News Roundup: Jobs Attacks Teachers, Leopard Rumors, Vista Stumbles, DRM Debate, and More

News Roundup: Jobs Attacks Teachers, Leopard Rumors, Vista Stumbles, DRM Debate, and More

Jobs disses teachers' unions: Steve Jobs has stirred up another hornets' nest of controversy with his recent attack on teachers' unions, stating that the "unionization and lifetime employment of K-12 teachers" is "off-the-charts crazy." While we may not go as far as Wired News' Leander Kahney, who called Jobs's comments "absurd, he's-on-a-different-planet bullshit," we do believe that attacking the most underpaid, overworked, underappreciated members of the public school system isn't the answer to the complex problems facing America's admittedly deteriorating schools. Oddly enough, we find our opinions more in line with those of Bill Gates, who a year ago said that in the effort to reform our schools, "The key problem is political will." We also wonder, along with one blogger, whether Jobs's blame game will "alienate some of his adoring Mac fans." Maybe Steve and Bill will debate how to fix our schools when they appear together at the "D: All Things Digital" conference later this year.

 

The latest Leopard-release-date rumors: Today's rumor mill suggests that Leopard " will be released as early as the end of March," along with "new versions of iLife and iWork." Whether these rumors are true or not, one thing's for certain - that with the seeding to developers of Mac OS 10.4.9, Tiger's running out of version numbers. Incremental improvements to Tiger continue, however, such as today's release of Apple's WWAN Support Update 1.0 for mobile users of "broadband-lite" 3G wireless services such as HSDPA (high-speed downlink packet access) and EVDO (evolution-data optimized).

 

The latest DRM discussions: The current turmoil over DRM (digital rights management) shows no sign of abating, the latest development being that Germany's Germanically named Federal Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Consumer Protection has released a "charter for consumer sovereignty in the digital world" that would, among other things, require Apple to remove DRM that prevents music purchased from the iTunes Store from being played on devices other than the iPod. Throwing another monkey wrench into the DRM debate is the fact that recording giant EMI, which was recently reported to be investigating whether is should dump DRM, is considering a takeover bid from fellow giant, Warner Music, which has made no mention of dropping DRM. Our thoughts on DRM can be summed up by one analyst's statement that "Everyone can live without DRM. Even the music industry."

 

Vista continues to stumble: Speaking of things Germanic, we can't help but feel a frisson of schadenfreude when we read that no less a Microsoft biggie as CEO Steve Ballmer admits that Vista isn't selling as well as hoped - although, of course, this Steve has a ready reason why: "piracy." Hmm, Mr. Ballmer ... might the actual reason have more to do with the fact that, as reported by one analyst, that "It simply doesn't work very well, unfortunately."

 

Adobe's Lightroom released: Today saw the release of Adobe Photoshop Lightroom - and already the good folks at Ars Technica have published a review of that Aperture competitor. Their verdict: It's a "great program" that's a "no-brainer for professional photographers." Our call: Aperture, of course, is not exactly chopped liver, but its high system requirements will tempt many a Mac user to check out Lightroom, instead.

 

Other product releases: Nikon announced eight new Coolpix cameras (including the way-cool S50) on, maybe not coincidentally, the 10th anniversary of the original Coolpix; Lexar released a super-fast 300x Compact Flash card; and Sonnet released a nifty under-your-desk cradle for your Mac Pro called the MacCuff Pro. Oh, and speaking of Mac Pros, earlier rumors about an upcoming Mac Pro redesign were joined today by rumblings that the new Mac Pro may be HD-ready.

 

In other news: The man behind the "Month of Apple Bugs" efforts claims that we Mac folks are too lax in our security concerns; Macinstruct show us all how easy it is to add the date to our Mac's menu-bar clock, Jason O'Grady's SuperDrive is destroyed by a faulty disc; Apple is involved in yet another patent dispute, this time over the iPhone's touch-screen display; one analyst is of the opinion that Apple should be worried about Sony's plans to offer movie and TV downloads for its Playstation 3; Mac|Life's associate publisher and marketing coordinator talk about the switch from MacAddict to Mac|Life; and finally, today's Chutzpah Award winner goes to the IBM ex-employee who is suing that company for $5 million. Why? Because he was fired for viewing porn on company time. His defense? That his "porn addiction" should be classified as a disability, protected under the Americans with Disabilities Act. Breathtaking.

 

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William

Adopting this conservative position, Jobs is correct to an extent. The teachers union continue resist change and has done so for decades. But its not all teachers and their unions. They have to battle the popular culture which so often consists of wasted online time, video games, and the excessive iPod culture.
Why not allow vouchers to get kids into better schools. What's the downside? The only casualty would be the power of the teachers union.
We need to reassess what we think is worthwhile computer and media time.

