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Apple donates iPads for Oregon test program to help disabled voters

Published on November 9, 2011, by in Technology.

By Josh Ong

Published: 08:42 PM EST (05:42 PM PST)

Apple has donated an initial batch of five iPads to the state of Oregon for a trial program designed to replace specialized laptops set up for disabled voters.

Oregon is pioneering the use of a new technology for voting: Apple’s iPad, according to the Associated Press. Five counties will participate in a trial program for a special election on Tuesday using the iPads donated by Apple.

Election workers are taking the iPads and printers around to “parks, nursing homes and community centers” in search of voters who have difficulty with traditional paper ballots, the report said. Voters simply, call up the ballot, tap the screen to choose a candidate, then print it out. But, technically, citizens aren’t using the iPad to actually vote, as they still need to print out the ballots and either drop them off at a ballot box or in the mail.

The custom iPad app, which cost the state $75,000 to develop, allows users to adjust the font size and colors and will read out candidates’ names and instructions. For those with limited mobility, a “sip-and-puff” device can be attached to the iPad. Voters with their own Bluetooth-capable accessibility devices, such as joysticks and paddles, can also connect them to the iPads.

“It’s a lot simpler for me. I think it’s a great setup they got,” said 75-year-old voter Lewis Crews after using the iPad to fill out and print a ballot.

iPad vote
Oregon voter Lewis Crews uses an iPad to generate his ballot. Credit: AP Photo/Rick Bowmer.

Should the state decides to implement the program across all counties, it will need at least 72 iPads, which would cost roughly $36,000.

Oregon’s previous set up included modified laptops that required two suitcases, but the equipment had become long in the tooth. The state spent over $325,000 toward accessible voting tools in the most recent two-year budget cycle, the report noted.

However, some feel that the system’s reliance on paper ballots is limiting to visually impaired voters, who would be unable to double-check their printed ballots.

“Any time you start using paper, then people who are blind can’t see it, and they would then need assistance. That’s what we’re trying to get away from.” said Curt Decker, director of the lobby group National Disability Rights Network. “People with disabilities should be able to vote independently and privately. That is our goal.”

For its part, Apple has paid special attention to the accessibility features in iOS and the iPad. In September, Blind musician Steve Wonder recognized those efforts, thanking Apple co-founder Steve Jobs for making it so that “there’s nothing on the iPhone or iPad that you can do that I can’t do.”

 
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Steve Jobs’ sister shares his final moments, last words

Published on October 17, 2011, by in Technology.

By Josh Ong

Novelist Mona Simpson, Apple co-founder Steve Jobs’ biological sister, has shared her eulogy for her brother, offering an intimate look at the last moments before he died, including his surprising last words.

The New York Times published Simpson’s eulogy, which was shared at a memorial service for Jobs on Oct. 16 at Stanford Memorial Church. She wrote how as a young girl she had hoped for her absent father to be “rich and kind and come into our livesand help” her and her mom. Her dream eventually came true, but through her brother, rather than her father.

“Even as a feminist, my whole life Id been waiting for a man to love, who could love me. For decades, Id thought that man would be my father. When I was 25, I met that man and he was my brother,” she wrote.

Jobs, who was adopted, didn’t meet Simpson until they were both adults. While living in New York, Simpson was contacted by a lawyer in 1985 who notified her that her long-lost brother was “rich and famous.”

The lawyer refused to disclose his client’s name, so Simpson’s coworkers started a betting pool with actor John Travolta as the leading candidate. She shared that she secretly hoped that he was “a literary descendant of Henry James — someone more talented than [her], someone brilliant without even trying.”

“When I met Steve, he was a guy my age in jeans, Arab- or Jewish-looking and handsomer than Omar Sharif,” she wrote.

Jobs and Simpson went for a long walk, where he explained that he was in the computer business. Simpson said she had yet to buy a computer and was considering buying a Cromemco. Jobs told her that it was a good thing she’d waited, as he was working on something that was going to be “insanely beautiful.”

