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'Expect the new iPray to be out by Christmas'

Tweet: “If it’s where Steve Jobs has gone, he’ll probably revolutionise (sic) heaven. Expect the new iPray to be out by Christmas.”

This week’s Surfin’ Safari column is dedicated to the memory of Steve Jobs, a man who changed the world by changing the way we communicate with each other. Like the Guttenberg printing press of its day, Jobs’ Apple Macintosh and subsequent products – the iPhone, iPod, iPad – revolutionized the world and how our society interacts within it.

A touching, black and white Apple logo tribute immediately went viral on the Internet. Simply titled, “Thanks, Steve,” it was created by Jonathan Mak Long, a 19-year-old designer in Hong Kong. Jobs’ face is silhouetted in the “bite”, and appears to be taken from the cover of “Inside Steve’s Brain,” a book about Steve Jobs written by Leander Kahney.

When Apple announced last Wednesday the passing of its co-founder and chairman of the board, it sparked an avalanche of tributes on Twitter, placing the ThankYouSteve and iSad hashtag designations on the list of top trending tweets. Facebook pages sparked to life with news of his death. Street art appeared in Hollywood. Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak wept during a videotaped interview about Jobs’ passing.

This graphic image on Twitter was retweeted more than 100 times:

Late night comedian Stephen Colbert did a funny but emotional tribute that can be seen on YouTube titled “Sweet”.

A Twitter employee assembled a digital tribute using tweets that users sent out in the hours following Jobs’ death. The iconic image is composed of more than a thousand tweets, and when enlarged to its full size of 7000 x 6386 pixels, each of the heartfelt tweets can easily be read. The tweets are ordered by which ones received the most retweets, starting at the image’s top left and moving to the bottom right.

Online interactive obit

The Wall Street Journal featured an online obit which included a timeline, interactive photos and lots of videos.

Planning ahead

Jobs left blueprints for new iPod, iPad, iPhone and MacBooks, the next generation Apple TV and a futuristic new Apple headquarters in Cupertino, secured by Jobs in June (See “Who’s got more money than U.S. Treasury?” – Surfin’ Safari Aug. 15.)

“Getting low power and smaller is the key to everything,” Jobs said about the 1,000 engineers he has working on chips. It will eventually take all Apple products from hard drives to the lighter and quicker flash memory chips, bringing us into the post-PC era.

Forbes reports that “the iPhone 4S’s virtual assistant, Siri – a feature that allows users to tap into many of the phone’s capabilities with their voice – is a sleeper hit with ‘revolutionary’ potential that will soon appear on Macintosh computers, TVs and iPads and ‘stymie’ rivals Google and Microsoft.”

Sony Pictures reportedly is in the midst of making a deal to acquire movie rights to “Steve Jobs,” an upcoming authorized biography by former CNN chairman and Time Magazine managing editor Walter Isaacson, according to Mike Fleming at Deadline. Isaacson wrote in a TIME magazine piece that “Steve Jobs spent his final days surrounded by close family members, and used his last interview to explain to his wife and children why he ‘wasn’t always there for them.'”

“If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today? And whenever the answer has been ‘no’ for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something.”Jobs’ Stanford Commencement Speech, 2005.

Requiescat in pace, Steve Jobs.

A secret panel that can put Americans on kill list?

A lot of discussion about this very slippery slope. I fall on the side of Michael Savage and Ron Paul. Here’s why”

“American militants like Anwar al Awlaki are placed on a kill or capture list by a secretive panel of senior US government officials, which then informs the president of its decisions, according to US officials,” Reuters reports. “There is no public record of the operations or decisions of the panel, which is a subset of the White House’s National Security Council, several current and former officials said. Neither is there any law establishing its existence or setting out the rules by which it is supposed to operate.”

Internet firms used by government for surveillance

Information gathered by Internet companies like Facebook, Twitter and Google, are being co-opted more and more for surveillance work. Why? The info they gather is “irresistible to law enforcement agencies,” according to some Web experts.

