Steve Jobs The Movie: Sony Wants Aaron Sorkin to Write It

Sony is moving forward on a cinematic adaptation of Walter Isaacson’s biography of Steve Jobs, and is courting Aaron Sorkin to write the screenplay, according to one report.

The LA Times cites a source “briefed on the project but not authorized to speak publicly,” who says that Sorkin is on a shortlist of screenwriters being considered for the project. The West Wing creator is considering the project, this source says, but has made no decision.

Sorkin won an Academy Award for his adaptation of another Silicon Valley story, The Social Network. The writer also has a strong relationship with Sony — which produced The Social Network and the last film he penned, Moneyball.

Sorkin seems like a natural fit, given his penchant for witty dialogue and strong but flawed male protagonists. But there are a couple of reasons why he might not choose to do it. The fact that the Jobs story treads the same sort of tech-based territory as The Social Network may prevent the writer from taking on the project. Typecasting is a major fear in Hollywood, and it’s not just for actors. Sorkin may not want to be pegged as a writer of geeky drama.

Additionally, as the LA Times points out, Sorkin actually knew Jobs. Two weeks ago, Sorkin penned his own memories of Jobs in a column for Newsweek. Whether or not that relationship would conflict with the process of bringing Jobs to the silver screen is something Sorkin will have to decide for himself.

But for film and Apple fans, the thought of a Sorkin-penned screenplay is extremely attractive. It’s hard not to become enamored with the idea of what a writer of Sorkin’s caliber could do with a character like Jobs.

SEE ALSO: “The Social Network”: Mashable’s Complete Movie Review

Part of what made The Social Network such an achievement was that the work of Sorkin, director David Fincher and Jesse Eisenberg elevated an idea that was laughable (a Facebook movie?) into a work of art.

With The Social Network, there was an onus on the cast and crew to convince the audience that Facebook and Mark Zuckerberg were worthy of being immortalized on film. With Jobs, that argument doesn’t have to be made. The legacy and Apple is implicitly understood.

The challenge with making a film about Steve Jobs is the inverse of making one about Facebook; it’s not about convincing an audience that a film needs to be made, it’s about living up to the expectations set forth by the character that is center to the story itself.

Sony has a good track record for these sorts of projects. With Mark Gordan (Saving Private Ryan) as producer, it has a shot at succeeding artistically and financially. Do you think Sorkin would be a good choice for the project? Let us know in the comments.

Apple Could Release TV Set in 2012

 Apple is working on a TV set that could appear by the end of next year or early 2013.

According to three unnamed sources, Jeff Robbin, a software engineer who helped create iTunes and the iPod, is leading development on an Apple TV set that goes far beyond the $99 console the company currently has available.

Interest in a potential TV set was sparked by the release of Apple founder and former CEO Steve Jobs’s authorized biography Monday. In the biography, Jobs told author Walter Isaacson he had finally discovered how to build an integrated, wirelessly synched TV set with “the simplest user interface you could imagine.”

Although Apple declined to comment, sometimes-reliable Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster says a TV set is indeed in the works and could be announced by the end of next year or in 2013. The TV set could be accompanied by a cloud-based system that would allow users to access and search for content obtained through Apple and third-party services such as Netflix.

Meet Dot: The iPhone Panoramic Video Camera You Funded

 Dot, a hardware attachment for capturing panoramic video on the iPhone, starts shipping Tuesday after a short but storied development — one that began with the help of more than 1,000 backers on crowd-funding site Kickstarter in May.

Dot will also land on Apple Store retail shelves nationwide starting Nov. 1.

Dot, developed by New York-based startup Kogeto, is a compact $79 iPhone 4 or iPhone 4S video camera attachment — available in black, red, pink and green — that lets anyone shoot and share 360-degree shots.

This isn’t one of those piecemeal panoramic experiences weaved together via software; this is the real deal. And it works remarkably well, as Mashable witnessed first-hand in a live demo with Kogeto founder and CEO Jeff Glasse earlier this year. Dot is lightweight, and does not require batteries or recharging.

Snap Dot on to your device, use the accompanying Looker iPhone app, and start shooting panoramic video via a lens designed to capture 360 degrees of video. You can then share your complete-perspective captures, a.k.a. “Dotspots,” via Facebook and Twitter, or on

Dot represents the collective intelligence gleaned from Kogeto’s experience building Lucy, an advance desktop panoramic video camera designed for professional and educational use.

