Innovation gospel according to Steve Jobs

DEATH is the “single best invention of Life,” Steve Jobs told graduates of Stanford University in 2005. It is life’s change agent, clearing out the old to make way for the new, he said in his commencement speech that regained popularity online with his resignation last week as Apple chief executive officer over medical reasons.

“Remembering that I’ll be dead soon is the most important tool I’ve ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life.”

Jobs said that starting at 17, he’d look in the mirror every morning and asked himself, “If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?”

That question, however, became more than rhetorical when he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in 2004 and underwent surgery. He was fine for a while but needed a liver transplant, which he had in 2009. He had been on medical leave since January.

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matt

WordPress rides the open source juggernaut

Eight years after it was started by a 19-year-old college freshman as a blogging software, WordPress now powers 14.7 percent of the world’s top one million websites. It is used in 55 million websites.

In his annual State of The Word address last week, WordPress founder Matt Mullenweg also said the open source content management system (CMS) now runs 22 out of every 100 new websites created in the US.

The velocity in WordPress adoption and its dominance illustrate the strength of the open source model, where the community is involved in the development of the software. It is not a coincidence that the top open source CMS packages today, WordPress and Drupal, also have the most active developer and user communities.

Matt Mullenweg giving his State of the Word 2011 address

Matt Mullenweg giving his State of the Word 2011 address.

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QR CODE FOR INVENTORY. Here’s a sample QR code for possible use in an inventory system. At left is the actual inventory sticker of my computer unit. At right is a sample QR code I generated for our comptroller’s laptop.

Use QR codes, Google Docs to set up free inventory system

YOU know QR or quick response codes have gone mainstream when they appear in the ample bottoms of Britain’s female beach volleyball champions. The codes, when scanned with mobile phones, direct users to a betting website.

The Daily Mail reported that Zara Dampney and Shauna Mullin have been paid a “substantial” figure to have the QR codes printed on the bottom of their bikinis.

QR CODE FOR INVENTORY. Here’s a sample QR code for possible use in an inventory system. At left is the actual inventory sticker of my computer unit. At right is a sample QR code I generated for our comptroller’s laptop.

QR CODE FOR INVENTORY. Here’s a sample QR code for possible use in an inventory system. At left is the actual inventory sticker of my computer unit. At right is a sample QR code I generated for our comptroller’s laptop. CLICK ON PHOTO TO ENLARGE

That piece of quirky news illustrates the increasing use of QR codes, which are 2D bar codes that contain data–from text to numerical strings to website addresses. It was developed by Toyota subsidiary Denso Wave in 1994 to keep track of vehicle parts.

A study by comScore said that 14 million users in the United States scanned a QR code in June. Of the number, 61 percent were male and 36 percent were in households making more than $100,000 a year.

The study also found that mobile phone users are most likely to scan the codes found in newspapers and magazines.

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Forget PowerPoint, wow ’em with Prezi

DEATH by PowerPoint is illustrated by a slide portraying the complexity of American strategy in Afghanistan. “When we understand that slide, we’ll have won the war,” the New York Times reported General Stanley McChrystal as saying, sparking laughter in the room.

The slide, which went viral last year, “looked more like a bowl of spaghetti,” the paper reported. It sparked a backlash, long simmering, against the presentation tool that first went on sale in April 1987 and dominated the market.

“PowerPoint makes us stupid,” one general was quoted by the New York Times. Another banned it from presentations, warning that “it can create the illusion of understanding and illusion of control.”

Walk into any business presentation today and you’d likely find yourself in corporate theater—a dimmed room with curtains drawn and a projector throwing an image of the ubiquitous PowerPoint slide on a board.

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