I'll be jetting off to Singapore early in the A.M. for the IBM InterConnect event, where I'll be both blogging and broadcasting (via LiveStream and YouTube), interviewing a variety of IBM execs, partners, and clients.
Tune your TweetDeck now to hashtag #ibminterconnect to keep track of the festivities. The event officially kicks off next Tuesday, October 9th.
As I was scanning my newsfeeds to catch up on what I've been missing all day while preparing for all those interviews, I saw that Facebook reached 1 billion users, although some of its recent moves, including the alteration of its algorithm to minimize brand page posts being seen by those who have opted in to "Liking" that page, may start sending those numbers due south.
I also discovered that Microsoft is slated to launch its new Surface tablet at midnight on October 26th.
Midnight? Really?? You guys couldn't come up with something more original than that? 12:15, maybe? Or 12:30, even?
Sorry, dudes, I'm all tabletted out, although I will be keeping an eye on the horizon to see what gives with the iPad Mini.
Speaking of holiday shopping, the National Retail Federation released some important holiday shopping forecasts this week that bear sharing.
The NRF's 2012 holiday forecast expects sales will increase this season by 4.1 percent ($586.1 billion), well above the 10-year holiday average, but behind the 2011 season of 5.6 percent.
To which I say, "Bah, humbug." I do almost all my holiday shopping online, so I'll be doing my personal best to get those numbers up. And I expect to pick up a few IBM "Smarter Commerce" tricks of the trade at the sessions next week in Singapore, which I'll share.
Although I am inclined to show up on Black Friday to run at Wal-Mart with the mortar shopping bulls! Nothing like a little full-contact holiday shopping, taking down a few eager shoppers to grab that last Tickle Me Elmo!
All these holiday tidings come just ahead of today's news by Thomson Reuters, which reported that back-to-school sales growth slowed in September after "a strong August," according to the New York Times "Economy" section.
Little Johnny don't need no more pencils, Mom. Get in line and buy that kid a Nexus 7!
But the story doesn't end there.
AlixPartners' Joel Bines is also quoted in the story as saying this doesn't necessarily bode badly for the holiday shopping season, as no "conclusive" 10-year correlation between back-to-school and holiday sales seems evident.
As for me, as I fly eastward, I'm going to have to start giving some serious consideration to my own Christmas holiday shopping list for Santa.
Of course, I've been extremely bad this year, which is par for the course, but hey, it never hurts to ask!
Next stop, Singapore, where I hope not to participate in any caning demonstrations.
But keep an eye out on YouTube just in case.