“We wanted … to put a panoramic capture device in everyone’s hand, and Kickstarter allowed us to do that,” Glasse explains.

Glasse started Kogeto and initially launched Lucy with his entire life savings. And while Lucy has been successful enough to keep the small company afloat, Glasse knew that Kogeto would need to take on more capital to turn the Dot prototype into a product that consumers could buy in stores. But he didn’t want to take on venture capital at the time.

Enter Kickstarter, the crowd-funding service making it possible for small startups like Kogeto to finance their dream products — just so long as the community believes in the mission too. Kogeto sought to raise $20,000 via Kickstarter to fund and produce Dot. More than 1,000 backers had a better idea: They pledged a total of $120,514.

“We started with a $20,000 goal and we were hoping to beat it … to raise $40,000. We raised $120,000,” Glasse says. “But more importantly, we knew there was a demand for Dot.”

Demand is right. Dot, says Glasse, has racked up thousands of pre-orders in advance of Tuesday’s official release date. The startup has netted relationships with online retailers anxious to sell the device and has already found favor with Apple, who will help distribute the device via its U.S. Apple Stores come November.

One of Dot’s first taglines — “Put down the camera. Enjoy the party” — best exemplifies the power of the petite device, Glasse says. “The idea is that you can put it down and you can have a non-inflected, non-contrived interaction with me where I might let my guard down and just be who I am with you.”

“This is one of those enabling technologies that’s almost hard to explain to people how many things it makes possible,” he adds.

iPod creator's next quest: Making thermostats sexy

It's hard to imagine making thermostats sexy, but if anyone could do it, it would be the "father of the iPod."

In 2008, amid renewed concerns about Steve Jobs' health, Fortune ranked the probable candidates to someday replace the famed Apple CEO. The first choice? Then COO and eventual successor Tim Cook. The second? ITony Fadell, chief of the iPod division and the man credited with the ideas that resulted in the creation of the iPod and its marriage with the iTunes Music Store.

Around that time, Fadell left Apple, his next move unknown, and since then, he's been in stealth mode. But today, he re-emerged, announcing Nest, a 100-person startup that's applying the design and user-experience DNA of Apple and many other top Silicon Valley firms to a humdrum home appliance that just happens to govern the largest share of American households' energy spending: the thermostat.

With its Learning Thermostat, Nest is going all in and telling the world that a ubiquitous but hard-to-master device that hasn't had a major redesign in decades is due for a shot of iPod and iPhone design magic. Fadell and his team think they've come up with an alternative that's easy to use and that learns from what we do. Along the way, the company thinks it could cut 20 percent to 30 percent off the average household's $1,000 or so in annual energy bills.

The new device is small and round and has a bright and simple digital screen and you jog the outer case left or right or push-click the front to make selections. Sound familiar? Plus it works hand in hand with an iOS--and soon an Android--app that lets users control the system from afar.

Windows 8: A bad bet

Given my choice of desktops, I’m running Linux, but over the years Windows has gone from being a bad joke of a desktop operating systems–Windows ME and Vista–to being a reasonably good choice-Windows XP SP3 and Windows 7. But Windows 8? What the heck is Microsoft thinking?

After looking at Metro, Windows 8’s default interface, for the last month, all I see a lame, reactionary response to iPad and Android. In a broader sense, it’s Microsoft’s response to the move away from the desktop to smartphones and tablets.

Great Debate: Is Microsoft’s next operating system headed in the right direction?

Microsoft has made it clear that while there will be room for the Windows 7’s Aero style interface, in Windows 8, Microsoft really wants everyone working with the Metro interface and applications. When I look at Metro, I see gaudy colors, boxy designs, applications that can either run as a small tile or as full screen with no way to re-size or move windows. Where have I seen this before… Wait, I know! Windows 1.0!

Twenty-five plus years of user-interface development and this, this, is what we get!? Scary isn’t it?

If you want an interesting take on a universal interface, take a look at Ubuntu’s Unity desktop. Metro? It’s klutzy and even people who love Windows admit that “the jury’s still out on the touch/no touch question.”

