Steve Jobs’ grass stains — John Gruber’s salute

The best Apple blogger anywhere, John Gruber:

After the WWDC keynote four months ago, I saw Steve, up close.

He looked old. Not old in a way that could be measured in years or even decades, but impossibly old. Not tired, but weary; not ill or unwell, but rather, somehow, ancient. But not his eyes. His eyes were young and bright, their weapons-grade intensity intact. His sweater was well-worn, his jeans frayed at the cuffs.

But the thing that struck me were his shoes, those famous gray New Balance 993s. They too were well-worn. But also this: fresh bright green grass stains all over the heels.

Those grass stains filled my mind with questions. How did he get them? When? They looked fresh, two, three days old, at the most. Apple keynote preparation is notoriously and unsurprisingly intense. But not so intense, those stains suggested, as to consume the entirety of Jobs’s days. There is no grass in Moscone West.

Surely, my mind raced, surely he has more than one pair of those shoes. He could afford to buy the factory that made them. Why wear this grass-stained pair for the keynote, a rare and immeasurably high-profile public appearance? My guess: he didn’t notice, didn’t care. One of Jobs’s many gifts was that he knew what to give a shit about. He knew how to focus and prioritize his time and attention. Grass stains on his sneakers didn’t make the cut.

Late last night, long hours after the news broke that he was gone, my thoughts returned to those grass stains on his shoes back in June. I realize only now why they caught my eye. Those grass stained sneakers were the product of limited time, well spent. And so the story I’ve told myself is this:

I like to think that in the run-up to his final keynote, Steve made time for a long, peaceful walk. Somewhere beautiful, where there are no footpaths and the grass grows thick. Hand-in-hand with his wife and family, the sun warm on their backs, smiles on their faces, love in their hearts, at peace with their fate.

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Palin announces that she’s not running. David Frum says amen. Andrew Sullivan grieves awkwardly.

Sarah Palin released a letter yesterday officially announcing the non-news that she’s not running. She explained her low-key statement by telling Greta van Sustern, “I didn’t want my announcement to be all showboaty like that Christie guy.” Because that’s not who she is. Not showboaty at all. And by not running, she can “be more effective in a decisive role to help elect other true public servants to office – from the nation’s governors to Congressional seats and the Presidency.” Right.

The Palin-obsessed Andrew Sullivan seems to be having a difficult time letting go. As recently as yesterday, he was fantasizing about a Palin third-party run:

And remember her favorite word and self-branding: the rogue. It’s possible she could also run as an Independent or Tea Party candidate next year, especially if Romney wins the nomination, and hits a bump in the road. Think about it . . .

The obvious problem is that she would all but guarantee the re-election of Barack Obama. Is she delusional and narcissistic enough to plow onward regardless?

You betcha!

Hours later, after literally hundreds — no, thousands — of Dish threads were exposed as largely pointless — here’s Sullivan beginning to come to terms with the self-administered demise of his great whale:

So she’s bowing out. Call it cowardice; call it a rare example of sanity; call it a bizarre end to an even weirder game of hide and seek for the past few months. But the bottom line is: we can stop worrying about the threat she posed to this country. That is all I really cared about: the insane gamble with the world that John McCain foisted on us, with no vetting and no reason but desperation and cynicism.

It is hard to describe the relief of this awful person finally going away. (And who cares what she says if she has no “title”? There are RedState comment threads more coherent and persuasive than her deranged delusions.) All I can say now is that a) I was wrong about her intentions and b) I am so so so relieved to be wrong. She will now face the oblivion she deserves, and I sincerely hope I never have to write about this farce again.

That last clause may be unintentionally revealing. Rather than a “choice” for Sullivan, writing about Palin has been more of a compulsion. As an admiring member of Andrew’s vast readership, let me be among the first to extend my enthusiastic support to him in his quest never to write about her again.

Conservative David Frum, a recovering Republican, responded to Palin’s promise that she “will continue driving the discussion for freedom and free markets” with this:

Um, probably not. Sarah Palin’s political voice had dwindled well before she announced her decision not to run. Now it will sink altogether into inaudibility. She will be no kind of force in future national discussions. She will have no sway over party debates. She will retain some starpower for a little while longer. She may for another cycle or two be able to help certain candidates for certain political offices raise some money. Even that will fade within two more years or four. Her political career was brief, bizarre, and sordid. But now at least it is definitively finished.

