Turbo Todd

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

IBM And Singapore Startup Partner On Blockchain And Bluemix

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IBM todayannounced it is working with Singapore start-up FreshTurf in the Singapore location of its IBM Bluemix Garage network.

Using IBM Cloud and Blockchain technologies, FreshTurf has been working with IBM Bluemix Garage developers and designers to create a network of storage lockers for shipping and parcel delivery throughout Singapore. This locker ledger network is designed to help improve the “last mile” of delivery services for consumers and businesses, or the final leg of a package’s journey to a customer’s home.

Fueled by and built on Bluemix, IBM’s cloud platform, IBM and FreshTurf intend to build a distributed ledger platform prototype specifically designed to manage commercial transactions between merchants, logistic vendors, locker companies and consumers.

Not only can the application of blockchain technology help provide visibility across the fulfilment chain, allowing users to track their parcel and delivery status from the convenience of their phone, it can help stakeholders to conduct shipping transactions in a highly secure and trusted environment.

IBM Bluemix Garages serve as a hub where developers, product managers and designers can come together to build on Bluemix. The Singapore Bluemix Garage is one of the latest in IBM’s global network, which also includes locations in San Francisco, London, Toronto, Nice and Tokyo. 

A Singapore Blockchain Sling

FreshTurf is a startup in Singapore working with the IBM Bluemix Garage, intending to use the IBM Blockchain service on Bluemix for tracking the shipment of goods. The service is built on top of the Hyperledger Project fabric from the Linux Foundation.

The idea for the startup came about when founders, Kevin Lim and Jarryl Hong, were discussing the inconvenience of online shopping delivery in Singapore. In most cases, parcel deliveries only take place during office hours and in cases where no one is home, delivery can be insecure and the process of claiming parcels can be tedious.

To help solve this void in the market, FreshTurf turned to the IBM Bluemix Garage for a Design Thinking workshop, immersing the company in a unique, user-centric approach to design which helped them to rapidly identify and build a product best suited for their target base.

“As a startup, we wanted a partner and mentor who would guide us through the journey of adopting blockchain and building with cloud, while also helping us to grow,” said Jarryl Hong, Co-Founder, FreshTurf. “During the Design Thinking workshop, we had access to technical expertise, consulting and guidance through working with the IBM Bluemix Garage which allowed us to quickly build our concept. The IBM Bluemix Garage’s methods of Design Thinking, use of cloud and agile development practices served as the foundation of our startup.”

While blockchain has often been cited as a breakthrough in the financial services industry, IBM and FreshTurf are breaking new ground with IBM Blockchain in Singapore. The application of this emerging technology, combined with the power and agility of IBM Cloud, is showing great promise across a broad range of business applications, proving it has the potential to disrupt and transform industries outside the financial sector as well.

“We chose IBM because they are a global leader in building blockchain on the cloud, with vast experience in blockchain projects around the world and across multiple industries. Bluemix is also the most convenient way to test an IBM Blockchain network on the cloud, so it all added up for us,” added Kevin Lim, Co-Founder, Fresh Turf.

Blockchain is one of the advanced services available to developers on Bluemix, on which more than 120,000 apps are launched every month. Bluemix has rapidly grown to become one of the largest open, public cloud deployments in the world. Based in open standards, it features over 150 tools and services spanning categories of big data, mobile, cognitive computing, analytics, security, blockchain and Internet of Things.

Written by TurboTodd

October 24th, 2016 at 3:28 pm

Who Broke The Internet?

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If you can’t get to one of your favorite websites today, you’re not alone.

Gizmodo (and many others) have reported a major Distributed Denial of Service attack (DDoS) against the domain name service provider, Dyn, and that as of press time (4:42 PM CST Friday) we’re in the “third wave” of attack.

If you want to get down in the weeds on this outage, check out this post via KrebsonSecurity.

The long and short of it is that this wave of DDoS attacks has hitting Dyn’s services via mllions of IP addresses at the same time, making it virtually impossible to get to sites ranging from Twitter to Spotify to Reddit and beyond.

When you look at the outage maps from Down Detector in the Gizmodo post, one thing strikes one immediately: Much of the outage is on the East and West coasts (and Texas, and Colorado, and other “middle” states of the U.S.), sprinkled with a little bit of Western Europe.


