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Where is America’s New Space Center?

Founded in 1961, Johnson Space Center in Houston was a hub of aerospace activity in the 1960s and 70s. The facility trained the astronauts who first walked on the moon and helped develop the Space Shuttle program. Then Kennedy Space Center at Florida’s Cape Canaveral came online in 1962 and became the epicenter of space exploration during the 80s and 90s. So where is America’s next spaceport?


Virgin Galactic is betting heavily on the future of space tourism with the sleek SpaceShip Two passenger ship. It can reach sub-orbit space. 

The Mojave Air & Space Port sits in the middle of the California desert and it’s already attracting new legions of ambitious young rocketeers and space scientists.

If you want to see where the future takes flight, this is it, approximately 100 miles northeast of Los Angeles. The Mojave Air & Space Port compound is a former military base that occupies some 3,300 acres and is home to about 100 aircraft hangars. The flat desert terrain provides a great location for the 2-mile-long runway. And there’s lots of room for blasting rockets off into the wild blue yonder.

Look around and you’ll find not only genius scientists but inventors and space engineers of every type. At one end of the spectrum, small groups of rocketeers launching their first DIY experiments. At the other end, well-financed corporations planning how to make space travel (including space tourism) and the further exploration of space into profit-making enterprises that could also help unlock the mysteries of the universe.

NASA’s New Business Model
The Mojave Air & Space Port is a new idea for a tougher economic age. The business of space exploration has changed dramatically lately with NASA’s decision to end America’s space shuttle program. In essence, NASA has been cutting away some of its more expensive programs as a means of making America’s space agency financially leaner and more sound. The space shuttle and its operation was intensive and costly. Although NASA is still sponsoring unmanned explorations (such as the Mars Rover project, and its probe to Venus), the days of U.S. space shuttles transporting cargo and people into space—at least for now—are over.


The Mojave Air & Space Port plays home to deep-pocketed corporations as well as small, passionate groups of DIY rocketeers.

The Mojave Air & Space Port fills that gap by providing a location where all types of corporations and individuals can work on their various space-oriented projects. The concept for the space port was originated by Virgin corporation president, Richard Branson. Branson, a thrill-seeker himself, was attracted to the idea, as were other corporate heads (such as Microsoft’s Paul Allen).

See Outer Space (And Be Back for Dinner)
Each company based at the Mojave Air & Space Port has a stake of some kind in space travel. Branson’s company, for example, plans to be the first to fly space tourists into low-levels of outer space via space shuttle-like craft. These passengers would take off from landing strips on the desert floor and embark on short, multi-hour excursions to the nearest edge of outer space. The ultimate in sight-seeing—a quick trip out of this world and then back down to earth in time for dinner.


Virgin Galactic recently acquired The Spaceship Company (here unveiling a new hangar at the Mojave Air & Space Port), showing its intention of shaping the space-tourism marketplace.

Other companies are busily tinkering with exploration and cargo-transport projects, in hopes of winning contracts with NASA itself. As the agency embraces its new business model, that means that (like many corporations these days) NASA will be outsourcing some of its activities to private space contractors.

Boldly Going to Space Camp 
While the Space Shuttle program may have ended, it’s the dawn of a new age in space exploration. For kids interested in space exploration, space camp is the place to start. At Digital Media Academy’s tech camp, kids learn science and engineering in a fun and creative way. Blasting off water rockets and learning how things work can turn your curious child into an aeronautics engineer. After all, it’s the new generation of discoverers that will lead us into tomorrow…and deeper into the far reaches of space.

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posted by Phill Powell in News Blog,Science & Engineering and have No Comments

E3 2012: Console Updates, New Features for Wii U, Xbox

Welcome to Day 3 of E3 2012, the biggest tradeshow dedicated to the art and business of video games. In yesterday’s Day 2 report we showcased ten of the most anticipated video games of 2012 being shown this week at the L.A. Convention Center. Today let’s look at the console side of things—particularly newly announced features for two game platforms: Nintendo’s Wii U and Microsoft’s Xbox.


For Nintendo, this year’s E3 show was all about the Wii U.

