Latest Mac Rumors: Netbooks and New Mac Minis

There are a number of rumors circulating about what news Apple might make at next month’s Macworld expo. Last year’s Macworld brought the announcement of the Macbook Air, and two years ago, it was the iPhone. So what will be the big announcement this year? Depending on who you ask, we may see an Apple netbook, an iPhone Nano, or maybe just an updated Mac Mini.

via Latest Mac Rumors: Netbooks and New Mac Minis – PC World.

I’m excited about this. I already have an Asus eeePC 1000HA but the thought of netbooks reaching more of the masses is great. I think that probably netbooks will become the new “couch computer” in the next few years, you know that computer you piddle with while you’re on the couch watching TV and whatnot.

I use mine all the time for blogging and just general surfing.

Mac Mini? Nah, that’s not going to be a mainstream thing I think. It was a cool thing at first but PCs are too cheap to do just the same. One niche I’ve found, grandparents computer. It’s easy to use and setup, with remote control software its easy to maintain, and the lack of confusing buttons and system popups make it not scary to those who may have never used a computer before. I’ve set 2 up in that manner, one was nearly flawless, email, surfing, digital photos, all worked perfectly well and I only spend about 15 minutes a week showing them new features. The other? Well the user wasn’t ready for it and didn’t see the utility of it, not Apple’s fault.

Vote Help

“Democracy cannot succeed unless those who express their choice are prepared to choose wisely.” – Franklin D. Roosevelt

We are heading in to the US Elections on Tuesday. That’s this coming Tuesday for those of you who may have been in a cave for the last few months. I post once or twice before about choosing someone based on a choice about them not about the other guy. Let me stress again that we should all vote for someone, it doesn’t matter who, as long as you believe in their abilities to lead this country. Don’t vote for someone because they aren’t the other guy, that’s the wrong spirit of the entire democratic process.

(The debate about the true democratic-ness of our process will have to wait, Republicanism (the ideal, not the party) and the Electoral College make things a little messy.)

If you still haven’t made up your mind, I ask that you use sites like this one: votehelp.org to guide your decision. But in reality, once you are behind that curtain the choice is yours and yours alone to make and no one has to know what you did or why you did it. Choice, it’s a great thing!

A pledge

We have enough political crap around us now on TV, the Internet, the radio, podcasts, newspapers, magazines, and every other kind of media out there to make most of us sick.

I definitely have an opinion on the coming Presidential election this November, I have a stand on the issues and I’m pretty sure that I have made my decision on a candidate. This post and possibly two more are all I will post before November 4th (I have one started and assume one more will come to mind later).

I ask most importantly, no matter which side of the aisle you vote for, that you vote FOR someone not against them. All too often I head people disparaging a candidate, “Obama’s a terrorist, McCain is too old,” and never give a reason why I should like their chosen side better. How about a campaign that says this is who I am, this is who I am not, and this is what I’ll do? Not a campaign that is about, this is what he/she is and this is what he/she will not do. I don’t like one of the candidates already, I made that decision by looking at his credentials, attitudes, and overall outlook on things. Dear Mr. Other Candidate: You’d better start telling me who you and what you’ll do, instead of bashing the guy I already don’t like.

I want a campaign season that is about the people running in it, not about the people they are running against.

So when you are having those water cooler talks today, tomorrow, and for the next 50 or so days until November 4, 2008, remember to speak positively about your candidate instead of negatively about the other guy.

I just gotta say:

RE: This – California Supreme Court Overturns Gay Marriage Ban – NY Times
Please read: This – California’s marriage ruling – what it means and what it doesn’t mean – Salon.com
And This – Actual text of the ruling of the California Supreme Court – PDF

I have to say this, it’s been eating away at my soul. What the California Supreme Court did last week was not legalize same-sex marriage what they did was say that a law that said same-sex marriage is illegal was unconstitutional according to the interpretation of the California Constitituion. Not the US Constitution, not same-sex marriage here in good ole po-dunk redneck backwater land.

They did not say that any man or woman has the right to marry any other man or woman. What they said was, a law that says that a man cannot marry a man is not legal under the California Constitution. This is a huge difference however subtle the wording may seem.

My opinion of this entire thing is that no matter what your feeling, orientation or particular persuasion towards regular or double stuf Oreos, you should be treated equally and equitably under any and all laws in this country. If you prefer something I do not, fine, whether I agree with you in principle or in a moral way is indifferent to how I feel you should be treated under the law. Equally.

If you were part of any minority, would you favor laws that excluded others?

“With power comes great responsibility.”

Not getting my dime!

