So Pat McGovern walks into a bar…

PatinredPat McGovern died this week at 76 in Palo Alto totally surprising me because I didn’t even know he had been ill. Uncle Pat, as we called him, was the founder of Computerworld back in 1967 and the year before that research firm International Data Corp., started in his suburban Boston kitchen. Pat helped turn the computer business into an industry and employed a lot of people along the way including me. He was an exceptional person and I’d like to tell you why.

Pat ran a company that published about 200 computer magazines all over the world. Each December he traveled the globe to give holiday bonuses to every employee he could find. The bonuses […]

An impending black swan for electric cars

Model-SA black swan is what we call an unexpected technical innovation that disrupts existing markets. Intrinsic to the whole black swan concept is that you can’t predict them: they come when they come. Only today I think I’ll predict a black swan, thank you, and explain exactly how the automobile business is about to be disrupted. I think we’re about two years away from a total disruption of the automobile business by electric cars.

One of the readers of this column is Robert Cumberford, design editor at Automobile Magazine. Nobody knows more about cars than Bob Cumberford, who has written about them for more than half a century. Here’s what he told me not long ago […]

Bitcoin is down but not out

bitcoin-logo-3dRegular readers will know that I’ve had my doubts about Bitcoin. Recent events in the Bitcoin world, especially the failure of Mt. Gox, the biggest Bitcoin exchange, have caused further problems for the crypto currency. But I’m oddly cheered by these events and am beginning to think Bitcoin may actually have a chance of surviving as a currency.

Willy Sutton, who made his career robbing banks, once explained that he robbed them “because that’s where the money is.” Well recent bad news in the world of Bitcoin follows a similar theme: yes there have been thefts, corruption, and a suicide, but all this is based not on Bitcoin’s failure but […]

pCell is only as good as the Linux it runs on

artemis pwaveI’m still working-away on my IBM book and it is still a week from being finished (the well-known second 90 percent syndrome). The book, if I am allowed to sell it on Amazon, will cost a whopping $3.99 and will be worth the money. But I’m still a columnist of sorts so here are my thoughts on pCell, an impressive new technology for increasing performance of LTE mobile data networks. It was invented by WebTV founder Steve Perlman, introduced two weeks ago in New York (very impressive video here, but fast-forward to 5:30) and was the talk of the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona the following week. pCell is amazing. It is […]

WhatsApp is the first of several big acquisitions for Facebook

FaceAppIf yesterday’s announcement of Facebook paying $19 billion in cash and stock for WhatsApp surprised you then maybe you’d forgotten this prediction I published on January 8th:

#6 — Facebook transforms itself (or tries to) with a huge acquisition. I wrote long ago that we’d never see Facebook in the Dow 30 Industrials. The company is awash in users and profits but they’ve lost the pulse of the market if they ever had it. Trying to buy their way into the Millennial melting data market Facebook offered $3 billion for Snapchat, which turned them down then rejected a $4 billion offer from Google. Google actually calculates these things, Facebook does not, so where Google will now reverse-engineer […]