Got that?

Posted in Media, News, Politics, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

The new iPhone 4S camera seems to take much better photos — not just more pixels, but sharper images, better dynamic range, more accurate colors

Go here to Apple’s website and see a slideshow of unretouched photos taken by the iPhone 4S. As a photography enthusiast myself, I am blown away by the quality of these images. Usually tiny phone-sized sensors imply limited dynamic range — i.e. blown-out highlights and muddy black shadows — and poor color accuracy. Not here. These photos look better than those produced by most compact cameras. Thing is, with the iPhone 4S, you get the nice camera plus, umm, the PHONE and MUSIC PLAYER and MAPPING DEVICE and COMPUTER — for just a bit more than you’d pay for a dedicated Nikon or Canon point-and-shoot camera. Assuming photos of this quality can be regularly reproduced by independent reviewers, it’s unclear how long camera makers can continue to compete against Apple for this market. Technical details about the camera from Apple here.

[UPDATE: I deleted the sample that originally appeared here, because the process of uploading it to the blog compromised the quality. So check out the original at the link above.)

 

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New iPhone 4S — video of the “Siri” personal assistant in action — ad preview

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Fed Chief Bernanke to GOP legislators: stop sabotaging the economy

Kevin  Drum (via Professor DeLong):

Bernanke to GOP: Stop Sabotaging the Economy: From Ben Bernanke, in testimony before Congress today:

 The recovery is close to faltering.

It’s good to see that someone is noticing. In Bernanke’s prepared remarks, after noting tight credit, slow consumer spending, financial stress in Europe, and other problems likely to hurt the economy, he got to this:

Another factor likely to weigh on the U.S. recovery is the increasing drag being exerted by the government sector. Notably, state and local governments continue to tighten their belts by cutting spending and employment in the face of ongoing budgetary pressures, while the future course of federal fiscal policies remains quite uncertain….In setting tax and spending policies for now and the future, policymakers should consider at least four key objectives. One crucial objective is to achieve long-run fiscal sustainability….A second important objective is to avoid fiscal actions that could impede the ongoing economic recovery.

This isn’t really new. But every time Bernanke says it, he edges slightly closer to calling GOP members of Congress idiots for obsessing about short-term austerity and spending cuts when they should be obsessing over how fast they can shovel money out the door. What’s more, he’s being as clear as he can that if Congress does this, the Fed’s monetary policy won’t get in the way. But poor old conservative Ben Bernanke is now, in the view of most current Republicans, a dangerous radical lefty hellbent on debasing the currency and getting his Kenyan pal in the White House reelected. I wonder if he ever sees any humor in this?

Posted in Business, Economic policy, Economics, News, Politics | 1 Comment

Video break: Big mastiff spars with tiny chihuahua – cute!


(Spotted by The Dish.)

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Fundamentalist pastor instructs deacons to eject gay couple from service and then beat them

Balloon Juice takes us to this:

No one would be surprised to learn that there are right-wing Christians in this country who disapprove of homosexuality. Neither would it come as a surprise that in rural parts of this country, Christianity and homosexuality when brought together, can create a highly combustible mix.

But who could imagine the hate and rage that would motivate a Pastor to instruct deacons and members of his congregation, Grace Fellowship Church in Fruitland, TN. to physically attack a couple arriving in the church parking lot last Wednesday?

The fact that one of the gay men attacked happened to be the Pastor’s own son, Jerry Pittman, Jr., no doubt contributed to Pittman senior’s noxious edict. According to Pittman Jr., after hearing his Dad yell, “SICK’EM!:”

“My uncle and two other deacons came over to the car per my dad’s request. My uncle smashed me in the door as the other deacon knocked my boyfriend back so he couldn’t help me, punching him in his face and his chest. The other deacon came and hit me through my car window in my back.”

The attackers also verbally assaulted the couple continually with anti-gay verbiage which continued even after a Sheriff’s Deputy arrived on the scene. Bystanders and other congregants made no effort to stop the assault. For that matter, neither did the Deputy Sheriff. Once the barrage of punches ended, the Deputy refused to let the two victims press charges.

Posted in Gay rights, Human Rights, News, Religion | 1 Comment