Another publication investigates Foxconn: CNN interviews an iPad assembler, Apple responds

After The New York Times published a lengthy two-part piece covering the controversial working conditions of Apple’s supply chain within Foxconn factories in China, other publications are doing their own investigative work to find out more informtion. The NYT’s second installment brought us the backstory of Foxconn worker Lai Xiaodong leading up to his death at a factory explosion in Chengdu. Today, CNN published a video of journalist Stan Grant who recently sat down for an interview with a current Foxconn employee and iPad display assembler:

“I can’t bear it anymore. Everyday was like, I get off from work and I go to bed. I get up in the morning, and I go to work. It became my daily routine and I almost felt like I was some kind of animal.”

The video starts off with Grant showing “Miss Chen,” who requested her name be changed for the interview, and the finished iPad she helps assemble on a daily basis but has never used. Miss Chen told CNN her Foxconn bosses informed her not to talk with media or “criminal liability shall be investigated according to law.” Chen, a poor Chongqing university student, said she took the one-month job with no experience on promises of “great benefits and little overtime.” Chen described her experience upon arriving at Foxconn:
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Steve Jobs: ‘What’s wrong with education cannot be fixed with technology’

With Apple’s entrance into the digital textbook space expected to take place tomorrow at its media event in New York City, a 1996 Steve Jobs interview from Wired gives us a glimpse into how the CEO viewed the potential for technology to transform education. Specifically, Jobs claimed the problems facing education were sociopolitical issues and unions, something he said “cannot be fixed with technology.” Jobs also discussed a new model for education in the interview, well over 10 years before his concept of free textbooks on iPads was revealed in Walter Isaacson’s Steve Jobs bio.

Here’s an excerpt from the Wired interview:

I used to think that technology could help education. I’ve probably spearheaded giving away more computer equipment to schools than anybody else on the planet. But I’ve had to come to the inevitable conclusion that the problem is not one that technology can hope to solve. What’s wrong with education cannot be fixed with technology. No amount of technology will make a dent.

It’s a political problem. The problems are sociopolitical. The problems are unions. You plot the growth of the NEA [National Education Association] and the dropping of SAT scores, and they’re inversely proportional. The problems are unions in the schools. The problem is bureaucracy.

As Wired pointed out, with Apple’s forthcoming push into education, the bureaucracies of teacher’s unions Jobs spoke of will likely be replaced with political issues facing state curriculum boards and standards requirements. According to special education policy researcher Sherman Dorn, the GarageBand for eBooks rumor could face hurdles, as Apple must meet strict standards required for technology used by federal governments (via Wired):

“Section 508 [of the 1973 Rehabilitation Act] (accessibility) complicates text GarageBand utopian visions,” Dorn says. Section 508 mandates that all electronic and information technology used by the federal government be equally accessible to users with disabilities. “We’ve been told multimedia requires captioning, scripts, etc.,” to meet the standards set by section 508, says Dorn. “Very labor-intensive.”

In the Wired interview, Jobs goes on to discuss a new model for education that would be similar to startups in the tech industry. Jobs imagined a world where parents are given a $4,400 voucher per year to pay for school. The result, “People would get out of college and say, ‘Let’s start a school.’ You could have a track at Stanford within the MBA program on how to be the businessperson of a school.” Jobs explained:

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PBS’s ‘One Last Thing’ Steve Jobs documentary lands on DVD

Originally aired on November 2, PBS is making their 60-minute “Steve Jobs– One Last Thing” documentary available on DVD starting today. Available on Amazon now for $22.15, the documentary includes a never-before-broadcast interview with Jobs from 1994, as well as interviews with a number of those who knew and worked with Jobs such as Steve Wozniak, Ronald Wayne, Ross Perot, and Dean Hovey.

The video is also available to rent on Amazon Video and is free for Prime members.  It is also available (Flash) on PBS’s website, or you can grab it on iTunes here.

