Nelson Mandela, anti-apartheid icon and father of modern South Africa, dies at 95.

Freedom fighter, prisoner, moral compass and South Africa’s symbol of the struggle against racial oppression.

That was Nelson Mandela, who emerged from prison after 27 years to lead his country out of decades of apartheid.

He died Thursday night at age 95.

His message of reconciliation, not vengeance, inspired the world after he negotiated a peaceful end to segregation and urged forgiveness for the white government that imprisoned him.

“As I walked out the door toward the gate that would lead to my freedom, I knew if I didn’t leave my bitterness and hatred behind, I’d still be in prison,” Mandela said after he was freed in in 1990.

Mandela, a former president, battled health issues in recent years, including a recurring lung infection that led to numerous hospitalizations.

Despite rare public appearances, he held a special place in the consciousness of the nation and the world.

“Our nation has lost its greatest son. Our people have lost a father,” South African President Jacob Zuma said. “What made Nelson Mandela great was precisely what made him human. We saw in him what we seek in ourselves.”

His U.S. counterpart, Barack Obama, echoed the same sentiment.

“We’ve lost one of the most influential, courageous and profoundly good human beings that any of us will share time with on this Earth,” Obama said. “He no longer belongs to us — he belongs to the ages.”

A hero to blacks and whites

Mandela became the nation’s conscience as it healed from the scars of apartheid.

His defiance of white minority rule and long incarceration for fighting against segregation focused the world’s attention on apartheid, the legalized racial segregation enforced by the South African government until 1994.

In his lifetime, he was a man of complexities. He went from a militant freedom fighter, to a prisoner, to a unifying figure, to an elder statesman.

Years after his 1999 retirement from the presidency, Mandela was considered the ideal head of state. He became a yardstick for African leaders, who consistently fell short when measured against him.

Warm, lanky and charismatic in his silk, earth-toned dashikis, he was quick to admit to his shortcomings, endearing him further in a culture in which leaders rarely do.

His steely gaze disarmed opponents. So did his flashy smile.

Former South African President F.W. de Klerk, who was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize with Mandela in 1993 for transitioning the nation from a system of racial segregation, described their first meeting.

“I had read, of course, everything I could read about him beforehand. I was well-briefed,” he said.

“I was impressed, however, by how tall he was. By the ramrod straightness of his stature, and realized that this is a very special man. He had an aura around him. He’s truly a very dignified and a very admirable person.”

For many South Africans, he was simply Madiba, his traditional clan name. Others affectionately called him Tata, the word for father in his Xhosa tribe.

President Obama vetos iPhone sales ban, Samsung disappointed

The administration of the US President Barack Obama has recently issued a veto on the pending sales ban of certain older Apple products (the iPad 2 or earlier and the iPhone 4 or earlier). Following a ruling of the US International Trade Commission (ITC) back in early June, the products were supposed to be banned from selling because of violation of a certain Samsung-owned standards-essential patent.

The Obama administration stepped up and disproved the ITC determination to issue an exclusion order and cease and desist order due to its effect on “competitive conditions in the U.S. economy and the effect on U.S. consumers.” This action is entirely in the competence of the President’s office although this block of the ITC ban is said to be the first of its kind since the Reagan administration in 1987.

Obama’s office reminds of “the potential harms that can result” from using standards­-essential patents for “gaining undue leverage and engaging in “patent hold­up”. It reminds that standards­-essential patents should be easily accessible for licensing under FRAND terms, which, they consider, was not the case with this Samsung’s patent.

Back in June, the ITC ruled that Apple was violating one of Samsung’s smartphone and tablet-related patents. Due to that decision, Apple was about to face bans on the sales of certain AT&T iPhone and iPad models. Apple was highly disappointed because they claimed Samsung would readily license the said patent to anyone else interested, yet it insisted on a sales ban in Apple’s case.

Companies holding standards­-essential patent such as the one in question, are obliged to license these to third parties on terms that are Fair, Reasonable, And Non­Discriminatory (hence FRAND). According to Apple, in this case Samsung was far from offering them FRAND licensing terms.

Up until now Apple was appealing the ITC’s initial ruling and the Commission was supposed to come up with a final ruling on August 9.

Fortunately, the block does not mean the patent holder is not entitled to a compensation, just on the contrary.

Samsung has already responded to the decision of the president’s office:

“We are disappointed that the U.S. Trade Representative has decided to set aside the exclusion order issued by the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC). The ITC’s decision correctly recognized that Samsung has been negotiating in good faith and that Apple remains unwilling to take a license.”

Quite expectedly, Apple’s stance on the President’s office decision is just on the contrary:

We applaud the Administration for standing up for innovation in this landmark case. Samsung was wrong to abuse the patent system in this way.