Wii U: Still Connecting the Dots
For Nintendo, this E3 has been all about the Wii U, the game giant’s next-generation handheld game console. The device is built around a touchscreen controller (as with the Nintendo DS) and it supports the same motion-sensitive gaming that Nintendo’s Wii remote used to transform family dens everywhere into arm-waving, foot-pounding game salons. In addition, Wii U will enable streaming media from content providers like Netflix, YouTube, Hulu and Amazon Video. And in a nod to the social-media revolution, Nintendo has pledged that Wii U will deliver features that enhance the experience of connected gaming.

There have been changes to the Wii U controller GamePad that was shown at last year’s E3, although most of the alterations involve tweaks to make the unit more ergonomic and functional (a pro gamer controller—which looks more like an Xbox controller that was also announced). The big selling point for Wii U is the console’s second screen, which can be used to activate different game controls, trigger alternate camera views and switch perspectives. For example, during certain games, players will be able to hold the controller pad up to their television screen and scan for enemies. Similarly, a new karaoke game will utilize the second screen as a teleprompter for displaying song lyrics.


The Wii U will ship with “NintendoLand,” a mini-game sampler with a theme-park feel. 

Despite not delivering more information about the Wii U (such as its price point and its exact release date, although Nintendo assured attendees that the device will be released in time for holiday shopping), Nintendo was able to point to an initial batch of Wii U games—nearly two dozen of them—that will be ready to instantly support the new machine. Nintendo also unveiled a mini-game sampler called “NintendoLand,” which will ship with the Wii U.

Xbox: Ruling the Roost
E3 attendees hoping to get an early look at Microsoft’s much-rumored Xbox 720 (which sources say will arrive sometime during 2013) were disappointed by this year’s show, but Microsoft had plenty of news to keep gamers satisfied. Besides, Microsoft’s Xbox 360 is still currently winning the “console wars.” And that’s for a couple of reasons—one is the games, the other is Xbox Live being a superior online service. To that extent, a large majority of Microsoft’s announcements were focused around updates to the Xbox Live services:


Microsoft brought famed 49ers quarterback Joe Montana out of retirement. He was on hand to promote “Madden 13″ —while R&B star Usher opened the Microsoft press event showing off “Dance Central 3.”

  • Microsoft announced that the Xbox’s streaming media capabilities will be enhanced by the addition of new broadcast networks, such as ESPN and all of the major pro sports leagues in the U.S. Likewise, new media apps from entertainment providers (like Paramount Movies, Nickelodeon and Univision) will find a home on the console.
  • Featuring a reported 30 million tracks, Microsoft’s retooled music service will simply be called “Music” (as opposed to “Zune,” its former title). In addition to Windows 8, Music will be brought to the Xbox.
  • Possibly in response to the intense popularity of rival Nintendo’s “Wii Fit” exercise program, Microsoft announced a partnership with Nike to bring the sports company’s Nike+ training platform to Xbox Kinect. With it, users will be put through their exercise paces by a virtual trainer and will be able to receive helpful fitness reminders directly on their smartphones.
  • Microsoft also unveiled its plans for Xbox SmartGlass, a new application that will let users bridge their different electronic devices (e.g., Xbox, smartphone, tablets and TVs) and enjoy the same content across all of them. For example, via SmartGlass a user could start out watching a movie on their tablet computer, then pick up where they left off by resuming watching on their phone or Xbox.


Microsoft wowed the crowds with the eagerly awaited “Halo 4.”

See Ya Next Time!
E3 2012 will be wrapping up soon, but the news coming out of the show will be rocking gamers for months (and years) to come. Whether you’re a gamer or someone interested in learning how to design video games, check back here for more video games news.

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posted by Phill Powell in Featured and have No Comments

Biggest & Best Games of E3 2012

It’s Day 2 of E3 2012, and the L.A. Convention Center is jumping with software companies trying to one-up each other. We’ve been wowed by a few titles already and still have lots more to see, but let’s take a look at some of the titles everyone’s talking about:

“Star Wars 1313”

Publisher/Developer: LucasArts
System: PS3, Xbox 360
Release Date: 11/12

Why We Want to Play It: Star Wars 1313” is a gamers game—complete with M rating—and the first serious “Star Wars” game in a long time. (Yes, we enjoy the “LEGO Star Wars” games but we also love nail-biting action.) The game, which is primarily a shooter, takes place between the franchise’s trilogies, and is set in the Imperial capital of Coruscant (on Level 1313).

