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Saturday, October 29, 2011

World of Warcraft: Mists of Pandaria Preview Trailer

Shrouded in fog since the world was sundered more than ten thousand years ago, the ancient realm of Pandaria has remained unspoiled by war. Its lush forests and cloud-ringed mountains are home to a complex ecosystem of indigenous races and exotic creatures -- including the noble and enigmatic pandaren. Will the mists of Pandaria part to reveal the world's salvation... or will the battle to control this new land push the Horde and the Alliance over the brink of war and into total annihilation?

Learn more about the fourth World of Warcraft expansion set, Mists of Pandaria, on our official website:

Monday, October 24, 2011

Like it or not, new Philippine peso bills star in currency award

Manila (Philippine Daily Inquirer/ANN) - What matter a mislocated map here or a wrong-colored beak there?

The series of new peso bills, which was vilified after its launch last December for those two design errors, has been judged as one of the best currency series in the world in an international design competition.
The set of new peso notes, called the "New Generation Currency (NGC)" series, was one of two finalists for best new currencies in the world in a worldwide contest organized by the International Association of Currency Affairs (Iaca).

Iaca is an international organization of central banks, currency-issuing authorities, currency producers and suppliers.

The winner of the Best Currency Award was the new series of shilling notes from Uganda. The other finalist for best new currencies was the new series of rupee notes from Sri Lanka.

The contest is aimed at recognizing the best currencies that have been issued within the last 18 months. The currencies were evaluated on the basis of their design, including innovativeness and security features.
'Best security features'

Besides landing as a finalist, the Philippines' NGC was also given a special award for best security features. The new series of peso notes was cited for its optically variable device patch, a feature of the new P500 and P1,000 bills.

This feature, which counterfeiters would find hard to imitate, is the reflective foil that bears the image of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) logo with a parrot in the P500 bill and the South Sea pearl inside a clam in the 1,000 peso bill.

The awards given to the Philippine currency were received by BSP Monetary Board Member Armando Suratos and BSP Deputy Governor Juan de Zuñiga at the award ceremony held earlier this month.
Diwa Guinigundo, the deputy governor who headed the committee in charge of the design of the new peso bank notes, said the BSP is proud of the new series of peso notes because of its sophisticated features.

The recognition of the new peso notes as one of the best in the world came after they were roundly criticized when they were launched in December last year.

The critics said the new peso notes had errors in design, and urged the BSP to recall the series.
Some of the errors cited were the allegedly inaccurately designed Philippine map and the wrong color used for the beak of the blue-naped parrot featured in the 500 peso note.

The BSP said what the critics are pointing out are not errors.

Sophistication of design

The map, which critics said mislocated the Tubbataha Reef by 400 kilometers and did not clearly show Batanes, was simply an artist's rendition, the central bank said. The map need not be 100-percent accurate because it is an artistic depiction and not meant to be a navigational tool, it said.

As for the color of the parrot's beak, which is rendered yellow in the 500 peso note when the actual color is red, the BSP said the inaccuracy was a consequence of printing-capability limitations. The printing of bank notes, unlike ordinary paper materials, have limited colors and the limitation did not allow the beak to be printed red, it said.

Instead of criticizing the peso notes, people should recognize the sophistication of the design, especially as far as security features are concerned, the BSP said.

For instance, the holograms and the embossed prints of monetary value in the peso notes make them difficult, if not impossible, to be imitated by counterfeiters, it said.
Fusion of substance, form

"NGC notes are beautiful. It is an elegant fusion of substance-the theme being what is the best and the brightest in the Philippines-and form rendered in a most artistic and tasteful fashion," Guinigundo said.
"The jurors must have been impressed by the careful choice and use of cutting-edge security features that actually enhanced the color and thematic dimensions of our currency," he said.

He said that besides being colorful, the new peso notes are durable (with 20-percent abaca and durability features embedded in the paper manufacture) and clean (it has bioguard properties that resist bacteria and other microorganisms).

So far between 400 and 500 million of the new peso notes are already in circulation.
Guinigundo said that despite this, there seems to be a scarcity of the new bank notes. He said this was because some people, when they get hold of a new bank note, tend to want to keep it rather than spend it.

Friday, October 21, 2011

The Seven Weirdest Things About Moammar Gadhafi

Col. Moammar Gadhafi, the dictator who ruled Libya for 42 years, was killed by rebels in his hometown of Sirte on Thursday. A dictator who oppressed his own people and sponsored terrorism abroad, Gadhafi's legacy will be stained by violence. But beyond his brutality, Gadhafi will be remembered for something else entirely… being a first-class weirdo.