We are yet to see which direction this thing takes. It’s more than obvious that the Apple vs. Samsung patent brawls are already getting out of hand. It’s getting increasingly harder to tell who’s right and who’s wrong.

“Four more years”: President Obama declares victory on Twitter,The Most Popular Tweet Of All Time!

US President Barack Obama swept to re-election on Tuesday, creating history again by defying the undertow of a slow economic recovery and high unemployment to beat Republican foe Mitt Romney.

In late September, Media Bistro’s All Twitter blog tabulated the most popular tweets of all time – as gauged by retweets. The winner was Justin Bieber, who as of this writing had 223,376 retweets for this tweet.

In the past hour, President Obama shattered that record with this tweet upon the media calling Ohio for him.

The retweets are still coming , but when I took a screenshot a minute ago, he had blown past Justin Bieber’s record, and I imagine that this will be tough to top.

That’s yet another victory for Obama’s social-media savvy campaign team, who dominated Romney in most social media metrics.

U.S. 2012 Presidential Election Goes Down to the Wire!

The year 2012 may be remembered as one of the tightest US presidential election races in history, with Democrat President Barack Obama and his Republican challenger Mitt Romney neck-and-neck as campaigning closes.

One day left in their stubbornly close race, President Barack Obama and challenger Mitt Romney are storming through a final exhaustive campaign push Monday that won’t end until the wee hours of Election Day in pursuit of every possible vote.

Both candidates say the winner will be determined by which of their operations can get the most supporters to the polls. “This is going to be a turnout election,” the president declared in an interview airing Monday morning as he pleaded with urban radio listeners to get to the polls.

“We have one job left,” and that’s getting people out to vote, Romney told more than a thousand people just off the tarmac at the airport in Sanford, Fla. The crowd chanted “One more day!”

How the voting battleground could shape up coast to coast

In the US, the winning candidate does not need to win the national popular vote. To become president, a candidate needs 270 of the 538 Electoral College votes apportioned to each state according to how many House of Representatives members and senators they have in the US Congress.

In a close contest, more attention focuses on the so-called swing states, the handful of battlegrounds that do not reliably vote either Republican or Democrat in each election.

Here, we look at some other nail-biting races over the past century.

1916 : Woodrow Wilson and Charles Hughes

As World War I raged in Europe, Democratic President Woodrow Wilson campaigned with the slogan “He kept us out of war”. His pledge to remain neutral was extremely popular among Americans.


Pitted against the Republican candidate Supreme Court Justice Charles Evans Hughes, he won an incredibly tight race in 1916.

The race ultimately came down to the state of California where Hughes made what some historians say was the error of not meeting with the powerful governor, who subsequently withheld his full support.

Wilson secured a second term with just 49.2% of the popular vote and 277 Electoral College votes.

1960 : John F Kennedy and Richard Nixon

The race between the Republican Richard Nixon and the younger, Catholic Democrat John F Kennedy was one of the closest in history.


Nixon – vice-president to the retiring President Dwight Eisenhower – campaigned in all 50 states to win the White House. The race was competitive in 20 states where the margin of victory for either candidate was narrower than five percentage points.

Some say a turning point in the race was the first live televised debate between the two, where the younger man appeared confident and charismatic while Nixon was shown wiping beads of sweat from his brow.

In the event, Kennedy scraped victory with 49.7% of the vote compared with Nixon’s 49.6% – a mere 113,000 votes separating the two men in the popular vote of 68 million cast. But the electoral college margin was wider – 303 to 219.

Republicans – though not Nixon himself – pushed for a recount in a number of close states amid a flurry of rumours circulating about fraud.

1976 : Jimmy Carter and Gerald Ford

Republican Vice-President Gerald Ford took office after Nixon resigned in the wake of the Watergate scandal. But Ford’s decision to pardon Nixon was unpopular.


His opponent was former state senator and Georgia Governor Jimmy Carter, so little known on the national stage that he introduced himself with the line: “Hello! I am Jimmy Carter, and I am running for president.”

Carter, a former nuclear engineer and farmer, ran as a political outsider, untainted by Washington at a time when trust in politicians was at an all-time low.

The pair agreed to a televised debate, the first since Nixon and Kennedy’s in 1960. Ford’s statement in the second debate that the Soviet Union did not dominate Eastern Europe – and never would in a Ford administration – made some voters doubt his grasp of international affairs.

In the end, Carter won with 50.1% percent of the popular vote compared to Ford’s 48% and an electoral college margin of 297-240. The 27 states that Ford won remain the most ever carried by a losing candidate.

2000 : George W Bush and Al Gore

It was the closest – and most controversial – vote in US history, pitting the Vice-President and Democrat Al Gore against the governor of Texas and son of a former US president, George W Bush.


