Archive for the 'Links' Category

Steve Jobs Remembrance

A list of my favorite links from the weeklong dirge for Steven P. Jobs.

Bill Gates and Steve Jobs’ joint interview at the All Things Digital conference.   Fascinating dynamics, and good history lessons from two landmark figures in personal computing. (2007).  An excerpt here, full video on official site:

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Steve Jobs narrates Apple’s “The Crazy Ones” commercial, though a version narrated by Richard Dreyfuss was the one that aired.  (1997)

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Going In-House at Apple with Steve Jobs’ Former GC (2011)-  retrospective from the point of view of Apple’s general counsel.  Of course I’m going to have a lawyer/IP angle on here.

“He had the ability to shut things out of his mind and just focus very narrowly on one specific issue. I often said that his greatest strength was his ability to say no. Because you can imagine that over the years, so many people came at him with ideas about one product or another,” Cooperman says. “He focused very, very sharply on making excellent products that people would love, and not doing lots of other things that would distract from that mission.”

An extended conversation with Woz – by Dan Lyons (2011):

What was Steve’s biggest strength?

Everyone else will say vision, and gosh darn that’s important but that doesn’t go anywhere without operational discipline. Steve once told me that Apple only lost money when they built junk. It was his focus on good products that I believe was the biggest thing. All we have to do is make great products. If you have a big market. Apple had millions of fans, such a huge user base. Another strength was that he came back and put together a new board of directors. He organized the company to have good tight controls. Watching everything he could — that is operational excellence. Lots of CEOs just look at little points of data and make a decision. Steve was so much more than that. It’s rare.

Steve Jobs Presents to Cupertino City Council (June 17, 2011).  In one of his last public appearances, Jobs presents plans to Apple’s new campus to the city council. I’m shocked at how old and tired he looks. (via Kottke)

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And, finally, by far, my favorite thing I have watched all week, Steve Jobs’ closing keynote at the 1997 WWDC. Context: Steve Jobs had just returned via Apple’s acquisition of NeXT Computer and he conducts an hourlong Q&A session with Apple developers.  They pick his brain and through his answers, you can see every bit of Apple circa 2011 coming out of Jobs’ mouth in 1997.  Honest, elegant, well-considered answers from off-the-cuff questions.  Focusing is about saying no.  We have a unique opportunity because we control the whole stack.   Being overly proprietary is not necessary.

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New York Times: After Ban, Groups Say Earmarks Aren’t So Bad:

Many citizens, even those who sympathize with cuts in spending, insist that not all pork is cured with the same untoward salt. “I do agree we have to cut from somewhere,” said Steve Tribble, the county judge executive of Christian County in Kentucky, where a planned road project is now imperiled. “I am against some earmarks,” he said. “Not the good ones. I can promise you this is not a road to nowhere.” (emphasis added)

Doozy of a sentence.  Someone’s got pent-up writing energies…

Superbowl XLV commercial recap

My thoughts after skipping almost the entirety of the game, and watching all the commercials afterwards on Hulu.

Sell-out of the year?  Tie between Eminem for Lipton Ice Tea. or Black Eyed Peas for  You could argue that Eminem’s commercial was at least self-referential with regards to his endorsement, while there is now a site called

Every PepsiMax commercial was awful.

Best commercial, hands-down, was Chrysler’s “Imported from Detroit“.   Statement piece. Shifts the conversation about their company.  Takes their disadvantage (decrepit Detroit) and turns it to their strength.  Some is serious Don Draper Wheel of Life shit.  Even the Eminem (active day for him, eh?) cameo was dead-on because does anyone else represent Detroit and rebirth better than him?

Imported from Detroit

Apparently, cut-throat coupon competitors GroupOn and LivingSocial both had commercials. GroupOn wins. LivingSocial’s makes me scratch my head as to what I just watched or what the take-away was supposed to be.



The beer commercials keep getting weaker and weaker.   At least nothing was overtly sexist or degrading this year.  Stella Artois’ “Crying Jean” is the only one that stirred anything in me.

Creepiest commercial: there are a number of incredibly creepy commercials this year. Which makes you shudder more: “Doritos the Best Part” or this Android commercial?

The Best Part

Sony Ericcson’s PLAY android commercial

Which commercials stuck out with you?

Video: Chop.  Slow motion HD footage of an axe splitting a log.  Funny how the log splits fully even before the axes travels the entire way; should really be called “log shattering”.

Things I Learned 2010-07

This one was a doozy.  Still, mostly inconsequential things.