But, even if Metro was just a touch tablet interface I doubt that would find many users. Google’s Android 4.0, Ice Cream Sandwich and Apple’s iOS 5 already have better, more usable interfaces, and they’ll have years more to improve before Windows 8 actually arrives. This isn’t just my opinion. Look at the market. Metro is already Windows Phone 7.x’s interface and that OS has a tiny fraction of the smartphone market.

Besides, bread and butter Windows users already know the Windows interface. Metro is Not the Windows interface. Heck, Mac OS X Lion and Mint Linux 11’s GNOME 2.28 both look and feel more like Windows 7 than Windows 8 Metro does. Fortunately, you can use a more Windows’ like interface, but Microsoft really seems to want everyone to move to Metro.

Windows developers can’t love Metro either. They’ve spend years mastering .NET, Windows Communication Foundation (WCF), Windows Presentation Foundation (WPF), etc. etc. and now they have to learn WinRT and Jupiter/XAML? That’s bad enough, but since you’ll need to rewrite your app. for the more traditional Windows-style desktop your work load just doubled.

Metro is going to be a pain for both users and developers. It seems to me that with Metro, Microsoft is headed toward another Vista-sized fiasco.

Microsoft can’t afford that kind of disaster. This isn’t the 90s or the 2000s. Today, users buy tablets and smartphones. According to IDC, tablets alone in 2011 will equal 17% of the PC market’s sales. At the same time, tablet sales are growing explosively PCs sales are barely moving upward. If Windows 8 is a failure, Windows users won’t wait around for the next version the way they did for Windows 7, they’ll just continue to switch over from conventional PCs to Android and iOS devices.

Microsoft may never lose the PC market, but with Windows 8 and Metro they may never have a chance to win the growing, broader computing market of PCs, smartphones and tablets.

Apple owes Steve Jobs $37.91

Steve Jobs has yet to accept small amounts of money owed to him by several companies, including his own.

Apple filed a claim with the state of California saying its CEO, Steven P. Jobs, hasn't claimed property worth $37.91, according to a listing with the state controller's office.

The property type is listed as "other," and a spokesman for the controller declined to elaborate on what the item is because that information isn't public record.

We're guessing it doesn't mean that Jobs forgot to claim his annual bonus.

California law requires claims be posted for property "abandoned or lost" for more than three years. If the person doesn't claim it after six months, the property is transferred to the state, which then attempts to contact the owner, the spokesman said.

The form was filed by Apple Computer Inc., which was the name of the Cupertino, California, company for about three decades before changing to Apple Inc. in 2007.

The document was first reported by the website Gawker, in a post titled, "Apple Has No Idea Where Steve Jobs Is."

While the amount might seem small -- and it certainly would be considered inconsequential for a billionaire like Jobs -- it's the equivalent of nearly 38 years of cash salary for the Apple CEO. Jobs famously takes just $1 per year in salary, cushioned by generous stock options.

Apple didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.

Claims from insurance and technology companies are also listed on the controller's office website. IBM reported that it owes Jobs $21.45 in stock and another mysterious property listed as costing $14.30. Time Warner, which owns CNN, filed a claim last year saying it owes Jobs 20 cents.

Smartphone detects danger in a heartbeat

A new medical invention which harnesses the power of smartphone technology could revolutionize the treatment of heart patients, according to researchers in Switzerland.

The autonomous tool -- developed jointly by the Embedded Systems and Telecommunications Circuits labs at Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne (EPFL) -- not only automatically identifies anomalies in heart-rate, but also alerts doctors in seconds helping them treat patients more quickly.

"Many of the problems with the heart are not very well understood," says David Atienza, head of the Embedded Systems Lab.

"It's very difficult for doctors to anticipate what is going to happen. This device will provide a better understanding of what is going on," Atienza added.

The small, lightweight monitor consists of four non-invasive electrode sensors attached to the skin which are linked to a radio module and computer chip which clips onto a patient's belt.

Data is fed to the user's smartphone where it can be viewed in real time for anything up to 150 hours on a single charge.
It's very difficult for doctors to anticipate what is going to happen. This device will provide a better understanding of what is going on.
David Atienza from EPFL, Switzerland

Complex algorithms flag up any abnormalities with data sent to a doctor for examination via a picture attachment on text or email.