In no particular order, brings you the seven weirdest things about Moammar Gadhafi.

1. The "Bulletproof" Tent: When Gadhafi was at home in Tripoli, he lived in a well fortified compound with a complex system of escape tunnels. But when he travelled abroad, this "Bedouin" brought a bit of the desert with him, camping out in the world's capitals. The tent was so heavy it needed to be flown on a separate plane, wherever the dictator travelled. To complete the Arabian Nights theme, Gadhafi often would tether a camel or two outside.

2. All-Female Virgin Bodyguard Retinue: They apparently weren't around when Gadhafi needed them most on Thursday, but the eccentric dictator was historically protected by 40 well trained bodyguards – all of them women. The bodyguards, called "Amazons," were all reportedly virgins who took a vow of chastity upon joining the dictator's retinue. The women, trained at an all-female military academy, were handpicked by Gadhafi. They wore elaborate uniforms, as well as makeup and high-heeled combat boots.

3. His "Voluptuous" Ukrainian Nurse: For a decade, Galyna Kolotnytska, a Ukrainian nurse often described in the press as "voluptuous," was regularly seen at the dictator's side. Kolotnytska was described in a leaked diplomatic cable as one of Gadhafi's closest aides and was rumored to have a romantic relationship with him. Several other Ukrainian women served as nurses and they all referred to him as "Papa" or "Daddy."

4. Crush on Condoleezza Rice: In 2007, Gadhafi called former Sec. of State Condoleezza Rice his "darling black African woman" and on a 2008 visit she made to Tripoli, the dictator gave her $200,000 worth of gifts, including a ring and a lute. But it wasn't until rebels stormed his Tripoli compound that the depths of the dictator's infatuation were exposed. There among Gadhafi's belongings was a carefully composed photo album made up of dozens of images of no one but Rice.

5. Fear of Flying and Elevators: Part of the reason Gadhafi loved travelling with that tent of his was because he was worried about lodging in a hotel where he'd have to ride an elevator. According to leaked diplomatic cables, the Libyan didn't like heights much either, and would only climb to a height of 35 steps. He therefore wasn't much of a fan of flying, refusing to travel by air for more than eight hours at a time. When he would travel to New York of the U.N.'s annual general assembly, he would spend a night in Portugal on the way to the U.S.

6. Bunga Bunga: In 2010, one of Gadhafi's most eccentric pastimes was exposed by Italian prosecutors investigating Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi. A 17-year-old prostitute named Karima el-Mahroug, better known as Ruby Heartstealer, revealed that she had been invited to an orgy, called a "bunga bunga." "Silvio told me that he'd copied that formula from Muammar Gadhafi," she told prosecutors according to La Repubblica. "It's a ritual of [Gadhafi's] African harem."

7. An Eclectic Wardrobe: In those photos of world leaders standing shoulder to shoulder on the sidelines of this or that international forum, Gadhafi was always the easiest to pick out. His wardrobe was an eclectic mix of ornate military uniforms, Miami Vice style leisure suits, and Bedouin robes. Gadhafi, who pushed for a pan-African federation of nations, often decorated his outfits with images of the African continent. He'd sport safari shirts printed with an Africa pattern, or wear garish pins or necklaces of the continent.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Enter If You Dare: Haunted Places in the Philippines

It's halloween season and there’s nothing like visiting a haunted place – or two, for a good scare. Whether you’ll be in town or out, has a spot for you.
By Denise V. Suarez

Ozone Disco
Ozone Disco, on Timog Avenue corner Tomas Morato, is the most fun haunted place to check out. On March 18 1996, Ozone Disco, a then-popular dance spot, had a special no-charge night for the freshly graduated high school students. In the midst of all the partying, a fire began in the disco and the only door opened inward, trapping the panicked crowd inside. 162 lives were lost that night. Today, passersby claim to still hear disco music at night and see figures inside dancing.
Manila Film Center

The Manila Film Center at the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP) probably has the most famous story. Back in 1981, First Lady Imelda Marcos hosted the International Film Festival. Needing a building grand enough to house all the visiting movie stars, she built the Manila Film Center. The building had to be done in a hurry so people were working at all hours. One night, the scaffolding collapsed and trapped the workers. Rumor has it that more than 150 workers were buried and while most were dead, some could be heard calling out for help. Being pressed for time, the remaining workers were instructed to continue, so they simply poured cement over the bodies. Ever since, strange sounds can be heard coming from the building and people who walk inside get goose bumps for no reason. The Film Center is a definite stop for anyone who wants to send shivers down their spine.