I heard Gates limits his kids internet time to one hour a day. I doubt he lets his offspring run around listening to iPods and play video games, and watching idiot TV all day, too.

This isn't rocket science just taking a logical approach to raising good, smart kids.

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Mark

Jobs speaks the truth. It's not teachers he's blasting, it's the teachers union and their arcane rules. His logic says it all. And, by the way, this from the Feb. 2, 2007 Wall Street Journal:

"Who, on average, is better paid -- public school teachers or architects? How about teachers or economists? You might be surprised to learn that public school teachers are better paid than these and many other professionals. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, public school teachers earned $34.06 per hour in 2005, 36% more than the hourly wage of the average white-collar worker and 11% more than the average professional specialty or technical worker."

URL for this article:
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB117038934347395934.html

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FERGUS SMITH

REGARDING THE QUALITY OF EDUCATION, IF YOU BELIEVE THAT TEACHERS' UNIONS ARE A POSITIVE INFLUENCE ON EDUCATION, YOU JUST DON'T GET IT.

TEACHERS ARE NOT UNDERPAID. ACCROSS THE NATION, THEY ARE PAID MORE THAN THE AVERAGE WHITE COLLAR WORKER. THEY ARE PAID MORE THAN ENGINEERS AND MANAGERS.

THEY HAVE BECOME THE MOST SCREECHING, NASTY GROUP OF PEOPLE ONE CAN IMAGINE. THEY HAVE POOR KNOWLEDGE OF THEIR SUBJECTS AND ARE, BY AND LARGE, UNFIT TO TEACH.

THIS DOES NOT MEAN THAT ALL TEACHERS ARE BAD. THERE ARE MANY GOOD TEACHERS, BUT AS CLASS SIZES ARE REDUCED, THERE ARE FEWER GOOD TEACHERS IN PROPORTION.

IN MOST AREAS TODAY, TEACHERS ARE THE BEST PAID, LEAST WORKED CLASS. THIS DOESN'T STOP THEM FROM CLAIMING THEY ARE UNDERPAID.

FAR WORSE THAN THIS, TEACHERS OPPOSE TECHNOLOGY THAT CAN IMPROVE EDUCATION, BECAUSE MOST OF THEM CARE FAR MORE ABOUT THEMSELVES THAN ABOUT THE STUDENTS.

THEY TEACH NONSENSE TO THEIR STUDENTS AND DAMAGE THEIR MINDS.

WE NEED TO INCREASE THE QUALITY AND EFFICIENCY OF EDUCATION WITH VIDEO DVDS AND COMPUTERS, BOOT THE EXCESS BAD TEACHERS, AND GIVE STUDENTS ACCESS TO SUPERB EDUCATION.

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Webmaster

Does anyone else share my opinion that I should set something up to automatically delete any post THAT'S IN ALL CAPITAL LETTERS...?

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FERGUS SMITH

MAYBE I'M JUST GETTING OLD, BUT TO ME LOWER CASE IS AN ABOMINATION. REAL COMPUTERS DON'T HAVE LOWER CASE LETTERS.

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Anonymous

Yup, Mr. Smith, you are getting old, indeed. Lowercase has been around for, oh, about 25 years...

And if you can find me a public-school elementary teacher who makes as much as an engineer, I'll eat my Mac.

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Sean O'Flaherty

Job is falsely assuming that there is a large group of people ready to replace any fired teachers and that the school administrators are competent and well meaning. There a lot of schools that can't keep the teachers they have.

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b4u8a

Finally someone besides the guys on talk radio puts the evil teacher union in their place. The TU protects the jobs of teachers who can't teach, and some teachers who shouldn't even be around children. The ones that need protection are children, not the incompetent teachers. Plus, TU hurts the good teachers who care about teaching, and the ones that are good at teaching.... in the end, the ones that are hurt the most are the children, they are the ones who have to attend the abysmal public school system.


i am glad that Mr. Jobs has the courage to address the problems consequences of Teacher Unions.

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NYC Mac

Inside every AVERAGE students, there is a student who want to excel. Unfortunately, they are held back by those few teacher who think teaching is about making money.

Indifference works on both side of the class room. So don't blame students for being AVERAGE. He or she has average teacher.

I think 24,000 is for first year teacher.

