IBM and Lenovo, and for its customers and employees. The parties can now look forward to closing the transaction.

The approval of the $2.3 billion sale to Lenovo enables IBM to focus on system and software innovations that bring new kinds of value to IBM clients in areas such as cognitive computing, Big Data and cloud, and provides clarity and confidence to current x86 customers that they will have a strong partner going forward.

Written by TurboTodd

August 15th, 2014 at 8:25 pm

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Could Twitter Get More Direct?

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For digital marketers out there looking for a new tool in their toolbelt, TechCrunch’s MG Siegler drafted an interesting post earlier in the week suggesting Twitter’s Direct Messaging feature evolution might be just the thing.

As Twitter looks beyond its existing advertising revenue models (Sponsored Tweets, etc.), it’s only logical they would investigate the DM feature. Somewhat hidden today away except from the most fluent users, Siegler suggests DMs could become the next evolution beyond email marketing, only with the express permissions required by DM’s opt-in (i.e., You can’t send a DM to someone unless you’re following one another).

That “permission,” of course, being the key difference between the two.

As Siegler writes, “The one thing Twitter has always gotten right with DMs is the connection model. Because the main feeds of Twitter are public (unless your protect your account, of course), and anyone can follow anyone, Twitter DM has always offered an alternative way to use the product on the side.”

Let’s hope this more permission-friendly camp wins out in the internal debate. As Siegler also observes, “they’ve [Twitter] been experimenting with removing this limitation [not requiring someone to be able to send a message unless you're following]. That could open up a Pandora’s box that could greatly diminish what makes the Twitter DM apparatus so unique.

In the meantime, marketers everywhere leveraging Twitter for communications and outreach will be “following” this evolution with baited breath.

Written by TurboTodd

August 15th, 2014 at 6:47 pm

Talking To An Android, Wishing For An iPad

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Anyone following the enterprise mobility horse race?

According to the latest Mobility Index Report from Good Technology, Apple’s IOS still rules the enterprise mobility space, even after having lost five percentage points of total device activations in the second quarter of 2014.

According to the report, IOS had 67 percent of total device activations in the second quarter. Juxtapose that with Android, which increased by the same five percentage points to a total of 32 percent of total activations in the quarter.

Microsoft Windows phone activations came in a distant third with one percent share.

How’s that whole Nokia thing workin’ out for ya?

This would suggest that IOS holds around two thirds of the enterprise market, with Android one third, and Microsoft Windows phone barely a blip on the radar.

When looking at the report more broadly, it’s clear that enterprise mobility as a whole is growing at double-digit growth, with some 20% quarter over quarter increase in enterprise app activations.

Tablets are also closing the gap on total mobile activations versus smart phones, coming in at 58 percent for tablets and 42 percent for smartphones.

This news comes on the heels of the Apple and IBM partnership that was announced in July, a deal where more than 100 industry-specific enterprise solutions will be brought to the Apple mobile devices starting later this year. The deal will also bring enterprise-tailored AppleCare plans into the enterprise.

So, like clockwork, then there was this: Google and Hewlett-Packard are apparently in talks to collaborate on an Android-powered “virtual assistant” that can be used in the corporate workplace to search for data.

Think "Siri for the Enterprise," except Siri is an Android…specifically, a Google Now voice activated search capability.

Googling and HP can only pray that their new virtual assistant doesn’t start getting queries like this inside the enterprise: I want my iPad!

Todd "Turbo" Watson
Twitter:@turbotodd
Blog: www.turbotodd.com
Email: toddhttp://about.me/toddwatson

Written by TurboTodd

August 14th, 2014 at 3:01 pm

Robin Williams Is Playing Through

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Like pretty much everyone everywhere, when I heard the news of Robin Williams’ passing yesterday, it was like a shining and always hilarious light had been immediately extinguished.