Balete Drive

Balete Drive in Quezon City is known to have a certain spook factor, especially at night. It is surrounded by balete trees, the tree favored by evil spirits, and the colonial-era houses found along it are supposedly haunted. Sometime in the 1950s, a young female student was raped and decapitated by a taxi driver who was never caught. Her death was so horrible that her soul supposedly never left the area. Since then, at least three taxi drivers are said to have been found decapitated along Balete Drive. It is believed to be the work of the girl’s spirit. People have reported seeing a white lady standing at the side of the road, usually around three in morning, and, when walking along Balete Drive, suddenly feeling cold and as if they’re being watched. Balete Drive crosses Aurora Boulevard, near St. Luke’s Medical Center, Tomas Morato and the edge of Cubao; but be careful when you are in the neighborhood! People have seen a headless woman appear in their passenger seat when driving down that street.


Baguio has the most haunted spots in the Philippines. Among others, there’s the Philippine Military Academy, the Teacher’s Camp, and the Hyatt Hotel. This could be because the city was once occupied by tribes who were forced out or killed by the American colonizers, or because residents of the city were tortured and killed by the Japanese forces. Go to Philippine Military Academy for the cadet ghosts, go to Hyatt Hotel for a headless priest, and go to Teacher’s Camp for native tribesmen.


Corregidor is a small island where the Spaniards built a lighthouse to help guide the ships around Manila Bay. During the American period, the island became an American outpost to watch for intruders. When the Japanese came, they overpowered and outnumbered the Americans, causing some American soldiers to shoot themselves. Those who didn’t commit suicide were forced to surrender and were tortured by the Japanese before being killed. Today, the island is a tourist attraction with its well-preserved ruins and the remaining American weaponry. At night, there have been stories of apparitions and invisible presences. Although these ghosts claim to be friendly, they are ghosts nonetheless. Sounds of hospital activities are said to be heard from the Corregidor Ruins. Sun Cruises offer day and overnight tours to Corregidor.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Foreign maids snubbing Singapore