I was at Fry’s Electronics the other day, had to pick up some stuff for work, toner, paper, a few network cards and just odds and ends. Total bill: $200, $150 for toner alone. Not a huge purchase, just stuff we needed.

I was walking around the store, it was 9AM and I’m sure the store had just opened, employees were still milling about with their morning tasks. People really weren’t talking to me, mostly they were just walking past, some gave a nod.

No problem, I found what I needed, the toner was easy enough and the rest was just walking around to pick it up. I of course took a few minutes to browse a few aisles that piqued my interest, all alone basically.

As I was walking out, browsing the bluetooth headsets, a man, we’ll call him Tim, stopped me and asked how I was, if I’d found everything and then asked to “write that up” for me. Not knowing better I said, “Sure.”

“Wait here,” he said “I’ll be right back.”

Shortly, he returned, paper in hand. I took the piece of paper, said thanks and went on my way. As I ventured closer to the register stands I thought, “Hey, that guy didn’t put everything I purchased on the sheet, only the toner, he must make a commission.”

When I arrived at the checkout, I placed my things on the counter and as I laid the sheet down, the cashier grabbed for it, I lunged out to stop her.

“Does he get a commission for this?” I asked.

“Umm, yes, he does.” The cashier said, nervously, as if I wasn’t supposed to know that people there worked on commission.

“You never saw this, he didn’t help me find it or anything else, and I don’t think he deserves any payment for simply writing up my purchases and causing me to wait.” I said as I crumpled the paper into my jacket pocket.

She snickered a bit, rang me up and I went on my way out of the store and to my car. Several other cashiers and customer service managers stopped in their tracks as I said this, none made any effort to dig any deeper though.

Seriously? This guy thought he was going to get paid for “writing me up” and nothing more, he took the one thing I had the probably paid him anything, nothing else in my basket. It’s called “clerking” in the biz, selling things on commission that you had no involvement in selling. I wouldn’t allow my co-workers to do it when I was in sales and I won’t knowingly allow someone to do it to me.

I understand that working on commission or tips can be a bit hard sometimes, slow weeks or months can nearly bankrupt a person, but picking up the low hanging fruit as your method is not going to work on me. Perhaps if you’d have greeted me 45 minutes earlier when I arrived or even 30 minutes later when I arrived in your department and covered every aisle, some several times, I wouldn’t have made a big deal of it. But swooping in to catch me before I went out the door so you could make a few bucks? Nope, not going to happen.

I’ll be more carefully now at Fry’s, they already irk me by checking my bag every time I walk out, but never really check anything. I’ll gladly let someone help me and be rewarded for it, but no reward for someone who doesn’t at least try to work for it.

Why I’ll never buy Dell from Best Buy

Basically, much of the service and support for machines purchased at Best Buy will be handled by them. All Dell products sold through Best Buy will come standard with a 1-year warranty. The return policy is 14 days, and are handled according to Best Buy’s return policy. You can purchase extended warranties through Best Buy, and if you do, they will be responsible for support during the extended warranty period.

We’ve authorized both the Geek Squad and Best Buy to provide support for the Dell systems you’ve purchased there. So if you have questions or problems with a system you purchased, contacting Best Buy is the way to go. However, customers who buy Dell systems through Best Buy can still contact Dell for basic troubleshooting and support.

Direct2Dell – Dell’s Blog

In case you weren’t aware, Dell has recently begun (or is it began?) selling their computers in retail outlets like Best Buy and Staples. This is just another way for them to sell their products and penetrate the market even further (or is it farther?). I think it’s great, I usually recommend and purchase Dell products, and have done that for the last 10 years or so. After reading this today I feel that I may have to qualify my recommendations now, only buy from Dell direct or you’ll be stuck with the Geek Squad as your tech support. I loathe Geek Squad, they are sales people who have technical knowledge, their purpose is to sell products and services that may or may not be necessary to unsuspecting customers that think someone in a white shirt and skinny tie must be a geek.

I’ve had my share of problems with Dell support, I even got a computer that was DOA once. All of my problems were taken care of satisfactorily and quickly. I can’t imagine what Geek Squad would have done, a bad power supply is not something they test for I’m sure until well after I’ve become mad about the entire process and gone off in the store.

I think Dell should reevaluate this strategy, selling in retail locations is good, market penetration in an  industry of extremely low markup and high competition is great. Giving up a little bit of your core competency to get into new markets is not though. I fear they will be pushing the product without the service that users like me have been speaking of for the past 10 years plus, a computer is a commodity, the service and reliability are what you are buying. In my opinion Geek Squad cannot provide either, I hope Dell will come to their senses.