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VidBITS: Election Tech, Intel Chips, and Beating Glenn

by Adam C. Engst

The U.S. presidential election has come and gone, and in this half-hour TidBITS staff roundtable, we discuss how we watched the results roll in, and what changes we saw in how technology has changed election coverage. For a number of us, that meant watching Web sites with election maps updating in real time, while simultaneously comparing the results against the state-by-state predictions from Nate Silver’s FiveThirtyEight blog at the New York Times. Silver is a quant who has applied serious number crunching to the historical and polling data surrounding the election, and while the media was calling the election a “tossup,” his numbers had long been pointing at an Obama win in the Electoral College. Silver isn’t alone in this field, and while the Romney camp undoubtedly had analysts too, there’s a fascinating article at Time that looks at how President Obama’s quants helped direct his campaign.

Next, we talked through the latest news about Apple potentially dropping Intel chips in Macs in favor of custom ARM-based chips along the lines of the A6X used in the fourth-generation iPad. The staff consensus is that it would be totally in character for Apple to switch to their own custom chips. We strongly suspect that Apple is compiling Mac OS X for ARM-based chips even now, much as the company did with Intel-based chips while shipping for PowerPC chips. It seems likely that Bob Mansfield, now heading up a new Technologies group at Apple that includes the semiconductor division, would be evaluating the feasibility of such a switch over the next few years. The big question in such a scenario is what would happen with virtualization.

Lastly, here are the products we’re looking into for reviews or other coverage:

Let us know how you liked this staff roundtable, and if you have any suggestions as we continue to refine our approach.

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Unless otherwise noted, this article is copyright © 2012 TidBITS Publishing, Inc.Published in TidBITS on 2012-11-07.
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