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Comment Influence (Score 1) 189

Has there been another company that has driven more change over the last 100 years other than IBM? I think largely because IBM stays out of the consumer markets these days many people in the public don't realize how many back end systems in the world are driven by IBM technologies. Congratulations IBM on 100 years! I wish more companies were able to spend $30 billion on R&D.

Comment Re:Table. (Score 2) 789

The iPad is an optimized consumption experience. It is far better at the typical tasks that most people perform (reading, watching video, etc). If you are 90-95% consuming then the iPad destroys the laptop or desktop experience not only in user interface ease of use but just physical ease of use. You can lie in bed and watch Netflix, set it on the counter while preparing food. I cannot hold a laptop while standing or walking and type on the keyboard easily, but I can type while standing on an iPad. I read a lot of posts comparing laptops and iPads that don't take into account the increased physical mobility and ease of use of the iPad. It is lighter, thinner, and generates less heat than most laptops. It also turns on instantly. These things matter and they matter more than the lack of flash or a physical keyboard. Being able to hold it comfortably is important. The iPad excels at consumption. When it comes to producing stuff the iPad isn't too shabby either. You aren't going to write code on your iPad, and if you are typing a bunch then the iPad isn't the best. However Garage Band and iMovie are excellent. When I'm on the couch I've got a gaming laptop with a beefy video card, a Chrome CR-48 prototype, my girlfriend's IBM X31 Thinkpad, my iPhone and an iPad. Which one do I prefer to use for almost everything? The iPad.

Comment Re:Wrong answers (Score 1) 674

Here's a discussion about why it guessed Toronto (with only 30% confidence).

"Adding to the confusion for Watson, there are cities named Toronto in the United States and the Toronto in Canada has an American League baseball team. It probably picked up those facts from the written material it has digested. Also, the machine didn’t find much evidence to connect either city’s airport to World War II. (Chicago was a very close second on Watson’s list of possible answers.) "

Comment topology viewer (Score 1) 113

I'm not sure if there is a good free open source tool kit for this sort of thing. I do know that IBM offers a product to handle this sort of thing called TPC. The keyword you'll want to use when searching for a graphical representation of this stuff is "topology viewer".

Comment First Lego League (Score 2, Interesting) 94

For all the tech geeks out there interested in volunteering there is a great program called First Lego League to help gets kids get excited about technology. The program uses the Lego NXT kit like in the video. Legos + robotics + getting kids excited about technology = win.

Comment Placement on the stack (Score 1) 393

Wherever your product fits on the software stack you want open APIs and open source at the place below you in the software stack. You don't make profit from open source. You make profit from building stuff on top of open source.

One example would be IBM which sells services and hardware on top of open source.

Red Hat is profitable by selling services and support on top of open source.

Another example would be Google and their Chromium project. An open source browser is a gateway to their profit engine which is selling advertisements through their search engine and web apps.

Comment Numbers (Score 5, Informative) 377

At the end of 2009 IBM employed 399,409 employees worldwide.

IBM U.S. labor force numbers.

2009: 105,000
2008: 115,000
2007: 121,000
2006: 127,000
2005: 133,789

Where IBM hired in 2009:

Asia/Pacific: 13,376
CEEMEA: 3,988
Europe: 2,923
India: 18,873
Japan: 868
Latin America: 7,112
USA: 3,514
Canada: 820

Here are the detailed numbers from the IBM March 1st, 2010 layoffs (2,901 cut so far)

STG Technology Development: 24
STG Sales Support: 80
CIO Application and infrastructure: 160
Software Group WPLC: 50
Software Group Information management: 99
GBS Global Account: 98
GTS Security Systems: 41
ITD Transition, Quality & Service Mgmt: 276
ITD Application Hosting and Database: 158
ITD Service Management Delivery: 66
ITD Storage Management: 178
ITD Distributed Server Management: 318
GTS North America East IMT Region Maintenance & Technical Support: 66
Sales and Distribution Headquarters: 73
ITD Complex Engagement Services: 34
Tivoli: 51
SWG Application & Integration Middleware: 119
ITD Shared Services, Security & Risk Management: 216
Sales and Distribution Global Sales: 57
Human Resources Global Administration: 124
STG Global markets: 12
CIO Client Value Tranformation: 76
Corporate Marketing & Communications: 48
CIO Operations & Enterprise Portfolio Management: 8
STG Software Development & Lab services: 39
GBS Financial Services: 24
Total cut so far: 2901


Comment Not a zero sum environment (Score 1) 554

In the digital realm it isn't a zero-sum game. If I help you write some code or share information with you then I don't lose it. In the physical world, if I share a cow or chicken with you then I have less food. It's easier to share when you don't lose that which you share.

