stoilis writes "Groklaw reports that the SCO vs IBM case is officially reopened: 'The thing that makes predictions a bit murky is that there are some other motions, aside from the summary judgment motions, that were also not officially decided before SCO filed for bankruptcy that could, in SCO's perfect world, reopen certain matters. I believe they would have been denied, if the prior judge had had time to rule on them. Now? I don't know.'"
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James Logan founded MicroTouch Systems in the 80s and served on the on the Board of Directors of Andover.net, the company that acquired Slashdot back in 1999, but it is the company he founded in 1996, Personal Audio, that has garnered him much attention recently. Personal Audio sued Apple in 2009 for $84 million, claiming infringement on patents for downloadable playlists. Apple eventually lost the case and a jury ordered them to pay $8 million in damages. More recently, Personal Audio has filed suit against several prominent podcasters claiming that “Personal Audio is the owner of a fundamental patent involving the distribution of podcasts.” The EFF challenged the patents calling the company a patent troll saying, "Patent trolls have been wreaking havoc on innovative companies for some time now." The vice president of licensing for the Texas company counters that the EFF is working for "large companies against a small business and a couple of inventors," adding "Every defendant calls every plaintiff a patent troll. I've heard IBM called a patent troll. It's one of those terms everyone defines differently." Mr. Logan has agreed to answer your questions about his company and his patents. As usual, ask as many as you'd like, but please, one question per post.
An anonymous reader writes "IBM this morning announced a deal to acquire the Dallas based hosting company Softlayer, the largest privately held cloud computing provider in the world. Formerly known as The Planet, they have a dark past and hopefully a bright future. Interesting that ISS and Softlayer will now be under the same roof. 'IBM will integrate SoftLayer’s public-cloud services with its own IBM SmartCloud portfolio. In theory, that will allow IBM to more speedily deliver a combination of private, public and hybridized cloud platforms to business clients. CloudLayer features include the ability to deploy virtual cloud servers (with processors 2.0GHz or faster), a content-delivery network with scalability and security, an object-storage platform based on OpenStack Object Storage, and private-cloud solutions.'"
judgecorp writes "IBM is using robots based on iRobot Create, a customizable version of the Roomba vacuum cleaner, to measure temperature and humidity in data centers. The robot looks for cold zones (where cold air may be going to waste instead of being directed to the servers) and hotspots (where the air circulation may be breaking down. IBM is putting the robots to commercial use at partners — while EMC is at an early stage on a strikingly similar project."
psykocrime writes "The crazy kids at Fogbeam Labs have a new blog post positing that there is a trend towards advanced projects in NLP, Information Retrieval, Big Data and the Semantic Web moving to the Apache Software Foundation. Considering that Apache UIMA is a key component of IBM Watson, is it wrong to believe that the organization behind Hadoop, OpenNLP, Jena, Stanbol, Mahout and Lucene will ultimately be the home of a real 'Star Trek Computer'? Quoting: 'When we talk about how the Star Trek computer had “access to all the data in the known Universe”, what we really mean is that it had access to something like the Semantic Web and the Linked Data cloud. Jena provides a programmatic environment for RDF, RDFS and OWL, SPARQL and includes a rule-based inference engine. ... In addition to supporting the natural language interface with the system, OpenNLP is a powerful library for extracting meaning (semantics) from unstructured data - specifically textual data in an unstructured (or semi structured) format. An example of unstructured data would be the blog post, an article in the New York Times, or a Wikipedia article. OpenNLP combined with Jena and other technologies, allows “The computer” to “read” the Web, extracting meaningful data and saving valid assertions for later use.'" Speaking of the Star Trek computer, I'm continually disappointed that neither Siri nor Google Now can talk to me in Majel Barrett's voice.
