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August 2, 2008

Who will succeed Steve Jobs?


An article in the latest issue of The Economist names names.

Long story short: Neo will come from within the company. The short list includes current Apple CEO Timothy Cook; Scott Forstall, majordomo of the iPhone; Jonathan Ive, Apple's design guru; Bertrand Serlet, in charge of Apple's operating system; and Phil Schiller, head of marketing.

Why don't I get a good feeling about any of these guys as Jobs' inheritor?

Here's the Economist piece.

    Jobs’s job

    Who are the candidates to be the technology firm’s next leader?

    The fuss began in June when Steve Jobs, the boss of Apple, came on stage in San Francisco to make one of the theatrical product announcements for which he is known. His trademark black mock-turtleneck was drooping from a fleshless frame, and his neck and cheeks were hollow. In hushed tones, the audience began wondering whether his pancreatic cancer—which he was treated for in 2004—had returned. The firm blamed a “common bug”, but Apple’s shares moved on various rumours. On July 21st its finance chief insisted that Mr Jobs’s health was a “private matter”, worrying investors. A few days later Mr Jobs called a reporter at the New York Times to explain that his condition was not life-threatening, but he did so “off the record”, so no details are public even now.

    Mr Jobs is arguably unique in the extent to which his identity and fate are intertwined with those of his company. Imagining Apple without Steve Jobs, or Mr Jobs without Apple, is difficult—as his exile from the company between 1985 and 1997 made plain. Only Warren Buffett, whose investment skill made Berkshire Hathaway what it is, has a comparable importance to his firm’s shareholders. But Mr Buffett acknowledges as much. When he had some benign polyps removed from his colon, he volunteered the details in a press release. He also publicly clarified his succession plan. Mr Jobs has done neither.

    So who might succeed him? Tim Bajarin, an analyst who has followed Apple for decades, thinks that Mr Jobs has bred such a strong culture within Apple that there is “nobody on the outside who could even come close” to taking the reins successfully. He also believes that Mr Jobs has recently groomed “the strongest team he’s ever had”, making it even more likely that the next boss will come from this group.

    One possibility is Timothy Cook, who joined Apple from Compaq, another computer-maker, and is now chief operating officer. An Alabaman with a gentlemanly drawl, Mr Cook would be a very different manager from Mr Jobs. Mr Jobs is notorious for his temper tantrums and his ad hominem attacks on people who annoy him; Mr Cook prefers to dole out feedback discreetly. A cycling enthusiast, he is a picture of health. And he turned Apple from one of the least efficient manufacturers in the 1990s into one of the most efficient today.

    Another choice would be Scott Forstall, a software wizard who has recently risen within Apple to take charge of the iPhone, the handset that is Apple’s hottest product and perhaps its future. Mr Forstall came with Mr Jobs from NeXT, the computer company that Mr Jobs started during his exile from Apple and which made the operating system on which all of Apple’s computers and handsets are now based.

    Less likely, despite his important role within Apple, is Jonathan Ive, a soft-spoken British designer who is Apple’s deputy guru (second to Mr Jobs himself) in matters of beauty, elegance and style. Apple is at heart a design company. The most stinging accusation Mr Jobs has hurled at Microsoft, his arch rival, is that “they have no taste.” Mr Ive is the only person whose taste he seems to trust. But Mr Ive is a creative type, shy and self-effacing, and uncomfortable with managerial power.

    There are other options. Bertrand Serlet is a humorous genius with a thick French accent who is in charge of Apple’s operating system, but he might seem to have too much of the mad scientist about him. Phil Schiller is the marketing boss and a familiar face because he usually assists the boss on stage in product demonstrations. But he occasionally looks like Mr Jobs’s court jester in this role, and the mere fact that Mr Jobs grants him such exposure may indicate that he is not the chosen one.

August 2, 2008 at 04:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Happy Birthday Cabinet — by Mattia Bonetti


Limited edition of 16 + 2 artist's prototypes + 2 prototypes.

The 2007 design by the Swiss-born, Paris-based designer measures 47"H x 47"L x 23"W and is crafted of wood, cast bronze, aluminum leaf and varnish.

Pink, Green, Blue and Yellow — though according to Lucia van der Post, writing in the August 2, 2008 Financial Times How To Spend It magazine, it can be ordered in any color scheme.

Below, the designer's drawing.


£47,000; apply within.

August 2, 2008 at 03:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

BehindTheMedspeak: When a surgeon sneezes


Steve Mirsky's February, 2008 Scientific American article deconstructed a study that appeared in the 2007 year-end issue of the British Medical Journal.

Here's what Mirsky had to say about sneezing surgeons.

    Nothing to Sneeze At

    It’s a problem faced by Yogi Berra, welders and surgeons: How do you sneeze with a mask covering your face? Catchers and welders, however, only have to deal with the unpleasant bounce-back effect. Surgeons need to worry about ejecting multitudinous microbes directly into the gaping hole they’ve carved in a patient. Not good. And with “uh-oh” being among the worst words a surgeon can say at work (“Where’s my watch?” is also bad, as is the simple and direct “oops”), how best then to avoid an uh-oh following an achoo?

    The answer to this and other pressing questions in science and medicine can be found in the year-end issue of the British Medical Journal, well known for its unusual array of offbeat articles. (Had the Puritans never left Britain for New England, they might later have fled the British Medical Journal to found the New England Journal of Medicine.)

    First, the case of the surgical sneeze. The accepted wisdom was that the surgeon should in fact sneeze facing the area being operated on — because the mask will redirect the ejecta and send it backward out of the sides of the mask, away from the open wound. But two plastic surgeons from a British hospital checked the literature and found no actual evidence that the masked sneeze did in fact fling the phlegm sideways. They thus phlegmatically set out to test the hypothesis, using high-speed photography and some finely ground pepper to encourage sneezing by masked volunteers.