I’d been a fan of his since I was a wee lad (“Mork & Mindy”), and as I grew older really enjoyed his stand up routines. There was just nothing else like them.

They were rapid fire, free-association fire zones, where anything was fair game, and it was all one could do to keep up with his lightning quick synapses.

One that somehow, someway got by me had to do with my favorite game in the world, golf.

The New Yorker’s John Cassidy reminded us of this in a post today, and Cassidy provides both a written summary of Williams’ take on golf, and provides a link to the video of the standup routine on YouTube.

Be forewarned, it has some pretty strong language. But I watched it early this evening, and in it, as he makes fun of a game I love, the video also reminds me of why and how much I loved Williams’ comedic talent.

On that great fairway in the sky, Robin Williams is playing through — and he’s likely to continue to leave trails of laughing tears in his heavenly wake as he did back here on planet earth.

 

Written by TurboTodd

August 13th, 2014 at 11:45 pm

Content (and Search, And Social) Are Still King

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As seen in the "Bulldog Reporter" email earlier today: More than 75 percent of global marketing leaders surveyed say content creation is their top priority for 2014, according to new research by Ektron, a provider of content management and web experience management software.

The research, Digital Trends in 2014, identifies key trends and priorities for marketers, IT professionals, developers, and content authors based on a survey of over 400 global marketing, website and digital agency professionals.

A few highlights from the report:

  • 76% of website and marketing professionals say their team’s top priorities include a greater focus on content creation
  • Over 50% noted that organic search "getting found" by their target audience was an equally top priority
  • 70% have implemented a social media strategy
  • 61% are using, or plan to use, responsive mobile design to implement their mobile strategy

Summary: Good content, thorough organic search optimization, social referrals, and mobile responsive design.

The more things change, they more they stay the same.

IBM Announces Supercomputing Center At Florida Polytechnic University, Bolster STEM Skills

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IBM today announced a new supercomputing center at Florida Polytechnic University, one composed of IBM high performance systems, software and cloud-based storage to help educate students in emerging technology fields.

The center, which is being developed with the support of premier IBM Business Partner Flagship Solutions, will house an IBM supercomputer and is designed to provide students with an opportunity to receive hands-on training and experience using high performance computing systems.

The supercomputing center will support concentrations at Florida Polytechnic University such as cybersecurity, big data and analytics, cloud virtualization, and other engineering and computer science emphases, as well as being harnessed for research projects led by faculty members and graduate students.

Florida Polytechnic University is the newest addition to the State University System of Florida and the only one dedicated exclusively to science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). Florida Polytechnic University will welcome its inaugural class of 500 students in August.

Today’s news builds on IBM’s recent announcement of new collaboration with 28 Universities and Business Schools to help train tomorrow’s data scientists. Florida Polytechnic University intends to work with IBM’s Academic Initiative, which includes a network of more than 30,000 unique partnerships between IBM and higher education professionals to help advance curriculum in areas such as Big Data and Analytics, Cloud Computing, Security and Social Business.

The 2,500-square-foot supercomputing center is located at the heart of campus, enclosed in glass rooms so students, faculty and visitors can observe the work being done with the systems. The supercomputer consists of five racks of systems that include nearly 1,000 core processors, IBM software defined storage technology – code name Elastic Storage — that manages more than 150 terabytes of data, 3.072 terabytes of online memory, and Platform Computing software to maximize prioritized job scheduling and utilization.

You can go here if you’d like to learn more about IBM’s high performance computing solutions.

Written by TurboTodd

August 13th, 2014 at 2:32 pm

IBM Opens First SoftLayer Data Center in Canada

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IBM today announced the opening of a new SoftLayer data center in Toronto to meet the growing demand for hybrid cloud solutions that encompass open integration, data control and unique industry expertise.

The data center follows recent launches in London and Hong Kong, and is part of IBM Cloud’s broader $1.2 billion investment aimed at extending its cloud services capabilities in Canada and throughout the world.

