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One of the under-covered items from last week is that IBM quietly did what may, in hindsight, be the biggest change since their restructuring in the early 90s: The Software Group, under the direction of Steve Mills, will now control Hardware.

Years ago I deeply researched IBM’s struggles in the 1980s and early 1990s and the key trigger event that began the struggle was the consent decree that IBM signed decades earlier that separated hardware and chúng tôi put in place policies and practices that over time made IBM less efficient. When the software and hardware units were separated it started the trend to create separate independent businesses under a corporate umbrella.

These separate businesses increasingly focused on each other and many of the avoidable problems that resulted in IBM’s near failure in the early 1990s can be traced back to internal conflicts that prevented IBM from seeing or reacting to them in a timely nature.

One of the most visible failures that resulted was OS/2, which initially was co-created with Microsoft and then failed to successfully compete against chúng tôi of the primary reasons OS/2 failed was because IBM hardware units at that time were more closely aligned with Microsoft than they were their own software organization.

The resulting internal conflict had IBM fighting with itself more effectively than it could with Microsoft. The reason was that hardware took much of the competitive cost from the battle while Software, if OS/2 was successful, would have received most of the financial chúng tôi other words, it wasn’t the management of the groups that crippled IBM in the fight, it was the structure of the company.

If OS/2 had been done as a company effort it could have been much more successful than the MacOS because it would have had the enterprise support that Apple lacks. And IBM might not have had to exit the PC business.

Last decade IBM resurged under Sam Palmisano and became one of the most powerful companies in tech but still far from their one time chúng tôi this latest change they appear to be not only correcting a past mistake but improving on the model that drove their initial success.

Apple, however, is still a hardware company and it is hardware design that appears to drive the firm, and software is subordinated to that chúng tôi is a structure similar to the way it was in the 1970s when IBM was still peaking and Apple was conceived.

However, software, as we have seen from companies like Oracle and Microsoft, has become a much bigger differentiator and, even if you look at products like the Apple iPad and iPhone, it is the software side of them that really provides the most value.

If you were going to build a company this century you’d likely start with software and back into hardware. The software side is where most of the value would chúng tôi appears to have picked something that most seem to have missed. That is that their original model of a more tightly integrated company is the more successful one and they want to take back from Apple the leadership position on it by updating that model for a software-driven world.

While IBM is clearly in a different space than Apple is initially (but that could change) the end result is that this reorganization could allow them most of the benefits Apple enjoys — but make IBM more aligned with where the value is today than in the 1970s.

In short, the new IBM could be better than both the original IBM and the new chúng tôi goes without saying that to reach this potential good execution is critical.

The result of this new organizational structure is one that more closely matches what Oracle is building with their Sun acquisition. But instead of having to merge two companies (one in serious trouble) with vastly different cultures, IBM is effectively merging two very similar and relatively successful firms under single management.

In short, even though they started this process long after Oracle did, their degree of difficulty is vastly lower and no one is questioning IBM’s ability to stay in the hardware business like they are Oracle’s.It is, after all, IBM’s historic core business.

With speculation that Oracle might buy up most of the independent Open Source companies — which would have crippled IBM had they not made this change — IBM is now positioned to challenge Oracle on every front with what should be a better integrated and more mature blended offering.

This isn’t saying that the fight will be easy. Larry Ellison and his team are powerful competitors. But it puts IBM in a position to act offensively and more aggressively than otherwise would have been the case.

In addition, if Oracle’s effort fails, it makes IBM the potentially greatest beneficiary of that chúng tôi given how badly Sun was crippled by the acquisition process and the fact that mergers like the one Oracle is attempting generally fail, this could turn out to be a huge eventual benefit for IBM and a major problem for Oracle.

Before this organizational change the chance of this happening was very remote. With the change it becomes possible, though still far from certain.

The world is vastly different than it was in IBM’s youth. Yet Google and Cisco are reminders that market power is fluid and that taking chances often pays off with unexpected success.

Putting software ahead of hardware will dramatically change relationships with companies like Microsoft, put traditional competitors like HP and Dell who don’t have heavy software units on notice, and even suggest to Apple that they may have it backwards this century.