Watch Atienza explain how the new tool works

"The system collects very reliable and precise data," Atienza says, "but above all it provides an automatic analysis and immediate transmission of data to the doctor, preventing him or her from having to work through hours of recorded data."

It's taken four years to develop and is a leap forward, Atienza says, from more bulky Holter monitors which are generally worn by patients for around 24 hours at a time.

Cardiologist Etienne Pruvot from Lausanne University Hospitals Cardiology Service -- one of two hospitals helping Atienza and his team develop the device -- is excited by its potential.

"Its size, its lightness, its ease of use, the fact that it measures continuously and remotely, which allows analysis to take place anywhere, makes this device very attractive to doctors," Pruvot said in a statement.

Atienza is also confident the tool will find other health-related uses: monitoring athletic performance, perhaps, or assessing diet and physical activity in obese patients, he says.

EPFL's research is part of the wider "Guardian Angels for a Smarter Life" project -- a pan-European project involving universities, research institutions and private companies -- which aims to develop small, autonomous and affordable technology to monitor health and also prevent accidents.

Peter J. Bentley, a computer scientist from the UK's University College London and inventor of the iStethescope app says there is currently a big push for these kinds of technologies.

"Certainly the way medicine seems to be moving is towards ever greater use of mobile devices," Bentley said.

"We are all very excited about the possibilities -- the ability to sample all kinds of different data, store it, transmit it and process it.

"It allows us to monitor different aspects of a patient's health and get data to specialists wherever they are," he added.
We are all very excited about the possibilities -- the ability to sample all kinds of different data, store it, transmit it and process it.
Peter J. Bentley, University College London

Many doctors are already using smartphone apps (there are thousands to choose from) but regulation by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and European legislators is looming, says Bentley.

"In some respects this is a good thing because it's going to ensure (portable medical) devices will be effective," says Bentley, who is currently developing a new automated triage system.

"But the downside is that it takes a long time and slows down the rapid innovation we currently have," he said.

The World Health Organization estimates that 17 million people die of cardiovascular disease every year.

Many of these deaths, Atienza says, happen because the type of pathology isn't detected in time.

"The beauty of this type of device is that you can monitor people 24 hours a day, seven days a week," Atienza said.

Not only will this simplify life for heart patients (less trips to the hospital), he thinks, but it could also slash costs for healthcare systems.

Furthermore, Atienza predicts that wearable round-the-clock monitoring devices will bring about new types of analysis, leading to new treatments and ultimately save lives all around the world.

The Hackathon: Your Ticket To Disrupt Beijing, Great Prizes, And More

Hackers, are you ready? The Disrupt Beijing Hackathon is almost here. Not only is this our fifth time hosting the Hackathon at TechCrunch Disrupt, but it is our very first time hosting it overseas. The Hackathon has become an incredibly popular event, where hackers of every stripe come together to build cool products and businesses — from funny to useful, from bizarre to essential. The goal of the Hackathon is to push innovation forward.

We have been lucky enough to receive support from some amazing companies. These companies will be helping hackers by hosting their own API platforms, providing educational workshops, and offering exciting prizes from their own contests. Make sure to check out the contests and prizes below, and make sure to get your ticket soon! It’s our first Hackathon overseas and one you don’t want to miss.

6waves Lolapps Custom Contest

6waves Lolapps is looking for the next killer game in the social/mobile gaming platforms. Up to 3 winning teams could bring home over US $100,000 worth of prizes and win an opportunity to partner with 6waves Lolapps to get their games published globally. Contestants are welcome to use any open-source or licensed technologies to build a demo social game on any mobile or social network platforms. Example API’s and platforms include Tencent, OpenSocial, Facebook, iOS, and Android platforms. Demos or prototypes with built-in social and cross-platform concepts will gain advantage. Demos will be judged based on the following criteria:

- most original creative concept
- highest-level social experience
- best use of cross-platform technologies
- most compelling game design


1st Place: Potential funding from 6waves Lolapps’ 6L Fund (worth up to US$100,000) and 1 iPad 2, 1 Samsung Galaxy Tab

2nd Place: Apple iPad 2 (64GB)

3rd Place: Samsung Galaxy Tab