As always, you can refer to IBM Security to learn more about how to protect against these and other attacks.

I’m sure we’ll be learning more about these attacks over the next several hours or even days.

Written by TurboTodd

October 21st, 2016 at 9:49 pm

What is World of Watson?

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It’s Thursday, the final U.S. presidential debate is over and done with (are you relieved?), and a whole slew of us at IBM are preparing to travel to Las Vegas this weekend to pick up where Hillary and The Donald left off.

Okay, not exactly pick up where they left off, but yes we can go and will go to Vegas…

Alex Trebek: It’s a conference in Las Vegas formerly known as IBM Insight that provides IBM clients with an opportunity to learn how cognitive businesses are using data science, advanced analytics, and Watson to extract new insights and make more informed business decisions.


<< IBM Watson rings in >>


Alex: Watson?


Voice of IBM Watson: What is World of Watson?


Alex: Right again, Watson!

I use the “Jeopardy!” example because it may be the last memory some people have of IBM Watson, but since January 2011, IBM Watson has gone to medical school, started a job on Wall Street, started helping with weather predictions, tracked cold and flu outbreaks…IBM Watson’s been extremely busy.

But Watson’s taking a break starting this weekend to head to Vegas to share the wealth at a conference of his own name, World of Watson. There, IBM will be offering more than 200 labs and training sessions, over 500 client speakers already working smartly with data and analytics, and more than 1,500 business and technical education sessions.

Featured speakers will include IBM Chairman and CEO Ginni Rometty, along with General Motors Chairman and CEO Mary Barra, Slack CEO Stewart Butterfield, and author and three-time Pulitzer Prize winning journalist, Thomas Friedman, along with a host of others.

If you can’t make it Vegas but wish to keep track of the conversation going on in and around the event, keep an eye on #ibmwow on Twitter or go to ibmgo.com to sign up to watch many of the keynotes online.

If you’re not registered but want to make a last minute trip to Vegas, you can go here to learn more.

With IBM Watson leading the charge, it’s hardly a roll of the dice.

Finally, if you are already attending, use this very handy “World of Watson Session Expert” to help find recommended and trending sessions. It’s powered by IBM Watson (I said he was headed to Vegas, not that he was taking a vacation).

Written by TurboTodd

October 20th, 2016 at 3:01 pm

Walmart, IBM, And Tsinghua University Partner To Use Blockchain For Food Safety in China

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As Walmart opened its new Walmart Food Safety Collaboration Center in Beijing today IBM, Walmart and Tsinghua University announced a collaboration to improve the way food is tracked, transported and sold to consumers across China.

Food authentication and supply chain tracking is a critical step to quickly finding and helping address sources of contamination around the world. Early indications are the blockchain presents an innovative new way to accomplish these goals.

It provides a permanent record of transactions which are then grouped in blocks that cannot be altered. It could serve as an alternative to traditional paper tracking and manual inspection systems, which can leave supply chains vulnerable to inaccuracies.

By harnessing the power of blockchain technology designed to generate transparency and efficiency and supply chain record-keeping, this work aims to help enhance the safety of food on the table to Chinese consumers.

With blockchain, food products can be digitally tracked from an ecosystem of suppliers to store shelves and ultimately to consumers. When applied to the food supply chain, digital product information such as farm origination details, batch numbers, factory and processing data, expiration dates, storage temperatures and shipping detail are digitally connected to food items in the information is entered into the blockchain along every step of the process.

Each piece of information provides critical data points that could potentially reveal food safety issues with the product. The information captured in each transaction as agreed upon by all members of the business network: once there is a consensus, it becomes a permanent record that can’t be altered.

This helps assure that all information about the item is accurate. The record created by the blockchain can also help retailers better manage the shelflife of products and individual stores, and further strengthen safeguards related to food authenticity.

“China’s rapid economic growth has led to massive opportunities for innovation, but it has also presented quality of life challenges, including helping to assure that food sold in the country is safe to eat,” said professor Chai Yueting from the National Engineering Laboratory for E-Commerce Technologies, Tsinghua University. “Similarly, we have been working with IBM on projects such as Green Horizons to address environmental challenges. Tsinghua University is also committed to in-depth research of food safety – one of the most important areas that the world is focusing on. We believe the work with IBM and Walmart can serve as a global model for others to follow and replicate.” 

