Phil Odence on barefoot running

My buddy Phil Odence has started a blog on barefoot running.  I only run when pursued, so not my bag, but still, anyone who pounds the pavement barefoot in eastern Massachusetts in February deserves a shout-out.

Phil also tweets as @podence and does biz dev for Black Duck Software.

ACB: Another Churbuck Blog

This one from my daughter who is spending her Junior-year spring term in Florence.  I have to say a blog, a Flickr account, a digital camera, and a Lenovo S10 netbook are a great way to keep the grandparents and friends informed.

Sacred Sites at Sacred Destinations – Explore sacred sites, religious sites, sacred places

This will come in handy in Turkey the week after next. I need to get some serious 52 Church work in — and am thinking specifically of the Blue Mosque.

“Sacred Destinations is an ecumenical guide to more than 1,250 sacred sites, holy places, pilgrimage destinations, religious architecture and sacred art in over 60 countries around the world. In addition to richly illustrated articles, there are photo galleries containing over 24,000 high-quality images plus detailed maps and lots of practical travel information. Happy exploring!”

via Sacred Sites at Sacred Destinations – Explore sacred sites, religious sites, sacred places.

Did Microsoft just kill the antivirus industry?

Virus, Spyware & Malware Protection | Microsoft Security Essentials.

Am I imagining things or did Microsoft effectively kill Symantec and McAfee and every other anti-virus vendor with this free release of the Security Essentials?

I am on a new Win 7 platform, the 30 day trials all expired, and I was a bout to pull out the credit card when a colleague sent me a link to the Microsoft Security Essentials. After years of prowling through looking for free virus scanners like AVG, I am a happy man. I wonder why Microsoft didn’t do this sooner.

Whereabouts week of Jan 11

Cotuit this week — contemplating a North Carolina overnight, but resisting the urge and saving my travel push for Turkey, Beijing and Brazil later this month and early next.

So …. here on the Cape for the first time since the 20th of December. No 52 Church visit this week – redeye from Las Vegas this morning knocked the piety out of me.

Lenovo 2010 CES Wrapup: Leaving Las Vegas Victorious

I just finished watching the live steam of the CNET “Best of CES” Awards — or finished trying to watch the stream as the Venetian’s in-room WiFi staggered through the collective bandwidth load of a gazillion guests. As I refreshed I saw the tweets from the Lenovo Live@CES team light up with exclamation points: “We won! We won! We won!”

This pokes a hole in my cynical statement that I have never left Las Vegas a better man than the one I arrived.

CNET gave us their 2010 Best Computer of the Show award for our IdeaPad U1 hybrid — a two-in-one system that looks like a notebook, runs Windows 7 on an Intel processor, and converts when the screen detaches into a tablet/slate running our Skylight operating system on a Qualcomm Snapdragon ARM processor.  Lenovo arrived at CES loaded with new products — and the Snapdragon suite which consists of our Skylight Smartbook (my former project), the new Snapdragon smartphone, and the U1 were definitely the big attraction and draw at our showcase inside of the Aquaknox restaurant.

We introduced about 20 new products, including a significant new line of ThinkPads, the Edge series of small and medium businesses; some very strong and striking consumer all-in-one’s such as the A300 and the B510, and a cool new Atom netbook, the S10-3, with a touch tablet. As I worked my own way around the room over the past three days I kept discovering new stuff like our wireless remote keyboard controller, a very cool Internet television project still in the labs, and assorted notebooks and desktops that are going to keep our global marketing and sales teams very busy with over the coming months.

While it is about marketshare and sales in the end, CES is about buzz and awards. We’re leaving Las Vegas with a some significant ones:

We tried a new tactic this year in covering our news and commentary at CES by launching a CES blog — Lenovo Live@CES — and funneled all of the media, commentary and discussion swirling around the show into one dynamic destination.  This site — built by our lead social media technologist, Esteban Panzeri on WordPress, in a template designed by Rebecca Welles; was edited by our director of social media, Nano Serwich, edited and coordinated by our director of digital content,  Maureen Ahmad, with rich media, video and stream media captured and edited by Kevin Walker. George Farthing and Gavin O’Hara were our roving reporters, gathering a torrent of material that ordinarily would not have been presented to our customers, colleagues, partners and fans. It was built in a very short amount of time prior to the holidays and tweaked as we went along since launching last weekend. I am VERY happy with the result.