Kuala Lumpur (The Star/ANN) - The new generation of Indonesian and Filipina maids, who are better educated and have a higher expectation of life, prefer to work in Hong Kong and Taiwan as their take-home pay is much higher due to minimal tax.
The era of cheap maids streaming into Singapore to find work, particularly from Indonesia and the Philippines, may be coming to an end.
With South-East Asia enjoying better living, Singaporeans - who are among the world's biggest employers - may soon find this supply becoming scarcer and more expensive.
The new generation of Indonesians and Filipinas, including the rural women, is better educated and has a higher expectation of life.
Indonesia, in particular, has been growing at a steady pace during the past 20 years; and to a lesser extent, the Philippines, as well.
With the rise of global jobs and budget travel, their people have more job opportunities at home and abroad.
Many maids have become salesgirls, hairdressers, office assistants, etc, thrown up by an expanding middle class.
More are seeking training to move into higher-paying jobs in healthcare, computers and tourism.
Recently, I attended a Buddhist funeral rite, in which the monks who performed it had the help of a woman who hailed from Java.
She had been with the troupe for nearly 10 years, speaking and chanting prayers in Chinese.
On the last night, she was helped by a second lady, a Filipino woman.
Their salaries were several times higher than what a maid would get.
Globalisation never ceases to amaze!
In Singapore, many employers have not realised the extent of some of these changes in the region.
The older ones still see the maid as an unchanging person left behind by progress, an agency representative said.
"They don't realise there is a big difference between the young maids who come to our shores today and those who arrived a generation earlier," she added.
It is not unlike the gap between two generations of Singaporeans, she said.
Today's maid from the Philippines or Indonesia is no longer the same as older ones who came in the 70s or 80s.
She is generally better schooled, has higher ambitions and is probably less deferential to orders rudely given.
The agency representative said: "You can't work her like you could her mother!"
Dwindling supply is, however, not the only worry. For years, they have been losing the competitive edge against Hong Kong and Taiwan employers because of a special S$345 (US$265) monthly levy they need to pay for hiring a maid.
This means that, although the monthly costs add up about the same for the three countries, the maid in Singapore takes home only half of what she gets elsewhere.
Effectively, a maid who works in Hong Kong and Taiwan has a much higher take-home pay because the tax is minimal.
For example, a fresh Indonesian maid currently earns S$380-$400 a month, depending on age and experience.
It is higher than the official recommended salaries of S$280-$320 a month.
The first blow to the employers here was harder-and-costlier-to-get English-speaking Filipinos, who are widely sought after in not only Asia but also the Middle East.
When the Manila embassy demanded a minimum pay of about S$520 a month, many employers turned to Indonesia.
Today, the circle has turned.
Many Indonesians who have completed a two-year contract are quick to move to Hong Kong and Taiwan, where their earnings just about doubled.
A Javanese girl who has learned enough English to leave, told a friend: "Sorry ma'am, in Hong Kong I can earn in 12 months what it takes two years to make in Singapore."
She uses a smart-phone and aspires to buy a tablet.
"I can't afford that in Singapore," she added. Her sister had worked in Bahrain and is now going home to open a small restaurant there.
This trend is inevitable and a long time coming.
In the early 80s, former prime minister Lee Kuan Yew had warned that the easy supply of maids would dry up once the neighbours became more prosperous.
The pace of arrivals has matched, as well as fuelled, Singapore's economic growth.
By 1988, there were already 40,000 of them, a figure that rose four-fold to 160,000 by 2005 and 201,000 last year. The number of Indonesian maids alone today totals 90,000.
Seven in 10 new arrivals are from its hinterland.
In recent years the pressure has forced Singaporeans to seek maids from Myanmar, India and Bangladesh.
"I doubt if these countries can train enough maids to meet our demand," an agent told a reporter.
Steadily the noose of high cost is tightening. The Philippine government has stipulated a minimum salary of about S$500 a month, which turned the demand to Indonesia.
And now the wheel turns again.
Jakarta wants to see a minimum of S$450 as a starting monthly pay - and employers and the government are reluctant to comply.
Recently, the government fined 16 employment agencies more than S$150,000 for collectively fixing the pay of new Indonesian maids, raising it from S$380 to S$450.
They were charged under the city's price-fixing laws, turning down arguments that the hike was a necessary market response to free up supply of maids.
The next move may be Indonesia's.
It is increasing pressure to protect the interests of its workers abroad.
A Jakarta official reportedly indicated that his government may be considering cutting off supply to Singapore - until it agrees on the minimum pay of S$450 a month.
That could bring the cost of a maid to about S$900-S$1,000 all-in - a monthly sum that could push out many Singaporeans from the market.
Some see it as a delaying action to postpone the inevitable.
With the global trends moving at such fast pace, the history of the maid in South-East Asia may end in the longer term.

Friday, October 7, 2011

9 things you didn’t know about the life of Steve Jobs

Steve Jobs leans against his wife, Laurene Powell Jobs (Lea Suzuki/San Francisco Chronicle/Corbis)

For all of his years in the spotlight at the helm of Apple, Steve Jobs in many ways remains an inscrutable figure — even in his death. Fiercely private, Jobs concealed most specifics about his personal life, from his curious family life to the details of his battle with pancreatic cancer — a disease that ultimately claimed him on Wednesday, at the age of 56.
While the CEO and co-founder of Apple steered most interviews away from the public fascination with his private life, there's plenty we know about Jobs the person, beyond the Mac and the iPhone. If anything, the obscure details of his interior life paint a subtler, more nuanced portrait of how one of the finest technology minds of our time grew into the dynamo that we remember him as today.

1. Early life and childhood
Jobs was born in San Francisco on February 24, 1955. He was adopted shortly after his birth and reared near Mountain View, California by a couple named Clara and Paul Jobs. His adoptive father — a term that Jobs openly objected to — was a machinist for a laser company and his mother worked as an accountant.
Later in life, Jobs discovered the identities of his estranged parents. His birth mother, Joanne Simpson, was a graduate student at the time and later a speech pathologist; his biological father, Abdulfattah John Jandali, was a Syrian Muslim who left the country at age 18 and reportedly now serves as the vice president of a Reno, Nevada casino. While Jobs reconnected with Simpson in later years, he and his biological father remained estranged.

