The Buzz


Oct 07, 2013

Ideas Needed for #nextpowerapp Contest

The IBM Systems Magazine and EXTRA enewsletter readers are smart folks full of good ideas. We are looking for those good ideas for a contest we are co-sponsoring with the IBM Linux on Power team.

The Next Power App concept is simple and open to everyone (except IBM and MSP Communications employees). Tweet your idea for the #nextpowerapp using the hashtag and be entered into a drawing for a tablet of your choice (valued at up to $500). So basically you write 140 characters with our hashtag and you could win a tablet. Simple, right?

And if you don’t have Twitter, we’ve got you covered there too. We set up a #nextpowerapp Web page with a button you can click on to fill out a form with 140 characters. Those ideas will be tweeted out via our @LinuxIBMMag Twitter account (feel free to follow us there too).

Need some examples of what we’re looking for? Here you go: "Analyze what's in my refrigerator and give me a good recipe to make #nextpowerapp" or "Regulate traffic so I never have to wait at a light again #nextpowerapp".

Once the contest closes Oct. 31, Linux subject matter experts will select the top ideas. This final cut from the judges will be highlighted on the IBM Systems Magazine, Power Systems Facebook page. The entire community will get an opportunity to vote on the FINAL and WINNING entry. The person with the winning entry wins the tablet. Be sure to follow us on Facebook for the opportunity to vote, and we’ll also be communicating via Twitter.

So come on readers, submit your ideas. It doesn’t take long and you could win a tablet.

Jun 28, 2013

IBM Systems Magazine Launches its First iPad App

With the redesign of IBM Systems Magazine completed, the editorial and design teams, which are always looking for a new challenge, set their sights on our next big venture—the IBM Systems Magazine, Power Systems edition app for iPad.

The magazine staff has been monitoring the growth of visits to the magazine’s website and other digital products to determine when we should launch an iPad app. That traffic has reached a tipping point, hence our launch today of our new iPad app for the Power Systems edition readers. An Android version of the app is also being considered for readers who want to consume the magazine’s content on an Android tablet. You can download the app and read the July issue of IBM Systems Magazine, Power Systems edition.

Starting with the July issue, readers of the Power Systems edition will be able to experience the magazine in an iPad optimized app with interactive features. Currently, magazine content is available in print and digital formats. Exclusive technical content is also available on the magazine’s website. The recently launched iPad app provides yet another content format for readers who are increasingly adopting tablets as a way to consume information.

Each month, the iPad app will bring information on the world of IBM technology. Current and new readers will enjoy the convenience the app provides along with enhancements such as interactive features, audio, video and animations. We're excited about all of the bells and whistles that we'll be introducing in the app, but as always, we don't want form to win out over function so the great content you have come to expect will continue to be delivered in a new format. As always, that content includes:

•    Thought leadership from IBMers and other industry leaders
•    The latest IBM technology announcements
•    In-depth customer case studies
•    Hands-on solutions to IT challenges

Mainframe readers don't despair, an iPad app for the bimonthly IBM Systems Magazine, Mainframe edition launches in September.

Once you’ve downloaded it, please let us know what you think by leaving a comment or sending me an email


Mar 21, 2013

USC Students Contemplate Some New Ways to Use Watson

That Watson beat two champions on “Jeopardy!” is old news. That Watson is more than just a computer system that could do so is also old news. That Watson technology is being applied to real-world business challenges is new news. Looking to tap into the creative juices of college students while contemplating new uses for its Watson technology, IBM held a contest for University of Southern California students. The 100 students competed in the IBM Watson Academic Case Competition. The contest was a first on the West Coast. It put USC students in the spotlight to create business plans for applying Watson to pressing business and societal challenges.

According to the IBM news release, students were judged in two rounds based on four criteria: how well the concept and supporting plan articulated and supported the team’s vision; the feasibility of bringing the product or service to market and the supporting elements; the extent the proposed solution leverages Watson’s key capabilities; and the team's presentation. Three winning ideas were selected by a panel of eight industry and faculty judges, including representatives from Bank of America, Ernst & Young, and IBM. 
The team that won proposed to use Watson in a legal setting. The project was titled “Legal Research: Let Watson Do the Discovery for Your Next Legal Case.” The USC team proposed using Watson to process its users' research needs, based on its ability to think like a human, quickly sift through online legal documents for facts, and not only identify evidence to support a case--but forecast its probability of success. The first place team's viewpoint: by placing Watson in charge of research, firms can recover time and costs, while delivering better legal outcomes. In turn, firms that leverage Watson’s speed and efficiency can address the growing legal trend towards “flat fee” billing and research outsourcing. 
The second-place team was attempting to tackle a challenge that many businesses are facing with their project titled “Employee Training: Watson Uncovers the Keys to Success for Your Employees.” The USC team proposed that corporate human resource departments use Watson to optimize employee training, by crunching data pertaining to the employers’ HR needs, the employees’ career goals, and the range of training options available that can help both parties succeed. The team’s viewpoint: by improving employee satisfaction and retention, a Watson-powered employee training system can also drive higher shareholder value. 
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) was the focus of the third-place team with their project titled, “Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder: Watson Helps Doctors Find Patients.” The team proposed that physicians use Watson to identify people who may develop PTSD, by uncovering insights from data that can help piece together their personal story and shed light on pain he or she may be experiencing. The team’s viewpoint: by helping physicians find and diagnose those suffering from PTSD, Watson can help medical professionals offer patients the treatment they deserve.
IBM partners with thousands of universities to offer curricula, internships and hands-on experiences to help students learn first hand about new technologies in the fields of big data, analytics and cognitive computing. For example, the company collaborates extensively with Cleveland Clinic, which provides Watson as a collaborative learning tool for medical students, to its public-private partnership with the New York City Department of Education and the City University of New York to create the Pathways in Technology Early College High School program (P-TECH), which allows students to participate in a six year science and technology program and graduate with an associates degree for free in computer science or engineering, according to the news release. 


