October 2009 Archives

iTablet Price a Sticky Question

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Update: Apple has finally made public their new tablet, the iPad. Details about their annoucement, including pricing can be found in Apple's iPad Tablet Includes Cool New Apps and Features



Apparently someone at Retrevo.com had the same thought I did in regards to what would be the ideal price for the rumored Apple "iTablet". But unlike my personal speculation about what that price could be they went ahead and conducted a survey.

In The iTablet, Only from AT&T post I openly wondered if the rumored device might be offered by AT&T at a subsidy since "rumors put this tablet device at anywhere between $600 - $1000" which begged the question in my mind "would you pay $1000 for a device that could get lost or dropped easily? If your going to spend that much would you just purchase a Macbook? Even at the $600 price-range would you buy Apple's tablet, a cheap laptop or a netbook?"

According to Retrevo.com's survey 64% of "PC users" - who AppleInsider suggests are accustomed to low-cost machines - would purchase the device if it was priced under $600. How much under is a question left open by the survey, but I doubt $599 would get the same 64% response as say $399 or even $299.



"How Much Would You Pay for the Rumored Apple Tablet?"


You may ask why are "cheap PC Users" of important interested when, as surveyed, 41% of "Mac Users" would be happy to spend "$800 or more" for Apple's yet to be announced device?



Mac/iPhone Comparison, Units Shipped


Simply put, while Mac sales have been increasing steadily over the past couple of years - despite the recession - Apple's iPhone, much like its iPod predecessor, has seen explosive growth beyond Apple's traditional Mac User market - in part because of accessible pricing.

Features are one thing. Price is quite another.

Speaking of features, supposedly the iTablet will do for news organizations what the iPod has done for recording studios. Aggregate and sell content to the owners of Apple's new device via iTunes.



But given the current collection of e-Readers on the market from Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Sony - all of which are priced around $199 to $299 I should point out - would someone really pay a $300 premium for Apple's device? Even if it included all of the iPhone's multi-touchscreen abilities and apps?

With the collection of netbooks, smartphones, e-Readers and Apple's iTablet all vying to define - or redefine - the mobile experience for the coming year(s), somehow I doubt Apple is going to want to price themselves out of the market.

One the other hand, perhaps I'll be able to save up some money by forgoing the purchasing of any more bookshelves?


Adding Government to the Social Web

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First published: 13th of October 2009 for Technorati

In part because of Barack Obama's success in leveraging the Internet during his Presidential Campaign and in part because of the general success of "Web 2.0 companies", there has been an explosion of discussions on how one can leverage the growing sophistication of our social interactions online.

Consider it: we cannot go a few hours these days without hearing about individuals, organizations and businesses experimenting with how to put some social networking site to work for them. Everyone wants to engage individuals with cool websites and apps - and make money doing it.

This growing complexity of the Web as a computing platform over the last half a dozen years or so has had to do with the ever increasing access to data repositories online, the development of social applications that access that data and the near ubiquitous Internet access many of us find ourselves with these days. In turn, we get businesses, organizations and individuals clamoring for tools and knowledge on how best to leverage this latest version of the Web.

But not all of the discussions about the Web these days revolves around making money. What about government? If the bold new social web can engage people in politicking, why can't that same tool be used in politics?

That is if Obama can leverage our social interactions to raise funds and engage like-minded individuals, why can't the government - at any level - use those same tools to engage its citizenry and help foster debate and execution of government policy? After all this version of the web is about social networks, social engagement and social collaboration, it's the perfect tool for the debate and analysis of policy both successful and failed?

Enter "Government 2.0": a growing trend that intersects politics, government and technology, bring democratic governments to their people, online. While still in its infancy, the idea has been gaining traction all over the world but most notably in the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom.

For example, in the United States, President Obama's Chief Information Officer for the Executive Branch of the Federal Government recently launched a new website, Data.gov, with the specific purpose of increasing "public access to high value, machine readable datasets" which is a critical step to bring about the creation and utilization of online political engagement.

Critical, but only a first step. Data from other parts of the government, such as local and state run institutions, are still in need of exposure. Those application developers who are just starting to incorporate these new repositories of open data into their social applications will be able to expose important and interesting information to the public at large.

A trend to keep an eye on, even if you're not a technologist. As Thomas Jefferson said in his First Inaugural Address, "The diffusion of information and the arraignment of all abuses at the bar of public reason, I deem the essential principles of our government."

Push the Button Frank

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A Big Red button

Image via Wikipedia

Well his name might not be Frank, but someone pushed the big red button on Technorati today. For those who are unaware, Technorati, the "search engine for blogs" has been around about as long as there have been blogs to search for. In fact, according to Wikipedia as of June 2008 Technorati indexed 112.8 millions blogs.


"So?" I hear you asking.


So, along with indexing blogs and ranking them, Technorati has added "original" content to their various "channels." Along with articles from a number of different authors from around the world is an article entitled Adding Government to the Social Web written by yours truly.


"So?"


So, go check it out. But fear not, I'm not giving up on this personal site. Not everything I'm working on is going to be suitable for Technorati and after a few days any articles I do write for Technorati will make their way here.


So, sit back, relax and enjoy the show.

My Social Graphs

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One of the cheap thrills of social networking is the ability to map out a social graph of one's own friends and family. I recently came across this overview on Mashable of a couple of nice visualization apps and well, I couldn't resist.....

facebook_nexus.pngMy Facebook Network via Nexus, Click Image to View Fullsize.

This first graph is via Nexus. The static image doesn't quite do the complete app justice, since it not just maps out the graph, but labels individuals and provides functions for traversing the network interactively to identify individual and group relationships.

For example, in the case of my social network as managed on Facebook, one of the largest group of individuals, bottom-half-right of the graph, are friends from the Obama campaign. Unsurprising this group is tightly interconnected with relationships between various individuals who all worked together on the campaign.

Related to this group, bottom-half-left, are friends from the Inaugural Committee. Naturally the two groups have many people in common.

The second largest group, upper-half, are friends and family starting with my wife, Katie. Again not too surprising, after nine years of living together, we share a number of friends and family in common. Nor is it as surprising that these relationships are not as tightly integrated as between those who worked on the campaign.

But what is interesting is something we discovered a while back, that besides me, there are a few other individuals that connected our loose group of friends and family with the tight grouping of former campaign staffers.

facebook_friend_wheel.gifMy Facebook Network via Friend Wheel, Click Image to View Fullsize.

Friend Wheel provides the same social graph, but as a radial graph. Nexus can do the same thing, but Friend Wheel can also do the same thing for Twitter:

twitter_twitter.gifMy Twitter Network via Friend Wheel, Click Image to View Fullsize.

Of course with Twitter one doesn't have to approve a relationship for the connection to exist, which helps one reach outside of one's social network. So this isn't so much a graph of shared social connections as it is a graph of shared social interests.

So, unsurprisingly there is some sort of relationship/shared interests between NASA, The White House, the U.S. HSF Committee.

Oddly, there doesn't seem to be any shared connection/interest between "Barack Obama" and Ozzie Guillen, Jr. Go figure!?! And yes, I do have an odd little assortment of people I'm following on Twitter at the moment, thanks for noticing..

About the Author

Paul is a technologist and all around nice guy for technology oriented organizations and parties. Besides maintaining this blog and website you can follow Paul's particular pontifications on the Life Universe and Everything on Twitter.

   
   


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