Steve Jobs

Simpson went on to share things she had learned from Jobs during three distinct periods that she called “states of being:” his full life, his illness and his dying.

According to her, Jobs wasn’t ashamed of working hard even if “the results were failures.” After being ousted from Apple, he was disappointed, especially when he wasn’t invited to a meeting of 500 Silicon Valley leaders with the then U.S. president, but he still worked hard at the new company he had started, NeXT.

“Novelty was not Steves highest value. Beauty was,” Simpson said, noting that he probably owned enough trademark black cotton turtleneck shirts for everyone at the memorial service.

Similar to an earlier essay where Jobs’ first serious girlfriend shared about Jobs, Simpson shared how much of a romantic her brother was.

“[Jobs] was like a girl in the amount of time he spent talking about love. Love was his supreme virtue, his god of gods,” she wrote, noting that he would often call out to men he thought women would consider attractive to see if they would come to dinner with Simpson.

Simpson also shared how much Jobs was in love with his wife, Laurene, saying that his love for her “sustained him.”

When Jobs became ill, his family “watched his life compress into a smaller circle,” Simpson wrote. After his liver transplant in 2009, he had to relearn how to walk.

“He tried. He always, always tried, and always with love at the core of that effort. He was an intensely emotional man,” she said.

Jobs endured the pain for his family, setting goals for himself: his son’s high school graduation, a trip to Japan with his daughter, the launching of a boat he was building that he hoped to retire on with his wife. But, some of his goals he was unable to meet. Jobs passed away on Oct. 5 at age 56 after a years-long fight with cancer.

Recounting the manner in which Jobs approached death, Simpson said “what he was, was how he died.” According to her, “death didnt happen to Steve, he achieved it,” adding that, as his breathing slowed, “he seemed to be climbing.”

To conclude, Simpson shared how Jobs’ final words as he looked at his sister Patty, his children and his wife, then over their shoulders, were “OH WOW. OH WOW. OH WOW.”

 
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Simon & Schuster moves up publication of Steve Jobs biography to Oct. 24

Published on October 7, 2011, by in Technology.

By AppleInsider Staff

Published: 10:45 AM EST (07:45 AM PST)

Publisher Simon Schuster has moved up the publication of its forthcoming biography of Steve Jobs by nearly a month after news broke that the Apple co-founder has passed away.

The authorized biography written by former Time editor Walter Isaacson became the top-selling book on Amazon.com Wednesday night after it was revealed that Jobs had died. Those ordering the book will now receive it with an earlier release date of Oct. 24, the publisher confirmed to The Wall Street Journal on Thursday.

The book, entitled “Steve Jobs,” was previously set to come out on Nov. 21. This marks the second time the publication date has been bumped up; the authorized biography was originally scheduled to arrive in early 2012.

When the release date was originally bumped up to November, Isaacson said the change was not related to any decline in the health of Jobs. Soon after, Jobs announced he would step down as CEO of Apple, as declining health prevented him from continuing his job.

Jobs fully cooperated with Isaacson for the biography, participating in numerous interviews and granting the author full access. he has previously written biographies of Benjamin Franklin and Albert Einstein.

With the publication date now only weeks away, Isaacson last interviewed Jobs just four weeks ago. According to the Journal, Jobs knew at the time that he would die soon, and the scene will be included at the end of the book. In August it was revealed that the biography will also include details of his resignation as Apple CEO.

Steve Jobs biography

“Steve Jobs” will be available in both a Kindle version and a hardcover edition when it is released on Monday, Oct. 24. It’s also available for preorder on iBooks. The Apple co-founder placed no restrictions over what could be written and waived the right to read it before it was published.

“He put nothing off limits and instead encouraged the people he knew to speak honestly — even foes, former girlfriends, and colleagues he had once fired or infuriated,” the publisher’s description of the book reads. “Driven by demons, Jobs could drive those around him to fury and despair. But his personality and products were interrelated, just as Apple’s hardware and software tended to be, as if part of an integrated system.

“His tale is instructive and cautionary, filled with lessons about innovation, character, leadership, and values.”

 
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