You’re a bounty hunter, fighting your way through an underworld full of criminals—both human and droid. With the environments, elements and settings “Star Wars” fans love, “Star Wars 1313” brings together talents from LucasArts, Industrial Light and Magic, Lucasfilm Animation and Skywalker Sound to produce what looks to be a truly next-generation gaming experience.

“Gears of War: Judgment”

Publisher/Developer: Microsoft/People Can Fly
System: PS3, Xbox 360
Release Date: TBD

Why We Want to Play It: If you’ve played “Gears of War,” you already understand the importance of Emergence Day—a key event in the “Gears of War” universe. That said, “Gears of War: Judgment” takes place just after Emergence Day, making the game a prequel of sorts. The developer promises new multiplayer experiences for Kilo Squad, as it engages in heavy combat with Halvo Bay hanging in the balance. Lock and load, gamers!

“Assassin’s Creed III”

Publisher/Developer: Ubisoft/Ubisoft Montreal
System: PS3, Xbox 360
Release Date: 10/30/12

Why We Want to Play It: A new hero takes the lead in “Assassin’s Creed III.” Part Native American and English, Connor fights in the war between the Assassins and Templars. This gameplay is amazing, and the overall experience more of what you expect from an already phenomenal franchise. It’s also set during the American Revolution, which makes it additionally appealing.

“The Last of Us”

Publisher/Developer: Sony Computer Entertainment/Naughty Dog Software
System: PS3
Release Date: TBD

Why We Want to Play It: From the guys that brought us “Uncharted” comes a survival game to end all survival games. Meet Joel and Ellie, a pair of mismatched traveling companions trying to make their way across the good old U.S. of A. The only problem is that America as we know it is gone, decimated by a fungus-spread plague that more-or-less creates zombies as it sows death and destruction everywhere. “The Last of Us” is one of the few shining stars Sony has at the show, so expect to see and hear a lot more about it in the months ahead.

“Call of Duty: Black Ops 2”

Publisher/Developer: Activision/Treyarch
System: PS3, Xbox 360

Release Date: 11/13/12
Why We Want to Play It: Want to see a brutal yet entirely possible vision of our near-future? Look no further than the latest “Call of Duty.” Most of the action takes place in 2025, with gamers playing as David Mason (son of Black Ops hero Alex Mason).

“ZombiU”

Publisher/Developer: Ubisoft/Ubisoft Montreal
System: Nintendo Wii U 
Release Date: TBD

Why We Want to Play It: Originally the game was going to be titled “Killer Freaks from Outer Space.” Ubisoft says that this entry into the survival-horror shooter game space will take extensive advantage of the Nintendo Wii UTM GamePad, which will contain the player’s “Bug Out Bag” (or BOB), a backpack with all the maps, tools, weapons and supplies needed to survive.

“Halo 4”

Publisher/Developer: Microsoft Game Studios/343 Industries
System: Xbox 360
Release Date: 11/6/12

Why We Want to Play It: Space Opera. Master Chief. Questions? Seriously, it’s no surprise that this game’s already generating loads of buzz, given the franchise’s enormous popularity. Master Chief is back in “Halo 4,” and this time there’s a new multiplayer mode (“Halo Infinity Multiplayer”) centered around the UNSC Infinity, a mega-starship.

“Tomb Raider”

Publisher/Developer: Square Enix/Crystal Dynamics
System: PS3, Xbox 360

Release Date: 3/5/13
Why We Want to Play It: Lara’s back and she’s ready to reveal more about her mysterious origins and how she became a tomb raider. This franchise reboot will mix origin elements (a la “Batman Begins”) with the amazing physics of “Half-Life 2” and the rich environments of “Uncharted.” In addition, video game fanatics can expect to be challenged with finding special artifacts and items that help Lara make a “core discovery.”

“Splinter Cell Blacklist”

Publisher/Developer: Ubisoft/Ubisoft Toronto
System: PS3, Xbox 360, Wii U
Release Date: Spring 2013

Why We Want to Play It: Sam Fisher returns in the third-person actioner that’s as hard as nails. Beware the Blacklist—a terrorist faction dedicated to weakening and bringing down the United States through a variety of covert attacks. That’s the enemy gamers will face in “Splinter Cell Blacklist,” the latest update to the Tom Clancy “Splinter Cell” series.

