Maya Angelou Reads Her Poem, “The Human Family,” in New iPhone Ad Released for the Olympics’ Opening Ceremony

It’s always demor­al­iz­ing when a favorite song—Iggy Pop’s “Lust for Life” or the Rolling Stones’ “Brown Sug­ar” come to mind—is co-opt­ed to sell soda or Caribbean cruis­es.

Poet­ry, how­ev­er? I’m not ungrate­ful to have some smug­gled into my day by a com­mer­cial car­ri­er whose agen­da is some­how less sus­pect. Would that we lived in a world where the poet­ry of Ted Hugh­es or Emi­ly Dick­in­son might be seen as hav­ing the pow­er to sell view­ers on a par­tic­u­lar brand of piz­za or auto­mo­bile.

It almost seems we do, giv­en the response to “The Human Fam­i­ly,” a new Apple spot show­cas­ing the iPhone’s cam­era capa­bil­i­ties with a slideshow of por­traits sub­mit­ted by users the world round. The images—already captivating—are made more so by the unmis­take­able voice of the late Maya Angelou, whose poem, “The Human Fam­i­ly,” sup­plies both title and inspi­ra­tion.

It’s very stir­ring, as befits an ad debut­ing dur­ing the Olympics’ open­ing cer­e­mo­ny. (I weep that the Super Bowl failed to make the Dr. Angelou com­mer­cial par­o­dies of yore a real­i­ty.)

The one-minute spot shaves a bit off the poem, but per­haps it is okay to leave a bit behind as a reward for view­ers moved to look it up on their own.

The com­plete text is here. Below, find a non-Apple-spon­sored video that match­es the same nar­ra­tion to a slideshow fea­tur­ing the author at var­i­ous stages of life. The read­ing will be added to our col­lec­tion, 1,000 Free Audio Books: Down­load Great Books for Free.

via Adweek

Relat­ed Con­tent:

Watch a Music Video & Hear Tracks From Maya Angelou’s Posthu­mous Hip-Hop Album, Caged Bird Songs

Maya Angelou Reads “Still I Rise” and “On the Pulse of the Morn­ing”

Ayun Hal­l­i­day is an author, illus­tra­tor, the­ater mak­er and Chief Pri­ma­tol­o­gist of the East Vil­lage Inky zine.  Her lat­est script, Fawn­book, is avail­able in a dig­i­tal edi­tion from Indie The­ater Now.  Fol­low her @AyunHalliday.

U2’s Album Songs of Innocence Released for Free on iTunes Today

free u2 album on itunes

Apple had lots of big announce­ments today — a new watch, a new iPhone, and pay­ment sys­tem. But wait, there’s more! On its big day, Apple also announced that any­one with an iTunes account can down­load for free Songs of Inno­cence, U2’s first album in 5 years. The album will remain free on iTunes until Octo­ber 13, 2014, after which time it will be released on CD and maybe vinyl. You can access the album in sev­er­al ways.

1.) On your iOS device, go to the Music app and select the Albums tab. Select Songs of Inno­cence. Tap a track to lis­ten or tap the iCloud icon to down­load.

2.) On your Mac or PC, open iTunes, then select the Albums tab. Select Songs of Inno­cence. Select a track to lis­ten or click the iCloud icon to down­load.

3.) On any of your devices, go to Fea­tured Sta­tions and select Songs of Inno­cence to lis­ten. Start­ing Sep­tem­ber 10.

If you have any issues find­ing the free down­load, you might want to look through some of the trou­bleshoot­ing sug­ges­tions found on this page.

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Developing iOS 7 Apps for iPhone and iPad: A Free Online Course by Stanford


FYI: Apple offi­cial­ly released iOS7,  the lat­est oper­at­ing sys­tem for the iPhone and iPad, on Sep­tem­ber 18. Almost simul­ta­ne­ous­ly, Stan­ford began offer­ing a course teach­ing stu­dents how to design apps in the new envi­ron­ment. Although the course is still in progress, the ini­tial video lec­tures are now avail­able online, you guessed it, on iTune­sU.

This course, along with oth­er top-flight cod­ing cours­es, appears in the Com­put­er Sci­ence sec­tion of our big col­lec­tion of 775 Free Online Cours­es, where you’ll also find cours­es on Phi­los­o­phyHis­to­ryPhysics and oth­er top­ics.

Look­ing for tuto­ri­als on build­ing apps in Android? Find them here.

Relat­ed Con­tent:

Learn to Code with Harvard’s Intro to Com­put­er Sci­ence Course And Oth­er Free Tech Class­es

Codecademy’s Free Cours­es Democ­ra­tize Com­put­er Pro­gram­ming

The Art of Liv­ing: A Free Stan­ford Course Explores Time­less Ques­tions

Biol­o­gy That Makes Us Tick: Free Stan­ford Course by Robert Sapol­sky

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Steve Jobs on the Rise of the Personal Computer: A Rare 1990 Interview

In ear­ly 1990 Steve Jobs grant­ed a very rare inter­view to the mak­ers of a PBS NOVA minis­eries called The Machine that Changed the World.

