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VidBITS: Election Tech, Intel Chips, and Beating Glenn

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:

  • The Matias Quiet Pro keyboard doesn’t have quite the feel of the Tactile Pro, but Adam has found that it’s a whole lot quieter for those who don’t want their typing to be a public event.

  • We aren’t currently planning a full iPad mini review, but Jeff has written an article about how the iPad mini works for photographers (see “Thoughts about the iPad mini for Photographers,” 12 November 2012).

  • As a self-described “truly terrible cartoonist,” Michael has been playing with a Bamboo stylus from Wacom along with the Autodesk SketchBook Pro app for making really bad cartoons on his iPad.

  • In a confessional moment, Glenn admitted that while he enjoys the Letterpress game for iOS, he has discovered that he’s really bad at it. Challenge him to a game quick, before he deletes the app!

  • Spookily, Joe has discovered that he has inadvertently been following in the life footsteps of Mac developer Jeff Holland, whose backup app is called, wait for it… Déjà Vu.

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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