walterbyrd writes "In 2012, IBM started retiring the Lotus brand. Now 1-2-3, the core product that brought Lotus its fame, takes its turn on the chopping block. IBM stated, 'Effective on the dates listed below, [June 11, 2013] IBM will withdraw from marketing part numbers from the following product release(s) licensed under the IBM International Program License Agreement:' IBM Lotus 123 Millennium Edition V9.x, IBM Lotus SmartSuite 9.x V9.8.0, and Organizer V6.1.0. Further, IBM stated, 'Customers will no longer be able to receive support for these offerings after September 30, 2014. No service extensions will be offered. There will be no replacement programs.'"
hypnosec writes "IBM is taking its COBOL server platform to the next level by updating the mainframe platform in a bid to extend and enable its mainframes to host cloud based applications and services. The latest update is looking to add XMLS Server as well as Java 7 capabilities to the System/z COBOL platform and this update would extend the overall lifespan of COBOL by taking it up a notch and gearing it towards the cloud computing arena."
Nerval's Lobster writes "Roughly 85 percent of IT managers polled by Forrester said they would hold onto networking infrastructure longer, but vendors retire products prematurely in an effort to force customers to upgrade. In a response that may seem familiar to anyone who's ever been pressured into buying a maintenance contract—either by an enterprise vendor or a major electronics retailer—over 80 percent of the 304 respondents said they don't like the misrepresented cost savings, new fees, and inflexible pricing models—but buy the products anyway. One of the survey's interesting points is that IT decision makers aren't willing to contradict the vendor. The uncertainty seems to come from the fact that the vendor may in fact be right—and a customer who contradicts what they're saying may end up shouldering the blame if the equipment goes south. It's the 'you never got fired for buying IBM' argument, applied to the networking space. The problem, of course, is that the vendor often works for its own agenda. Do you upgrade when the vendor (or reseller) suggests you do so? Or do you stick to your own way of doing things?"
Lank writes "A team of computer scientists from Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute have managed to coordinate nearly 2 million cores to achieve a blistering 504 billion events per second, over 40 times faster than the previous record. This result was achieved on Sequoia, a 120-rack IBM Blue Gene/Q normally used to run classified nuclear simulations. Note: I am a co-author of the coming paper to appear in PADS 2013."
FrankPoole writes "The Iomega brand name will soon be officially laid to rest. Lenovo and EMC, which jointly own the storage company, will replace the Iomega name on all NAS products with 'LenovoEMC.' Lenovo and EMC entered into a joint venture last year, with Lenovo buying partial ownership of Iomega. But because the company name is associated with cheap, consumer storage and ZIP drives, Lenovo is giving Iomega the boot."
mikejuk writes with news of an advancement for homomorphic encryption and open source: "To be fully homomorphic the code has to be such that a third party can add and multiply numbers that it contains without needing to decrypt it. In other words they can change the data by working with just the encrypted version. This may sound like magic but a fully homomorphic scheme was invented in 2009 by Craig Gentry. This was a step in the right direction but the problem was that it is very inefficient and computationally intensive. Since then there have been a number of improvements that make the scheme practical in the right situations Now Victor Shoup and Shai Halevi of the IBM T J Watson Research Center have released an open source (GPL) C++ library, HElib, as a Github project. The code is said to incorporate many optimizations to make the encryption run faster. Homomorphic encryption has the potential to revolutionize security by allowing operations on data without the need to decrypt it."
harrymcc writes "IBM's Almaden Research Center has a scanning tunneling microscope, a device invented by the company. It uses it to move individual atoms around — mostly for storage research. But it's created a 242-frame cartoon, A Boy and His Atom, using individual atoms as pixels. Guinness has certified it as the world's smallest movie." 242 frames, and ten 18-hour days of work by multiple people using a very tiny copper needle attached to an expensive machine to move the atoms around.
concealment writes "Sparkler Filters up north in Conroe [Texas] still uses an IBM 402 in conjunction with a Model 129 key punch – with the punch cards and all – to do company accounting work and inventory. The company makes industrial filters for chemical plants and grease traps. Lutricia Wood is the head accountant at Sparkler and the data processing manager. She went to business school over 40 years ago in Houston, and started at Sparkler in 1973. Back then punch cards were still somewhat state of the art." See kottke.org for an eye-popping view of one of the "programs" — imagine debugging that.