It will change IBM, not into the company they were, but potentially into the company they should chúng tôi a result this week they are closer to reaching their true potential than they have been in decades.

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Hurricane Florence’s Slow Creep Across The Carolinas Is Bad News

Hurricane Florence made landfall near Wilmington, North Carolina early on Friday morning, after spending much Thursday scraping the coast with intense winds and a storm surge topping 10 feet above ground level in spots. The storm will be slow to weaken as it moves away from the warm ocean waters, but even as the winds subside, the real story of the hurricane is just beginning. Forecasters expect Hurricane Florence to produce catastrophic flash flooding across North Carolina and South Carolina as the storm pushes inland through the weekend.

Coastal North Carolina had quite the night on Thursday as the core of Hurricane Florence crept toward the coast at just 5 MPH. Sustained winds of more than 80 MPH with occasional gusts over 100 MPH were reported from the Outer Banks to Wilmington as the storm made landfall. The forecast track of the storm takes it over northern South Carolina as a tropical storm through the day on Sunday before its remnants finally lift out of the area and toward the Northeast early next week.

Florence’s large and intense wind field, combined with the storm’s painfully slow forward movement, pushed a life-threatening storm surge across the North Carolina coast. A storm surge is seawater pushed ashore by strong, persistent winds. A gauge near New Bern, North Carolina, measured a storm surge of nearly 10 feet at the mouth of the Neuse River. Many other areas saw a surge greater of than five feet. Officials won’t know the extent of the damage and human toll until it’s safe to reach these areas over the next few days.

The Weather Prediction Center’s forecast precipitation totals through Friday, September 21, 2023. Dennis Mersereau

Even as the wind and surge subside, the greatest threat from the hurricane is the rain, and the rain won’t stop for a few more days. NOAA’s Weather Prediction Center expects rainfall totals in the double-digits to stretch as far inland as the Charlotte suburbs, with half a foot of rain possible all the way to the North Carolina and Virginia mountains. These intense rains will lead to the potential for catastrophic flash flooding across these areas, especially in eastern North Carolina and South Carolina.

The NWS office in Morehead City, North Carolina measured almost 14 inches of rain by Friday morning. Nearby areas have seen nearly a foot-and-a-half of rain. It’s not out of the question for parts of southeastern North Carolina to see three feet or more by the end of the storm.

This situation isn’t too unlike what we saw during Hurricane Harvey in 2023, which led to catastrophic flooding across coastal parts of Texas and Louisiana. This will be one of the worst flooding events in the recorded history of this part of the country, likely surpassing totals seen in Hurricanes Floyd and Matthew.

In addition to the wind and flooding, we can’t rule out the potential for tornadoes on the northern and eastern side of the storm. Strong wind shear in the atmosphere can allow thunderstorms in the outer bands of a landfalling tropical cyclone to turn into miniature supercells capable of producing tornadoes. The tornadoes in tropical cyclones are typically small, but they can produce considerable damage and pose a serious threat to life and property. Thunderstorms moving at highway speeds can dramatically reduce tornado warning lead time in a situation like this—sometimes giving folks in harm’s way just a few minutes of notice. If you’re near the storm’s path, pay attention to forecasts and stay safe.

Is Dr. Oz Bad For Science?

Dr. Oz comes off almost–almost_–charming at first in a New Yorker profile out this week. But of course he does: it’s one of the reasons he has a gigantic audience regularly tuning in to “The Dr. Oz Show.” Michael Specter, the _New Yorker writer, asks why someone like Oz, with Harvard credentials, would promote treatments that are flat-out wrong.

After that, we go deep into The Land of Oz, where the doctor makes some truly bizarre claims. He says he wants to toe the line in the “civil war” between conventional medicine (i.e., medicine that works) and alternative treatments. He’s not one of those bossy doctors; he wants “no more barriers between patient and medicine.” You know, like back in the good old days, when we relied on superstition and our average life expectancy was about 25.

“I would take us all back a thousand years, when our ancestors lived in small villages and there was always a healer in that village–and his job wasn’t to give you heart surgery or medication but to help find a safe place for conversation.”

It gets a little murkier, too, when Oz’s wife, Lisa Oz, is introduced. She refuses to have their children vaccinated (!) and Oz, though he disagrees, capitulates.