Here’s an excerpt from the rare Jobs interview:
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Steve Jobs nominated for Time Magazine’s “Person of the Year”; segments of lost interview shown

(video link)

Steve Jobs has been nominated for Time Magazine’s “Person of the Year” by NBC’s “Nightly News” anchor Brian Williams. If Steve Jobs were to receive the award, he would be the first person to receive it after their death. Mark Zuckerburg was 2010’s winner, who recently told reporters he was inspired by Steve Jobs while building Facebook. Brian Williams said in his nomination speech:

“One guy, who changed our world, and I said to Seth Meyers as we walked across Sixth Avenue, ‘Just look with me on this one block walk at how he changed the world around us. Look at how he changed the world.’ Not only did he change the world, but he gave us that spirit again that something was possible that you could look at a piece of plastic or glass and move your finger– that’s outlandish. You could make things bigger or smaller like that. ‘Oh the places you’ll go’ and oh the way you will change forever the music and television industries. So may he rest in peace, Steve Jobs, and the spirit he represents, are my nominee for Person of the Year.”

A video has also surfaced this evening (above) showing a segment of the never before seen interview of Steve Jobs by Robert Cringely. The interview is due out in theaters soon, but Cringely has revealed a few parts early.

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Some notable quotes from Apple employees #1 and 6 on the early days with Steve Jobs

Newsweek reporter Dan Lyons recently interviewed Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak, and Apple employee #6, Randy Wigginton, following the passing of Steve Jobs. In much of the interviews Wozniak and Wigginton recall early stories of Apple’s garage days that you’ve probably heard versions of, but the men also offer a few interesting insights into their relationships with Steve when Apple was still in its infancy.

During the interview, Wozniak mentions he was asked by Walter Isaacson to talk about Steve for his upcoming biography, but Woz turned down the offer saying, “I didn’t want to talk about Steve. I was afraid he wouldn’t want it.”

When asked if he had ever had a falling out with Jobs, Wozniak remembered a story regarding  him leaving the company in 1985 leading Jobs to confront Wozniak’s new partners:

“The closest thing we ever had to an argument was when I left in 1985 to start a company to build a universal remote control. I went to Frog Design to do the design. Steve dropped in there one day and he saw what they were designing for me and he threw it against the wall and said they could not do any work for me. “Anything you do for Woz, belongs to me.” I was on my own, but I was still friendly with Apple. But Steve had a burst-out there. The people at Frog told me about it. That was the only time there was ever a fight between us, but it wasn’t actually between us. Nobody has ever seen us having an argument.”

Wigginton, who started writing software at Apple when he was 14, thinks back to when Jobs called all of Woz’s friends to ask them to convince Woz to leave HP and start Apple:

“They got along but it was funny. It was more like Woz would put up with Jobs. Jobs would bug him to get stuff done. I’ll never forget the night Jobs called all of Woz’s friends and wanted us to call Woz and tell him to quit HP and start Apple. Woz wanted to stay at HP. So we did it. Until that point, Woz was undecided.”

Wozniak also confirms the legendary story of Jobs cheating him out of money on Atari bonuses:
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Comex on his new Apple gig and how much he made on the jailbreak scene

We told you last week that Nicholas Allegra (better known as Comex), founder of JailbreakMe and popular member of the jailbreaking community, would be joining Apple for an internship this week. This left many wondering whether or not he would still be contributing to future exploits.

The answer? No. He has, however, done a quick Q&A (below) to answer some of our questions and give us insight into his views on Apple and jailbreaking.

Not only will he not contribute to future jailbreaks, it looks like he won’t be sticking around at Apple long either, as he notes plans to return to college will prevent him from taking up a permanent role. Also factoring into that decision is the fact he’s “never had a job before”, which may be because he’s received over $55,000 in donations from his jailbreaking efforts. He also thinks Apple will continue to “beat the pants off its competitors”. 

When asked about Apple stealing ideas from jailbroken apps and tweaks, Comex explains:
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