Reed College
2. College dropout
The lead mind behind the most successful company on the planet never graduated from college, in fact, he didn't even get close. After graduating from high school in Cupertino, California — a town now synonymous with 1 Infinite Loop, Apple's headquarters — Jobs enrolled in Reed College in 1972. Jobs stayed at Reed (a liberal arts university in Portland, Oregon) for only one semester, dropping out quickly due to the financial burden the private school's steep tuition placed on his parents. In his famous 2005 commencement speech to Stanford University, Jobs said of his time at Reed: "It wasn't all romantic. I didn't have a dorm room, so I slept on the floor in friends' rooms, I returned coke bottles for the 5 cent deposits to buy food with, and I would walk the seven miles across town every Sunday night to get one good meal a week at the Hare Krishna temple."

Breakout for the Atari
3. Fibbed to his Apple co-founder about a job at Atari
Jobs is well known for his innovations in personal computing, mobile tech, and software, but he also helped create one of the best known video games of all-time. In 1975, Jobs was tapped by Atari to work on the Pong-like game Breakout. He was reportedly offered $750 for his development work, with the possibility of an extra $100 for each chip eliminated from the game's final design. Jobs recruited Steve Wozniak (later one of Apple's other founders) to help him with the challenge. Wozniak managed to whittle the prototype's design down so much that Atari paid out a $5,000 bonus — but Jobs kept the bonus for himself, and paid his unsuspecting friend only $375, according to Wozniak's own autobiography.

4. The wife he leaves behind
Like the rest of his family life, Jobs kept his marriage out of the public eye. Thinking back on his legacy conjures images of him commanding the stage in his trademark black turtleneck and jeans, and those solo moments are his most iconic. But at home in Palo Alto, Jobs was raising a family with his wife, Laurene, an entrepreneur who attended the University of Pennsylvania's prestigious Wharton business school and later received her MBA at Stanford, where she first met her future husband.
For all of his single-minded dedication to the company he built from the ground up, Jobs actually skipped a meeting to take Laurene on their first date: "I was in the parking lot with the key in the car, and I thought to myself, 'If this is my last night on earth, would I rather spend it at a business meeting or with this woman?' I ran across the parking lot, asked her if she'd have dinner with me. She said yes, we walked into town and we've been together ever since."
In 1991, Jobs and Powell were married in the Ahwahnee Hotel at Yosemite National Park, and the marriage was officiated by Kobin Chino, a Zen Buddhist monk.

5. His sister is a famous author
Later in his life, Jobs crossed paths with his biological sister while seeking the identity of his birth parents. His sister, Mona Simpson (born Mona Jandali), is the well-known author of Anywhere But Here — a story about a mother and daughter that was later adapted into a film starring Natalie Portman and Susan Sarandon.
After reuniting, Jobs and Simpson developed a close relationship. Of his sister, he told a New York Times interviewer: "We're family. She's one of my best friends in the world. I call her and talk to her every couple of days.'' Anywhere But Here is dedicated to "my brother Steve."

Joan Baez
6. Celebrity romances
In The Second Coming of Steve Jobs, an unauthorized biography, a friend from Reed reveals that Jobs had a brief fling with folk singer Joan Baez. Baez confirmed the the two were close "briefly," though her romantic connection with Bob Dylan is much better known (Dylan was the Apple icon's favorite musician). The biography also notes that Jobs went out with actress Diane Keaton briefly.

7. His first daughter
When he was 23, Jobs and his high school girlfriend Chris Ann Brennan conceived a daughter, Lisa Brennan Jobs. She was born in 1978, just as Apple began picking up steam in the tech world. He and Brennan never married, and Jobs reportedly denied paternity for some time, going as far as stating that he was sterile in court documents. He went on to father three more children with Laurene Powell. After later mending their relationship, Jobs paid for his first daughter's education at Harvard. She graduated in 2000 and now works as a magazine writer.

8. Alternative lifestyle
In a few interviews, Jobs hinted at his early experience with the psychedelic drug LSD. Of Microsoft founder Bill Gates, Jobs said: "I wish him the best, I really do. I just think he and Microsoft are a bit narrow. He'd be a broader guy if he had dropped acid once or gone off to an ashram when he was younger."
The connection has enough weight that Albert Hofmann, the Swiss scientist who first synthesized (and took) LSD, appealed to Jobs for funding for research about the drug's therapeutic use.
In a book interview, Jobs called his experience with the drug "one of the two or three most important things I have done in my life." As Jobs himself has suggested, LSD may have contributed to the "think different" approach that still puts Apple's designs a head above the competition.
Jobs will forever be a visionary, and his personal life also reflects the forward-thinking, alternative approach that vaulted Apple to success. During a trip to India, Jobs visited a well-known ashram and returned to the U.S. as a Zen Buddhist.
Jobs was also a pescetarian who didn't consume most animal products, and didn't eat meat other than fish. A strong believer in Eastern medicine, he sought to treat his own cancer through alternative approaches and specialized diets before reluctantly seeking his first surgery for a cancerous tumor in 2004.

