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Aaron Sorkin, who is one of the only qualified people (in my opinion) for the job of writing about the late Steve Jobs, has told The Daily Beast at their Hero Summit today that his screenplay will have some pretty ambitious stuff in it. Namely, three thirty-minute segments that will take place backstage at three different Apple product launches, each of them to be filmed in real time. And that's the whole movie! Sorkin's hope is to end the movie on the memorable line, "Here's to the crazy ones," mentioned in the 1997 "Think Different" ad narrated by Richard Dreyfuss. (Here is a longer, unaired version with Jobs narrating.) But only, he says, if he can "earn" that ending. (Ahhhh... capital "W" Writing.) Sorkin also revealed which product launches the movie will feature: the Mac, NeXT, and the iPod, meaning that the movie will span Jobs' career from 1984 to 2001. Expect a lot of walking and talking, hectic backstage shenanigans, Josh Malina, many mentions of the word "thing" (don't make it a drinking game since Jobs was well-known for his inventions of things), and a long speech about how important and noble technological progress really is.
In the same talk, Sorkin also revealed that while he wasn't close acquaintances with Jobs, he did get a request from him to write a Pixar movie. So, I'll let that marinate with everyone for a while -- an Aaron Sorkin-scripted Pixar movie.
Daniel Kottke lives and works in Palo Alto, Ca. Here, he talks about the genesis of his 1974 trip to India with Steve Jobs.
Daniel Kottke was one of Apple's first employees, assembling the company's earliest kit computers with Steve Wozniak and Steve Jobs in a California kitchen. In 1974, Jobs and Kottke backpacked across India in search of themselves; now, they are industry legends. Along the way, he debugged circuit boards, helped design the Apple III and the Mac, and became host of Palo Alto cable TV show The Next Step. Read the rest
Read the rest
Matthew Modine will play the man who fired Steve Jobs.
Film actor Matthew Modine has signed on to the upcoming Steve Jobs biopic entitled jOBS, which stars Ashton Kutcher as the late Apple founder. Directed by Joshua Michael Stern (Swing Vote), the film will chronicle Jobs' life from 1971 through the 21st century. Modine has been tapped to play John Sculley, the former Pepsi-Cola CEO whom Jobs recruited to lead Apple in 1983. Sculley has longbeen known as the man who "fired" Jobs two years later. The two had clashed in their respective roles at Apple, leading up to Jobs' removal fromthe company in 1985. Sculley served as Apple CEO from 1983 to 1993. Book of Mormon star Josh Gad will portray Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak in the film, due out this fall. The movie began principal photography in June. Early scenes will be shot in the actual Los Altos home where Jobs grew up and in thehistoric garage where he founded Apple.
Fast Company has published an excerpt from Ken Segall's new book Insanely Simple: The Obsession That Drives Apple’s Success. The excerpt recounts the tale of how former ad exec Segall helped steer then-Apple-CEO Steve Jobs away from a bad branding decision for what would eventually (thankfully!) be named the iMac.
Segall was part of the team that came up with Apple's famous "Think Different" campaign. In 1998, his agency was at One Infinite Loop one day for a dramatic unveiling of a new line of candy-colored home computers. The Apple device code-named "C1" looked like nothing else on the market at the time:
Steve gave us a challenge: We needed a name for this thing. C1 was on a fast track to production, and the name had to be decided quickly to accommodate the manufacturing and package design process. “We already have a name we like a lot, but I want you guys to see if you can beat it,” said Steve. “The name is ‘MacMan.’ ”
In 1991, the FBI began interviewing Steve Jobs and people he worked with, as the CEO of Next Inc. "began to be considered as a candidate for sensitive, presidential appointments."
Here is Steve Jobs' FBI file, released under the Freedom of Information Act.
"Several individuals questioned Mr. Jobs' honesty stating that Mr. Jobs will twist the truth and distort reality in order to achieve his goals," reads the FBI summary.
Other elements of note: as a student, he had a 2.65 GPA. There was a bomb threat against him in 1985. There's a passing reference to a "hippie friend" on whose apple orchard the man who would later co-found Apple worked. And there's an excellent specimen of early 1990s FBI fax art, page 129.
(Photo: Jobs beneath a photograph of him and Apple-co founder Steve Wozniak from the early days of Apple during the launch of the iPad in San Francisco, January 27, 2010. REUTERS.)
Kobun Chino Otogawa, Steve Jobs' Zen teacher. Courtesy kobun-sama.org.
At PLOS, Steve Silberman goes in depth into the influence that Steve's Buddhist teachers had on Apple's mission and its products.
"I found myself in a unique position to write it, since I knew Jobs' teacher Kobun Chino, and studied at Zen Center around the same time that Steve did," Silberman tells Boing Boing. "I include a quote from a never-published interview with Steve at the end."