“I’m going to get it, but, I’ll tell you, my wife is not going to immunize our kids,” he said, on “Campbell Brown.” He added that he was powerless to reverse her decision, because “when I go home I’m not Dr. Oz, I’m Mr. Oz.” (Oz still disagrees with Lisa. In January, in front of an audience, he gave the CNN host Piers Morgan his first flu shot, and encouraged millions of viewers to get one as well. At home, however, the situation hasn’t changed. He remains Mr. Oz.)

But it’s his show, of course, where pseudo-scientific claims are given the most play. Oz has endorsed some products without much scientific evidence to back them up. He’s gone on-air to preach the merits of Reiki, a spiritual healing practice; green coffee beans; and red palm oil–none of which have been proven effective. Oz doesn’t let the criticisms irk him.

Oz sighed. “Medicine is a very religious experience,” he said. “I have my religion and you have yours. It becomes difficult for us to agree on what we think works, since so much of it is in the eye of the beholder. Data is rarely clean.” All facts come with a point of view. But his spin on it—that one can simply choose those which make sense, rather than data that happen to be true—was chilling. “You find the arguments that support your data,” he said, “and it’s my fact versus your fact.”

He’s right about one thing: data isn’t clean, and medical studies are frequently wrong. Oz knows that; he points out the hundreds of peer-reviewed studies he’s authored. But for the world’s most visible health professional to brush off the scientific method? The closest-held belief in science? You’re damn right that’s chilling.

You can, and should, read the whole New Yorker piece here.

New Yorker

Google News Archive Boosts News Partnerships

Google News Archive Boosts News Partnerships

Chris Sherman in his Search Day article has a good general overview of the new Google News Archive search, introduced today. (Topix recently released a year-long archive of searchable news stories.) In some cases Google News Archive offers 18th and 19th Century newspaper articles (see below).

To my knowledge, there isn’t anything readily available to the public with comparable historical scope. (Comparable information is available via library databases, but is somewhat more challenging to obtain.)

I spoke to Google earlier today about the new service. For reasons not entirely clear to me Google stressed that this was not a new vertical but a feature of existing Google News, a way to gain more information and perspective on stories, events, people. Here are a few diverse examples:

There’s a mix of free and fee-based sources in the database. Google said it’s not monetizing the content or the page views, taking nothing from any of the partner fee-based transactions that may be driven by the new service. There’s no integration with Google Checkout, Google Book Search or Google Scholar. At least in the latter two cases, some form of integration might make sense but Google was steadfast in saying that these services are all separate and for separate audiences.

Google also said that it is launching with a group of partners, but plans to continue to add content and partners on an ongoing basis. A sampling of initial partners includes Time Magazine, The NY Times, Washington Post, The WSJ, Lexis/Nexis and Factiva.

I could go on about the features or why this is an interesting or good service for readers/researchers. But what’s really most interesting to me is the way in which it stands the Google-newspaper relationship on its head.


Newspapers and news gathering organizations have been famously ambivalent about Google News (and in at least one case litigious). In short the concern is that news aggregators create powerful online destinations for consumers and build brands on the backs of news content but don’t deliver commensurate value to local newspaper sites and organizations. Clearly this is not a uniformly held view. But there has been widely held skepticism and concern in the newspaper industry about whether Google was friend or foe.

What News Archive immediately does is turn Google into the newspaper fee-based archive’s best friend. Suddenly newspapers can expose paid or fee-based content through Google that they would have little opportunity to present as effectively on their own. Google News Archive now becomes a free, potentially powerful marketing tool for newspapers (or at least their archives).

(My memory is that Yahoo proposed a similar but broader initiative around content and micro-payments but I couldn’t find any information on it this evening.)

While it remains to be seen how effective it will be in driving content payments to newspaper organizations, in a kind of masterstroke Google has at once created a valuable consumer tool and proven value with selected newspaper publishers and maybe the broader industry.

Here’s another general overview from Kevin Delaney at the WSJ (sub req’d) and a piece from AP’s Mike Liedtke with some quotes from partners about the value they see the relationship delivering to their organizations.