The Greatest (Video Game) Show on Earth!
E3 is the main event of the video game year and that’s why we’re devoting special editorial coverage to it this week. Check back tomorrow for more about the trends and titles that will be keeping gamers busy during the next year. Whether you’re a gamer or someone interested in learning how to make video games, we’ve got E3 covered.

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posted by Phill Powell in News Blog,Video Game Design and have No Comments

E3 2012 Announcements & Surprises

This week, the 18th annual E3 is taking place in Los Angeles. Started in 1995 (because video game companies felt lost among the massive Consumer Electronics Show, or CES) E3 has developed into a showcase for gamers and game developers alike.


Video game journalists and fans from across the globe descend on the halls of the LA Convention Center.

This week we’re covering the announcements and surprises that come out of the show – and the games you’ll be playing in the months ahead. Let’s start our coverage with a look at what trends we’re seeing coming out of the show at the end of Day One:

Trend: The Death of the Handheld
Why You Should Care: Gaming on the go will never be the same.

This E3 could be known as the “last roundup” for handheld game devices, although Nintendo will likely remain in the arena it helped build (with its Game Boy). Still, Nintendo hasn’t been able to find much support for its Nintendo DS device, just as Sony has struggled to find an audience for its PS Vita handheld. So what’s responsible for the rapid decline of this game niche? That’s right—the massive success of smartphones and tablet devices, which are now leading mobile gaming.

Trend: Xbox Becomes More Integrated with Your TV
Why You Should Care: Microsoft is light years ahead of Apple and Sony and on a track to be a full-service media provider.

Microsoft’s Xbox 360 is dominating Day One and Microsoft wants to go a step further – and dominate your living room. To that end, Microsoft is continuing to use the Xbox as a type of “Trojan horse” to gain more access to your living room. This includes new music and video services being served up by – you guessed it – the Xbox.


“Star Wars 1313″ was one of the major titles announced at E3 2012. 

Trend: Reviving and Reconnecting “Star Wars” Fans with “Star Wars 1313”
Why You Should Care: It’s the first serious gamers “Star Wars” game in years.

While fans are still taking in the recent announcement that George Lucas is retiring from filmmaking (at least from big-budget movies), the game company he inspired is gearing up for a comeback. LucasArts hasn’t introduced a new title in almost two years, so expectations are already running high for “Star Wars 1313,” in which a bounty hunter makes his way through “a ruthless criminal underground.” (Think “Mass Effect” meets “L.A. Noire.”) The big difference around this time is the targeted audience; whereas most “Star Wars” games are marketed to younger gamers, “Star Wars 1313” will aim to strike a chord with older players; the game is already touting an “M” rating.

Trend: Blockbuster Sequels/Kinect
Why You Should Care: Motion games and sequels continue to drive the industry — and that’s not necessarily a good thing…

The Kinect system keeps charging ahead, and so do new titles that support it. Games announced at E3 that support Kinect include “Madden NFL 13” and “FIFA 13.”  “Halo,” “Gears of War” and “Forza”—each of which has been a certified Xbox smash—all have sequels announced at this E3. It means more mass-market games and less indie titles, although we must confess, we’re drooling over “Halo 4,” which is slated for a November release.

Trend: Saving Sony
Why You Should Care: Gamers are a passionate bunch who don’t easily forget.

At this year’s event, Sony will be trying to soothe the tempers of gamers still fuming over network hacks and botched system launches…cough, PS Vita. Sure there are some stellar titles on PS3, but gamers haven’t been bowled over by Sony’s corporate missteps and the company needs to work hard to mend relationships with its audience.

Stay Tuned!
As industry events go, E3 has something for everybody, from those who play games to those want to learn how to make video games. Check back in with us this week, as we present special editorial coverage of E3 2012.

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posted by Phill Powell in News Blog,Video Game Design and have No Comments

How Will CISPA Affect Me?

A new law called CSIPA could permanently change the way the Internet and the U.S. Government would interact. CISPA directly affects your online privacy. Should you be concerned? 
If CISPA is passed into law, the government will gain direct and unregulated access to your personal online information.

