Profile of Fritz NelsonVice President, Editorial Director InformationWeek Business Technology Network
News & Commentary Posts: 492
Fritz Nelson is a former senior VP and editorial director of the InformationWeek Business Technology Network.
Articles by Fritz Nelson
posted in January 2009
I arrived in Austin, Texas, today to go talk to IBM, again, about how it's helping make the planet smarter, this time focusing on how Web 2.0 technologies can help companies become more green. I am well prepared for Austin because I was just here in November (editor's note: It was October, Fritz), and I have a photogenic memory (editor's note: uh, photographic, and no).
Semantic search is like porn: I'm pretty sure I'll know it when I see it. So when semantic search upstart Truevert came by for a visit, I got all googly (I think I might have even screamed "yahoo"). The Truevert system, powered by OrcaTec's discovery toolkit, is narrowly defined around green, but it's definitely an eye-opening, fresh approach to an elusive problem.
I'm sure just about everything can happen in the cloud these days -- maybe even things I don't want to know about. But when we're starting to help companies perform API management in the cloud, which is what Mashery is doing, it's probably a pretty good sign.
On the eve of Barack Obama's inauguration, John Croce, a program manager with Sprint's Emergency Response Team (ERT), not only took my call, but put off lunch for a few minutes and whistled off an e-mail to his client, then told me all Sprint was doing to provide both coverage and emergency response for the nation's capital. I guess they take that "response" part seriously.
Honest, CES was my first real hands-on look at the netbook class of notebooks, so I'm a little behind. HP called its version a "companion PC." I'm not sure if that means it's your companion, or an extra device to bring along. Regardless, these are -- naturally -- getting much more powerful, much more energy efficient and much more useful. For a certain class of power users (and maybe that's a majority), this could become the only device they carry.
Sometimes it's the tiniest things that thrill me. In the middle of the gigantic TVs and the booming sound systems and the magic acts and the private suites and the thrumming parties was Ctera, an 18-employee company headquartered in Israel. When they showed me their device, I literally did a double-take (luckily off camera; very awkward). The CloudPlug is a tiny plug with a processor inside, an Ethernet jack, and a USB port, with which you can turn any USB device into a NAS and back up your data
Last year Horizon Fuel Cell blew us away with a generator/charging device that used water to create electricity. My colleague, David Berlind, filed this blog, and this video on YouTube that not only produced more than 1.3 million views, but well over a hundred comments, many of them doubting the viability of the technology. This
Stress is ... a big presentation, managing a budget, dealing with end-user gripes, rolling out a new application, traveling, attending a trade show. But now, thanks to HeartMath emWave, you can effectively manage your stress. This technology is good for an individual, or certainly for a corporation that cares about the well-being of its employees (know any of those?).
HP's been busy, and in some surprising ways. It has always been an inventive, engineering-oriented company, but other than its printers (where it continues to reign supreme), the company hasn't been a consistent winner in the desktop and consumer space. At CES it showed off an impressive (and overwhelming) array of technology, from its TouchSmart interface to its high-end displays to its netbooks and light notebooks to its home media appliance.
There were lots of big empty spaces at CES this year, like vacant stores in a shopping mall. Many of the would-be exhibitors had booked hotels and meeting space, so they still came and set up shop off site. I'm not sure if NEC was one of them, but one might draw that conclusion. We pranced down to the ballroom at the Embassy Suites (who knew they had more than one!) to see NEC's interesting NP62 mobile projector.
I know I said I didn't really care about more Bluetooth headsets, but it's always so much fun to see what Blue Ant is up to. Call me a hypocrite. We talked to Blue Ant about its latest technology, Q1, which combines improved noise suppression with the voice control capabilities it launched earlier this year. (Still looking for a Bluetooth headset that fits into those massive ear holes kids are sporting these days.)
Was it me, or did it seem like LG has taken over half of the space at CES? Its TVs and giant walls lined the inescapable booth at the Las Vegas Convention Center. If it's true that there were 130,000 attendees at CES, then I saw most of them in the LG stand, nearly got trampled a half dozen times, once getting stuck behind Yahoo founder Jerry Yang's entourage (undoubtedly trying to find him a job) and some suits from CBS. An LG PR person told me there had been an altercation earlier. OK, the LG
LG's Martin Valdez looks a little like he could enter an Elvis look-alike contest, a much-needed feature for what ended up being mostly show: The unveiling of LG's Cell Phone Watch. For once, this actually looks like something you might want to wear, and I don't mean for the khaki/sneaker set either (you know who you are). This is stylish. Maybe sexy. But it doesn't work. The ideas are great, but at this point, because the device is far from shipping, they're just ideas.
Palm booked a VIP suite at CES, guarded it with official looking beef boys, spared little expense on meeting canopies, food, alcohol, and ambiance for its selected guests (somehow I got in anyway), and set up some swanky demo stations where you could look at (but not touch) its latest mobile offering. Palm called it Pre, which I pronounced, mistakenly (though you can imagine why), "pray"; and its OS the Palm Web OS, known pre-announcement as Nova. Like the car.
On the eve of CES in 2008 I was so giddy an oblong ear bud might have made me moist. This year, you can ... well, you can shove 'em in your ear. The pompadoured David Caruso (CSI: Miami) and his handlers picked TechWeb to talk to last year (I don't remember what he said, but he did that look -- you know, where he looks like he's looking at the ground, but he's looking at you at the same time, all dramatic like); now my in-box for meeting requests is practically crickets chirping. Not even