Ibm’s Power Systems Business Is Growing For The First Time In Years

A few years ago, you wouldn’t have bet much on IBM’s Power systems having a bright future. The major Unix platforms have all been on the decline for more than a decade, giving way to Linux servers powered by increasingly capable x86 processors from Intel.

IBM reported its financial results for the fourth quarter this week, and while overall sales continued their downward trajectory, the company reported the first growth for Power systems in four years.

The numbers aren’t spectacular, but they’re on the upswing. Last quarter, Power systems revenue climbed 4 percent from a year earlier, or 8 percent adjusted for the strong US dollar. On that basis, sales were up for all of 2024, too.

IBM doesn’t release actual dollar figures for Power, only percentages. But it’s clearly a turnaround from two years ago, when the business was tumbling more than 30 percent each quarter.


The Power System S812LC, a Linux server for big data.

A big part of the reason is Linux. Two years ago, IBM said it would invest a billion dollars to make it easier for clients to run Linux as an alternative to AIX, its proprietary Unix software. Its newest Power8 processor includes changes that make it easier for clients to port Linux applications from x86.

IBM also opened up the platform to third parties, a big change to its business model. Under the OpenPower initiative, other companies can now design and sell Power servers and processors under license from IBM. And IBM is adding more components to its systems from third parties like Nvidia and Mellanox.

Nathan Brookwood, principal analyst at Insight64, said customers want choice. “Everybody is looking for an alternative to Intel,” he said.

Brookwood questioned whether IBM can sustain the growth long term. Vendors including Qualcomm are investing heavily in ARM server chips, and Power could eventually find itself “squeezed out” by Intel and ARM, he said.

Still, for now IBM’s RISC chip is having a mini-renaissance.

Meanwhile, Oracle continues to pile money into Sparc, confounding predictions that Chairman Larry Ellison would kill off the architecture after buying Sun Microsystems. Oracle tends to focus on systems that run its own applications, however, while IBM is going after a broader market.

The RISC platforms give both companies a way to differentiate their products from commodity hardware based on x86 processors.

“I think they gave up on PA-RISC for all the wrong reasons,” Brookwood said. HP was worried about the cost of building new chip manufacturing plants, he said, and didn’t foresee the rise of third-party foundries like TSMC.

The efforts with Power are part of a broader effort by IBM to make its hardware profitable again. It sold its money-losing x86 server business to Lenovo to focus on higher end products. Its System z mainframe had a good 2024 as well, thanks to the release of the z13 early last year.

The upshot is a much smaller but more profitable hardware business. For all of 2013, IBM’s hardware division reported a loss of $507 million on $15 billion in revenue. Last year, it made a profit of $604 million on $8.0 billion in revenue.

Oracle Pl/Sql Cursor: Implicit, Explicit, For Loop With Example

What is CURSOR in PL/SQL?

A Cursor is a pointer to this context area. Oracle creates context area for processing an SQL statement which contains all information about the statement.

PL/SQL allows the programmer to control the context area through the cursor. A cursor holds the rows returned by the SQL statement. The set of rows the cursor holds is referred as active set. These cursors can also be named so that they can be referred from another place of the code.

In this tutorial you will learn-

The cursor is of two types.

Implicit Cursor

Explicit Cursor

Implicit Cursor

Whenever any DML operations occur in the database, an implicit cursor is created that holds the rows affected, in that particular operation. These cursors cannot be named and, hence they cannot be controlled or referred from another place of the code. We can refer only to the most recent cursor through the cursor attributes.

Explicit Cursor

Programmers are allowed to create named context area to execute their DML operations to get more control over it. The explicit cursor should be defined in the declaration section of the PL/SQL block, and it is created for the ‘SELECT’ statement that needs to be used in the code.

Below are steps that involved in working with explicit cursors.

Declaring the cursor Declaring the cursor simply means to create one named context area for the ‘SELECT’ statement that is defined in the declaration part. The name of this context area is same as the cursor name.

Opening CursorOpening the cursor will instruct the PL/SQL to allocate the memory for this cursor. It will make the cursor ready to fetch the records.

Fetching Data from the CursorIn this process, the ‘SELECT’ statement is executed and the rows fetched is stored in the allocated memory. These are now called as active sets. Fetching data from the cursor is a record-level activity that means we can access the data in a record-by-record way. Each fetch statement will fetch one active set and holds the information of that particular record. This statement is same as ‘SELECT’ statement that fetches the record and assigns to the variable in the ‘INTO’ clause, but it will not throw any exceptions.

