IBM announce “Alloy”

As expected the new Lotus Notes collaborative product with SAP was formally launched today. Named Alloy it got some good reviews from the early adopters at Arla Foods and Colgate-Palmolive.

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SAP’s CEO in waiting that wasn’t

Shai Agassi was SAP’s CEO in waiting – that was back in 2005/6. He expected to take on the role in 2007….except he was told to wait, as SAP had extended Henning Kaggermann’s stay. Shai decided that wasn’t for him and departed from SAP. That left the way open for, soon to be full CEO,  Leo Apotheker.

Today he is single handedly taking on the world with his plans to get full scale adoption of rechargeable electric cars. His Palo Alto based company Better Place is positioned to be one of the big players in what Barack Obama is already promising to be the creation of tens of thousands of green jobs. Locally around the Bay area, but also in Israel, Denmark, Australia, Canada and Hawaii,  Agassi has got the ears of governments, utlility companies and also the  fourth biggest car maker in the world Renault Nissan. Agassi is a leader and people are following him, particularly from SAP. In Japan a new subsidiary Better Place Japan will be led by Kiyotaka Fujii, the former president and CEO of retailer Louis Vuitton’s Japanese subsidiary and SAP Japan. Based in Tokyo, Fujii also will lead the company’s efforts in the Asia Pacific region. (Agassi is working with Fuji Heavy Industries the parent company of Subaru, another car manufacturer).

His model is unique, where the charging stations and car batteries are owned by Better Place. The pilot goes live this year in Israel. The concept is not only can you recharge, but you can exchange depleted batteries for fully charged ones overcoming some of the range issues.

You have to admire this man – when he believes in something he makes it happen, and removing the direct link between transportation and oil is something worth believing in. What is such a shame is that he’s had to do it at all. The existing global companies involved in car production and oil production had the cash and capability to be driving this – but largely haven’t.

This is a man to watch, still only 40, but already an influencer on a grand scale with an intellect to match. Let’s support Shai Agassi in his endeavours, after all,  future generations absolutely need what he is doing!

Extra:

Locally to me, a small company Amberjac Projects has adapted the Toyota Prius to be able to be recharged via a standard household socket, extending the range and use of the electric system. It now has 9 vehicles in use as concept vehicles.

IBM and SAP – more collaboration?

Keep your ears open – the word on the street is that IBM are about to formally announce Project “Alloy”. Remember Duet announced a couple of years ago by SAP and Microsoft for better collaboration between Office and SAP ECC 6? Well today at Lotusphere in Orlando the equivalent from Lotus and working with SAP is expected to be announced.

Also today watch out for “LotusLive” – the Lotus SaaS product being rolled out.

Viruses – a feature of people with time on their hands?

There are several stories today about viruses. The BBC website is carrying one about a worm that has multiple characteristics ( password hacking and passing information back to websites) – known as Conficker, Downadup, or Kido, it has been around since October last year. This has, according to F-Secure, infected at least  8.9 million PC’s. How do they know this? Well in the case of this virus it is trying to send the information gleaned from PC’s back to certain domain names which the virus is creating – F-Secure have reverse engineered it nad have tracked the IP traffic to these sites which are being created. Rival firm Sophos have identified the password cracking ability of the worm as well and highlight the reason why more secure passwords must be enforced.

But perhaps the most worrying is a story that has appeared in a small newspaper company in one of the Royal Navy’s main bases – the Portsmouth News. It would appear a large number of the navy ships internal systems have been effected by an unnamed virus taking down their internal NavyStar network. For security reasons I guess we’ll never know the exact cause of the problem or its source.

But for me it rings the warning bells – in our current economic turmoil there will be a temptation to cut corners. This is one area where you don’t!! Also with globally large numbers of skilled programmers finding themselves with time on their hands we may find the “bad eggs” developing a few more nasty surprises.

UPDATE: Symantec move Virus Threat level

ThreatCon Level 2
Medium : Increased alertness
This condition applies when knowledge or the expectation of attack activity is present, without specific events occurring or when malicious code reaches a moderate risk rating. Under this condition, a careful examination of vulnerable and exposed systems is appropriate, security applications should be updated with new signatures and/or rules as soon as they become available and careful monitoring of logs is recommended. Changes to the security infrastructure are not required