These companies’ business models rely on info gathered about your online activities to sell targeted advertising. Though they claim to try to keep their users’ information private, when governments demand they hand it over, they comply. Why would our government want that info? To know who is coordinating riots, demonstrations and protests, for one thing.

Demands from governments for Internet companies to hand over user information have become routine, according to online privacy researcher and activist Christopher Soghoian.

Feeling any safer?

Here’s the latest from Yahoo!, for example.

Under the heading “Why is content scanning mentioned in the Terms of Service?”, it’s explained, “In the newest version of Yahoo! Mail, we use automated systems to scan your email to bring you product features, abuse detection and relevant advertising.

“Please be assured that at Yahoo!, we take your privacy seriously. Analyzing your email serves a number of important purposes: it allows us to bring great new product features to your Inbox and it helps us combat spam and provide you with a safer email experience. As an example of a new product feature, we’re able to identify photos and videos and format them so that you can view them directly in your inbox.”


German government accused of spying on citizens

And how about this? Remote governmental activation of your computer’s hardware, like microphone or camera, which can then be used for room surveillance. Or take screen shots or record your Skype calls from your computer. It’s already being done in Germany.

Meanwhile, CNET’s Declan McCullagh is reporting that “an internal U.S. Department of Homeland Security document indicates that a controversial program designed to predict whether a person will commit a crime is already being tested on some members of the public voluntarily.”

Is Congress aware of this? And what is your representative doing about it? Are they on board with this?

More on Yahoo!

Microsoft, along with several other companies, is eyeballing Yahoo!, worth an estimated $20 billion. If it goes through, the deal could obliterate AOL as a competitor.

Religions of the United States

View the religious composition of the United States on this interactive map produced by the Pew Forum on Religious & Public Life.

A bird’s-eye view of the Holy Land

A WND reader wrote, “Some of you have probably visited Jerusalem, but everyone should get a special rush from this spectacular film. Make sure you go to full screen. It is absolutely beautiful!”

Filmed in Imax 3D format, “Jerusalem, The Movie” is scheduled for worldwide release in 2013.

Pls don’t txt n drive

Texting while driving is more dangerous than originally thought.

The Time Capsule

1964 – Khrushchev suddenly retires as U.S.S.R. first secretary

1967 – Che Guevara killed in Bolivian jungle

1976 – China’s Gang of Four arrested

1978 – Vatican chooses Polish cardinal as new pope

1985 – Orson Welles dies in Hollywood

1986 – Reagan stands firm on SDI, Reykjavik summit fails

1994 – Rabin, Peres, Arafat share Nobel Peace Prize

2000 – USS Cole attacked by suicide bombers

Now playing at the Princess Theater in Urbana, Ill.

Congratulations to WND reader Karl W. Randolph of San Francisco, Calif., who was among the first to correctly guess actor Josh Hartnett in his portrayal of “Eversmann” in the 2001 movie “Black Hawk Down.”

Randolph wrote, “Unfortunately, Black Hawk Down came out just before the invasion of Afghanistan, where among the booty found in the Al Qaida camps was information that Al Qaida was in Mogadishu and they were the ones who actually did the shoot down of the helicopter.”

Directed by Ridley Scott, the film won two Oscars in its depiction of an estimated 90-minute lightning assault that turned into a 17-hour desperate battle to escape a hostile city, the loss of 18 Americans and a United Nations Malaysian soldier, and another 90 wounded. Between 350 and 1,000 Somali gunmen and civilians were believed killed.

The U.S. withdrew from Somalia in March 1994, followed by full U.N. withdrawal in 1995 at a total cost of 147 fatalities. Today much of Somalia remains in a state of feud, famine and economic collapse.

The quote was: “Look, these people, they have no jobs, no food, no education, no future. I just figure that we have two things we can do. Help, or we can sit back and watch a country destroy itself on CNN. Right?”

This week’s quote: “Well, it’s no trick to make a lot of money … if what you want to do is make a lot of money.”

Name the movie, the actor and the character. Send your answer to me at the email address below. Please be sure to add your town and state. Good luck!