9. His fortune
As the CEO of the world's most valuable brand, Jobs pulled in a comically low annual salary of just $1. While the gesture isn't unheard of in the corporate world  — Google's Larry Page, Sergey Brin, and Eric Schmidt all pocketed the same 100 penny salary annually — Jobs has kept his salary at $1 since 1997, the year he became Apple's lead executive. Of his salary, Jobs joked in 2007: "I get 50 cents a year for showing up, and the other 50 cents is based on my performance."
In early 2011, Jobs owned 5.5 million shares of Apple. After his death, Apple shares were valued at $377.64 — a roughly 43-fold growth in valuation over the last 10 years that shows no signs of slowing down.
He may only have taken in a single dollar per year, but Jobs leaves behind a vast fortune. The largest chunk of that wealth is the roughly $7 billion from the sale of Pixar to Disney in 2006. In 2011, with an estimated net worth of $8.3 billion, he was the 110th richest person in the world, according to Forbes. If Jobs hadn't sold his shares upon leaving Apple in 1985 (before returning to the company in 1996), he would be the world's fifth richest individual.
While there's no word yet on plans for his estate, Jobs leaves behind three children from his marriage to Laurene Jobs (Reed, Erin, and Eve), as well as his first daughter, Lisa Brennan-Jobs.

[Image credit: Ben Stanfield, Heinrich Klaffs]
This article originally appeared on Tecca

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Steve Jobs dies: Apple chief created personal computer, iPad, iPod, iPhone

Steve Jobs, the mastermind behind Apple's iPhone, iPad, iPod, iMac and iTunes, has died, Apple said. Jobs was 56.

"We are deeply saddened to announce that Steve Jobs passed away today," read a statement by Apple's board of directors. "Steve's brilliance, passion and energy were the source of countless innovations that enrich and improve all of our lives. The world is immeasurably better because of Steve. His greatest love was for his wife, Laurene, and his family. Our hearts go out to them and to all who were touched by his extraordinary gifts."

The homepage of Apple's website this evening switched to a full-page image of Jobs with the text, "Steve Jobs 1955-2011."

Clicking on the image revealed the additional text: "Apple has lost a visionary and creative genius, and the world has lost an amazing human being. Those of us who have been fortunate enough to know and work with Steve have lost a dear friend and an inspiring mentor. Steve leaves behind a company that only he could have built, and his spirit will forever be the foundation of Apple."

Jobs co-founded Apple Computer in 1976 and, with his childhood friend Steve Wozniak, marketed what was considered the world's first personal computer, the Apple II.

Shortly after learning of Jobs' death, Wozniak told ABC News, "I'm shocked and disturbed."
Industry watchers called him a master innovator -- perhaps on a par with Thomas Edison -- changing the worlds of computing, recorded music and communications.

In 2004, he beat back an unusual form of pancreatic cancer, and in 2009 he was forced to get a liver transplant. After several years of failing health, Jobs announced on Aug. 24, 2011 that he was stepping down as Apple's chief executive.

"I have always said if there ever came a day when I could no longer meet my duties and expectations as Apple's CEO, I would be the first to let you know," Jobs wrote in his letter of resignation. "Unfortunately, that day has come."

One of the world's most famous CEOs, Jobs remained stubbornly private about his personal life, refusing interviews and shielding his wife and their children from public view.

"He's never been a media person," said industry analyst Tim Bajarin, president of Creative Strategies, after Jobs resigned. "He's granted interviews in the context of product launches, when it benefits Apple, but you never see him talk about himself."

The highlights of Jobs's career trajectory are well-known: a prodigy who dropped out of Reed College in Oregon and, at 21, started Apple with Wozniak in his parents' garage. He was a multimillionaire by 25, appeared on the cover of Time magazine at 26, and was ousted at Apple at age 30, in 1984.