You can learn more about IBM blockchain technology here.

Written by TurboTodd

October 19th, 2016 at 3:11 pm

IBM and Quest Diagnostics Launch Watson-Powered Genomic Sequencing Service, Helps Physicians Bring Precision Cancer Treatments to Patients Nationwide

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IBM Watson Health and Quest Diagnostics have announced the launch of IBM Watson Genomics from Quest Diagnostics, a new service that helps advance precision medicine by combining cognitive computing with genomic tumor sequencing.

Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (MSK) will supplement Watson’s corpus of scientific data with OncoKB, a precision oncology knowledge base to help inform precision treatment options for cancer patients.

The launch marks the first time that Watson for Genomics has been made widely available to patients and physicians across the country. Quest Diagnostics, a leader in genomic sequencing and oncology diagnostics that serves half the nation’s physicians and hospitals, extends these advanced capabilities to thousands  of the country’s community oncologists, who provide an estimated 70 percent of cancer care in the United States. The Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard will provide additional genome sequencing capabilities as part of the collaboration.

The new service involves laboratory sequencing and analysis of a tumor’s genomic makeup to help reveal mutations that can be associated with targeted therapies and clinical trials.

Watson then compares those mutations against relevant medical literature, clinical studies, pharmacopeia and carefully annotated rules created by leading oncologists, including those from MSK. Watson for Genomics ingests approximately 10,000 scientific articles and 100 new clinical trials every month.

“The beauty of Watson is that it can be used to dramatically scale access to knowledge and scientific insight, whether a patient is being treated in an urban academic medical center or a rural community clinic,” said John Kelly III, PhD, senior vice president, IBM Research and Cognitive Solutions. “Through this collaboration with the cancer community’s leading clinical and pathology experts, thousands of more patients can potentially benefit from the world’s growing body of knowledge about this disease.”

Bolstering the corpus of data Watson uses, MSK will provide OncoKB, a database of clinical evidence that will help Watson uncover treatment options that could target the specific genetic abnormalities that are causing the growth of the cancer. Comparison of literature that may take medical experts weeks to prepare can now be completed in significantly less time.

“Precision medicine is changing the way we treat cancer and giving new hope to people living with the disease,” said Jay G. Wohlgemuth, M.D., chief medical officer and senior vice president of research, development and medical, Quest Diagnostics. “However, access to genomic sequencing and tumor analysis required to determine appropriate precision medicine treatments for a patient can be a challenge. This service combines Quest’s state-of-the-art tumor analysis and national access with the cognitive computing of IBM’s Watson and the deep cancer treatment expertise of MSK. This is a powerful combination that we believe it will leap frog conventional genomic services as a better approach for identifying targeted oncology treatments.”

How the Solution Works

The efficacy of cancer therapy often depends on the type of gene mutations occurring in the cancer tumor. Many of the latest therapies are designed to work by targeting tumors with a specific genetic makeup. A therapy that is effective for one type of cancer may in fact be efficacious for many others that share similar mutations. But these mutations vary for each individual and can even change during treatment.

Correlating them to the appropriate treatments requires genomic sequencing expertise as well as information from knowledge bases, which must be routinely updated to account for rapidly evolving scientific discoveries, available drug therapies and, for patients for whom no therapy is indicated, and appropriate clinical trials.

The new service helps close these gaps: To access Watson’s evidence-based report, the treating oncologist or other physician will send a patient’s solid tumor biopsy tissue to Quest Diagnostics, where pathologists will prepare the tissue sample for genomic sequencing.

Scientists at Quest will then sequence the treatment-associated genes using advanced next-generation sequencing technologies and feed the genetic file into Watson. Watson will then use the sequenced genetic data and compare those data against massive bodies of clinical, scientific and pharmacological databases to help uncover potential therapeutic options that match the patient’s tumor mutations. A Quest pathologist will review and validate the results and prepare a report to send back to the treating physician.

