Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Florida makes Rudy cry

Wow. So it seems like Rudy made the wrong decision. Today Floridians decided that John McCain would be a better nominee for President of the United States, along with Hillary Clinton. I think that will be the way the country also goes.

Rudy is struggling for third place, nearly even with Mike Huckabee. It doesn't seem like his campaign can go much further than tonight. However, how was Rudy to know? He couldn't have made a stronger showing in Iowa, with his liberal tendencies, nor in South Carolina. Michigan was conceivably MItt Romney's to lose, possibly because of the income differences between good ol' Mitt and the multitudes of laid off voters there, but in hindsight, Mitt pulled it out and Rudy did well to not have wasted his resources. However, the one state I don't quite understand is New Hampshire. That is where McCain gathered most of his momentum, and Rudy could have been seen as a local(ish) vote in that state. It was really a poor calculation. It seems obvious to say it now, but I think for the last six years people (republicans) have been asking themselves how things would be different if John McCain had been elected in 2000, and now they get the chance to vote for him. He was Rudy's big opponent, and he was able to grab the momentum in New Hampshire, and he isn't giving it away. He already looks like a national candidate, which was Rudy's only claim to fame.

Now, I think the democratic candidacy is still somewhat up in the air, but I think Hillary will win it. She will take New York, probably California, and Obama will take Illinois and Georgia. They will split some smaller states, but she will look like the winner, and then she is back as the inevitable candidate. I am going to pretend John Edwards isn't in the race, and I am going to say it will be so much more difficult to survive until the convention if their are only two candidates. I can see the republicans getting to a brokered convention, especially with the southern states in the mix and giving Huckabee a possible boost, but with only two viable democratic candidates, it will be easier for that tree to fall one way or the other, and I think it will fall to Hillary.

So, McCain versus Clinton. I am not sure it looks good for the democrats if that is the case.

Monday, January 28, 2008

MacBook Air

So, I used to work at the fruit stand, and because of that, some people have asked me what I thought about Apple's last big offering, the MacBook Air. I have to admit that I am pretty underwhelmed. So, Apple has released a lot of products that were panned initially, and then turned out to be hugh hits, like the original iMac (only USB!) and the iPod ($400 for a music player!), but I don't see the MacBook Air making any such significant waves. The reason is that the design (to quote an Apple poster) is evolutionary instead of revolutionary. Like the iMac, the machine could mainly be defined by what it is missing (firewire port, PC card slot, and most significantly, an optical drive), but in terms of the basic offering, it is far less bold a statement than the iMac was at the time. It is a slightly thinner and much lighter portable computer, for basically a 50% cost premium over the MacBook. The only reason I let myself get a little excited about the MacBook Air is because of what it portends, namely future iterations of thinner, lighter MacBooks. I think there is a market for this offering, but I am hesitant to say it is going to be a big market. One could say that mobile executives would buy this (and I am sure they will), but I think the lack of an evdo integrated card (along with Apple's typical ease of use) will limit the uptake.

I think the biggest buyers of the MacBook Air may be the least exciting (to me, anyway) of all market segments, which is at least the situation in my family. Of all my family members, only one called me asking about purchasing the MacBook Air: my Mom. She is a baby boomer with excess income, no interest in firewire ports or the fastest processor, and she puts a premium on making everything she carries with her light, so that she can pick up and visit the grand-babies at a moment's notice. For some reason, I am not sure she will make it onto the next Apple ad, however.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Star Trek trailer

OK, I've never hidden the fact that I am a dork. As an astronomer and a former captain of a Star Trek fan club, I don't think of myself as the coolest kid in the class. So, I'm not embarrassed to say that a big reason I went to see Cloverfield is because of the trailer at the beginning of it. It is the first showing of the trailer for the new Star Trek film being released Christmas 2008, by producer J.J. Abrams of Lost. The movie has recast all of the characters of the original series (Kirk, Spock, etc.), and though the trailer was limited and enigmatic, I am excited. I am hoping that the new movie will be a bit of a re-imagining, like Battlestar Galactica. Star Trek, though I am a huge fan, has become a little stagnant, and having some time off, with no tv series or movies in active production was probably pretty good for it (Star Trek: Enterprise was canceled in 2005). Here's hoping they have shed some of the baggage of the past and come up with a good movie that more than just trekkies can enjoy.