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Anonymous

"Unfortunately, they are held back by those few teacher who think teaching is about making money." As I conducted my morning Web-check before I go off to my $32K/yr teaching job, I read your comment. What a wonderful way to start the day -- that is, with a bit of tongue-in-cheek, absurdist humor. That's it! We teachers are in it for the money! What a laugh! Thanks to NYC Mac for brightening my day with his rapier wit.

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OKStudent

I can see the logic in Jobs' comments. He probably could have worded it better, but the unions could be part of the problem. But make no mistake about what teacher's make in a year. Starting salary in Oklahoma for first year teachers is about $18,500 and I had several teachers growing up that also had night and summer jobs so that they could support themselves and their families.

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Foose

Inside every average student is an average student, nothing more. If they WANT to excel they WILL excel despite the circumstance, and they cease to be average. Not all kids WANT to learn, and only an excellent teacher and involved parents can change that.

Gee, teachers unions have been around HOW long and teachers are still 'underpaid and underappreciated'? So what have the unions actually done for the TEACHERS again?

When unions stay small and local, they stay in touch and serve the teachers, and everyone benefits. When they get huge, they serve themselves and their own interests, and shove the teachers aside for national political agendas. That's where stupid ideas like tenure for incompetent teachers show up while teacher salary and classroom materials are ignored. Unions are only a good idea when they remember that BOTH sides need the other to succeed. The UAW has forgotten that, and look where the auto industry is now that they've been bled dry ON TOP of their own mistakes.

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Dave

Unions have ruined the auto industry, the airline industry and schools. See the pattern?

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Macheath_Messer

Turn off Limbaugh and O'Reilly, dude. I wouldn't place the failing of an industry entirely on unions. Things are usually much more complex than that. I surely hope you don't have a worldview that really tries to make things oh-so-simple.

The falling away of unions has been one reason our jobs have moved overseas, there are so many no-benefit low-pay "McJobs", and it's also been a factor in the minimum wage's not being raised in a very long time. Yup, we've really progressed with those goofball unions out of the picture! Whatever.

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Anonymous

Jobs? Ramble much?

Go build your own school, fill it with AVERAGE kids, and turn them all into high flying success stories.

Put Up,
or
Shut Up.

I Double Dog Dare You!

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Anonymous

I think it's important to distinguish between teachers and teachers UNIONS. If a union has made firing incompetent or ineffective teachers impossible then that hurts the good teachers too. I'll bet anybody who's worked as a teacher has known another teacher who was an institutional nightmare who should be fired (and make room for some one who will actually do the job)

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Jeffrey

Steve just has the balls to say what needs to be said. I think in many cases most all unions have outlived their useful lives. I'd be happy to make $35-40K with 3 months off in the summer.... not a bad gig. (what I think most of the teachers make here in TX) I think if teachers would wise up they'd keep their union dues giving themselves a big fat raise.

Screw the UNIONS... they were great in the beginning but now they're just a fund raising unit of the democratic party!! I love that Texas is a Right to Work State....

Liberalism is a Mental Disorder

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Tony Di Giacomo

FYI: If it wasn't for the unions those $35,000 a year teaching jobs wouldn't exist. In New York $35,000 gets a box on the curb. In Florida, or at least in Central Florida, teachers barely make over $20,000. As for the summer off, well as I was told thats really not a reason to become a teacher now is it? You union bashers in the south, with your so called "right to work laws" forget one thing: with union wages I can afford a house, own a new car, and hell I can even pay my credit card bills. But I guess thats a bad thing, particapting in the economy, after all thats how our economic system works. Without consumer spending we'd all be out of a job. I'll just remember that attitude when I think about spending my hard earned money and maybe I WON'T buy a new car next year or anything else for that matter.

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FERGUS SMITH

DEAR TONY,

I HOPE YOU'RE NOT AN ENGLISH TEACHER. YOUR FIRST SENTENCE, "IF IT WASN'T..." REQUIRES THE SUBJUNCTIVE AS IT IS "CONTRARY TO FACT".

YOU SHOULD HAVE SAID, "IF IT WEREN'T..."

OBVIOUSLY YOU NEVER HAD A GOOD ENGLISH TEACHER - A COMMON PROBLEM TODAY AND IN THE PAST.

IF YOU ARE AN ENGLISH TEACHER, GOD HELP YOUR STUDENTS!

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Tony Di Giacomo

No actually I sort letters for a living for a very good company. Although I'm educated (one AS and two BAs) I have no interest in teaching as I don't have what it takes for such a job. Besides I make more than the teachers do in my area.