The facility is the first SoftLayer data center in Canada, giving customers a cloud services provider with a local presence that can deliver bare metal and virtual servers, storage, and networking, all in one integrated platform.

Basing these services in a local facility meets the needs of Canadian customers that require in-country data residency, such as financial institutions, public sector organizations, and many large enterprises.

The Toronto data center offers the full portfolio of SoftLayer’s cloud services. It has capacity for more than 15,000 physical servers and is built exactly like other SoftLayer facilities, which are based on a POD (Performance Optimized Data Center) concept. The facility connects directly into SoftLayer’s global network via a network Point of Presence (PoP) located in Toronto.

The company’s large Canadian customer base includes financial services, insurance, retail and public sector organizations as well as numerous Canadian startup companies, members of the SoftLayer Catalyst startup program. Catalyst provides promising startups with credits for any SoftLayer cloud infrastructure (including servers, storage, and networking), executive mentoring, as well as engineering resources.

Currently enrolled Canadian startups include Mnubo, Epilogger, Brika, Greenoffon, Zilyo,TeachIt, maegan and kiwiwearables. Catalyst also has established relationships with leading Canadian accelerators and incubators including GrowLab, Communitech, Ryerson University Digital Media Zone (DMZ), JOLT, FounderFuel, Extreme Startups and TheNext36, as well as those affiliated with the Ontario Network of Excellence (ONE).

SoftLayer begins taking orders and delivering services in the Toronto data center today. New orders for services in the facility are eligible for $500.00 USD off the first month, for a limited time only.

Visit www.softlayer.com/Toronto for more information.

Written by TurboTodd

August 12th, 2014 at 4:54 pm

Rory’s The Story

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If you had a chance to watch any of this weekend’s golf action from Valhalla Golf Club in Louisville, Kentucky, you know there was plenty of drama…and weather.

Since I cut my cable cord, I’ve been unable to see tournaments (major or otherwise) on the Golf Channel or ABC (the local affiliate’s digital broadcast signal is apparently too weak for my antenna to pick up), which means I missed the Open Championship this year altogether, opting to keep up with the tournament online.

But this weekend, CBS delivered and then some on broadcasting the PGA Championship, golf’s last major for the 2014 season.

Irish phenom Rory McIlroy had already taken the British Open, so there was lots of “mo” for Rory coming into this tournament, and if the ratings are any indication, prove that interest in big golf *can* and must go on with or without Tiger Woods, who missed the cut with a pair of 74s and a bad back.

Big a Tiger fan as I’ve been, McIlroy, along with milennial fave Ricky Fowler, mainstay Phil Mickelson, and an always lurking Henrik Stenson, along with a very soft but still challenging (and did I mention long?) Valhalla made for a very dramatic weekend of golf.

Needless to say, McIlroy lead much of the way, and was in the final pairings on moving day and Sunday. But yesterday, he let slip the lead on the front nine, opening the door to Mickelson, Fowler and Stenson.

That is, until the par-5 10th hole, where Rory unleashed what had to be one of the most glorious golf shots of the year, a 283-yard three-wood firing all the way to the green. At first, it looked like a mishit on TV, and McIlroy even admitted it was lower a shot than he had anticipated.

But what it lacked in beauty in flight, it more than made up for in the roll, as the faded monster 3-wood settled first into the rough cut on the left apron, then on to the green to settle some seven feet from the hole. That set up a made eagle putt that immediately pulled Rory from the front nine abyss and put him right back in the tournament.

Another birdie on 17 pretty much sealed his fate as a second-time PGA Championship winner, despite the dark falling onto the course.

But between the 10th hole and the 18th, I think we saw some of the best golf we’ll likely see played in all of 2014 (fingers crossed, of course, for the upcoming Ryder Cup). There was always a chance that Rory would falter and Mickelson or Fowler would chip in for eagles, or Stinson would grab another birdie.