Comment Highlighting invalid characters inside text field (Score 2, Informative) 281

I disagree philosophically with our current legal system allowing software patents. However it never ceases to amaze me how the internets take a patent, don't read it or understand it and then complain about things that don't even make sense in regards to the patent in question.

If you read the actual patent, it is talking about validating the text input as the characters are being typed in and highlighting the specific characters that don't match the regular expression. For example if you type in a SSN as: 1112-113-1111, then the 2 and 3 within the text field would be highlighted (e.g. highlighted red) as not matching the regular expression for a SSN. I think the key is that the error highlighting is done inside the text field. The highlighting of the text wouldn't occur until some timer expired (e.g. 200 ms without any new typing). This makes it so that the error highlights don't show up as you are typing but as soon as you stop. This is definitely more novel than the comments on this article make it out to be.

Should this or other software algorithms be patentable? No. However companies like IBM are forced to patent because if they don't then other patent troll companies sue them and win because they have trouble proving prior art. It is not illogical for companies like IBM to simultaneously pursue patent reform and continue to patent as much as possible under the current legislation. This is just taking advantage of the broken system while talking about how broken it is.

Comment Re:My experience in China (Nov. 2008) (Score 2, Insightful) 118

"This presents an interesting chicken and egg problem with circumvention software. How do you get the software in the first place if it's source of the software package is censored?"

apt-get install tor privoxy

I've been in countries where use of any method to circumvent state censorship is criminal, all known proxies are blocked, all proxifying/anonymising software websites are blocked, is blocked and so on. But there are Debian mirrors hosted by the state funded university. No more censorship :-)

That implies you have a choice of which OS to use which just isn't the case in China. Most people use a cyber cafe connection running on Windows XP. Most Chinese simply can't afford the cost of a computer of their own. Nor could they afford the cost of an internet connection of their own.

Comment My experience in China (Nov. 2008) (Score 5, Interesting) 118

I went to China for vacation November 2008.  It was crazy watching the U.S. election from the Yengtze river.

Being the dork that I am I spent a good chunk of time playing around with the Great Firewall of China.  One thing that baffled me was the ease of which I could find "censored" material.  For example the wikipedia page for the Tiananmen Square protests was accessible (

Searching Google images for "Tiananmen Square" came back with hundreds of tanks, bloody civilians and the like - no different than in the U.S.

Yet some things were banned. I found that all the free http proxies that I tried were banned.  I couldn't get to And I couldn't get to the Tor website to download the installer.

This presents an interesting chicken and egg problem with circumvention software. How do you get the software in the first place if it's source of the software package is censored?  I ended up asking a buddy of mine in the U.S. to send me the Tor program via gmail, but not everyone has that option.

I was only on a very slow 8k/sec connection so at times it was difficult to tell if a site was banned or if it just was really slow.  I could only really tell by running a trace route.  It would always time out at the same router, presumably the router that bridged between inside and outside China.

In case anyone is interested here is a tracert going to a banned site.


Tracing route to []
over a maximum of 30 hops:

1   490 ms   298 ms   298 ms
2   298 ms   299 ms   299 ms
3   298 ms   280 ms     *
4   280 ms   342 ms   296 ms
5   432 ms   439 ms   439 ms
6   438 ms   459 ms   459 ms
7   358 ms     *     1107 ms
8   499 ms   480 ms   479 ms
9     *     1108 ms   479 ms []

10   498 ms   500 ms   518 ms [
11   518 ms   519 ms   539 ms [
12   536 ms   538 ms   558 ms [
13   537 ms   558 ms   538 ms [
14   528 ms   539 ms   539 ms [
15   537 ms   539 ms   540 ms []

16   536 ms   559 ms   539 ms []
17   537 ms   719 ms   539 ms []
18   556 ms   560 ms   559 ms []
19   558 ms   557 ms   559 ms []
20   597 ms   578 ms   580 ms [66.24
21   578 ms   559 ms   559 ms
22   779 ms   779 ms     * []
23     *        *        *     Request timed out.
24     *        *        *     Request timed out.
25     *        *        *     Request timed out.
26     *        *        *     Request timed out.
27     *        *        *     Request timed out.
28     *        *        *     Request timed out.
29     *        *     ^C

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