As a young seeker in the ’70s, Jobs didn’t just dabble in Zen, appropriating its elliptical aesthetic as a kind of exotic cologne. He turns out to have been a serious, diligent practitioner who undertook lengthy meditation retreats at Tassajara — the first Zen monastery in America, located at the end of a twisting dirt road in the mountains above Carmel — spending weeks on end “facing the wall,” as Zen students say, to observe the activity of his own mind.
Why would a former phone phreak who perseverated over the design of motherboards be interested in doing that? Using the mind to watch the mind, and ultimately to change how the mind works, is known in cognitive psychology as metacognition. Beneath the poetic cultural trappings of Buddhism, what intensive meditation offers to long-term practitioners is a kind of metacognitive hack of the human operating system (a metaphor that probably crossed Jobs’ mind at some point.) Sitting zazen offered Jobs a practical technique for upgrading the motherboard in his head.
As every blog and news site everywhere has already reported (including Boing Boing), the definitive biography of the late Steve Jobs, by Walter Isaacson, is out today.
Last night's edition of the CBS news magazine 60 Minutes was devoted entirely, 100%, to stories on Jobs and his products.
As Mike Godwin noted on Twitter, Steve Kroft asks during the segment how Jobs, "who dropped LSD and marijuana," goes off to India and returns to become a businessman. LOL @ "dropping marijuana." The show sure does know their demo. At least they didn't say he smoked acid.
Snarking aside, the 60 Minutes pieces are worth watching. Here's part 1, here's part 2, and here's 3 (!), on iPad apps for autism. In other news this week, Obama says we're bringing troops home from Iraq, and Qaddafi's dead.
Related: Dan Lyons, former Fake Steve Jobs, on the backlash.
All week long, excerpts have been leaking out, with little snippets of the late Apple CEO's reported thoughts on alternative medicine, Android, Bill Gates, being strategically mean to people, Obama, what apps Obama's staffers had on their iPads, cancer, teachers' unions and labor rights, Issey Miyake turtlenecks, the adoptive parents he loved and rebelled against, and the biological parents who gave him up for adoption (whom he is said to have referred to as "sperm and egg donors").
The first real review, by Janet Maslin in the New York Times, is out today.
You can read all 630 pages of the book for yourself soon. [Amazon].
[Video Link] BusinessWeek asked me to write my "Story About Steve." I never met Steve, but I had a story to tell. Here it is.
In May 2002 I got a call from my friend Alberta who asked if I'd like to be in an Apple TV commercial. Alberta had a friend who was an art director at Apple, and he needed people in Los Angeles who'd switched from a Windows machine to a Mac. That was me.
The next day, I got calls from Apple and Chiat/Day, and they e-mailed me a thick stack of forms to sign. Most of them swearing me to secrecy.
The day after that, I drove 15 minutes to a soundstage in Hollywood. At least 100 people from Apple and Chiat/Day were on the set. Errol Morris, the director, was hiding inside a white tent on the far end of the warehouse-like soundstage. I could hear his voice booming through an amplifier. Someone on the set told me he was using his invention called the Interrotron to interview the switchers. "Just wait until you see how it works," she said.
My taping was scheduled for 12 p.m. I was a little early, so I grabbed a bagel from craft services and looked for a place to sit. All the chairs on the set were occupied, but not by people. The Chiat/ Day workers had set their laptops and backpacks on all the chairs with hand-drawn signs that said "DON'T TOUCH." I asked a young woman in a smart gray outfit where I could sit. "Someplace outside," she said.
Read the rest: Mark Frauenfelder: My Story About Steve
A brief roundup of some of the pieces observing the passing of Steve Jobs, by journalists who covered Apple and Jobs, and peers who knew him.
Steven Levy's piece in Wired was beautiful. Levy first interviewed Jobs in the mid-1980s.
At the New York Times, John Markoff wrote the obituary. Markoff has been at it in Silicon Valley for about the same number of years, and he wrote the book What the Dormouse Said: How the 60s Counterculture Shaped the Personal Computer , in which Jobs is a central figure.
Brian Lam, the former Gizmodo editor who now runs Wirecutter, wrote a very personal story about his interaction with Jobs around the infamous "stolen" iPhone 4 prototype.
John Gruber's piece is a must: "Universe Dented, Grass Underfoot".
Walt Mossberg shared some personal observations at the Wall Street Journal.
PBS NewsHour hosted a panel last night with Vint Cerf (Google), Steve Case (AOL), and me. The video for that segment is here. Both Cerf and Case knew the man personally, and had interacted with him and the company he ran, for decades. Just before we went on-air, a member of the NewsHour team pointed me to this amazing 1985 NewsHour segment on Apple and Jobs, during a time when the company was fumbling. John Sculley was CEO. "I believe there is no such thing as a home computer market," he says in the piece. Things were different then. Lots of mullets and mainframes.
Rachel Maddow led the Rachel Maddow Show with coverage of Steve Jobs' passing on the night he died. Video here. I was a guest on the show that night. Video is embedded below. John Sculley was a guest last night on Maddow. "He was an artist," Sculley said. Don't miss that interview. Video also below.