In other words, this was no runaway final round, and Rory kept us guessing all the way up to the 18th green with plenty of drama.

CBS enjoyed a boost in ratings as it, too, played below par, scoring an average household rating of 6.0, up 36 percent over last year’s PGA.

As to the Ryder Cup, the U.S. roster is thinning itself out quickly: Tiger’s not in by points, but could be a Tom Watson captain’s pick if he heals up in time.

Jason Dufner dropped out of the PGA with a bad neck, Matt Kuchar with a bad back, and Dustin Johnson with a voluntary “leave of absence” due to some personal issues, so those three are likely out (even though Kuchar currently qualifies with the sixth most points in the top nine).

Other possible candidates for captain’s picks below the top nine? Other Ryder Cup veterans including Keegan Bradley, Brant Snedeker, Hunter Mahan.

In any case, it won’t be nearly as experienced a U.S. team as we’ve seen in recent years, especially for U.S. golf fans wanting revenge after the heart-wrenching 1 point loss to the Europeans at Medinah in 2012.

Oh, and lest I forget, the Europeans will have Rory McIlroy and his magical wand 3-wood!

Written by TurboTodd

August 11th, 2014 at 6:20 pm

IBM Acquires Cloud Security Services Provider Lighthouse Security Group, Simplifies Mobile, Cloud Identity Protection

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IBM today announced it has acquired the business operations of Lighthouse Security Group, LLC, a premier cloud security services provider.

Lighthouse Security Group’s Gateway platform protects identity and data in an increasingly complex IT environment where more company information is being stored in the cloud and accessed from mobile devices. Lighthouse Security Group is a subsidiary of long-time IBM Business Partner Lighthouse Computer Services, Inc.

Financial terms were not disclosed.

Today’s news follows IBM’s acquisition of CrossIdeas, a privately held provider of security software that governs user access to applications and data across on-premise and cloud environments. CrossIdeas combines business-driven governance and analytics capabilities to give customers greater control for securing enterprises.

By integrating the businesses of Lighthouse Security Group and CrossIdeas with IBM’s identity and access management offering, IBM will offer a full suite of security software and services that protect and manage a user’s identity.

The challenges of data access have been exacerbated by the digital world where companies are struggling to protect company information, including employee and customer identity, as they are stored beyond the traditional enterprise.

Rather than managing a single point of entry to this information, businesses must now be able to verify who is accessing their systems, data and network, and whether they are entitled to do so, from multiple points including cloud and mobile devices. In this new era, identity and access management has become the first line of defense from potential data breaches.

Based in Lincoln, Rhode Island, Lighthouse Security Group offers the Lighthouse Gateway, an identity management solution that will be integrated into IBM’s leading managed security services offering.

Customers can deploy and use the solution from a secure, hosted environment, which significantly reduces the cost of digital identity management and speeds the deployment for any type of IT environment—a data center, in the cloud or a hybrid of the two.

As a result, businesses can take immediate steps to help protect corporate data and prevent identity theft by ensuring that only authorized personnel can access sensitive corporate information no matter what the entry point.

The Lighthouse Gateway provides customers with a strategic cloud-based platform, which includes a full suite of functionality that is based on IBM Security Identity and Access Management capabilities – including user provisioning, identity lifecycle governance, single sign-on, enterprise user registry services, federation, and user self service.

The acquisition of Lighthouse Security Group extends IBM’s security leadership in delivering innovation, services and software that help businesses protect their data.

IBM has made more than a dozen acquisitions in security in the past decade and has more than 6,000 security researchers and developers in its 25 security labs worldwide that work on developing enterprise-class solutions. Lighthouse Security Group builds upon this investment by combining IBM’s leading managed security software and services.

For more information, please visit www.ibm.com/security, follow @IBMSecurity on Twitter or visit the IBM Security Intelligence blog.

Written by TurboTodd

August 11th, 2014 at 2:39 pm

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