In the years that followed, he went into other businesses, founding NeXT computers and, in 1986, buying the computer graphics arm of Lucasfilm, Ltd., which became Pixar Animation Studios.

He was described as an exacting and sometimes fearsome leader, ordering up and rejecting multiple versions of new products until the final version was just right. He said the design and aesthetics of a device were as important as the hardware and software inside.

In 1996, Apple, which had struggled without Jobs, brought him back by buying NeXT. He became CEO in 1997 and put the company on a remarkable upward path.

By 2001 the commercial music industry was on its knees because digital recordings, copied and shared online for free, made it unnecessary for millions of people to buy compact discs.

Jobs took advantage with the iPod -- essentially a pocket-sized computer hard drive with elegantly simple controls and a set of white earbuds so that one could listen to the hours of music one saved on it. He set up the iTunes online music store, and persuaded major recording labels to sell songs for 99 cents each. No longer did people have to go out and buy a CD if they liked one song from it. They bought a digital file and stored it in their iPod.

In 2007, he transformed the cell phone. Apple's iPhone, with its iconic touch screen, was a handheld computer, music player, messaging device, digital wallet and -- almost incidentally -- cell phone. Major competitors, such as BlackBerry, Nokia and Motorola, struggled after it appeared.

By 2010, Apple's new iPad began to cannibalize its original business, the personal computer. The iPad was a sleek tablet computer with a touch screen and almost no physical buttons. It could be used for almost anything software designers could conceive, from watching movies to taking pictures to leafing through a virtual book.

Personal life

Jobs kept a close cadre of friends, Bajarin said, including John Lasseter of Pixar and Larry Ellison of Oracle, but beyond that, shared very little of his personal life with anyone.

But that personal life -- he was given up at birth for adoption, had an illegitimate child, was romantically linked with movie stars -- was full of intrigue for his fan base and Apple consumers.

Jobs and his wife, Laurene Powell, were married in a small ceremony in Yosemite National Park in 1991, lived in Woodside, Calif., and had three children: Reed Paul, Erin Sienna and Eve.

He admitted that when he was 23, he had a child out of wedlock with his high school girlfriend, Chris Ann Brennan. Their daughter, Lisa Brennan Jobs, was born in 1978.

He had a biological sister, Mona Simpson, the author of such well-known books as "Anywhere But Here." But he did not meet Simpson until they were adults and he was seeking out his birth parents. Simpson later wrote a book based on their relationship. She called it "A Regular Guy."

Fortune magazine reported that Jobs denied paternity of Lisa for years, at one point swearing in a court document that he was infertile and could not have children. According to the report, Chris Ann Brennan collected welfare for a time to support the child until Jobs later acknowledged Lisa as his daughter.
There were other personal details that emerged over the years, as well.

At Reed, Jobs became romantically involved with the singer Joan Baez, according to Elizabeth Holmes, a friend and classmate. In "The Second Coming of Steve Jobs," Holmes tells biographer Alan Deutschman that Jobs broke up with his serious girlfriend to "begin an affair with the charismatic singer-activist." Holmes confirmed the details to ABC News.

Jobs' health and Apple's health

Enigmatic and charismatic, Jobs said little about himself. But then his body began to fail him.
In 2004, he was forced to say publicly he had a rare form of pancreatic cancer. In 2009, it was revealed that he had quietly gone to a Memphis hospital for a liver transplant.

He took three medical leaves from Apple. He did not share details.

In 2009, sources said, members of Apple's board of directors had to persuade him to disclose more about his health as "a fiduciary issue," interwoven with the health of the company.

He was listed in March as 109th on the Forbes list of the world's billionaires, with a net worth of about $8.3 billion. After selling Pixar animation studios to The Walt Disney Company in 2006, he became a Disney board member and the company's largest shareholder. Disney is the parent company of ABC News.

Analysts said Apple performed well during Jobs' absence, partly because he was available for big decisions and partly because his chief lieutenant, Tim Cook, was the hands-on manager even when Jobs was there.

The company has a history of bouncing back. In January 2009, after he announced his second medical leave, Apple stock dropped to $78.20 per share. But it quickly recovered and became one of the most successful stocks on Wall Street. On one day in the summer of 2011, with the stock hitting the $400 level, Apple briefly passed ExxonMobil as the world's most valuable company.


