IBM is getting a head start in celebrating the 50th anniversary of its Selectric typewriter, which was born on July 31, 1961. The Selectric typewriter was one of the most common typewriters around during its 25-year tenure, and included 2,800 parts, many of which IBM says were designed from scratch. That in and of itself is a noteworthy achievement for IBM, which spent seven years solving the Selectric's manufacturing and design challenges before putting it up for sale. But the real story here is the impact IBM's Selectric had on modern day computing.
International Business Machines (IBM) today announced a new lower-cost mainframe server aimed at mid-size organizations and governments in emerging markets in Asia, Africa, and other parts of the world. The z114 is the latest and most powerful version of IBM's zEnterprise System, and also the most scalable ever. It costs 25 percent less and offers up to 25 percent improved performance compared to IBM's zB10 BC servers, IBM says.
We're not sure if what we're about to confess will solidify our status as geeks at heart or if it will have our fellow bipeds accusing us of treachery, but here goes. We rooted for Watson. That's right, we cheered when Watson answered Jeopardy questions correctly and wiped the sweat from our brow when, after starting strong, Watson appeared, well, human by giving quirky answers. As enthusiasts of technology, we wanted Watson to win, and it did, quite handily as it turned out. So what's next on Watson's agenda? Wheel of Fortune, perhaps?
Engineers at IBM Research in Zurich, Switzerland claim they've come up with a breakthrough in phase change memory (PCM) technology that, for the first time, would allow it to store data for longer periods, potentially paving the way for lower cost solid state chips that are faster and more reliable than today's multi-level cell (MLC) flash memory chips. The trick is in figuring out a solution to a problem called "drift."
In compiling a list of the world's oldest software companies, one comes face to face with an inevitable question. Namely, what is it? What the heck is this thing we call "software?"
While it's easy to say that Windows or Office or even the wanton dismemberment of Dead Space 2 are obvious examples of software, where does one draw the line? Did software, for instance, exist before the advent of computers? In our minds, it did. Though the concept of altering the performance of mechanisms by feeding them independent sets of instructions has clearly become rampant in the computer age, it in fact started long before that – the early 18th century, to be exact. And that is precisely where we'll start our journey.
It was on this day in 1911 that a handful of technologies and companies merged to form the Computing-Tabulating-Recording-Company (C-T-R), which would be renamed International Business Machines (IBM) in 1924. That makes IBM older than Apple, Intel, and Google combined. Big Blue has earned the right to celebrate living longer than most tech companies and humans alike, but you'll never guess what IBM has planned.
Henry Chow spent more than 40 years at IBM in various positions, including more than a decade as General Manager of IBM's Greater China Group where he was responsible for overseeing IBM's operations in China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan. Now the 65-year-old former GM will spend time on AMD's Board of Directors, the chip maker announced this week.
Ken Jennings was thirsty for blood (silicon?) tonight. After struggling to buzz in faster than Watson during in the first match, Jennings was noticeably quicker in this match, buzzing in first and thinking about the correct response after. As a result, he finished with over 18,200 going into Final Jeopardy, just a few thousand dollars behind Watson's 23,440. Rutter meanwhile, was mostly invisible during this round much like Jennings was last round. But he still managed to rack up 5,600.
The second day of Watson's man-vs-machine Jeopardy! challenge has come to close, and IBM's super-computer dealt a resounding defeat to its pitiful, meat-filled opponents. In light of that fact, we thought now might be a good time to learn a little more about our future overlord, so we found an expert on the subject to answer some of our questions.
Stephen Baker is the author of Final Jeopardy: Man vs. Machine and the Quest to Know Everything, a new book about how Watson came to be. He was gracious enough to answer some of our burning questions. Read on to find out what he said!
If you happened to miss out on the first half of Round 1 last night, shame on you. You can catch up here.
When we last left our heroes, Watson and the undefeated Jeopardy champion Brad Rutter were tied for the lead with $5000 apiece. Ken Jennings, meanwhile, trailed with $2000. Watson had some shaky moments in the early stages of Round 1, but kept it together enough to stay on top and frustrate the Mormon Machine. Let's rejoin the action...