Long reads: What it’s like to be an extra in jOBS, an interview with Steve Jobs friend/early employee Daniel Kottke, and the best iPad keyboard

Reporting for Gizmodo, Cord Jefferson has a great account of what it is like to be an extra in the upcoming Steve Jobs biopic, “jOBS“, featuring Ashton Kutcher. While Jefferson was able to meet Kutcher, he described the experience as being long and boring. One part of the gig included listening to Kutcher give Jobs’ speech against IBM in Honolulu. Jefferson said he heard the speech 26 times:

I’ll remember those lines for the rest of my life. Not because I find them particularly profound, but because I heard Kutcher say them, by my count, 26 times over the course of about three hours. If you have any assumptions that the work of making movies is glamorous or exciting, kill them now.

As for the biopic’s success, the writer was not able to give a firm answer. He said Kutcher sounds serious about the gig (Kutcher looks close to Jobs, just saying). He talked about Sorkin’s upcoming film, too:

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A visit to Stanford’s Apple Collection archives: Drafts of Jobs’ speeches, in-house video, and more

Stanford University’s Silicon Valley Archives currently holds “the largest assembly of Apple historical materials” stored within hundreds of boxes taking up over 600 feet of shelf space in an undisclosed facility outside San Fran.

The Associated Press published a story today detailing their recent visit to Stanford’s Apple Collection, which contains in-house video Apple recorded in the 80s, blueprints for early Macs, user manuals, company shirts, and drafts of Steve Jobs’ speeches.

Stanford historian Leslie Berlin had this to say about the collection:

“Through this one collection you can trace out the evolution of the personal computer. These sorts of documents are as close as you get to the unmediated story of what really happened.”

While you may have heard versions of how the name Apple came to be, an interview recorded with Wozniak and Jobs in the 80s (originally meant to be an in-house video for employees) has the two men recalling the exact moment:

Woz: “I remember driving down Highway 85. We’re on the freeway, and Steve mentions, `I’ve got a name: Apple Computer.’ We kept thinking of other alternatives to that name, and we couldn’t think of anything better.”

Jobs: “And also remember that I worked at Atari, and it got us ahead of Atari in the phonebook.”

That video and others were donated to Stanford in 1997 after Jobs returned to the company and plans for an in-house Apple museum were cancelled. Also included in the collection is this “Blue Busters” Ghostbusters-style internal ad featuring Apple executives, embedded below. The ad was originally shown in October 1984 at an international sales meeting in Hawaii. Blue Busters is obviously a not so subtle reference to their biggest competitor at the time, IBM.

Other items currently stored in the Stanford Apple Collection include (via AP): Read more

Report: Apple could turn Anobit purchase into development center, R&D VP Ed Frank touring Israel

Calcalist, a daily business newspaper published in Israel by the Yedioth Ahronoth Group (which also publishes Yedioth Ahronoth, the country’s most widely circulated newspaper) on Tuesday ran a story claiming Apple was actively engaged in talks to buy fabless flash memory chip maker Anobit for as much as half a billion dollars. In a follow-up story this morning, Calcalist reports that Apple’s senior research and development executive Dr. Edward H. Frank is already touring Israel, investigating possibilities of an Apple-run development center as numerous Silicon Valley technology giants already operate R&D centers in the country, including Intel, Google, IBM, Microsoft, Qualcomm, Broadcom, Yahoo!, eBay and China-based Huawei, to name just a few.

Apple’s Frank is a member of Carnegie Mellon University’s Board of Trustees and chairs the university’s Inspire Innovation campaign. He is apparently holding meetings with a bunch of Israeli startups who are hoping to wow the world’s most valuable technology company with next-generation solutions promising to bring flash storage prices down while substantially extending the lifespan of flash memory chips. The delegation headed by Frank has already met with executives at Intel Israel, the Calcalist story claims.

Globes chimed in with information from sources that “Apple has hired Aharon Aharon, a veteran player in Israel’s high tech industry, to lead the new development center”.

Should the Anobit deal go through, reporters Assaf Gilad and Meir Orbach write, Apple may be interested in further acquisitions of other Israeli startups specializing in innovative flash storage solutions. This includes XtremIO which develops server-based storage systems and its rival Kaminario, as well as DensBits which specializes in controller based signal processing to improve the operation of flash memory chip processors.

DensBits licenses its technology which improves flash memory chips’ reliability to about 100,000 deletions – twice that of its nearest competitor Anobit – helping reduce the prices of flash memory chips dramatically. Both DensBits’ and Anobit’s technology is believed to be licensed by many flash memory chip makers. Specifically, South Korean Hynix uses Anobit’s solution for a flash memory chip inside the iPhone 4S. Interestingly, Apple co-Founder Steve Wozniak is lead scientist for a competing enterprise SSD operation called Fusion I/O.

Ed Frank can be seen in the below clip talking about his experience at Carnegie Mellon University and how it continues to influence him today.

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Employees at Apple’s keyboard supplier strike due to poor working conditions

Despite Apple vowing to audit fifteen of their suppliers following accusations of pollution from Chinese NGOs, a report from China Labor Watch says 1,000 employees of a Jingmo Electronics Corporation factory in Shenzhen staged a strike earlier this week. The factory is owned by one of the world’s largest keyboard manufacturers, Jingyuan Computer Group, and happens to be an OEM for Apple, among others including LG and IBM. The Chinese Labor Watch organization is particularly urging Apple to take responsibility:

“China Labor Watch calls upon Apple, IBM and the other clients of this factory to assume responsibility for these workers’ dissatisfaction and work with the factory to improve the working conditions in the factory. We particularly urge Apple to take responsibility, as there are more than 300 workers working on the Apple keyboard assembly line.” 

The workers decided to strike over management’s decision to enforce nightly overtime, adding a 6 p.m.- 12 p.m nightly shift to their regular hours of 7-11:30 a.m. and 1-5 p.m. That accounts for approximately 120 hours of overtime per month. They were also refused the right to work this overtime on the weekends, which would have required the company to pay workers double time under Chinese Labor Law. Chinese Labor Watch explains there were other concerns raised by employees as well:
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