 “We now know that genetic alterations are responsible for many cancers, but it remains challenging for most clinicians to deliver on the promise of precision medicine since it requires specialized expertise and a time-consuming interpretation of massive amounts of data,” said Paul Sabbatini, MD, Deputy Physician-in-Chief for Clinical Research, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. “Through this collaboration, oncologists will have access to MSK’s expertly curated information about the effects and treatment implications of specific cancer gene alterations. This has the power to scale expertise and help improve patient care.”

You can learn more about IBM Watson Health solutions here.

Written by TurboTodd

October 18th, 2016 at 2:51 pm

IBM Reports 2016 Third-Quarter Earnings

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IBM today announced third-quarter 2016 earnings results.

Third-quarter revenues from the company’s strategic imperatives — cloud, analytics, mobility and security — increased 16 percent year to year (up 15 percent adjusting for currency).  Cloud revenues (public, private and hybrid) for the quarter increased 44 percent (up 42 percent adjusting for currency). 

Cloud revenue over the trailing 12 months was $12.7 billion.  The annual run ratefor cloud as-a-Service revenue — a subset of total cloud revenue — increased to $7.5 billion from $4.5 billion in the third quarter of 2015.  Revenues from analytics increased 15 percent (up 14 percent adjusting for currency).  Revenues from mobile increased 19 percent and revenues from security increased 11 percent.

“IBM’s third-quarter performance, led by continued double-digit growth in our strategic imperatives, is a testament to our leadership in cognitive solutions and cloud,” said Ginni Rometty, IBM chairman, president and chief executive officer.  “Our ability to apply deep expertise and breakthrough technology, led by Watson and the IBM Cloud, to massive amounts of data is enabling us to build new markets and transform industries.  Whether it is banks implementing IBM blockchain solutions, hospitals leveraging Watson to fight cancer, or retailers using cognitive apps built on the IBM Cloud to transform the customer experience, clients across all industries are tapping into a new kind of innovation value from IBM.”

You can see the full earnings announcement here.

Written by TurboTodd

October 17th, 2016 at 8:16 pm

IBM Delivers New IBM Cloud Object Storage, Industry’s First For Hybrid Clouds

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IBM today introduced a new cloud object storage service that redefines the security, availability and economics of storing, managing and accessing massive amounts of digital information across hybrid clouds. 

The company’s breakthrough new IBM Cloud Object Storage offering derives from IBM’s acquisition of Cleversafe and its portfolio of patents designed to deliver clients better value with industry-leading security.

Though organizations are flocking to the cloud for improved efficiencies and IT agility, clients see a gap in their ability to store increasingly larger volumes of data – on premises and off premises.

Presently companies have to choose between storing data on internal servers and storage systems, or in the cloud. It’s a dilemma that has hindered business flexibility and raised infrastructure costs. As data volumes continue to grow across industries, the need to create flexible hybrid cloud storage solutions has intensified.

The new IBM Cloud Object Storage storage-as-a-service offerings will enable clients for the first time to scale large unstructured data volumes across on-premises systems as well as public and private clouds quickly and easily. This will dramatically increase IT system flexibility and security.

In a price comparison of identical object storage capacity running on a competitive cloud, the new IBM Cloud Object Storage demonstrated more than 25% lower costs for the capacity, environment and locations compared.

Built on an innovation called SecureSlice from industry leader, Cleversafe, (acquired by IBM in 2015), IBM Cloud Object Storage is designed to make storing and managing that data on the IBM Cloud reliable and available across regions and around the clock.

IBM Cloud Object Storage is available now for enterprise clients across IBM Cloud data centers in the US and Europe and will be available in the Asia Pacific region in December. Availability via digital channels, with swipe-and-go credit card support, will begin in the US starting in December and Europe soon thereafter.

You can learn more about IBM Cloud Object Storage here.

Written by TurboTodd

October 13th, 2016 at 4:29 pm

The President On AI…And Stuff We Just Don’t Know

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The Samsung Galaxy Note7 burnout sale continues.

Engadget’s reporting that Samsung is offering $100 credits to exchange Galaxy Note7 for another Samsung phone.

And get this: They’re offering $25 to buy another brand’s phone.

Que up the lines at the Apple store!

Somebody who may not be lining up at the Apple store but is certainly speaking out on the future of neural networks and self-driving cars? President Barack Obama.

