IBM Software Newsletter


IBM surprised by lawsuit from APM

Big Blue has said that it was jolly surprised by the news that it has been sued by chemicals manufacturer Avantor Performance Materials.

APM claims that IBM conned it out of money and breached its contract during an SAP software project.

IBM told Reuters  that the accusations were blown out of proportion and that it was surprised by the move.

It said that the allegations were exaggerated and misguided and IBM was astonished that Avantor chose to file suit.

Big Blue insisted that it had met its contractual obligations and delivered something that Avantor continued to use in its operations. It did not say exactly what it delivered, but the implications are that it was not just a stapler and a packet of paper clips.

Avantor produces chemicals and raw materials for pharmaceutical products, laboratory chemicals and chemicals used in the electronics industry.

It wants tens of million in damages from IBM which it claimed had misrepresented the capabilities of a software program that runs on a SAP platform.

IBM’s actions had resulted in a near standstill of Avantor’s business, the lawsuit claims. 

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After 23 years, Steven Sinofsky quits Microsoft

Steven Sinofsky has left Microsoft after nearly 23 years getting the outfit stonkingly good results.

Sinofsky is the Windows division president and his exit after the release of Windows 8 has tongues wagging.

Sinofsky developmed two versions of Microsoft’s flagship product, the 2009 release of Windows 7 and last month’s launch of Windows 8.

He was also tipped to replace Steve Ballmer if the CEO met with an unfortunate accident.

But according to the Wall Street Journal, Sinofsky was not well loved by his fellow voles and was unlikely to have been able to herd them in the way that Ballmer somehow manages them.

Voles who talked to the Journal around the coffee machine claimed that Windows 7 and 8 were created by him running roughshod over some employees and executives.

He had a small court of executives who did his bidding and never formed relationships with crucial Microsoft partners such as hardware makers, they claimed.

Externally he was the master of the unilateral decision, which hacked off his fellow voles, Al Hilwa, an analyst with IDC told the Journal.

Ballmer wrote an email saying he was grateful for the many years of work that Steven has contributed to the company. He added that there was a need for the company to “drive alignment across all Microsoft teams”.

Sinofsky replied that it was impossible to count the blessings he had received over his years at Microsoft. Although it is possible that he had no blessings as this would be a figure that is hard to count.

Sinofsky’s job will be taken up by his two loyal lieutenants. There is Julie Larson-Green, an engineering executive who worked with Sinofsky in two different Microsoft divisions, and Tami Reller, the Windows division marketing chief and chief financial officer.

Green will lead engineering efforts for Windows software and hardware, while Reller will be responsible for the business side of the Windows division. 

Who don’t you trust with your personal data?

About a month ago I posted “Whom do you trust with your personal?“, containing two polls. The number of respondents is surprisingly low, so I’m back with them, using a slightly different approach. Perhaps the InterWebs will respond more to the negative trust question.

The results so far don’t surprise me. Facebook is distrusted by a wide margin — 57.42 percent of respondents. Microsoft and Google are most trusted (38.6 percent and 34.5 percent, respectively). But Google also is second-most distrusted (27.1 percent). Both polls provide just five major tech companies but opportunity for respondents to give their own answers. Nine percent trust no one.

As always, your comments are enlightening. 1DaveN writes:

I trust Facebook more than Google because I’m in control of what I post on Facebook. With Google, they just vacuum up every bit of information they can get their hands on from any source. Google could potentially be getting data from me in scenarios where I don’t even know they’re there — kind of like they read all your emails, but I suspect they’re doing similar things in areas where their presence isn’t even known. I wouldn’t be embarrassed to have anyone see what I do in my living room, but once I know you’re peeping in my window, your creepy actions make me want to avoid you at all costs. That’s kind of how I feel about Google.

I’m most interested in responses like this one because of Google Now. The service presupposes Google watches you — “peeping in the window” is all but necessary. How else can Google proactively provide information about local weather, travel time home, flight status, Amazon package shipped and much more. Google Now is a handy service, so good Popular Science calls the service “innovation of the year“. But big benefits don’t come cheap. They require extending Google quite a bit of trust.

“For the most part, I think Google sticks to it’s ‘Don’t be evil’ motto”, Xuanlong comments. “Yes, they do collect tons of data, which can make people uncomfortable, but at the end of the day, my search terms or browsing habits are not closely guarded secrets. If they can use that information to improve their own products, I can’t really say I have too much of a problem with it”.

For other readers, the cloud makes everyone suspect. “Probably the biggest reason I have for not moving into the new post-PC world is it’s reliance on the cloud”, rebradley opines. “I know most people don’t care or even know where their data is but I do and I want to control it. The cloud and networked services are just too fragile and tempting targets of opportunity to both deliberate assaults and its own technical weaknesses. Not only that, when you let others host all your private data, questions of who owns your data will inevitability arise. I see a day when the ownership of your personal pictures, writings and other form of data is questioned and even lost to the owner of the cloud”.

