Steve Jobs, deep personal and way meta, from the Stanford commencement

It's been heavily blogged, but the wisdom of Jobs's address is profound. And while a lot of folks have picked up on the death thing, I was struck more by the serendipity example. Jobs quit college, but kept dropping in to calligraphy classes at Reed, driven by pure aesthetic interest, only to have typography become, years later, the linchpin of the Mac's success. Jobs:

"Again, you can't connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something — your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life."

Read the whole address at Stanford University.

[Posted with ecto]

Downing street gets a site -- Conyers has almost 500K signatures...

For anyone who needs a quick catch-up on what the American media has been ignoring — now there's a resource site devoted to the Downing Street Memo Or, of course, you can check it out at Wikipedia.

Heard this afternoon that Conyers had almost all of the 500k signatures on his petition to investigate. Good thing Fox has the Michael Jackson trial to distract them.

[Via BoingBoing]

Moleskine -- flash, function, or fetish?

Okay, okay, I know I'm wading into a religious war here, but I'm just too stupid to keep my mouth shut. Am I really the only one who thinks the emperor has no clothes?

About once a year I need a new sketchbook, and based on all the chatter in the blogosphere about these famous little critters, I checked them out. My criteria lean toward the functional: good paper for a range of media — pencil, ink pens, and rapidograph — and a compact form factor.

While the size, exterior design, and fit & finish of the notebook and sketchbook are superb, the paper choices are just puzzling. The sketchbook paper is very hard, thick and stiff, and the unlined notebook paper is so thin that one can write on only one side of the page (and can clearly expect bleedthrough.)

Really spent time with it in the store. Rubbed the paper. Imagined using it. Even lit a candle and Dreamed of Famous Literary Figures scribbling Big Important Texts. The awesome beauty of the Moleskine experience...

Not a sausage. Went to Walden and bought my usual Sketchbook-brand sketchbook, $3.99 on the knockoff table. Shrug. I'm a heathen.

Far from the Madding Cow...

Friday night, USDA officials announced a second confirmed case of BSE in a 9-year-old downer steer from Texas. Not good news for US consumers — who have so far remained dolefully ignorant of the risks — or for cattle producers, suffering from a ban on beef exports to the rest of the world, which actually pays attention to science.

From the Washington Post: "Japan, where more than 15 cows have tested positive for mad cow disease, now tests every cow slaughtered. Its government has asked U.S. producers to do the same, but the U.S. government has said the universal testing was not necessary."

One [dismissable as imported] cow is circumstance. Two are coincidence. Three... uh...well, that's why we're not looking very hard...

[Posted with ecto]

The Downing Street memo gets some pickup

At least the Washington Post is continuing to poke around this story. In this piece, they pick up on the connection between the timing of the memo and John Bolton's successful efforts to get a key UN chemical weapons inspector fired.

Where, though, is the wider coverage? Why are we not above the fold in the Gray Lady? Where's the followup to Elisabeth Bumiller's piece — oh, wait, I guess none is necessary, since Bush's comment is "There's nothing farther from the truth." That settles that.

In Congress, where it can be conveniently dismissed as partisan wrangling, at least a few are standing up. Gotta love John Conyers (D-MI) letter to Bush, "I deplore the fact that our media have been so reticent on the question of whether there was a secret planning of a war for which neither the Congress nor the American people had given permission. "

Who needs Deep Throat? We've got the Downing Street memo...

From the eyes-only UK memo reported on last month — but not here in America:

"C reported on his recent talks in Washington. There was a perceptible shift in attitude. Military action was now seen as inevitable. Bush wanted to remove Saddam, through military action, justified by the conjunction of terrorism and WMD. But the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy. "

Read it on the Times of London or Democracy for America.

Okay, anybody NOT get the picture yet? These guys were cooking the books, and the sabre-rattling diplomacy in the run-up was just posturing. This memo, taken together with the revelations about conjured up intelligence, would constitute an impeachable offense, and an investigative journalist's dream come true.

Good thing we got rid of Dan Rather.

[Posted with ecto]

Jet stowaway dies en route to JFK...

From New York Newsday: "Pam Hearne of Floral Park said she heard a "thunk" outside her home shortly after 7 a.m. Tuesday, but she thought it was the usual morning ruckus caused by neighbors loading heavy stuff onto trucks."

But it was actually the leg of a stowaway, falling from the wheel well of a plane inbound to nearby JFK airport in Queens. And while this is a truly sad and horrific story, it also should scare the heck out of anyone living in the approach pattern of a major airport.

Someone, presumably unauthorized, managed to climb onto and conceal themselves inside a commercial jet. While there wasn't quite enough space there for a live human, there would plenty for, oh, a few kilos of plastique or a home-made dispersal device full of nasty bugs designed to crop dust Floral Park.

It's a good thing the TSA checks people's shoes. Sure makes me feel safer...

OS X on Intel -- tactical or strategic?

Not like anyone was surprised yesterday; Apple has clearly learned from the W-house and Wöllstrasse that one must leak trial balloons to cushion the market from shocks of this magnitude. But is it such a shock, really?

Steve Jobs has clearly seen the future, and it is Windows v. *nix, embedded in devices. If you can drive consumer ease-of-use into phones & cars, while carving out the position as best *nix GUI, you have a shot at surviving -- and perhaps evolving into a lifeform with more than an arboreal niche at the edge of the savannah.

Oh, I will miss the religious warfare over processor speeds as much as the next geek. But when Steve gets up and says they have a roadmap for somewhere that PPC chips won't go, I know he isn't *just* blowing smoke...