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Posts from the ‘Outside the Box’ Category

17
Feb

Watson triumphant: we all submit humbly to our new masters

It was a frightening display. Watson was lightning quick, and with a vast storehouse of knowledge, he was unbeatable. With a two-day total of $77, 147 he destroyed two great Jeopardy! players, Ken Jennings and Brad Rutter.

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1
Feb

Egypt unrest hits home for outsourcers

Because of its stability and reliability as a U. S. ally, Egypt was your destination of choice when you set up an offshore call center a couple of years ago. And because you were gifted with exceptional foresight, you set up a twin facility in Korea – which is  coming in very handy right about now.

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24
Jan

Analyze this

Business analytics is important to IBM. Very important. As the WSJ reports, it’s a growing, profitable and highly strategic business. It has also been the hunting ground for many an IBM acquisition. And if you haven’t noticed, IBM’s “Watson” computerized Jeopardy! contestant is the poster child for the strategy. Read more

23
Dec

Net neutrality bounces back: New reg has something for everyone – and that’s the problem

OK. Back in November I said that Net neutrality was showing few signs of life. Now, however Net neutrality is riding the wave of President Obama’s post-shellacking surge and is very much alive.

But as the Net neutrality measure that the FCC approved by a 3 to 2 vote comes under scrutiny, opponents on both sides of the issue are finding a lot not to like. The right is upset because it attempts to regulate the Internet at all. Republicans are saying they’ll try to overturn it in 2011. The left is having fits too, claiming it’s full of loopholes that favor big network businesses. Partisans are saying Obama sold out.
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21
Dec

‘Tis the season, and computers are in our thoughts — literally

At its best, holiday gift-giving is an exercise in thoughtful empathy – an attempt to place oneself in the position of another person to imagine what might elicit pleasure in that other person. The ability to thoughtfully interact with another person makes being human worthwhile and it’s something that people alone can do — or is it?
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14
Dec

IBM preps Watson to compete on Jeopardy!

To paraphrase a certain beer commercial, I don’t often watch TV, but when I do, I watch Jeopardy! So I’ll be glued to the set when IBM’s “Watson” computer takes on Jeopardy champions on February 14, 15 and 16, 2011.

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8
Dec

Do we really have a “Sputnik moment?”

In his December 6, 2010 speech, President Obama aimed for the laudable goal of lighting a fire under the country to encourage it to compete in science and engineering with rising global powers China and India. His rhetorical tool: recalling the Soviet Union’s launch of the Sputnik earth satellite in 1957.

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11
Nov

Veteran’s Day Observations

In observance of Veterans’ Day, here are a few connections worth remembering between the military and IT:

The first modern computer was the ENIAC, developed by J. Presper Eckert and John  Mauchly at the University of Pennsylvania for the military in the closing days of World War II. The purpose was to quickly calculate artillery shell trajectories. The war ended before ENIAC could be used for its original purpose, although it was later used in conjunction with the hydrogen bomb. The principles behind the vacuum-tube behemoth were later commercialized in the UNIVAC computer. Read more

8
Nov

Election results: IT still not a factor; net neutrality still not alive

With the dust settling from Tuesday’s election results, it looks like there won’t be much change in policy affecting information technology – the same result of almost every election. It has always struck me as a bit odd that information technology, arguably the country’s most important industry, seldom factors into political debate, with the possible exception of the ever-unpopular offshore outsourcing.

For advocates of net neutrality, that’s bad – 95 Democratic challengers who favored net neutrality lost. (Declan McCullagh has done a good job taking the pulse, or lack of same, of net neutrality in the wake of the election. Grant Gross in Computerworld had some good post-election reporting as well.) Read more

28
Oct

Some Random thoughts while raking the leaves and putting in the storm windows for the winter:

Feeling complacent? Here’s a cure: As of today, China has taken the lead in supercomputing. Here’s another: Although President Obama has our marker in the game for the race to Mars, so do India, China and Russia.  Do we want it more than they do? We are going to have to want to win, not just want to compete. Maybe it will come, but I’m not feeling that sense of commitment desperation at this point. It will be tough looking at Mars with a Chinese or Indian flag on it, especially after so many successful U. S. unmanned explorations.

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