Since the Internet’s rise, the federal government has generally taken a hands-off position concerning the online activities of American citizens. But that’s all subject to change with CISPA—the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act—which already cleared the U.S. House of Representatives on April 26th and is now awaiting discussion in the U.S. Senate.

What CISPA Will Allow Government Agencies to Do: CISPA will enable easier and faster cooperation between government counter-terrorism forces (such as the National Security Agency) and Internet providers – as well as social media networks and other web-related companies.

Under CISPA, outfits like the NSA will be able to review any online data generated by U.S. citizens, without following federal wiretapping guidelines (which they’re currently required to do when gathering data).


Like SOPA, CISPA is hotly debated. The battle lines have been drawn. Which side are you on?

CISPA Supporters: Legislators, Movie Studios, IBM, Facebook
Their Position: They say CISPA is absolutely necessary for waging an effective war against terrorism and protecting America’s intellectual property – to help stop the pirating of movies and other media.

The Motion Picture Association is a huge proponent of the bill. And so is Congressman Mike Rogers (R-Mich.), who chairs the House Intelligence Committee and authored the CISPA legislation:

“In just the last few years, criminals have stolen enough intellectual property from defense contractors that would be equivalent to 50 times the print collection of the U.S. Library of Congress,” Rogers explains, “(Criminals are) literally stealing jobs and our future. We also have countries that are engaged in activities and have capabilities that have the ability to break computer networks…You can’t just reboot. It means your system is literally broken. Those kinds of disruptions can be catastrophic when you think about the financial sector, or the energy sector, or our command and control elements for all our national security apparatus.”

Against CISPA: The Obama Administration, Microsoft, Verizon, the EFF (Electronic Frontier Foundation)
Their Position: CISPA’s opposition claims the bill will be used to create a “Big Brother” environment in which the government will be given absolutely free rein to spy on U.S. citizens, even if the need for that surveillance has not been legally established. Microsoft recently dropped support of CISPA for privacy concerns.

CISPA’s wording is left intentionally broad and vague. According to the White House, CISPA “effectively treats domestic cybersecurity as an intelligence activity and thus, significantly departs from longstanding efforts to treat the Internet and cyberspace as civilian spheres,” which means that the Administration thinks the federal government should stay out of online matters as much as possible.

Online Communication Breakdown 
For their part, many communication providers already cooperate with government agencies. On various occasions, Verizon and AT&T have supplied billions of customer records to the NSA. Verizon has also freely shared its customer data with the FBI – without being ordered by a court to do so.

How Will CISPA Affect You? 
If CISPA passes and cyber surveillance begins, the average Internet user would probably never know they have been monitored unless they’re arrested or prosecuted. It’s unclear how and to what degree CISPA’s passage would affect the business of developing websites, or the creation of any other online content.

Does CISPA Have a Chance of Becoming Law?
At first glance, the answer seems doubtful. CISPA faces a rockier road ahead in the Senate than it did in the House, and even if passed by the Senate, the Obama Administration has stated its intention to veto the legislation.


Opponents of CISPA fear giving the government “Big Brother” powers, as in George Orwell’s classic novel “1984.” 

The nature of online privacy remains an ongoing concern. Recent years have brought a widespread erosion of online privacy, whether that trust has been violated by the criminal efforts of professional hackers or through the sloppy neglect of online providers themselves, who have not always safeguarded their customers’ information. It remains to be seen if America’s counter-terrorism forces will take part in an even wider erosion—one designed to protect American security at the expense of online privacy.

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posted by Phill Powell in News Blog,Web Development and have No Comments

Who Owns the Files I Put on Google Drive?

Google recently announced Google Drive, a cloud service that competes with Amazon, Dropbox and SkyDrive. Google Drive, like those other services, offer users an easy way to store digital content.


All types of files–music, documents and more–can be saved on Google Drive. 

What is a cloud? A cloud service is a remote storage location that lets you place digital content and retrieve it from anywhere using a computer and an Internet connection. As cloud services become more popular, it’s definitely a space that Google wants to be in. But Google is facing questions from users about Google Drive and content ownership. Put simply, the question on many users’ minds is, “Does Google own my stuff if I upload it to Google Drive?”