coondoggie writes "When it comes to fixing broken systems, especially in remote locations, engineers could soon turn to a new mobile robotic system IBM is developing that could help them more easily find the broken equipment, offer up information about the system and provide real-time visual support from supervising experts. The mobile maintenance, repair and operations prototype includes an application that lets a supervisor monitor an engineer's progress towards the maintenance site, and a robotic arm coupled with a camera system, a microphone and laser pointer."
coondoggie writes "IBM today said its researchers are developing a solar power system that concentrates solar radiation 2,000 times by using a human-blood supply modeled way of cooling and converting 80% of Sun's heat into useful energy. IBM says the system can also desalinate water and cool air in sunny, remote locations where such systems are often in short supply."
An anonymous reader writes "The Blackstone Group has notified Dell's board that it has ended its bid for the company after performing 'due diligence' on Dell's books. The private equity firm gave two reasons for its withdrawal in a letter to the special committee of the board reviewing privatization offers: the 'unprecedented 14 percent market decline in PC volume in the first quarter of 2013' and 'the rapidly eroding financial profile of Dell.' IBM's recently announced intention of withdrawing from the x86 server market may have also spooked investors. Blackstone was one of two outside bidders that emerged after founder Michael Dell and Silver Lake Partners announced a deal to take the company private for $24.4 billion. The remaining bidders did not comment on Blackstone's withdrawal; however, the Bloomberg piece notes that Dell's original deal with Silver Lake Partners contains language preventing the latter from backing out."
FrankPoole writes "According to CRN, IBM is in serious negotiations to sell its low-end x86 server business to Lenovo, which is looking to grow its server revenue. If the deal goes though, it will be the second time in eight years that Big Blue has exited a major hardware business and sold the operation to Lenovo. IBM sold its PC business to Chinese computer maker in 2005."
Lucas123 writes "In June, Harvard's Clean Energy Project plans to release to solar power developers a list of the top 20,000 organic compounds, any one of which could be used to make cheap, printable photovoltaic cells (PVCs). The CEP uses the computing resources of IBM's World Community Grid for the computational chemistry to find the best molecules for organic photovoltaics culled the list from about 7 million. About 6,000 computers are part of the project at any one time. If successful, the crowdsourcing-style project, which has been crunching data for the past two-plus years, could lead to PVCs that cost about as much as paint to cover a one-meter square wall." The big thing here is that they've discovered a lot of organic molecules that have the potential for 10% or better conversion; roughly equivalent to the current best PV material, and twice as efficient as other available organic PV materials.
An anonymous reader writes "In 2008 Roadrunner was the world's fastest supercomputer. Now that the first system to break the petaflop barrier has lost a step on today's leaders it will be shut down and dismantled. In its five years of operation, the Roadrunner was the 'workhorse' behind the National Nuclear Security Administration's Advanced Simulation and Computing program, providing key computer simulations for the Stockpile Stewardship Program."
Nerval's Lobster writes "One could argue that the University of Illinois' "Blue Waters" supercomputer, scheduled to officially open for business March 28, is lucky to be alive. The 11.6 petaflop supercomputer, commissioned by the University and the National Science Foundation (NSF), will rank in the upper echelon of the world's fastest machines—its compute power would place it third on the current list, just above Japan's K Computer. However, the system will not be submitted to the TOP500 list because of concerns with the way the list is calculated, officials said. University officials and the NSF are lucky to have a machine at all. That's due in part to IBM, which reportedly backed out of the contract when the company determined that it couldn't make a profit. The university then turned to Cray, which would have had to replace what was presumably a POWER or Xeon installation with the current mix of AMD CPUs and Nvidia GPU coprocessors. Allen Blatecky, director of NSF's Division of Advanced Cyberinfrastructure, told Fox that pulling the plug was a 'real possibility.' And Cray itself had to work to find the parts necessary for the supercomputer to begin at least trial operations in the fall of 2012."