I’ll post in the future about using tools like Flickr, YouTube, Twitter, UStream, and WordPress to create astonishingly agile and high impact media experiences. I am very very proud of the team (affectionately known as “My Minions”) who pulled this together and made it the centerpiece of our message and buzz coming out of this vast and chaotic show.

For the second year in a row we used our showcase space in the Aquaknox to host the industry’s best tech bloggers, partnering with Chris Heuer and Kristie Welles from the Social Media Club, Jeff Pulver from and Ryan Block and Peter Rojas at to co-host the affair. Last year was more mellow — less crowded and more conversational — this year was seriously packed and manic but nevertheless rewarding. Lenovo Blogger Advisory Council moderator Mitch Ratcliffe streamed from the blogger nights on UStream, featuring a slate of guests and product demos.

The evening were very surreal — I had a chat with Bill Walton about a 1992 Grateful Dead show we watched together from backstage on the Jerry Garcia side with lyricist and Electronic Frontier Foundation founder John Perry Barlow; and reminiscenced about the 1986 NBA championships when he exuberantly became the best six-man in history.  Five minutes later I was meeting for the first time two of the Lenovo Blogger Advisory Council members, Juan Francisco Diez and Mariano Amartino. I met B. Bonin Bough, the global director of digital and social media at Pepsi and we had an interesting chat about pay-per-post and the FTC.

I’ll post more later. Getting frustrated with the connectivity so I’ll amend when I get to Boston tomorrow.

What makes a device “social?”: Lenovo Skylight

Coming out of the 2008 Summer Olympics I joined a small team within Lenovo consisting of the company’s best engineers and designers to re-invent the netbook category — those small (sub 11″ screen) PCs that have taken the market by storm since their introduction two years ago.

The netbook category has flourished for a couple reasons best explored by a serious PC analyst — my opinion is that sub $400 PCs in a super-portable form factor were the perfect option for consumers slammed by economic concerns in this Great Recession and who are gradually migrating to a “disposable” device model brought on by a constant upgrade cycle in their phone and other consumer electronics.  Alas, the netbook is still the same operating system, the same computing model, just in a smaller, cheaper package.

Consider the smartphone.  Small. Thin. Long battery life. No patches or updates or viruses. No waiting to boot. It’s always connected (almost always). Highly designed. It just works. But it is too small to watch a movie on and is a major pain to compose anything on — aside from simple SMS or email “grunts.”

What happens if you combine the two models — the connected simplicity of a smartphone with the physical ergonomics of a netbook? Well, you get a “smartbook.”


Today Lenovo announced the first smartbook — called Skylight —  in partnership with Qualcomm, the San Diego-based leader in phone chipsets. Using Qualcomm’s Snapdragon platform, the Lenovo Skylight is designed with cloud computing and social networking in mind.  It is not a phone per se, but it leverages a 3G or Wifi network connection to present the user with a high definition browser experience that assumes most, if not all of the user’s content and activities are up there, in the cloud.

There is no harddrive, just a lot of flash memory.  Productivity applications? Google Docs. Music? Amazon.  This is a device designed for messaging and media.

So what makes it social? The user interface is a proprietary design built around an “app” paradigm. Those apps contain the user’s primary accounts — email, instant messaging, SMS, Facebook, etc. — and are extensible and customizable.  The device is meant to be constantly on and connected, permitting the user to interact with it on an ad hoc basis, not a formal session where the user needs to power on, connect, then log in.