The Fine Print
Google’s Terms of Use (TOU), which were last modified on March 1st, specifically the section entitled “Your Content in Our Services,” read as follows:

When you upload or otherwise submit content to our Services, you give Google (and those we work with) a worldwide license to use, host, store, reproduce, modify, create derivative works (such as those resulting from translations, adaptations or other changes that we make so that your content works better with our Services), communicate, publish, publicly perform, publicly display and distribute such content.

According to Google’s TOU, they can basically do whatever they want with your content: keep it (“store”), copy it (“reproduce”), change it (“modify”) or give it away (“distribute”). Google has stated they are using user content to improve their services and offer an even more personalized experience. The TOU also point out that the terms of Google’s ownership are long-term:

The rights that you grant in this license are for the limited purpose of operating, promoting and improving our Services, and to develop new ones. This license continues even if you stop using our Services (for example, for a business listing that you have added to Google Maps).

So if you decide to no longer use Google Drive, Google will still retain rights to use your content. In other words, to paraphrase the famous Las Vegas marketing line, what gets stored with Google Drive stays with Google.

Privacy Policies & Property Rights 
Google’s Privacy Policy deals more with user privacy than stored digital content. However, under “Modifying and Terminating Our Services,” Google states, “We believe that you own your data, and preserving your access to such data is important.This is confusing to say the least. Google’s Terms of Use also state that “You retain ownership of any intellectual property rights that you hold in that content. In short, what belongs to you stays yours.”   So Google, which is it?

Don’t get us wrong: we love and use Google’s search and Chrome is our default browser. But for a cloud service, we’ll stick to Dropbox for now. How do you store your content?

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posted by Phill Powell in News Blog and have No Comments

Facebook-to-Facebook Video Chat

Skype just updated its iPad and iPhone apps as well as its PC software to allow Facebook users to video chat directly with other Facebook users. Rick Osterloh, vice president of product at Skype, said in the Skype blog, ”We are on a mission to connect over one billion people and our continued partnership with Facebook brings us one step closer to this goal.” Check out the video:

Since July, when Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg debuted “something awesome,” Skype has enabled Facebook video chat.  

The Personal Connection
If you’re one of the millions of people that can’t live without Facebook, you’ll be glad to see all your contacts instantly populate your Skype account with just a few keystrokes; all you need to do is sync your Skype and Facebook accounts. After that, your friends show up just like they do in Facebook. Video chats placed from Skype can be answered using either Skype or Facebook; it just depends on what service you’re logged into.

From Skype’s blog: “Initiating a Facebook-to-Facebook call from within Skype is easy; all you need to do is connect your Skype and Facebook accounts. Then, select a Facebook friend and hit the video call button in Skype- your friend simply picks up the call from Facebook. This new feature lets you maintain social connections with your Facebook friends and compliments previously announced features such as being able to see when your Facebook friends are online, read their status updates and IM them all from Skype.”


Video chat inside Facebook using Skype is just a few log-ins away.

The update also allows you to use Facebook Messenger for instant messaging from Skype to Facebook. “This new feature lets you maintain social connections with your Facebook friends and compliments previously announced features such as being able to see when your Facebook friends are online, read their status updates and IM them all from Skype,” Osterloh said.

Skype (which is owned by Microsoft) has been pushing the integration for a long time. In return for serving up the video-chat application, Microsoft’s Bing is used inside Facebook.

Apps and Chats
It’s hard to believe just a few years ago the world was going crazy over Instant Messaging. As a connected society, even though we still use IMs, we’re way beyond that now. Skype is a simple application but it enables free communication across the world,  provided you have a computer and an Internet connection. Building an app can be done alone or by working on an app-development team. But make no mistake:  it’s going to be apps like Skype that power the next generation of smartphones and tablet computers.

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posted by DMA Phill in App Development,News Blog and have No Comments

Steve Jobs Biography: Book of Revelations

Steve Jobs’ official biography has been released. Written by Walter Isaacson, a former managing editor for Time magazine, the 656-page book sells for $35. You can get Steve Jobs’ official biography from Amazon and as an ebook from Google for $16.99.


Steve Jobs was memorialized on Apple’s website for several weeks after his death.

Life and Legacy
While the initial global outpouring of grief over the death of Apple’s co-founder has begun to subside, the public’s fascination with Jobs’ life is still going strong. Part of that interest stems from Jobs’ personality – which was often described as reserved, private and even reclusive.

