Chips, Soda and an iPod?

I’ve been noticing more and more vending machines stuffed with electronics lately.  A few weeks ago I had a layover in Atlanta and my gate was directly across from an iPod vending machine.  I figured I’d do some seat of the pants research, and see how many people would plunk down $200-$400 into a vending machine, and how long it would take to feed in all those quarters 🙂 (they take credit cards).  I was also interested to see what would happen if an item got stuck on the way down – I’ve seen people go ballistic for a $.50 candy bar that was stuck – imagine a $400 iPod.

Unfortunately in the hour+ I was there, nobody bought anything (though I was doing emails and other things, so it is possible I could have missed someone).  Using very advanced algorithms, I extrapolated that $0 in 1 hour = $0 / day = $0/month 🙂 and that maybe the machines were ahead of their time just a bit.  I assumed they probably got a few vends a week, but were more of a marketing and branding tool than anything else…

Boy was I wrong…

I just saw an article that says the (exact) machine I was watching does $55,000 a month in revenue – whoa!!  ZoomSystems, the company that owns the machine has 300 of them, including machines inside Macy’s.  The article is pretty neat and talks about demographics of their customer (busy travelers), their return policy, and how well their machines are doing.  I wonder how many folks have bought iPods at the last minute before thy jumped on a long flight, only to find they are pretty useless until you load up some music?

What’s the most expensive thing you have ever bought from a vending machine?  Would you plunk down $350 to a machine for an iPod ?  How about $1000 for a shiny new UMPC??

My Mojo is Slow!

The new MojoPac product had been getting a lot of press this week, thanks to it debut at DEMO Fall.  The concept is excellent, it basically allows you to create a virtual Windows XP machine on an iPod, smartphone, or any other USB based portable media device.  You can then plug this device into any other XP machine and run your desktop, applications and access your data all securely and privately – ‘What happens in MojoPac, stays in MojoPac’.

I was really excited when I first heard about this, and downloaded a trial copy earlier this week.  Even though I have no less that 5 portable computers at a given time – between Tablet PCs, UMPCs, and laptops, I thought it would be nice to have a backup on my iPod, or even better smartphone, in case I was on the road and had a hardware failure.  Having access to a key powerpoint, excel sheet or any other data AND the programs to run them seems very powerful to me.  I generally keep important data backed up on a USB thumb drive when I travel, but can’t count the number of times I’ve not been able to use it because the PC I’m borrowing does not have the right applications installed.  MojoPac could have fixed this.

The Install was seamless, and everything actually went better than I expected.  I was also pleasantly surprised to find that it did not blow away all the tunes on my 5th Gen 60 Gig iPod.  But when I went to actually use it, I could not believe how slow it was.  No problem I thought, I’ll just check their site for performance tips, I probably missed something, or just need to tweak a setting – there is no way it could be running this slow.  After finding how to optimize the mojo , I checked and already had those settings enabled.  Not Good.  Maybe it is just my PC?  I’ve now tried it on two desktops and one laptop – all with at least a 2.4ghz processor and a gig of RAM (one had a 3Ghz Duel core CPU and 2 Gigs of RAM).

I’ve also run Diskeeper on the iPod, to defrag the drive thinking that was it, still no luck.  Just to give a few examples, Firefox launches in ~18 seconds inside Mojo, while it is less than 2 seconds on the host machine.  Word 2003 is ~21 seconds vs ~3 seconds.  IMO, basically unusable other than extreme emergencies.

I’ve read some impressive articles from people who saw MojoPac at DEMO running games at excellent quality, so hopefully this is just a minor issue that I can get fixed.  I emailed their support a few days ago, maybe they will respond soon with something else to try.

How is your Mojo?  I’d like to hear how it is working for other people who have downloaded the demo version.