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Scott

I've been a teacher for twenty-two years. I've also been involved with union activities for eleven of those years. I've been a mentor teacher who travelled around my district helping other teachers improve their teaching. During those travels I also saw first hand absolutely horrible administrators trying to do unethical and vindictive things to teachers. The only thing that protected them was the contract the union helped negotiate. Are all teachers good? No. Are all adminstators good? No. The union is there to protect the good teachers from bad adminstrative decisions. Do some awful teachers sometimes get defended, yes; just like bad presidents get elected--but that's for another discussion.
For those of you who have never taught it is difficult to know what teachers go through. However, it's not difficult to imagine a system that so took advantage of teachers that something had to be done to address the problem, which is why unions were formed. And yes, they are still needed.

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Barry

Apple historically has had low marketshare in the enterprise. Additionally, Mac OS X has bugs.

These problems won't be solved until Apple's incompetent marketers and programmers are fired.

But Steve won't let us fire them.

Therefore we should get rid of Steve.

If you think the above is illogical and/or a bad analogy, the same applies to Steve's rant about teachers and their union.

In fact, Steve's rant is a classic logical fallacy—appeal to authority. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Appeal_to_authority

His rant, and those posted here, portray the "problems" of public schools as if there were a single cause (i.e., "incompetent" teachers who cannot be fired because of their union).

In fact, the problems experienced by public schools (like those experienced by the military, by the police, by corporations, by just about any organization) are multifaceted rather than unitary.

Steve has about as much knowledge regarding public schools' problems and solutions as he has regarding the military's problems and solutions.

He is terrific at managing a company and promoting insanely great products. He should stick to these areas of strength rather than ones about which he has little, if any, experience and knowledge. Moreover, he would serve Apple, its stockholders, and its customers better if he spent his time trying to fix Apple's problems rather than public schools' problems.

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Jeffrey

Problems with OSX? You must not use a mac. I run two different companies and I am all mac at one and unfortunately have to go PC for one program in the other. (Knock on wood).... for the entire time I've had OSX running I have not had a single system crash. The PC is a whole other story. MS sell pure SHIT software and screws everyone buying it... especially in the beginning..... when you're beta tested on a new version of their software.

And you obviously haven't done much research into Apple. Steve DOES FIRE people. I know this first hand from friends that work for Apple. When he first came back I heard he would sometimes ask people what they did at the company. IF they didn't have a satisfactory answer... they got their pink slip and were gone.

He's got kids... though they probably aren't in public schools... but he's got just as much a right to say something about teachers Unions and you or I.

You must be a lib..... all behind free speech unless it's something you don't want to hear. You also seem about as well informed as a typical lib.... totally clueless...LOL

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Barry

I have been a Mac user for almost 15 years.

I have worked as a software quality assurance analyst for Mac products.

I am an Apple stockholder.

Mac OS X does have defects. All software does. Yes, Windows has more defects and poorer design than Mac OS X.

I recommend that you reread my original posting to the very end and focus on the point the Steve's rant about teachers and their union is a logical fallacy.

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Thorax

Teachers in FL earn around $24,000 per year.

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Douglas

Steve Jobs did not attack teachers... as your article pointed out- his comments were directed to the Union rules that have been put in place- and Steve is right.

Although there are a number of things our schools could to do to improve themselves, this union issue has got to be toward the top of the list.

When you create systems that strip away the incentive to excel and to be held accountable you end up helping no one. Unfortunately in this case it is our children that suffer.

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D+

I dislike the public school system. A good waste of the first 18 years of my life. I only had three teachers who were educated themselves.

In a nutshell; they didn't teach me nuthin'!

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zfish7

I read the whole article I agree with Steve on the matter. I can't image someone finding fault with his logic.

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Anonymous

I have taught in college, private schools, all boys schools and public schools. I get a real kick out of people who have never had to teach and find fault wth a system that they know absolutly nothing about. Walk in the shoes of any teacher for one year and I will bet you change your tune.

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Anonymous

Teachers in CA require the equivalent of a masters degree in education. Teachers must renew their credential by earning 15 credits every 5 years. A teacher must have a squeaky clean record or they will never teach. Fifty percent of all new teachers quit in their first five years of teaching. Most administrators are failed teachers and make terrible bosses. Most district's medical coverage only pay for the employee and the teacher must pay for the rest of the family. Teachers often have no support from student parents or their administrators. There is a teacher shortage and it will only get worse because of the poor working conditions.

Does anyone really think there would be more and better teachers without teacher's unions?

Teaching is all about the student's social strata. Kids from well-to-do homes are going to college no matter what. Check out the numbers from wealthy school districts. Poor kids are condemned to the service industry. You want better success in schools, cure poverty.

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