Sunday, October 2, 2011

2nd typhoon in week lashes rain-soaked Philippines

MANILA, Philippines (AP) — The second typhoon in a week battered the rain-soaked northern Philippines on Saturday, adding misery to the lives of thousands of people, some of whom were still perched on rooftops from previous flooding.

Thousands of people were ordered to evacuate their homes after Typhoon Nalgae slammed ashore south of northeastern Palanan Bay in Isabela province with winds of 100 miles (160 kilometers) per hour and dangerous gusts of 121 mph (195 kph). At least one person was killed in a landslide.

The fast-moving typhoon blew westward, barreling across the mountainous regions of Luzon Island. It weakened slightly as it reached the shore of La Union province around 4 p.m. (0800 GMT), about seven hours after it made landfall.

Forecasters said it will be over South China Sea by Saturday night and is expected to regain strength over the water as it heads farther west toward Hainan and Vietnam.

A landslide in northern Bontoc province smashed into a passenger van on a mountain highway, killing one passenger and injuring another, Civil Defense chief Benito Ramos said.

The typhoon took a similar path across areas on Luzon saturated by Typhoon Nesat, which trapped thousands on rooftops and sent huge waves that breached a seawall in Manila Bay. The Office of Civil Defense said the death toll from Nesat has risen to 52 after two more victims drowned in its floodwaters. It said 31 others were missing.

Nesat also pummeled southern China and was downgraded to a tropical storm just before churning into northern Vietnam on Friday afternoon, where flood warnings were issued and 20,000 people evacuated. There were no immediate reports of casualties in Vietnam and the country did not appear to have suffered any major problems.

In the Philippines, nearly 400,000 hunkered down in evacuation centers and in homes of relatives and friends along the new typhoon's path. There was heavy rainfall of about an inch (25 millimeters) an hour within the storm's 340-mile (630-kilometer) diameter that put the northern provinces including the capital on alert.

Isabela authorities earlier shut down electricity in the province to prevent accidents from falling power pylons and snapped cables.

The howling winds toppled trees and blew away tin roofs of some houses in Isabela's provincial capital of Ilagan. In nearby Luna township, a bus with about 30 passengers fell on its side on a rice field because of the strong winds, but no one was seriously injured, police said.

"The ground is still supersaturated and it cannot absorb more water," said Graciano Yumul, the Philippines' weather bureau chief. "This will just flow down to rivers and towns, and there is a big possibility that landslides, flash flooding and flooding could occur."

He urged residents still refusing to leave their homes despite the floods from Typhoon Nesat to evacuate because the water was going to rise as Typhoon Nalgae, aggravated by the seasonal monsoon, dumped more rain over the northern region, including the capital, Manila, later Saturday.

Yumul said the evacuation is "non-negotiable" because lives are at stake.

At least five towns in the rice-growing province of Bulacan and Pampanga, north of Manila, remained submerged three days after Typhoon Nesat had moved on.

"We have nowhere to go," Celenia Espino of Calumpit township said from her home, which was filled with knee-deep murky water. "We have no means of transportation out of here."

She was one of the thousands who sought shelter on rooftops with no food, water and electricity, while a procession of other residents waded in chest-deep water down main roads to reach dry land.

Ramos said rescue boats would be sent for the residents before nightfall.

Elsewhere, Ramos said there had been no contact with several coastal towns facing the Pacific Ocean that were in the path of the typhoon hours after it made landfall. There was no electricity and mobile telephone cell sites had been damaged and communication to the area would be re-established after the typhoon passed, he said.

Civil defense officer Evaliza Agamata of Nueva Vizcaya — one of the four provinces facing the Pacific that are affected — said 5,000 people had been ordered evacuated from there, adding to 6,000 still in evacuation centers from the earlier typhoon.

In the last four months, prolonged monsoon flooding, typhoon and storms across Southeast Asia, China, Japan and South Asia has left more than 600 people dead or missing.

In India alone, the damage is estimated to be worth $1 billion, with the worst-hit state of Orissa accounting for $726 million.

Several studies suggest an intensification of the Asian summer monsoon rainfall with increased atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations, the state-run Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology said. Still, it is not clear that this is entirely because of climate change, especially in India, it said.

The damage from the earlier typhoon in the Philippines was estimated at $91 million.

Nalgae, a Korean word for wing, was forecast to reach Luzon's western shore Saturday evening and exit into the South China Sea as a weakened category-1 typhoon as it moves toward China's Hainan Island on Monday.

By OLIVER TEVES - Associated Press
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