Aug 30, 2011

Chicken Farming Devoid of Technology

Technology generally exists to make various tasks and jobs easier. I can read my email, check the weather, send texts and make calls with my Android phone, for instance. I use my credit card in the card reader to pay for my groceries. Some magical piece of technology in my car tells me when I need an oil change.

The business of free-range organic chicken farming, however, seems devoid of technology, unless you count using your cell phone as a flashlight to gather eggs from the hen house. It's an occupation that could use a little technology boost to make it easier.

My 16-year-old son volunteered (because he is a good friend and because money was involved) to care for 1,000 chickens when his friend's family took a 10-day vacation recently. Caring for the chickens meant twice-daily visits to the farm, which is located about five miles from our home. One trip in the morning--and I mean before 6:30 a.m.--to let the 1,000 birds out of their barn and into the pasture. The early hour was required to ensure they had enough time to also eat the 250 pounds of food my son put in the feeders.

Perhaps something as seeminlgy simple as the My Wake Up Call motivational alarm clock would be an asset. The clock awakens sleepers with motivational messages.My motivational message would have been something like: Get up. Tend the birds. Those chickens will taste really good on my plate in a few weeks.

At night, the free-range birds must be rounded up from the pasture and coaxed (chased, really) back into the barn to keep predators at bay. Let me just give you a mental picture of the chicken roundup. You enter the pasture with empty feed sacks. In an ideal world you are accompanied by at least one, preferably two, other people. You try to herd the chickens into the chicken house. These young birds--my son admits they are teenagers in chicken years--don't really understand the concept of going to bed when they are told to do so (definitely sounds like a teenager to me). So rounding up 1,000 birds takes about 30 minutes.

I'm trying to think of a piece of technology that could help with the roundup. I'm coming up empty. Maybe something from IBM that enables smarter chicken farming?

All I know is I'm grateful that my son's 10-day chicken-tending job has ended. Now my motivational alarm message is more like: Arise. It's a new day. Be thankful you're not a free-range chicken farmer.


Aug 09, 2011

The Future is Now for Smarter Computing

Smarter computing is all about transforming IT, which is often perceived as a bottleneck, into a source of innovation and business benefit to an organization. That was the message IBM Fellow Gururaj Rao championed during his keynote, “A New Era of Smarter Computing: Optimized Systems,” at the SHARE Conference on Tuesday.

“Smarter Computing is a synthesis of what we have seen our successful clients do … with a specialized plan,” Rao said following his session. “These clients are enabling innovation.”

He cited several examples, including one hospital’s use of sensors to monitor infants in a neonatal unit. The data from the sensors is then analyzed to see triggers for life-threatening conditions that might arise down the road.

Similarly, fishermen are using mobile technology on fishing boats to report their catch while still at sea. Restaurants can then negotiate with the fishermen through the cloud. As a result, the day’s catch is already sold while ships are still at sea. They do this on System z, Rao added.

“When you look at these powerful examples, they are creating business value by using IT in a non-traditional way,” he said.

In many cases, these innovations involve non-traditional data as well. Big data sources, like sensors and call detail records, offer great opportunity but they don’t fit in the traditional enterprise data warehouse, so new approaches are needed, Rao noted.

Accordingly cloud and virtualization technologies are being used to create smarter computing, he said. His message, however, is one size does not fit all. Using golf as an analogy, he explained, the objective isn’t to just hit the ball. If that were the case, you’d only need one club.

IT organizations need to determine their specialized needs—cost efficiency through platform consolidation or improved performance, Rao said. The key is to create the right architecture infrastructure based on the business need to deliver business value. This requires a different mindset about how systems can add value rather than simply being perceived as a cost center.

And IBM is able to help customers determine what hardware, software and services are the best fit to achieve an individual client’s needs.

“Any client can enable innovative business value without breaking the bank,” Rao explained.