IBM to Set Record for Corporate Layoffs Next Month, Over 100 Thousand

ibm logoAnd if they break that record, as they’re expected to, IBM will be taking the layoffs crown from…


In an age where companies are rushing away from the kinds of server and data solutions IBM has traditionally offered to focus on “cloud” things, International Business Machines is looking to cut a quarter of its 400,000 employee workforce. They’re scrambling to catch up with Amazon, Microsoft, and Google in a hyper competitive services market, and one has to wonder how they’ll do that paying for an incredible number of severance packages, and with customer confidence likely taking a hit.

While the company sells mainframes, something you would think would be necessary for a cloud economy, that hardware only makes up about 10% of IBM’s business. Continue reading “IBM to Set Record for Corporate Layoffs Next Month, Over 100 Thousand”

IBM’s Watson Supercomputer Now a Food Truck Chef?

Watson's_avatarIt kinda makes sense when you think about it.

The supercomputer that spanked the top two most winning human contestants on Jeopardy is a master of parsing data. After his game show appearance, Watson has also been used in the medical industry, but now IBM is playing with a more fun application. Chewing through ingredients online to develop new recipes.

Scanning through dishes, Watson is able to start finding patterns in how certain dishes are prepared, and he’s then able to make certain assumptions based on region to arrive at new food combos and recipes. Watson’s attempts are then handed off to human chefs.

The real fun of this project however is how IBM is testing the dishes Watson creates. It’s no fun if it’s just developers and employees, IBM built a food truck for Watson’s cuisine to hit the streets.

Hey IBM, I REALLY want this on my phone. Google Now, Cortana, and Siri are cool and all, but can we make a Watson app happen?

Google and IBM want to make the internet a LOT faster, but will consumers ever get the upgrades?

server rack rear cablingWithin a day of each other, complimentary stories about Google and IBM hit the net.

Google is working on plans to improve their fiber offerings from 1Gbps to 10Gbps, meaning their uploads and downloads would be 200 and 2000 times faster than what I currently have access to in Los Angeles. We can also easily estimate that the service would be cheaper than the top tier broadband in So-Cal. Originally their plan was to roll out 10Gbps connections over the next decade, but in light of 4K video services popping up to supply people native resolution content for their new TV’s, they’ve shortened that window to three years. The internet is going to need bigger pipes to handle future services.

And if you think Google’s data sounds audacious, IBM has even bigger goals in their sites.  Continue reading “Google and IBM want to make the internet a LOT faster, but will consumers ever get the upgrades?”

Google Beats Facebook for AI Company DeepMind, Pays $500 Million

Google_logoDoes anyone else think this company missed out on a terrific opportunity to name their AI “Deep Thought”? Anyone? 42? Is this thing on [tap, tap, tap]?

Beating out Facebook with a $500 Million dollar bid, Google is now the proud owner of DeepMind, a company focused on creating algorithms which will help computers learn in a way which resembles human experience. Artificial intelligence. Now, most people are linking this to Google’s recent acquisition of Boston Dynamics as if we’re all on the cusp of a Skynet inspired apocalypse. While I’m sure learning algorithms would be a tremendous boon to the robotics community after watching excerpts from the DARPA Robotics Challenge, it was very clear that we’re a LONG way off from Skynet or Asimov’s robots, there are a number of other projects at Google HQ which could also benefit from some good old fashioned learnin’

Improving the responses of automated, self-driving cars for instance. Making those systems more flexible and adaptable to changing road and traffic conditions.

Watson's_avatarGoogle is first and foremost an information broker.

Search will continue to be an ever increasing issue as we dump more and more info into this giant bucket we call the internet. Google is now facing incredible competition from companies like IBM with their Watson project. A computer system which isn’t self-aware, but is able to adapt, add information, and make sense of casual instructions and commands to deliver meaningful results. If Google doesn’t start working on a similar program, they’ll find themselves disasterously behind. Given a choice between Siri, Google Now, and Watson, I know I’d prefer to send my search query to the computer who spanked the crap out of the top two most winning Jeopardy contestants in that show’s history.