He rarely granted interviews and when he did, they were almost exclusively focused on whatever project he was engaged in creating and promoting at the time. In a media-driven age empowered by mighty communication tools (many Jobs himself had pioneered), there was much about his own life that the man chose not to publicly communicate.

In his final years though, Jobs did however open up for his biography. Based on more than 40 interviews Isaacson conducted with Jobs during a two-year period, and additional interviews with more than 100 family members, friends, adversaries, competitors and colleagues. And although Jobs cooperated for the book, he asked for no control over what was written, nor did he even ask for the right to read it before it was published.

For those keenly interested in Steve Jobs’ legacy, Isaacson’s biography may end up being the last, best word on the subject. Other Steve Jobs quotes have appeared in the press, but the newly released interview text is sure to shake up some readers.

Revelations and Secrets
The new book reveals some interesting, expected and not-so-expected insights. The most controversial discovery involves Jobs’ 2011 meeting with President Barack Obama, at which time Jobs reportedly said that Obama was “headed for a one-term presidency” and at one point even offered to design portions of the President’s re-election campaign.

Here are a few more excerpts that have surfaced in Walter Isaacson’s biography of Steve Jobs…


Bill Gates and Steve Jobs had a love-hate relationship. Their appearance together onstage at D5 in 2007 became the origin of the Steve Jobs vs. Bill Gates meme. 

On Microsoft’s Bill Gates: “Basically unimaginative and has never invented anything…he just shamelessly ripped off other people’s ideas.”

On Google’s Android Phone: “I will go thermonuclear on this issue. I will spend my last dying breath if I need to, and I will spend every penny of Apple’s $40 billion in the bank, to right this wrong. I’m going to destroy Android, because it’s a stolen product.” Though Jobs received criticism for his tight control over the iPhone ecosystem, which contrasts sharply with Android’s “open” approach, he told Isaacson that Apple’s approach stemmed from the company’s desire to “make great products, not crap like Android.” Isaacson writes in the book that Jobs had attempted to persuade Google not to develop a mobile operating system to rival Apple’s own by promising the company it would have access to the iPhone and prime real estate on the device.

On the Dangers of Becoming Wealthy: “I saw a lot of other people at Apple, especially after we went public, how it changed them. And a lot of people thought that they had to start being rich. I mean, a few people went out and bought Rolls Royces, and they bought homes, and their wives got plastic surgery. I saw these people who were really nice simple people turn into these bizarro people. And I made a promise to myself. I said ‘I’m not gonna let this money ruin my life.’”

On Facebook: ”You know we talk about social networks in the plural but I don’t see anybody other than Facebook out there…Facebook – they’re dominating this. I admire Mark Zuckerberg. I only know him a little bit, but I admire him for not selling out. For wanting to make a company. I admire that a lot.”

On Why He “Opened Up” for Isaacson’s Biography: “I wanted my kids to know me. I wasn’t always there for them, and I wanted them to know why and to understand what I did.”


Steve Jobs with wife Laurene Powell Jobs, just before his death. 

Notes From the Author
Isaacson’s previous books include biographies of Benjamin Franklin and Henry Kissinger, both of whom were powerful and often misunderstood men of their respective times. “(Steve) talked a lot to me about what happened when he got sick and how it focused him,” said Isaacson, in a transcript from an upcoming segment of “60 Minutes.”

Isaacson also spoke about Jobs’ state of mind during his final days. “He said he no longer wanted to go out, no longer wanted to travel the world,” said Isaacson. “He would focus on the products. He knew the couple of things he wanted to do, which was the iPhone and then the iPad. He had a few other visions. I think he would’ve loved to have conquered television.” (It’s true, Apple insiders have noted Jobs’ was always disappointed Apple TV wasn’t more widely accepted.)

Constantly out of step and sporting a rebel sensibility, Isaacson reported that Jobs often thought the usual rules didn’t apply to him, and worked counter to them. For example, he went through a period as a young man during which he didn’t bathe regularly (his managers at Atari made him work the night shift because his co-workers complained about his personal hygiene). Another quirk: driving a Mercedes with no license plate. Why? According to Isaacson, it was because he didn’t want people tracking him.

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posted by Phill Powell in Apple,News Blog and have No Comments