    The result: very little of the blast escapes out the sides, and a bit sneaks out of the bottom, onto the surgeon’s upper chest. Most of the debris appears to stay safely within the doctor’s domain, leaving the patient pristine. Unable to offer any clear direction to surgeons, the authors offer these clear directions:

    “Surgeons should follow their instincts when sneezing during operations.” One might call such instruction the gesundheit of reason.


Now you're all warmed up and ready for the real thing, so here's the original article as published in the British Medical Journal on December 22, 2007.

    Excuse me!

    Sneezing etiquette and the efficacy of masks in the operating theatre remain a subject of debate. Standard teaching dictates that one must face the wound when sneezing, so that droplets escape backwards, via the sides of the mask. A literature search found no clear demonstration of this principle.

    We therefore tested the hypothesis that one should face the wound when sneezing into a surgical mask in theatre.

    Method: A surgeon wearing a surgical mask (Kimberley Clark Healthcare) was encouraged to sneeze by inhaling finely ground pepper. A small reservoir of water was held in the floor of the mouth to improve the appearance of the droplets on the photographs. All photographs were taken by the medical photography department in a dark room with a dark background, using a Kodak DCS Pro SLR camera (ISO 160, 13.5MP resolution, RAW format) and a Nikon Micro-Nikkor 55mm F2.8 lens. A Sony HVL56AM flashgun was strobed (1/32 power, 2 sec, 10Hz). Images were converted into TIFF files and then sharpened slightly on Adobe Photoshop.

    Results: Fig 1 [top] shows the droplet spray from a sneeze without a mask. Fig 2 [below]


    shows slight droplet spray escaping from the sides of the mask. Fig 3 [bottom] shows there is also little spray escaping anteriorly. On close inspection, however, a few droplets can be seen escaping inferiorly on to the surgeon’s upper chest. None of our photographs showed substantial numbers of droplets passing behind the head of the surgeon.


    Discussion: The doctrine of facing the wound when sneezing seems logical. Our study does not, however, support this hypothesis. A few droplets of spray escaped sideways, but no substantial numbers passed behind the surgeon’s head. Our photographs show that the most important visible escape of spray comes from below the mask on to the surgeon’s chest. We therefore recommend that surgeons should follow their instincts when sneezing during operations.

August 2, 2008 at 02:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Rose Ring

















[via my7475.com]

August 2, 2008 at 01:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

slydial — leave a voice message instead of having that awkward conversation


Nicely done.

Too many times I call someone hoping to simply get my ball on their side of the court without having to prepare to return another shot — only to be thwarted when the other person answers.

Matt Richtel found slydial interesting enough to give it serious street cred by featuring it in today's New York Times, where it appears on the front page.

You could look it up.

August 2, 2008 at 12:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

ZER00:00 Butterfly Clock


Designed by Jan Habraken and his former design partner Maarten Baptist.

Digital LCD clock stripped down to the circuit board.

9V battery serves as stand and power source.

4.5"H x 3"W.



August 2, 2008 at 11:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

On being offered stuff after I've already obtained it


I'm always amused to read the email that follows a post about buying something or other, most recently new chargers for my old Nokia 6230 phone.

I marveled at the $1.35 price on Amazon, thinking this was amazingly low, so much so I bought three.

You could look it up.

Within 24 hours of that post appearing, in came three emails saying I should have said something 'cause the writers had these chargers lying around unused and I could've had theirs free for the asking.

Very kind of my readers, these offers.


What does "free" mean to you?

Because here is where I part ways with almost everyone else.

To me "free" means without requiring payment — in either money or time.

And you've heard me say before that time trumps money by a huge factor when it comes to value.

So yes, my cost in money would've been less had I requested readers who had a charger (top) compatible with a Nokia 6230 phone to send me one.

But let's add up the other currency:

1) Post the request, taking up valuable attention space in bookofjoe with no possible yield for most readers

2) Wait to see if anyone responds

3) Email that person back with my mailing address so they can send the charger

4) Wait for the charger to arrive, having no way of knowing if and when it was ever sent

5) Hope it works should it arrive

From where I walk on my treadmill it seems to me that steps 1-5 are far more costly than the way I chose to do it.

I mean, maybe I'll get a charger by asking nicely and if I do it will take some effort on my part and much more time than simply clicking once at Amazon and being 100% certain I'll have a working device in 48 hours.

So while I'm grateful to all of you who so generously offered, I'll continue to do it my way, which I believe is far more effective overall than wishing and waiting and hoping for the charger fairy to appear.

The direct path is the best path.

The fewer the links in the chain, the less likely failure of any one of them will break it.

I would much rather depend on myself than others because over the years it has become clear that I am more reliable.

That's just a fact of life.

August 2, 2008 at 10:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (8) | TrackBack

Scissors + Spatula Mashup = Pizza Pro


Who'd a thunk it?

From the website:

    Pizza Pro

    Pizza lovers rejoice: serving slices is easier than ever!

    Slice and serve pizza easily with this new invention.

    It combines kitchen shears with a wedge-shaped spatula so you can slice and serve with one hand without ever losing toppings.

    Unlike wheels and knives, it won't damage cooking pans and will cut a perfect, even slice every time.

    There's only one utensil to clean and it's dishwasher safe.

    Works for both left- and right-handed people.

    Features stainless-steel blades and a contoured soft grip.

    Fits in a standard kitchen drawer.

    3-5/16"H x 4-7/8"W x 12-7/8"L.


$19.99 (pizza not included).

[via Shawn Lea]

August 2, 2008 at 09:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

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