WIRED recently sat down with the president, along with MIT Media Lab director Joi Ito, for a wide-ranging conversation on the emerging ethics of artificial intelligence, the role of government in a post-AI world, and the stuff we just don’t know.

It’s the kind of substantive, forward-thinking political and social conversation we can only dream about in our current U.S. Presidential election.

And…que HAL from 2001: A Space Odyssey:

HAL: I know I’ve made some very poor decisions recently, but I can give you my complete assurance that my work will be back to normal. I’ve still got the greatest enthusiasm and confidence in the mission. And I want to help you.

Written by TurboTodd

October 13th, 2016 at 2:46 pm

Send In The Clowns

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I decided I’m having a healthy McDonald’s salad for lunch, despite the fact that Ronald McDonald is laying low until the clown scare blows over.

If you missed this particular scary clown meme, don’t feel alone.

I remember the days when the saying went something like “Send in the Clowns,” not send the kids to the basement to avoid them.

The whole crazy clown thing allegedly started back in August when a clown in Green Bay, Wisconsin dubbed “Gags the Clown” began frightening passersby by standing on a corner and looking really creepy.

According to Vox’s rundown of the creepy clowns, that “gag” actually turned out to be a viral marketing stunt for a low-budget horror movie.

Okay, don’t send in the clowns.

And that’s how all this viral clown madness began, and how Ronald McDonald ended up hiding out in the basement.

I’ll leave it at that, but if you feel as though you must go really deep on the clown hoax, Vox has got you covered.

And remember, when fighting clowns, always go for the juggler.

Boom da da boom!

Then again nobody’s laughing at Samsung, which The Verge reports has cut its profit forecast by 33% for Q3, from $7B to $4.6B, after the company opted to discontinue its Galaxy Note7 line of smartphones when a number of them began spontaneously combusting.

Maybe it is time to send in the clowns, after all.

Written by TurboTodd

October 12th, 2016 at 5:26 pm

Siemens Healthineers and IBM Watson Health Forge Population Health Management Alliance

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IBM and Siemens Healthineers today announced a five-year, global strategic alliance in Population Health Management (PHM). The alliance aims to help hospitals, health systems, integrated delivery networks, and other providers deliver value-based care to patients with complex, chronic and costly conditions such as heart disease and cancer.

The health-focused alliance is the first of its kind for the companies, which have a long-standing global relationship that spans diverse industry sectors including IBMs work with Siemens Building Technologies, Siemens PLM and Siemens Digital Grid. It also marks Siemens entry into PHM.

Siemens Healthineers and IBM Watson Health intend to help healthcare professionals navigate unprecedented changes propelled by a growing volume and diversity of health data, an aging global population, increasing prevalence of chronic diseases, changes in healthcare payment models, and the digitization and consumerization of healthcare.

The alliance leverages the expertise and global reach of both companies, including Siemens track record introducing technology-driven innovations to a broad range of providers and IBM’s unique cognitive healthcare offerings.

As part of the alliance, Siemens Healthineers will offer PHM solutions and services from IBM Watson Health. These offerings are designed to help meet hospital and healthcare systems’ demands for value-based care analytics and reporting, and patient engagement. Siemens Healthineers will also provide consulting services to support providers in their transition to value-based care.

By way of example, Siemens Healthineers has access to IBM Watson Care Manager, a new cognitive solution from IBM designed to help providers and patients to work together to support individual health. IBM Watson Care Manager integrates disparate types of clinical and individual data and applies cognitive analysis to draw out insights for nurses and other care managers so they can closely monitor and counsel individuals with chronic conditions.

Under the strategic alliance, it is the intent of IBM and Siemens to work together to jointly develop and deploy new PHM offerings leveraging each company’s expertise and assets, including those added to the Watson Health portfolio from acquisitions such as Phytel and Explorys.

“We are at an unprecedented time in healthcare. Mature and developing markets are increasingly focused on how patient outcomes are optimized, quality is standardized among individuals and across populations, and costs are reduced,” said Deborah DiSanzo, general manager for IBM Watson Health. “Siemens and IBM are ideal partners to work at the forefront of this evolution and enable personalized healthcare in the U.S. and globally.”

To learn more about IBM Watson Health go here.

Written by TurboTodd

October 11th, 2016 at 2:14 pm

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