We instantly assume that working on aspects of Artificial Intelligence means that we’ll flip a switch someday and all our machines will have distinct personalities. What will most likely happen first is more likely to be painfully dull for the general populace. Purpose built computing systems which are subtly, but noticeably better at their individual jobs. Think of a WHOLE animal brain, so many different pieces to regulate and control various aspects of an organism’s life. We’re a LONG way off from poorly replicating the human frontal lobe. We’re a LONG way off from building a system which could rival a house cat’s ability to problem solve and learn tricks.

Let’s not forget that Google’ main competition for acquiring DeepMind was Facebook, a company that failed to put out a branded phone. If there were any more reassuring fact that we wont see this AI in some near-future skeletal doomsday robot warrior, it’s the fact that Facebook is most likely looking for better systems to sift through user data, not to operate machinery.

So when Google flips the switch and we all get slightly better turn by turn recommendations, when predictive search results and ads are a little better targeted at our needs, we can all shrug a sigh of relief. However, if I’m wrong, allow me to be the first to welcome our future robot overlords. I’d make a fantastic liaison officer in your new world paradigm where humans are kept like cattle for some unexplainable but dramatic reason.

NVIDIA partners with IBM for GPU accelerated Super Computing, Unveils Tesla K40 GPU

NVIDIA_Tesla_K40_GPU_Accelerator_TopSo most folks understand that they have a special chip or card in their gadgets which runs the graphics on their computers, phones, game consoles, etc. A Graphics Processing Unit is really good at crunching numbers to provide us things like detailed environments, high resolution textures, dynamic lighting, and fluid particle effects. A GPU is purpose built to chew through information our CPU’s aren’t great at dealing with.

Over the last couple years, that number crunching ability is now being harnessed for other computing tasks. As an example, my video editing software uses my GPU to render video, so my aged workstation is still pretty quick at pushing high quality HD video out the door. The fact that I have an old CPU, doesn’t hamstring me that much.

2_Piz_Daint_destra_con_persona_LRWell, moving up the computing ladder, many number crunching super computers are incorporating GPUs. Piz Daint in Switzerland, activated earlier this year, utilizes NVIDIA K20X GPU’s. It was built for life science, physics, and meteorological simulations. The system is not only the fastest supercomputer in Europe, but it’s also up to 7 times more energy efficient than traditional computing solutions.  Continue reading “NVIDIA partners with IBM for GPU accelerated Super Computing, Unveils Tesla K40 GPU”

IBM investing another $1 Billion dollars in Linux servers.

ibm logoReading the news feeds I was kind of hoping that IBM was going to make a push back into the consumer market. After transferring their consumer/business hardware solutions to Lenovo, they’ve become a company with a solid corporate reputation, but little consumer mind share.

Instead, what we’ll be seeing is a push to further Linux server solutions. Still very cool for the Linux ecosystem, and hopefully this means that some of that money and attention reaches consumer hardware down the line. It’s coming at a time where Linux has unseated Unix, but still trails Windows Server by a significant margin. IBM recently released a new line of rack mounted Linux servers, so they have a vested interest in the Linux ecosystem expanding.

The $1 Billion should be paid out over a 4-5 year period, and initially will focus on cloud solutions powered by IBM hardware.

More news to follow during LinuxCon, and I’ll update this post if there are any surprising new developments.

Now then IBM, about us consumers, could you throw us a bone? Maybe offer some contextual search services we could play with? I’d pay to have a Watson app on my phone.

Apple’s Crisis of Confidence: Consumer Perception and Stock Market Response

tim cook apple logoBefore I dive into this, I need to make it clear that I don’t hate Apple. I used to be an Apple product specialist working a JIT contract for DOE facilities in New Mexico. This was during the dual socket days of the PowerMac G5. It was a glorious machine, and I used to adore Apple. As Apple walked away from markets and product lines that I cared about, that adoration became a loving competition. The recent glory days of the company provided me a terrific nemesis as I moved over to Windows 7 computers and Android Phones.

Following Tuesday’s unveiling of the iPhone 5C & 5S, I came to an unsettling realization: I’m worried about Apple.

See, my world as a tech enthusiast and writer just doesn’t make sense without a powerful Apple, and the company which was on display during this last keynote was anything but powerful.  Continue reading “Apple’s Crisis of Confidence: Consumer Perception and Stock Market Response”