Closing the CursorOnce all the record is fetched now, we need to close the cursor so that the memory allocated to this context area will be released.


In the above syntax, the declaration part contains the declaration of the cursor and the cursor variable in which the fetched data will be assigned.

The cursor is created for the ‘SELECT’ statement that is given in the cursor declaration.

In execution part, the declared cursor is opened, fetched and closed.

Cursor Attributes

Both Implicit cursor and the explicit cursor has certain attributes that can be accessed. These attributes give more information about the cursor operations. Below are the different cursor attributes and their usage.

Cursor Attribute Description

%FOUND It returns the Boolean result ‘TRUE’ if the most recent fetch operation fetched a record successfully, else it will return FALSE.

%NOTFOUND This works oppositely to %FOUND it will return ‘TRUE’ if the most recent fetch operation could not able to fetch any record.

%ISOPEN It returns Boolean result ‘TRUE’ if the given cursor is already opened, else it returns ‘FALSE’

%ROWCOUNT It returns the numerical value. It gives the actual count of records that got affected by the DML activity.

In this example, we are going to see how to declare, open, fetch and close the explicit cursor.

We will project all the employee’s name from emp table using a cursor. We will also use cursor attribute to set the loop to fetch all the record from the cursor.

DECLARE CURSOR guru99_det IS SELECT emp_name FROM emp; lv_emp_name emp.emp_name%type; BEGIN OPEN guru99_det; LOOP FETCH guru99_det INTO lv_emp_name; IF guru99_det%NOTFOUND THEN EXIT; END IF; END LOOP; CLOSE guru99_det; END: /


Employee Fetched:BBB Employee Fetched:XXX Employee Fetched:YYY Total rows fetched is 3 Code Explanation:

Code line 2: Declaring the cursor guru99_det for statement ‘SELECT emp_name FROM emp’.

Code line 3: Declaring variable lv_emp_name.

Code line 5: Opening the cursor guru99_det.

Code line 6: Setting the Basic loop statement to fetch all the records in the ’emp’ table.

Code line 7: Fetches the guru99_det data and assign the value to lv_emp_name.

Code line 9: Using the cursor attribute ‘%NOTFOUND’ to find whether all the record in the cursor is fetched. If fetched then it will return ‘TRUE’ and control will exit from the loop, else the control will keep on fetching the data from the cursor and print the data.

Code line 11: EXIT condition for the loop statement.

Code line 12: Print the fetched employee name.

Code line 14: Using the cursor attribute ‘%ROWCOUNT’ to find the total number of records that got affected/fetched in the cursor.

Code line 15: After exiting from the loop the cursor is closed and the memory allocated is set free.

FOR Loop Cursor statement

“FOR LOOP” statement can be used for working with cursors. We can give the cursor name instead of range limit in the FOR loop statement so that the loop will work from the first record of the cursor to the last record of the cursor. The cursor variable, opening of cursor, fetching and closing of the cursor will be done implicitly by the FOR loop.


In the above syntax, the declaration part contains the declaration of the cursor.

The cursor is created for the ‘SELECT’ statement that is given in the cursor declaration.

In execution part, the declared cursor is setup in the FOR loop and the loop variable ‘I’ will behave as cursor variable in this case.

In this example, we will project all the employee name from emp table using a cursor-FOR loop.

DECLARE CURSOR guru99_det IS SELECT emp_name FROM emp; BEGIN FOR lv_emp_name IN guru99_det LOOP END LOOP; END; /


Employee Fetched:BBB Employee Fetched:XXX Employee Fetched:YYY Code Explanation:

Code line 2: Declaring the cursor guru99_det for statement ‘SELECT emp_name FROM emp’.

Code line 4: Constructing the ‘FOR’ loop for the cursor with the loop variable lv_emp_name.

Code line 5: Printing the employee name in each iteration of the loop.

Code line 8: Exit the loop

Note: In Cursor-FOR loop, cursor attributes cannot be used since opening, fetching and closing of the cursor is done implicitly by FOR loop.

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