The $899, 17-inch iMac for Education: Still Here, Always Has Been

imac17News “broke” over the weekend via a leak from Apple (s aapl) itself that the company still offers the low-end iMac model with a smaller, 17-inch screen, though it is available exclusively for education customers. The news came via the Apple eNews for Education newsletter for March, although clicking the “Buy” link from the iMac page does not reveal the option to buy a 17-inch model, at least not in the U.S. education store where I attempted it. It’s still there, but you may have to try to get a quote for a bulk purchase as an educational institution to find it.
Maybe it’s because the iMac is so tricky to find that the story got picked up so quickly over the weekend, and by so many different outlets, but readers were quick to point out that the “news” of a possible $899 iMac was in fact not news at all, since the model has been available at that price point since 2006. In fact, rather than being the deal of the century, the iMac priced at $899 is actually probably one of the least appealing value propositions available from Apple, unless you want an old white plastic model to keep sealed in a box in the hopes that it will become a priceless collector’s item in 20 years time. Read More about The $899, 17-inch iMac for Education: Still Here, Always Has Been

Youku Aims to Unite Fragmented Chinese Media

The web has a reputation for serving niche markets and splintering and localizing media, but apparently things are different in China. The folks from leading Chinese video site Youku visited our office this week, and painted a picture of an extremely localized Chinese television market that takes the vast majority of the country’s advertising dollars. So Youku CEO Victor Koo thinks there’s an opportunity to create a new national media market on the web where one didn’t exist before.

youkuexecsAccording to SARFT (the State Administration of Radio Film and Television), there are 1,660 different TV stations and only one national network, CCTV. Meanwhile, with 300 million Internet users in China (270 million of them on broadband), some 140 million visit Youku every month, said Koo, the former president of Chinese portal Sohu (s SOHU). Koo thinks that uniting that audience around a body of programming will give TV advertisers a good reason to shift their budgets online.

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DTV Switch Still Happening for Some Today

Well, today was supposed to be the big deadline for the national switch to digital television. While that date got pushed back to June 12, as of midnight tonight, 641 stations in the U.S. (36 percent of the country) will have shut off their analog broadcast signal.

The places where many or all of the major networks in that area are going digital include San Diego and Santa Barbara, Calif.; Rockford, Ill.; Scranton, Pa.; and Burlington, Vt.

Today’s mini-switch will be a bellwether for the larger transition in June. According to Nielsen, as of Feb. 1, 5.1 percent of U.S. homes (5.8 million) weren’t ready for the DTV switch (though the National Association of Broadcasters disputes this figure as too high). The FCC’s DTV call center (1-888-CALL-FCC), along with some industry partners, has 4,300 operators standing by to offer assistance.

The delay till June will also give those on the wait-list for DTV converter box coupons a chance to receive and redeem them. The coupon program had run out of money, but the recent stimulus package that President Obama is expected to sign today has $640 million in additional funding.

Weekly App Store Roundup: Oct. 18, 2008

Amidst the hubbub of this week’s Apple announcements, the App Store continued to bubble away with a host of new apps joining the fray. As ever, The Apple Blog is here to separate the signal from the noise and sound off on a selection of the freshest apps to hit the store.

This time we’re casting a big thoughtful eye over Jobs, TeeDroid 3G and PuzzleManiak.
Jobs 1.0 ($4.99) – There’s been a panoply of freelancer time-tracking tools arriving at the App Store of late, many of which seem a tad on the rushed side. Jobs 1.0, though, looks to have a well-considered feature-set and a clear, concise interface.
The problem is that there are already several sites (with integrated iPhone web apps) that do the job much better and are rich in exactly the kind of features freelancers need. To name but two, Tempo and Harvest are incredibly accomplished time-trackers and in the case of the latter, handles expenses, invoices and even an OS X widget. Despite the solid feature-set, including CSV export of time-sheets, Jobs 1.0 may not be a prudent investment for the savvy freelancer looking to track time more efficiently.
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Cisco Virtualizes the Network, the Data Center

At the VMWorld Show, Cisco took the first concrete steps to establishing a monopoly in the enterprise data centers with the announcement of a new software switch (Nexus 1000) that would allow networking of individual virtual machines (along with their security and management.)

Best of CTIA: Bare-Bones Mobile Video Is a Hit

Written by Michael Stroud.

If you think mobile social video is a no-go in the U.S., you might consider, which claims 2.5 million users of its personal broadcasting service worldwide, with half of them American.

The site (( on your mobile phone) lets anyone with a video-enabled mobile phone create their own mobile “TV show” for free and share it with other friends, family or love prospects.

The company’s fixed Internet site is bare-bones and unapologetically devoid of uploading capabilities.

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YouTube Recommends Nexicon to Content Providers

Nexicon (s NXCO) announced this week it has partnered with YouTube to offer copyright management tools to content providers. Basically, content owners can hire Nexicon to monitor videos that get flagged by YouTube’s Video ID video fingerprinting system, and Nexicon will help decide whether to have the video removed or to claim it and place advertising against it.

Apple Disputes NBC’s Variable Pricing Spin

One thing’s for sure: each time Apple and NBC’s relationship spills out in public, they both claim they’ve won the latest battle. Only with two fierce negotiators like these, that’s never really the case.