Apple Updates the Mac Mini: More Modern, Even Worse Value

macmini1

So Apple (s aapl) updated the Mac mini today. It seems it’s pretty much everything the rumor sites were saying, and I can’t help being disappointed.

In my look at the various rumors, one thing I stated was that the price was out of line. I based this on the value of the machine, not the usual ramblings from pundits about the economy. In my view, the mini is overpriced and the upgrades — which only make the machine more modern after nearly a year of stagnation — wouldn’t be enough. Oh, and thanks Apple for pulling the remote from the package, I’d probably just lose it anyway.

Unfortunately, there was no price change, and Apple did nothing beyond the updates to bridge the value gap. The base mini comes with 1GB of memory and a 120GB hard drive. That’s laughable. In a day when even the old, white plastic MacBook comes with 2GB, the base mini is still left stuck at one. Apple has all but admitted that 1GB isn’t enough and yet, there’s the mini, sitting there under-performing. A desktop, machine no less. Read More about Apple Updates the Mac Mini: More Modern, Even Worse Value

GigaOM Readers’ Top Election Web Resources

Our post about the top 10 web tools for the election got some great suggestions from readers, so we’ve packaged them up for you here. Thanks to everyone who sent in their picks — and don’t forget to vote!

  1. Track voter rights news and resources at the nonpartisan Election Protection coalition’s 866ourvote.org.
  2. Check out a map-based overview of voting machines used in each state from VerifiedVoting.org and the Verified Voter Foundation, both run by technologists advocating for reliable and publicly verifiable elections.
  3. Read More about GigaOM Readers’ Top Election Web Resources

Where to Get Live Election Night Coverage Online

The 2008 election and online video have had a lot of special moments together: The CNN-YouTube primary debates. Obama Girl. Will.i.am‘s “Yes We Can.” Saturday Night Live’s “Fey-lin” skits. And even though those examples might lean to the left, online video isn’t just a liberal thing. Both the Obama and McCain campaigns have active YouTube accounts, and in September, the McCain account had nearly three times as many average views per video as its rival’s. And no fewer than nine outlets offered live online video of the presidential debates.
But those were simply viral videos and two-hour events coming straight from the official debate stream. For election night, the fun starts early and could continue all night. There will be red and blue states to call, voter fraud to police, polling lines to record, partisan parties to tune into, and pundits, pundits, pundits. For those who want more detail, perspective or partisanship than TV broadcasts offer — or for the election-obsessive looking to build a multi-platform election night command center — we’ve sniffed out a few of the election night options to choose from. Continue Reading..
Image credit: CNN. This article also appeared on BusinessWeek.com.

What Obama’s Text Message Campaign Reveals

Barack Obama’s now-famous text-message announcement of his VP pick reveals something about the candidate that should really worry the Republicans. What it reveals is not that he’s a smart technologist. If he was, he would have known that sending 10 million SMS messages at the same time is pretty much guaranteed not to work; it’s not designed for that. What it does reveal is that this is probably the smartest marketing campaign we’ve seen in decades.

It’s well known that Obama’s campaign is sophisticated about collecting and cross-referencing voter contacts and using this information to identify two especially important populations: new voters and persuadable voters. Most elections are won by fewer than 10 percentage points. Real blowouts are very rare and usually only happen when a popular incumbent is running for re-election. So the game is all about finding the 5 to 10 percent of the population that can swing the election.

What impressed me about the text-message campaign was that it was an effective device for collecting millions of voter contacts, while also signaling that Obama connects with young people. This won’t do much to persuade 50-something independents in the Midwest, but this is the type of marketing campaign that will get young people to register and to get to the polls. Here are just a few examples of things the campaign can now do with these phone numbers: Read More about What Obama’s Text Message Campaign Reveals

10 Things to Know About Biden and Energy

The future of federal energy policy is looking bright — Barack Obama chose Delaware Sen. Joseph Biden as his vice president this weekend. Biden has a three-decade senate record that includes a solid history of establishing climate change and energy policies. As Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, he has a perspective on how those policies will jive with the international community (not very well so far), and throughout his career he has sponsored a variety of legislation that tackles renewable energy, cleantech funds, electric car battery investment and biofuel mandates.

As a representative of Delaware, it’s also not too surprising that his policies align with the major industries in his state. Delaware produces corn and soybeans — the feedstock that currently makes up most of the first generation of biofuels; Biden makes sure to give corn-based ethanol props as a first good step. But Delaware also has a substantial poultry industry, and chicken farmers across the U.S. have generally been upset at the rising price of the corn used to feed chickens; Biden maintains (like most of us do) that corn needs to be switched over to cellulosic ethanol soon. He is also a friend of his state’s auto-manufacturing industry; in legislation he’s proposed aimed at remaking transportation he has tried to make sure the automakers aren’t hurt too much (more on this at CalCars.org). [digg=http://digg.com/politics/10_Things_to_Know_About_Biden_and_Energy]

Overall, who can’t like a guy who in 2006, in response to oil companies’ record profits and rising gas prices, point blank asks the chairman of Exxon and execs of other energy companies if they “needed” billions in tax breaks. “We guess not,” was the overall response from the group, according to Biden. Here are 10 things we think you should know about Biden’s energy and climate change record:
Read More about 10 Things to Know About Biden and Energy

Tax Man Chasing Qualcomm In India

Qualcomm is not having a good time in India lately. First there was the whole furor over its talks with Indian CDMA mobile operator Reliance Communications breaking down as it refused to lower royalty charges. Then Reliance Communications, which operates India’s second-largest private mobile service, said it would focus on enhancing GSM services, which analysts see as a not so subtle threat to Qualcomm. Now, India’s tax department has sent the Indian unit of Qualcomm a notice seeking details on royalty collection in India, The Hindu Business Line newspaper reports.

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Mobile Box Office- movie tickets on your phone

I hate standing in line so anything that speeds me into the theatre is all right in my book.  A new service, Mobile Box Office (MBO), promises to do just that.  How does it work?

  1. MboFrom your mobile phone go to www.mbo.com
  2. Select your movie and showtime
  3. Securely purchase tickets with your credit card
  4. You will receive a text message. Go to the link in the text message. (If you are having trouble go to www.mbo.com, then retrieve tickets)
  5. Present barcode to usher at theatre to scan.

Now isn’t that easy?  There’s a video of MBO in action right here.