The design of the system is amazing, delivered by Richard Sapper, the genius behind the original ThinkPad.   The user interface is internally developed on top of a Linux kernel and is pretty intuitive and very browser centric. The software implementation was remarkable, particularly given the challenges of porting a large screen user experience to an ARM platform. The engineering teams lead by Mike Vanover, Jim Hunt, and others pulled off a significant development miracle in building the operating environment.

The name — Skylight — is indicative of the device’s mission as a hardware portal into the cloud. With persistent and constant 3G and wifi, the device should have no issues living up to its name.

I presented a prototype to some resellers in London last summer and over the course of a few days was able to play with the machine on a wifi only basis. Given the early, pre-pre-beta condition of the build, it was surprisingly stable and provided a great glimpse into what a cloud device would behave like.  My earlier thoughts on stripped down operating systems and cloud centric computing models all emanated from my week with the Skylight prototype. It also was a device that seemed to sell itself. Thin is definitely in and the Skylight is astonishingly thin for a clamshell form factor. Watching the development process and the way the project leader Peter Gaucher was able to keep the device as thin as its initial prototype was remarkable: essentially thinness comes at a price, but Gaucher was able to defend the machine against the forces of thickness and economics.

As soon as we have seed units I hope to get some Skylights into the hands of the Lenovo Blogger Advisory Council for their insights into how they use the device and ways to improve it as it evolves. This represents a very interesting exercise in innovation, one I was honored to have witnessed. It represents and embodies a lot of what makes Lenovo such an interesting place to be: a place where risks are taken and old paradigms are challenged. Is this the be-all, end-all social device? No, but it is a start that marks a radical departure from old familiar models to a new one altogether.

I discussed this category at length with my former buddy Om Malik last week in San Francisco. He had tablet fever to some extent, and was more focused on operating systems issues such as the convergence of Android and Chrome or the presence of Jolicloud. The issue, as I see it, is one that Lenovo SVP Peter Hortensius has called the “wasteland” — the “tweener” space between a smartphone and a netbook — the space where we all are seeking some device about the size of an airplane ticket. The place where the Apple Newton once lived. And the Sony Vaio P series, and even our own prototype Pocket Yoga. We need a big screen to stream our movies and our YouTubes, yet we want to hold it to our ears so we can talk. We need a device that is persistent, that doesn’t need an outlet to survive more than couple hours of constant use, something that we can show off (consumer electronics are fashion statements).

Does Skylight achieve that? We shall see. I know I am ready to move to the category and expect it will, overtime, morph as carrier 3G/4G wireless models change, the cloud becomes more mainstream, and the  category achives ubiquity.




Affiliate Marketing Undervalues The Link

Fred Wilson has an interesting post about the undervalue of affiliate referral links in this age of declining banner ad conversions. Such links, emanating from a trusted source such as his VC blog, are priceless to an ecommerce fulfillment site like Amazon or Lenovo. As an Amazon affiliate for years through Reel-Time, I agree that the programs grossly undervalue the the link and need reform.

“comScore once did a panel-based survey of people who saw a banner ad. Very few of them actually clicked on the banner ad and transacted. But many who saw the banner ad eventually searched on the item they initially saw in the banner and transacted later. comScore has also observed that many products that are initially found and/or researched online end up being purchased offline. I wish I could find both pieces of comScore research. If I can find them, I'll come back and link to both (got one of them now).

“The point is that my blog post drove a lot of value to Amazon that is not totally captured by the 40 purchases of Gretchen's book or even the 118 transactions that were done by those visitors in the past two days. The value of that link, in my opinion, is significantly greater than $25.20 and as a result bloggers and other users of affiliate services are getting under compensated for the value they are providing.”

via Affiliate Marketing Undervalues The Link.

Where abouts 1.4.10-1.11.10

Monday – Tuesday: San Francisco
Wednesday-Saturday: Las Vegas
Sunday: Cotuit

Working remote the first part of this week, then at CES through Saturday night. Red-eye home. Following week in the air — some time in Cotuit and RTP most likely. Big travel upcoming is Turkey this month and Beijing early next.

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