Steve Jobs: the story of a sociopath

Steve Jobs, Book, by Walter IsaacsonI’ve read other semi-biographies of Jobs and, working with a lot of people in the tech industry, I’d heard many of the stories of how much of a bastard he was. However, this biography left me quite bemused and surprised: I never expected Jobs to be such a disgustingly-shameless-sociopath-brat-cry-baby! even to the last minute, with Jobs having to have control over the cover image of the book.

I don’t think he would have liked much of what is inside this book; which is what makes it great.

It’s amazing that Jobs sought out Isaacson to write this biography. And Isaacson, pre-warning Jobs that he was going to uncover all the dirt, delivers a very inhuman story. In Isaacson other book on Einstein, he also revealed Albert’s many flaws and brought Albert down to our level. With this book, he absolutely devastates the image of Jobs as a great business leader and as human being: from his stinky hippy days, to his denial of his daughter Lisa and smear campaign of the mother, to his tyrannical and plainly mean way he constantly ripped-off and mistreated other people.

I guess Job’s own reflection of his life must have been also distorted by his “reality distortion field”. It’s great that this book came out when it did. If anything, it shows that Steve Jobs was not in the same league as other great inventors and geniuses of the past century. Jobs just rode on the great ideas of those around him. If it was him that made those ideas successful is unclear, so Jobs is just shown as part of the greater collective that was, and remains, Apple computers.

I anything, it’s good that Isaacson shows why no one should take inspiration from the cold, hard, tyrannical a**hole that was Steve Jobs. A great read! And proof you can’t judge a book by its cover.

W3C Workshop on The Future of Off-line Web Applications

The W3C and Vodafone are hosting a Workshop on The Future of Off-line Web Applications on 5 November 2011, in Redwood City, California. According to the workshop website,

The goal of this workshop is to identify a clear path forward for innovation in the Open Web Platform related to offline Web application invocation and use.

As I’ve done for previous events, I’ve prepared a paper entitled “Misconceptions about W3C Widgets” (PDF, I know… I’ll publish it here in HTMLs when I get some time).

As I am on the program committee, it means I get to review papers. I’ve actually read all the papers that have come in thus far, and it looks like it’s going to be fun workshop. The other program committee members have been a bit slack, however. I’ve only seem papers from about 2 or 3 of them. I hope Microsoft, Google, and Mozilla submit something.

What usually happens after these workshops is that a new Working Group is established. This will probably either mean:

    • The death of W3C Widgets: Google and Moz will make a powerplay and dump in their own JSON based widget format on the w3c (Moz’s offer, Google’s offer).
    • Or,  the rebirth of W3C Widgets: Google and Moz will come to their senses and finally embrace the W3C widget format (unlikely, but here’s to hoping:)).

Web Actuators API

Having gone through the pain of trying to bust up Apple’s shitty patents around Widget Security, I learned that if you have a good idea, then you should put into the public record as quickly as possible (unless you intend to patent the idea, for fun and profit). It seems that the US patent office will grant a patent for just about anything, probably even a knife and fork. The state of the United States patent system truly is an embarrassment (for more info, thepublicdomain.org).

Idea: Web Actuators, an API for  Web Browser to allow control of physical output component, including, but not limited to LEDs, speaker, motors, or anything detectable by any human sense (sight, touch, smell, taste, hearing).

interface Actuator(){
   //details coming soon...
   //pulse width modulation
   void pwm(); 
}

This Actuators API would compliment a general purpose Web Sensors API: an API for detecting and reacting to events generated from reading “low level” sensor data (e.g., a flew sensor, a switch, a pressure sensor, a temperature gauge, etc…. any sensor that can take a reading).