IBM Shipped Malware-Infected Flash Drives to Customers

May 3, 2017

In a security alert, IBM is warning that it inadvertently shipped malware-infected USB flash drives to some of its storage hardware customers as well as to customers of some Lenovo-branded products.

A Trojan – known as Faedevour, Pondre and Reconyc – is present on USB flash drives that have been distributed to some users of IBM and Lenovo Storwize systems, which are virtualizing RAID computer data storage systems.

Not good. But, I did find some humor in the article, under the heading “Destroy or Wipe the Drives.”

Devices also can be rendered useless, for example, with a screwdriver and hammer.

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The Register: Pennsylvania sues IBM for fraud

March 13, 2017

Ouch, “frequent personnel churn.” Too many subcontractors and not enough actual IBM employees?

“Despite being paid nearly $170 million, IBM never delivered the modern, integrated [computer system] it commit[ed] to build, instead delivering failed promises and a failed project,” alleged the complaint, which additionally claimed that: “Frequent IBM personnel churn came to be a defining feature of the … project”.

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Connect 2017: The Really Good

February 28, 2017

[Note: I was going to create one post on Connect 2017, but have decided it would be better to break it into sections. This is Part One.]

This was the first year I have attended Connect that I did not attend any sessions that dealt with IBM Notes and IBM Domino. Well, other than the forced sessions, such as the Opening General Session and the Technical Session. It’s not that I don’t want to know what’s coming, it’s that in my current role, I am focusing primarily on IBM Connections. So, if you were expecting something from me on IBM Notes and IBM Domino, this is not the place.

But, I will say this: Last year my team upgraded our Domino 8.5.3 environment to Domino 9.0.1 Social Edition, removed 95% of the IBM Notes clients in the environment by moving users to iNotes, and the remaining 5% of the clients are running IBM Notes 9. Applications? What can be moved to other platforms is nearly complete. What wasn’t moved in the first phase, will be moved, probably this year. Unlike a lot of places, we are using IBM Domino for (strictly) mail. And it’s all on-premises.

That said, I was very impressed with Connect 2017 as a person with an IBM Connections focus.

The Really Good:

  • Catching up with my friends in the IBM stack. This is arguably one of of the few conferences where I can see and talk with most of the people I consider “friend” in this space. Because it is the one large, international conference for all things IBM Notes/Domino, Sametime, Connections, and so on, it will attract the most people from around the world. Regardless of the name or location, they will be at this event. This year, it did not disappoint in this regard. Most of the people were here and it was a great week to talk to them in person.
  • If you haven’t, or don’t, travel internationally, this is the place to talk to your non-USA friends about world views. Sure, it’s a technology conference, however since I have known a lot of these people for quite some time, I do not hesitate to ask about Brexit, the current political climate in their home countries, or in the USA. It is a great way to experience the world from other perspectives. And as I respect them and their views, it broadens my view of the USA and the world.
  • There was a plethora of Connections sessions from which to choose. In fact, on Wednesday, I was double and triple booked during certain time slots. This caused me a lot of stress. Too many sessions, too little time. And no repeats.
  • Wednesday was the best day of the week. Many of the Customer Stories were presented on this day and they were excellent. There is nothing like seeing how other people overcame obstacles, integrated other business applications into Connections, on boarded new Connections users, and increased adoption, to get your enthusiasm to increase. There was furious note taking happening. Also, I introduced myself to several speakers, hoping to parlay the introduction into a more informative conversation in the next several months.
  • Also on Wednesday, there was an onslaught of Connections Pink sessions (see point #1, above). It helped that I was privy to a special meeting with Jason Gary, so I was able to miss several of those sessions, as I heard everything I hoped to hear, directly from him.
  • The Product Showcase was primarily focused on IBM Connections Business Partners and IBM Connections 3rd party applications and extensions. It was perfectly suited to someone like me. After working with Connections for several years, it’s nice to go into the Product Showcase knowing exactly what you want to learn more about as it pertains to your installation and culture. I think I was an “easy sell” to several vendors.
  • While there was a lot of walking within Moscone Center, it was primarily confined to the second floor.
  • The Opening General Session was a nice mix of customer stories, demos, music, and more. It seemed to flow very nicely from one thing to the next. I know that many were ecstatic that IBM Notes and IBM Domino were mentioned, especially concerning IBM’s continued support of the platform. For the nuts and bolts of that support, you had to attend several sessions dedicated to the roadmaps. I was missing from those sessions.
  • The featured speaker, Dr. Sheena Iyengar, author of The Art of Choosing, was an excellent choice. Appearing toward the end of the of Opening General Session, she wove what we had seen and heard, specifically Watson, Watson Workspace, and cognitive, into our current lives and choices. It was enthralling.
  • The Technical Keynote, hosted by Ed Brill, was just what we needed to see and hear. Chris Crummey led the demonstrations and, as expected, did an exceptional job using “real world” examples using real people and real situations, not some made up company with made up problems.
  • The Closing General Session, as usual, recapped the week. However, as is IBM’s custom, their featured speaker, Eric  Whitacre, a classical music composer, was outstanding. Ever since I witnessed Benjamin Zander in Orlando, I absolutely love music themed Closing General Sessions. I suppose it reminds me what I already know, I need to see more orchestras. While I love rock (the harder and more angry, the better), it is classical music that affects me emotionally. I think we all should seek out art that affects the emotions. Eric’s story was spectacular. But, as the session closed, there was no announcement of Connect 2018. No dates, no location. What 2018 will bring for this conference seems to be . . . unknown.