Gore won 48.38% of the nationwide total vote to Bush’s 47.87%.

But, after the US Supreme Court halted a recount in the state of Florida, Bush had won the state vote by the slimmest of victories – just 537 ballots of some six million cast – and with it the Sunshine State’s decisive 25 electoral college votes, which gave him a winning total of 271.

2004 : George W Bush and John Kerry

As incumbent in 2004, George W Bush faced Massachusetts Democratic Senator John Kerry.


Just months into Bush’s first term, the attacks of 11 September 2001 had struck the US. He campaigned in 2004 on national security, presenting himself as a decisive leader and dismissing Kerry as a “flip-flopper”.

Days before the election, excerpts of a message from al-Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden were broadcast in which he claimed responsibility for the attacks and taunted Bush for his subsequent decisions.

After the broadcast, Bush’s lead strengthened and in the end he took 286 electoral votes compared to 251 for Kerry.

2012 Last battlegrounds :

Remembering Steve Jobs one year after his passing..

It’s hard to believe that a year has passed since Apple co-founder and CEO Steve Jobs passed away. His successor paid tribute to him on the web site with a sincere, heart-felt letter that said Apple was one of the greatest gifts that Jobs had given the world. Apple’s current CEO, Tim Cook, went on to say that “delivering products that our customers love and dreaming up new ones that will delight them down the road,” is a tribute to the memory of Steve Jobs.

While Steve Jobs is gone, he lives on in a couple of  upcoming movies. One, called “JOBS” stars Ashton Kutcher as the  iconic executive and covers his life from 1971 to 2000. During that time period, Jobs met Steve Wozniak, the pair started Apple and the PC era began. This film will not cover the years during which Apple released the Apple iPod, the Apple iPhone and the Apple iPad.

The more recent period of success that Steve Jobs had in life will be included in a second movie written by Adam Sorkin who is known for penning “The West Wing” for television and “The Social Network” for the big screen. Two ER alumni, George Clooney and Noah Wyle are said to be up for the role. Wyle has already played Jobs int television movie “Pirates of Silicon Valley.” This film is expected to cover the the years during which Apple released the Apple iPhone and continue through the release of the Apple iPad and through the death of the executive.

Message from Apple CEO Tim Cook paying tribute to Steve Jobs - Apple and Tim Cook pay tribute to Steve Jobs on the anniversary of his death

In addition to the tribute letter written by Tim Cook, a video was also put up on Apple’s web site which you can view below

One year after: has Apple changed under Tim Cook?

Apple’s former chief executive Steve Jobs however was not just a manager, he was a visionary. 1 year after his passing we keep on hearing reports that the iPhone 5 was the last product approved by Jobs. This means that it’s too early to say whether Tim Cook is cultivating the same revolutionary innovation that Apple under Jobs was known for.

It is not too early to conclude, though, that Cook has done a remarkable job in keeping Apple’s cash pile growing. Apple shares have nearly doubled in value from around $370 to around $670 in this past year. What’s more, the company has widened its geographical outreach delivering iPhones to more than 100 countries.Remembering Steve Jobs one year after his passing

Cook has retained Jobs’ punctuality, kicking off presentations with no delay and polishing them to the tiniest detail.

He has allowed, though, the launch of two sub-par products with Siri (which was at least clearly labeled “beta”) and most recently Apple Maps. We wouldn’t ask the absurd question whether or not Jobs would have launched them. What matters more right now is how quickly Apple will react to fix them.

The big takeaway here, though, is that this one year has been business as usual for Apple. The company proved it is still aggressive in innovation by launching the 2048 x 1536 extremely high-resolution screen on the new iPad (no one has matched that yet, and it’s been half a year!). Apple is also leading the way in graphics with both its iPad and iPhone. Finally, Apple is also traditionally pushing the envelope when it comes to battery expectancy on its products as the iPad remains the longest lasting tablet on the market.

“Stay hungry, stay foolish”

“Brave enough to think differently, bold enough to believe he could change the world, and talented enough to do it,” Barack Obama on Steve Jobs

Going back to Steve Jobs, we can’t forget to remember his life credo of doing what you love. His famous speech at Stanford advised students and everyone watching to “stay hungry, stay foolish.” Jobs’ beloved child Apple might look more like a well-oiled machine, but we should not neglect the unique mission Jobs had to unite art with technology. A Buddhist until his last days, he saw both as part of one whole.

“Oh wow. Oh wow. Oh wow.” Jobs’ last words still echo in our mind when we think about the man that created Apple. What was that kept his mind excited on his deathbed? We’ll never know, but it is this genuine excitement with the future that he seems to have successfully passed.