  • Playwriting rule of Chekhov’s gun, paraphrased: “If in the first act you have hung a pistol on the wall, then in the following one it should be fired. Otherwise don’t put it there.” [source: Party Down, season 1, episode 4]
  • Drowning does not look like drowning on TV. No thrashing arms or splashing. Just the involuntary drowning reflex. [source]
  • The most effective way to open a banana is how the monkeys do it. [video]
  • You probably should not be pronouncing the L in ALMOND. [source]
  • The Dalai Lama wears an amazing Patek Phillipe watch given to him by envoys of FDR in 1940s. [source]
  • The movie Coyote Ugly was based on the author of Eat Pray Love’s time as a bartender in NYC. [source]
  • The World Financial Center in lower Manhattan has its own zipcode (10281).  [source]
  • 70% of premium eyeglasses (e.g., Prada, Burberry, Chanel) are made by one Italian company: Luxottica.  Their in-house brands include Oakley, Ray-Ban, and Persol. And they own Sunglasses Hut. [source]
  • The web’s most well-respected film critic, James Berardinelli, is a former Telcordia engineer from New Brunswick. [source]
  • This month’s Adventure in Wikipedia: List of common misconceptions.
  • hysteresis – n. the lagging of an effect behind its cause, as when the change in magnetism of a body lags behind changes in the magnetic field. [source: Steve Jobs]

Things I Have Learned 2010-06

  • Whole Foods, that bastion of good green food, was founded in TEXAS!  (Austin, though) [source: Gita]
  • Adventures in Comprehensiveness, Wikipedia: A List of Ethnic Slurs.
  • Google generated $1.4 Billion of economic activity in NJ in 2009.  [source]
  • mien – n.  air or bearing especially as expressive of attitude or personality [source]
  • There is no such thing as a BRONTOSAURUS.  It was a hoax.  WTF. [source, also]

Things I Learned: 2010-05

  • Marvin Gaye was shot to death by his own father in 1984. [more, source]
  • The proper name for “wife beaters” are A-shirts [source]
  • The World Metrological Society retires hurricane names after particular destructive or well-known occurrences (i.e. Katrina will never be used again) [source]
  • The latest children’s fad is “SillyBandz”, an animal-shaped rubber band.  And yes, it’s already been banned in schools.  (confirmed by office secretaries) [source]
  • Adventures in Wikipedia prose: “One distinction between Taishanese and Standard Cantonese is the use of the voiceless alveolar lateral fricative (IPA ɬ)”.  Naturally.  [source]
  • cynosure – a person or thing that is the center of attention or admiration [source]

    Things I Learned: 2010-04

    I know it has been a while since one of these. I have not learned much.

    1. The clothing line Nautica was started by a Taiwanese-American. [source]
    2. “Ventile” is a British-made cotton textile that is so densely woven it is waterproof.  Invented during WWII during because flax was rationed.  [source]
    3. President Reagan had a huge affinity for jelly beans, kept a jar of them on his desk in the Oval Office.  He was turned onto them after quitting smoking. [source]
    4. contretemps – n. an awkward or difficult situation or mishap [source]
    5. pulchritudinous – adj. Characterized by or having great physical beauty and appeal [source]
    6. sobersides – n. slang.  a humorless or habitually serious person [source]

    e-books: point, counterpoint

    Point: eBooks do not allow passerbys to observe what book you are reading, diminishing word-of-mouth / sight-of-eye advertising.

    Counterpoint: eBooks do not allow passerbys to observe what book you are reading, allowing embarassing reads, smut flourishes.

    Technology brings value-neutral zero net change, and just once I would like to see these Change-Is-A-Coming newspaper pieces to think about both flipsides.


    Someone recently brought to my attention a video entitled “School dances sure have changed” which has many nuances I would like to enumerate now. First there is the innocent beginning: a headmaster of sorts calls for attention, preps the participants, then lets them fly.  Then the Great Pair-Off.  We soak in the couples, the mis-matches, the giggling girls and the dead-serious boys.  Camera pans to the left: a pretty princess on the floor.  There is a parental proxy out of pity.   An awkward pairing forced.  The parental assist as one is worked against the wall.  Then the climax: a triple-wall pinning.  This video has floored me.

    Things I Learned 2009-11

    Sorry about the delay. Didn’t realize this never went out. As for December, I refer you to my Decade in Review 00’s.

