Steve Jobs, Romantic

At O'Reilly Radar, Doug Hill with a worthy read on the late Apple CEO: "I’d like to talk here about a spirit that Jobs carried within himself. It’s a spirit he relied on for inspiration, although he seemed at times to have lost track of its whisper. In any event, what it says can tell us a lot about our relationship to machines. I refer to the spirit of Romanticism. I spent much of this past summer reading about the Romantics — the original Romantics, that is, of the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries — and it’s remarkable how closely their most cherished beliefs correspond to principles that Jobs considered crucial to his success at Apple." Read the rest

Searching for Magic in India and Silicon Valley: An Interview with Daniel Kottke, Apple Employee #12

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

Matthew Modine to play John Sculley in Jobs biopic

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.

Matthew Modine joins Steve Jobs biopic Read the rest

Apple iMac was almost named "MacMan," until this guy stopped Steve Jobs

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.’ ”

Read the rest here. Spoiler: Blame Phil Schiller for the awful almost-name! Read the rest

The FBI file of Steven Paul Jobs

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.

You'll be shocked, shocked I say, to learn that Apple has declined to comment on the file's release. More context: WaPo, Wired, LA Times, SF Chron.

(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.) Read the rest

Steve Jobs, the Inhumane Humanist

The current print issue of Reason has a wonderful, thoughtful piece by Mike Godwin about the Walter Isaacson biography of Steve Jobs. I know it's hard to imagine there's anything new to say about this hyper-covered book about a hyper-covered popular figure, but: Godwin shows that yes, there is. Read the rest

Mona Simpson's eulogy for her brother, Steve Jobs

Make some time for yourself, and maybe someone you love, to read all the way to the end. "A Sister’s Eulogy for Steve Jobs," delivered on Oct. 16 at his memorial service at the Memorial Church of Stanford University, and reprinted this weekend in the NYT. Read the rest

What Kind of Buddhist was Steve Jobs, Really?

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.

Read the full article here. Read the rest

Steve Jobs bio out early for downloads; "60 Minutes" devotes entire episode to book

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.

Actually, it's out today in paper, but was released yesterday for download via Amazon and iTunes. I'm willing to bet it breaks some sort of download sales record.

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. Read the rest

The Steve Jobs biography.

Walter Isaacson's definitive biography of Apple co-founder Steve Jobs is out Monday.

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]. Read the rest

My "Story About Steve" in Business Week

[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.

Read the rest

Remembering Steve Jobs: how those who covered his life observed his death.

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. Read the rest

Steve Jobs, Enemy of Nostalgia

Mike Daisey wrote an opinion piece for the New York Times arguing against Jobs hagiography. Some might say "too soon," but it's a compelling piece, with much to think about.

The Steve Jobs who founded Apple as an anarchic company promoting the message of freedom, whose first projects with Stephen Wozniak were pirate boxes and computers with open schematics, would be taken aback by the future that Apple is forging. Today there is no tech company that looks more like the Big Brother from Apple’s iconic 1984 commercial than Apple itself, a testament to how quickly power can corrupt.

Read the rest

For Steve

Here I am, days after I was born, being held by my father in front of the family Macintosh.

Our family has spent an enormous amount of time and effort growing with Apple. My brother and I spent years playing with Kid Pix and Shufflepuck Café. We stayed up late reading through the manuals for Myst and plotting our progress in the provided journal. We collected the bunnies in Power Pete.

My dad bought the iLife suite as soon as it came out. It was a regular joke at home that we were "living the iLIFE!" I made videos for class. We started saving photos on the computer and sharing them with family. Recently, my dad finished scanning all our family photos and videos. It's an invaluable gift to be able to smoothly find photos of my parents' wedding, or to watch my brother being silly at the kitchen table before a cub scout meeting.

When I chose to go to boarding school in northern Maine for my last two years of high school, I bought my first iMac to celebrate. I would never have survived the unexpected challenges of living with a hundred other students surrounded by fifteen feet of snow had I not been able to retreat online and to talk to my mom on iChat on a daily basis. I still IM my mom nearly every day.

And when things went wrong, it was okay to expect perfection from Apple. They made things right for us, every time. Read the rest

Steve Jobs has died.

Steve Jobs, the co-founder of Apple, passed away today after a long battle with pancreatic cancer. He was 56. Here is the statement from Apple's Board of Directors.

Editorial note: For one day after we received this news, Boing Boing devoted its design to mimic the original Mac OS interface. Here we preserve an image of Boing Boing as it appeared at the time.

Read the rest

Exciting Silicon Valley startup to launch new 'telecommunications' device

Apple has gathered gadget bloggers and tech journalists to unveil an update to the iPhone. Gizmodo, GDGT, and Engadget have boots on the ground and/or liveblogs in the ether (some are covering remotely). Ars Technica and MacWorld liveblogs are down at the time of this blog post. Oh, wait, Gizmodo and GDGT liveblogs are down intermittently too. Geez. Read the rest

Steve Jobs shills green tea and Sony hardware in Taiwan

Andy Ihnatko explains what's going on in the image above, which was snapped and submitted to him by a reader in Taiwan. Read the rest