Wednesday was “Pink Day” at Connect, and in response to that, here is a photo of Jason Gary for your enjoyment or amusement:

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I think that Jason must use the same bespoke tailor as Mat Newman.


It’s Back to the Office for (more) IBMers

February 9, 2017

Yesterday, vowe reported that IBM is forcing all employees in marketing that there will be no telecommuting, rather everyone has to work in one of six central hubs. Now, The Register is reporting that this will also affect employees in Software and Systems.

According to well-placed sources, IBM’s Software and Systems unit began a transition similar to the marketing department’s upheaval late last year, with remote workers told they would have to move and work at one of a handful of city offices, or find a new job.

Yesterday, we learned that IBM’s US marketing employees were told they must report to and work at one of these main offices in America: New York, San Francisco, Austin, Cambridge, Atlanta, or Raleigh.

Teams in the Software and Systems division will also be made to work at those hubs, though we are told that IBM is keeping some of its labs open, and Software and Systems employees may be able to be relocated to one of those.

Not confined to the borders of the US, The Register reports that this policy will be implemented in Europe, as well.


IBM Q4: Make Believe and Illusion

January 23, 2017

This isn’t your normal analysis of an IBM earnings report. It’s better.

The other day it was announced the Ringling Bros circus was closing, a victim apparently of changing tastes and of concern for the security of the elephants in the performances. But investors have no fear, if you miss the circus, a modern equivalent is presented every 3 months or so when IBM (NYSE:IBM) reports the results of its quarter. No elephants, but plenty of jugglers and high wire acts punctuated by some clowns and magicians on stage for yet another performance. It’s been a grand show and the results and the conference call this past quarter were no exception.

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Bob’s Big Picture technology predictions for 2017

January 16, 2017

As he has done for years, Bob Cringely has posted his 2017 predictions. Number six ought to be a fun one to watch.

Prediction #6 — Come-to-Jesus time for IBM. The most important 2017 event for IBM will be the retirement at 60 of CEO Ginni Rometty. The future of Big Blue absolutely depends on the actions this year of her successor. If she follows the example of the two previous IBM CEOs Rometty will stick around for a year as chairman before flying-off to paradise in her jet.

The reason I call this a Come-to-Jesus time for IBM is because the next CEO will have a chance to do something different with the company. If he or she decides to break with the past IBM has a chance. If the new CEO takes whatever game plan Rometty hands over and runs with that, then IBM is doomed.

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Maybe just as interesting, in one of his other predictions, Prediction #1, in fact, he talks about the Cloud Arms Race. In it, he only mentions IBM as an aside, with Amazon, Google, and Microsoft being the leaders. I suppose all of the talk from IBM about their cloud, is just that, talk. Oh, there may be some companies in their cloud, but not in the numbers that fill Amazon, Google, or Microsoft data centers.


IBM Verse: Introducing Offline Mode

March 22, 2016

IBM has published a Technote detailing Verse Offline.

But watch those caveats.

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Hat tip to Alan for the link.