    1. Drew Barrymore has hosted Saturday Night Live more than any other woman (a measly 5 times). Meanwhile, Alec Baldwin has hosted 13 times. [source]
    2. Prior to Lasik surgery, Tiger Woods suffered from -11 nearsightedness, considered the worst 1%, legally blind without corrective glasses or contacts. Please note that nearsightedness and shortsighted-ness are separate and distinct. [source]
    3. Thanksgiving used to be on last Thursday of November, but President FDR moved it up to the penultimate Thursday to stimulate more holiday shopping. (from the no-actually-nothing-is-sacred dept) [source]
    4. Pantone, the maker of the ubiquitous Pantone Color Matching System and the global oracle of all matters chromatic, is headquartered in Carlstadt, NJ. [source]
    5. bildungsroman – n. a type of novel concerned with the education, development, and maturing of a young protagonist [source: no idea where I spotted this word]
    6. Blighty – n. an English slang term for Britain, deriving from the Hindustani word vilāyatī (विलायती). Wikipedia says: it “can now be considered self-consciously archaic and, when used by younger speakers, can be intended slightly ironically. It is more commonly used as a term of endearment by the expatriate British community.” [source: Mondavi]
    7. Prior to the completion of the Birj Khalifa in Dubai, the tallest manmade structure standing was the KVLY-TV mast– a TV tower!– in North Dakota (2,063 m) [source]

    Things I Learned 2009-09

    1. United States v. Reynolds, the Supreme Court case establishing the “state secret” privilege, was founded on a factual record which ironically demonstrates why the privilege should be narrow. [source, Act Two] [more info]
    2. A properly knotted tie is supposed to have a dimple in it. [source]
    3. Josiah Wedgwood, an English potter during the late 1700s, was a brilliant business innovator, using a factory-line, showroom, and direct marketing to generate extreme wealth. He left much of it to his grandson Charles Darwin, who spent his leisure time sailing on a beagle. [source]

    Things I Learned: 2009-06

    1. Rocker Andrew W.K. is the son of law professor James E. Krier, co-author of the widely-used Dukeminier & Krier Property casebook.  [source]
    2. “Hell is other people at breakfast,” paraphrasing Jean-Paul Sartre.  [source]
    3. august – adj., respected and impressive.  example:  “she was in august company” [first usage noticed]
    4. If you attending a wedding in a church, it is poor etiquette to bare your shoulders.  Bring  a shawl.  Cover them, you heathen. [source]
    5. Former world record holder of cup stacking Emily Fox was drafted in the third round of WNBA in 2007.  [source] [video of her world record] [video of why she’s in the WNBA]
    6. DeBarge is an almost-famous 1980’s Motown group whose discography was subsequently raided by 1990’s hip-hop.  [Exhibit A: “Stay With Me”] [Exhibit B: “It’s Getting Stronger” ] [More]


    AP: Officer Crowley, Gates, Jr, and Obama agree to have a beer at Whitehouse. Or, if you prefer, “How I Parlayed Arresting an Elderly Man in His Own House For Disorderly Conduct into Visiting the White House and Meeting President Obama.”

    deep disapproval

    NY Times: on the news that Manhattan has the slimmest population in NY

    “My mom always says, ‘The smaller the dress size, the larger the apartment,’ ” said one lifelong Upper East Sider, who said she did not want to be named because she disapproves of the maxim. (emphasis added)

    Best reason for anonymous sourcing, ever.

    arrested development: an ode to Gob’s Chicken Dance

    Just finished watching the entire series of Arrested Development (it was on my summer to-do list– right above passing the bar exam, I promise.)  What a stunning piece of television.   Will Arnett’s overacting is delightful genius, from his failed magic act set against “The Final Countdown” to his braggadocio over his suits, but the highlight is the Chicken Dance.

    In tribute to the finest work of physical comedy / funniest running bit in the past 5 years, I give you a complete list of Chicken Dance video clips:

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    RIP Moonwalker

    Thanks for the singular brilliance, MJ.  I have nothing to offer you all but links.

    I could post more, but I doubt anyone has the stomach to watch/read all of them.   My own contribution to the collage of MJ tributes is this glimpse of Michael at work: a home demo tape of Michael singing “Billie Jean”.1 .

    The world withers from want of superstars.  First, James Brown; then, Michael Jackson.  Prince, you had better live a very long time.

    1. download expires 2009 August 1 []

    wall street fight

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    Video:  fight in the lobby of a luxury building on Wall Street.  The lesson here is to not pick a drunken fight with a mixed martial arts trainer that is also a lawyer.   Because he will kick your ass, then sue you. (More information.)

    Update: contrary to other reports, the instigator was not “a drunk white dude”, but an extremely intoxicated Indian guy, who later had to pay out a serious settlement afterwards.  Both were residents of the building, hence the doorman’s hesitance to call police immediately.