In Toronto

We drove down to Toronto today after leaving Ottawa around 10 AM. We didn’t realize there was an extra drop charge on the car rental, but it still worked out to about the same or slightly cheaper than a flight. It didn’t take too long to get to the city, and the drive was actually pretty nice, but it took longer to find the place we were going! Thank goodness for MapPoint. We had a meeting with a colocation facility (Frontline) which went very well (they were nice enough to meet with us on Saturday). After the meeting, we called our good friend Ashish Patel!

Ashish was nice enough to take us on a tour of the IBM Toronto Software Lab where he works. I took a few pictures, but told him I wouldn’t post them (no need to find out if they have a blogging policy the hard way!). The place is pretty neat and is a world class IBM facility where WebSphere, Rational, Tivoli, Lotus and other software products are created (including the compiler for the upcoming PS3). It was very cool to see where Ashish works, and he has our Podbot picture proudly displayed at his desk!

After the tour we took Ashish for dinner (he chose Boston Pizza which was fine by me) and then we just hung out at his place for a while. Was kind of nice to relax for a couple of days here. We drove to the airport tonight and got a room at the Sheraton so that we don’t have to get up so early to leave tomorrow.

We considered extending our trip and going to New York, but decided maybe next time! We’ll be back in Edmonton tomorrow at 2:30 PM.

UPDATE: I forgot to mention, it rained almost all day, both in Ottawa when we left and in Toronto! Sure beats the snow though 😉

Podcasting at IBM

Post ImageI ran across an interesting article today in The Journal News about podcasting inside and outside IBM. Sounds like Big Blue really likes the idea of time-shifted audio:

IBM started to encourage employees to read and create the online journals known as blogs last May. Shortly after, IBM started pushing podcasts — subscription-based audio downloads that can be listened to on laptops, iPods or other MP3 players.

Inside the company, about 50 podcasts have debuted. There have been 15,000 downloads in the past two months.

In addition to making work more fun, there are numerous cost savings that can occur at a company like IBM who adopts podcasting. Take for example a conference call in which one or two people simply dispense information to dozens more, perhaps explaining some documents or figures. That’s the kind of thing that can be very cheaply turned into a podcast, and according to the article, such a podcast saved IBM hundreds of thousands of dollars per year.

Could 2006 be the year of corporate podcasting?

Read: The Journal News

Podcasting Links

Post ImagePreparing for and traveling to the Portable Media Expo last week meant that I fell behind on my usual tracking of what’s happening with podcasting (well aside from what I learned about at the expo itself). So I’ve been slowly catching up lately. Here are some of the highlights from my del.icio.us feed:

As I come across new items, I’ll of course add them to my feed.

Read: Podcasting Links

Apple switches to Intel

Post ImageOne of the biggest rumors in the technology industry was confirmed as fact this morning at Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference. Steve Jobs, in his keynote address to conference attendees, announced that Apple will begin a phased transition to Intel chips by 2007, with the first Apple-Intel machines appearing by June 6th, 2006.

The move to Intel marks a tectonic shift for Apple, which has used processors from IBM and Motorola (now Freescale Semiconductor) throughout the life of the Mac. However, the company has changed architectures before, shifting in the 1990s from Motorola’s 68000 family of chips to the PowerPC architecture jointly developed by IBM and Motorola.

In addition the previous hardware shift, Apple also underwent a major change with the release of OS X. The new operating system required many changes on the parts of developers. Jobs admitted that Apple has had OS X running on Intel processors for the last five years, so one would assume that the move to Intel has always been in the back of Steve’s head.

So what does the change mean? Not much to the average user, except that future Apple computers might (stressing that word might) be cheaper. Microsoft and Adobe both announced that they will support the switch by updating their software. Apple will make sure that OS X doesn’t run on any Intel machine except the ones they create, though they said that they will not prevent other operating systems from running on Apple hardware. The change probably won’t affect IBM either, as all three major game consoles now run on some form of the Power PC chip, and let’s face it, game consoles outsell Apple computers by a large margin.

I think the most visible change in the short term will be fewer sales of Apple computers. Who’s going to buy a new Apple machine now when they will be so different in a year? Hard to say what will happen long term. Unless Apple decides to sell just OS X or until someone figures how to make it run on other Intel machines, not much has changed.

If I were Apple, I’d sell Mac OS X as a standalone operating system that would run on any x86 based computer. Baby steps though right? Maybe this is the first step towards that happening.

Read: CNET News.com