I’ll add to that. What happens when cloud companies change policies affecting your stuff. Just seven months ago, DropBox dropped the bomb on users by granting law enforcement access to data that was supposedly encrypted. Among the 1,474 respondents to our reaction poll, 73.54 percent were either “really ticked off” or “kind of peeved”.

If Chromebook really is ‘for everyone’, is it for me?

Suddenly, I don’t feel so special. But that’s okay. For some time, I belonged to a small, elite group of Chromebook users. But new, lower-cost models and Google’s aggressive “for everyone” marketing campaign moves the cloud computer into the mainstream market. On October 18, I started using the $249 model announced the same day. The question: Is ‘for everyone’ for me — or even you?

I already had adopted the $449 Chromebook as my only PC. The question: Could the ARM model satisfy? Except for 40 hours back on the costlier Intel, for performance comparison, I’ve used the smaller Chromebook full time for more than a month. In trying to answer the question, I hoped to perhaps get one for people tempted by the newer model’s lower price or that of the (gasp) $199 Acer. Samsung makes the other two.

For anyone considering any of them, quick specs:

$199 Chromebook: 1.1GHz Intel Celeron 847 dual-core processor; 11.6-inch glossy display, 1366 x 768 resolution, 200-nit brightness; 2GB RAM; 320GB hard drive; webcam; three USB 2.0 ports; WiFi A/N; HDMI port; VGA port; Chrome OS. Weighs 3 pounds (1.1 kg) and is an inch thick.

$249 Chromebook: 1.7GHz Samsung Exynos 5250 dual-core processor (ARM); 11.6-inch matte display, 1366 x 768 resolution, 200-nit brightness; 2GB RAM; 16GB SSD; SD-card slot; Webcam; USB 2.0 and 3.0 ports (one each); WiFi A/N; Bluetooth 3.0 compatible (dongle required); HDMI port; Chrome OS. Weighs 2.5 pounds (1.1 kg) and is 0.8 inches thick.

$449 Chromebook: 1.3GHz Intel Celeron 867 dual-core processor (x86); 12.1-inch matte display, 1280 x 800 resolution, 300-nit brightness; 4GB SDRAM; 16GB SSD; Intel HD graphics; webcam; two USB ports; Bluetooth 3.0 compatible (dongle required); DisplayPort; WiFi A/N; Gigabit Ethernet; 4-in-1 media card slot; and Chrome OS.

I can say from experience that the Intel model is speedier than the smaller Samsung and easily replaces the MacBook Air used before the switch. With the ARM Chromebook, however, there are trade-offs. Performance is sometimes spotty, which I attribute mostly to Flash. That leads to the wicked Catch 22: I would disable Flash, but most web apps demand it.

The screen is still a little too dim for my tastes, but again manageable.

The ergonomics are excellent, and the keyboard terrific. Overall, it’s a great computer for the price.

Google markets the hell out of this thing, what with the Times Square advertising pulling from the “for everyone” website. There’s something quite clever about the marketing, which has a club-like, fanboy appeal. People share photos of why Chromebook is for them. They join the group, become one of the special people. Google benefits by expanding marketing material showing the device really is “for everyone”.

I’m committed to Chromebook. Weeks before Google announced the ARM model, I proclaimed that “Chromebook changed my life“.

But I’ll say this: I’m in some ways more committed to Android and may soon adopt Nexus 10 as my primary PC. It’s an experiment to start, but that’s how I got hooked on Chromebook, temporarily making it my primary PC.

Social Network of VC’s and Tech Companies using CrunchBase in Neo4j

NeoTechnology was featured on TechCrunch after raising a Series B round, and it has an entry on CrunchBase. If you look at CrunchBase closely you’ll notice it’s a graph. Who invested in what, who co-invested, what are the common investment themes between investors, how are companies connected by board members, etc. These are questions we can ask of the graph and are well suited for graph databases.

MechWarrior Online Update Features Frankenmech

I’m not saying you have to be thankful for MechWarrior Online updates, but Piranha Games is certainly making it hard not to be. Especially today, as we’re getting a new mech, a new (sort of) battleground, new modules, and new equipment. It’s like Christmas come early. Just don’t put out the holiday decorations yet. At least wait until after Thursday, if you could.

When the update drops a bit later today, you’ll be able to take the “Frankenmech” Cataphract into the newly released Frozen City at Night map. Both of them will seem a bit familiar, as the Cataphract is created from the remains of other mechs, and we’ve already seen the Frozen City during the day. The big difference now is that there’s no fog of war. Have fun with that.

The new modules are a 360 degree targeting mod, which keeps mechs on your radar even if they’ve moved behind you, and one that increases your sensor range by 15%. The Beagle Active Probe equipment increases your sensor range, gets info to you more quickly, and can spot mechs that have shut down in the immediate vicinity. Of course, everything needs to be bought with either in-game GXP or cold, hard cash.