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

Earth2Tech Energizes the Vote!

The big day is finally here, folks! You can have your say in how the federal and local governments will deal with clean energy, alternative transportation, getting the U.S. off foreign oil and fighting climate change. Obviously there’s the historic presidential election, but there are also a variety of state and local initiatives looking at these issues in your various states and cities — read ’em carefully, there are some tricky ones out there. What are the deal breakers for you?
Obama/Biden Ticket:
Obama’s alternative energy plan entails doling out $150 billion over 10 years to fund projects in a broad swath of cleantech sectors. Obama’s overarching environmental goal is to reduce America’s greenhouse gas emissions to 80 percent below our 1990 levels by 2050, and he wants to institute a cap-and-trade system to manage carbon emissions where 100 percent of the credits will be auctioned off, ensuring that all polluters pay for all of their pollution.
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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.

Could McCain’s Fury Ignite DMCA Revisions?

Two non-profit advocacy groups are proposing changes to the way Congress and web hosts handle copyright claims. The suggestions come less than a week after the the McCain presidential campaign found itself on the wrong side of a takedown notice.
The Electronic Frontier Foundation today made a reasonable attempt to resolve a conflict between YouTube, political campaigns, television networks, and the law, all of which are at odds over online video spots made by the McCain and Obama campaigns that use snippets of TV news broadcasts.
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McCain and Obama Hug Roast It Out

John McCain and Barack Obama took a dramatic turn for the funny tonight, especially on the heels of their Wednesday debate. The two jointly appeared at the Alfred E. Smith Memorial Dinner in New York last night where they each made 15-minute speeches that were almost entirely in jest. It’s like they admitted for one night that they actually do pay attention to what’s said about them — tired and true talking points be damned. Will these sound bites be off-limits for attack ads? I sure hope so.
McCain was especially funny, cracking jokes like “I’m told that at the first sign of a recovery, [Obama] will suspend his campaign and fly immediately to Washington to address the crisis,” and “Maverick I can do but messiah is above my paygrade,” and making an awful lot of fun of Bill Clinton. McCain closed with a well-delivered bit about setting up Obama (who spoke second) to fall flat due to unreasonably high expectations of “non-stop hilarity.”
Obama joked around about McCain being old, his own wishes to perform in a stadium with a backdrop of pillars, his “palling around” with senators and other politicians, and the perils of celebrity what with juggling the paparazzi, his soy chai latte, and his shih tzu. Quotes: “If I had to name my greatest strength, I guess it would be my humility. My greatest weakness? I guess it’s that I am a little too awesome.” Also: “I got my middle name from somebody who obviously didn’t think I’d ever run for president.
To the videos!
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Vid-Biz: McCain, FYI, Redbox

McCain’s Special YouTube Takedown Request Denied; the presidential candidate raised the issue of how quickly political videos were yanked from the site, but YouTube rejected the idea of a special legal review process. (CNET)
For Your Imagination Gets Financing; company gets a bridge round from OmniReliant Holdings, FYI had previously raised $1.3 million from Consensus One Ventures. (Online Video Watch)
Redbox Sues Universal; DVD kiosk rental company alleges that Universal Studios Home Entertainment broke anti-trust laws by insisting Redbox wait 45 days after the street date before making Universal titles available. (Video Business)
Nielsen Says 9.6 Million Households Not Ready for DTV; research indicates that the number of households not ready for the switch decreased just 1.4 percentage points between May and September. (Broadcasting & Cable)
Hurley: No “Silver Bullet” for Revenue; YouTube CEO made his remarks speaking at the Mipcom conference in Cannes, says Google wants the video site to focus on the user. (paidContent)
Dailymotion Releases New High-Quality Player; new player based on H.264 with audio using AAC at 96 kbps, available for all of the site’s content (the HQ player is not to be confused with the Dailymotion’s HD player, which is only available for limited content). (Dailymotion)

McCain Campaign Wants Special Exception From DMCA Takedowns on YouTube

The McCain campaign yesterday asked YouTube to reconsider its takedown policies out of frustration that its official videos have repeatedly been taken down by the site due to copyright claims by media companies. It asked for the side to “commit to a full legal review” upon receipt of takedown notices pertaining to videos posted by political candidates and campaigns.

Presidential Debate: Candidates Agree, Cleantech Can Fix Economy and Planet

Energy emerged as a major topic of discussion in the second presidential debate on Tuesday night, and while Obama and McCain disagreed on the details of their energy plans, both candidates largely agreed that clean technology is necessary to both help fix the economy and fight climate change.

When the moderator Tom Brokaw asked what the fastest and most positive way to bail people out of economic ruin was, McCain’s first response was:

“I have a plan to fix this problem and it has got to do with energy independence. We’ve got to stop sending $700 billion a year to countries that don’t want us very — like us very much.”

Later on in the debate, McCain emphasized that energy independence, specifically “drilling offshore and nuclear power,” are fundamental ways to get the economy moving again.

When Brokaw asked the candidates to rate in order their priorities of health care, energy, and entitlement reform, Obama put energy at the top:

“Energy we have to deal with today, because you’re paying $3.80 here in Nashville for gasoline, and it could go up. And it’s a strain on your family budget, but it’s also bad for our national security, because countries like Russia and Venezuela and, you know, in some cases, countries like Iran, are benefiting from higher oil prices. So we’ve got to deal with that right away.”

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Vid-Biz:BitGravity, Debates, Playboy

BitGravity Adjusts Video Delivery Quality to Match Connection; CDN launched a new API today that lets content distributors automatically tweak the quality of video stream delivered, based on the quality of the user’s connection. (VentureBeat)

Candidates Urge Networks to Free Up Debate Footage; letters from Obama and McCain camps want video debates available for sharing, blogging and re-posting. (Broadcasting & Cable)

Spike.com Premieres Playmate Show & Tell; new online series offers guys dating tips like “What Not to Do on a Date” and “How to Cook a Romantic Meal.” (release)

Xbox Gets PBS Programming; gaming geeks will get full episodes of science programming like Wired Science and Scientific American Frontiers, as well as Ken Burns documentaries. (paidContent)

Jupiter: Bad Economy Will Hit Pay TV, Not Broadband; study finds one-third of people would cut back on movies, 12 percent would drop premium channels like HBO, but only 2 percent would cut off Internet service. (MediaPost)

SMPTE Forms Committee to Standardize Matering and Packaging Formats; Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers working on formats for content distributed over broadband, could enable delivery of content from any online source, and play it back on any device. (SMPTE)

Elecard Devices Gets $10 Million; Russian IPTV developer gets convertible loan from Slaviansky Bank. (Quintura Blog)

I.TV Brings OldTeeVee Listings to the iPhone; free app lists television content in your area, lets you write and share reviews on your phone and adds calendar listings for shows you want to watch. (jkOntheRun)