The pro­duc­ers of the series had a tough time get­ting Jobs to talk with them. They had already inter­viewed Bill Gates, Steve Woz­ni­ak and most of the oth­er found­ing fathers of the per­son­al com­put­ing rev­o­lu­tion, but the reclu­sive Jobs brushed off all requests. “As we start­ed the series,” writes Nan­cy Linde at the NOVA Web site, “we were warned time and time again. ‘You ‘ll nev­er get Steve Jobs on cam­era.’ ”  After mul­ti­ple requests, Jobs final­ly replied with a terse “No, thank you.” Linde con­tin­ues:

But we had an ace up our sleeve by the name of Robert Noyce. A leg­end in the com­put­er world as the co-inven­tor of the microchip and co-founder of Intel, Bob Noyce was a strong sup­port­er of The Machine That Changed the World and served on our advi­so­ry board. Like most in Sil­i­con Val­ley, Steve Jobs revered Bob Noyce, and a one-para­graph let­ter from Noyce changed Jobs’ “no” into a “yes,” giv­ing our series one of a lim­it­ed num­ber of inter­views Steve Jobs gave in his short life­time.

At the time of the inter­view, Jobs was 35 years old and about mid­way through his 11-year exile from Apple. He was work­ing with NeXT, the com­put­er com­pa­ny he found­ed after being pushed out of Apple in 1985. In keep­ing with the theme of the minis­eries, the inter­view deals most­ly with the big pic­ture. Jobs talks about the role of the com­put­er in human life, and about the emer­gence and evo­lu­tion of per­son­al com­put­ing. He tells the sto­ry of how he and his ear­ly friend Woz­ni­ak (referred to in the inter­view as “Woz”) turned a hob­by into a busi­ness and devel­oped the Apple I and Apple II com­put­ers. He very briefly touch­es on the first two dri­vers of the per­son­al com­put­ing rev­o­lu­tion — spread­sheets and desk­top pub­lish­ing — before talk­ing at length about the rev­o­lu­tion that was yet to come: net­worked com­put­ing. The World Wide Web had bare­ly been cre­at­ed in 1990, and Jobs is fair­ly pre­scient in his pre­dic­tions of how the link­ing of com­put­ers would change the world.

The inter­view is pre­sent­ed above in raw form. You can read a tran­script of the con­ver­sa­tion at the WGBH Web site.

Relat­ed Con­tent:

Steve Jobs Demos the First Mac­in­tosh in 1984

Steve Jobs Nar­rates the First “Think Dif­fer­ent” Ad (Nev­er Aired)

Learn to Code with Harvard’s Intro to Com­put­er Sci­ence Course And Oth­er Free Tech Class­es

Every Apple Ad Ever Aired on TV

Intro­duc­ing a new YouTube Chan­nel that gives you every Apple ad ever aired on TV — 485 ads, in total.

You can start with the icon­ic ones — the 1984 Super Bowl com­mer­cial direct­ed by Rid­ley Scott, which aired just weeks after Steve Jobs demoed the first Mac­In­tosh ever. Or, the famous “Think Dif­fer­ent” cam­paign from the late 1990s. The offi­cial “Think Dif­fer­ent” video was nar­rat­ed by Richard Drey­fuss, but we’d encour­age you to spend time with the nev­er-aired ver­sion nar­rat­ed by Jobs him­self. Oth­er vin­tage ads can be found in these chrono­log­i­cal­ly-orga­nized lists: 1977–1985, 1985–1996, 1996–2007 and 2007–2011. The 1981 Dick Cavett clip above appears in the first group.

But the col­lec­tion also lets you sort ads the­mat­i­cal­ly. So, for exam­ple, you can jump into the U.S. Get a Mac cam­paign, where you’ll get plen­ty of John Hodg­man. Also find ver­sions of the same cam­paign from the UK and Japan. Final­ly, Apple ads fea­tur­ing celebri­ties — from Bob Dylan to Zooey Deschanel to Spike Lee — are all neat­ly pack­aged togeth­er too. H/T @coudal

Microsoft Rolls Out Its New Tablet in Fine Apple Style

This week, Microsoft rolled out its new tablet, sim­ply called Sur­face, which gives you anoth­er way to enjoy our cours­es, moviesebooks, audio books and the rest. In many ways, Sur­face resem­bles the iPad in its look and feel. And when it came to unveil­ing the tablet, Microsoft­’s execs could­n’t think out­side the box cre­at­ed by Steve Jobs. A video made by Read­WriteWeb makes that rather painful­ly yet amus­ing­ly clear.…

Don’t for­get to fol­low us on Twit­terFace­book and now Google+

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Download David Hockney’s Playful Drawings for the iPhone and iPad

Last year, the Roy­al Ontario Muse­um (ROM) in Toron­to staged an exhib­it of David Hock­ney’s play­ful draw­ings pro­duced with/for the iPhone and iPad. Hock­ney became an ear­ly adopter of Apple’s pop­u­lar devices and start­ed cre­at­ing fin­ger-drawn images (using the Brush­es app) in 2008. Ini­tial­ly, the Eng­lish painter only shared his dig­i­tal draw­ings with a small cir­cle of friends. Then he decid­ed to make them avail­able to the larg­er world, pre­sent­ing them first in Paris in 2010, and then lat­er in Toron­to. Here, Hock­ney explains the basic think­ing behind his Fresh Flow­ers exhi­bi­tions.

Through­out the Cana­di­an exhi­bi­tion, the ROM invit­ed the pub­lic to down­load a series of free images by Hock­ney. They’re all still online, and we’ve gath­ered them below. What will you do with them? Put them on your iPhone or iPad, of course. (Find instruc­tions here and here.) Or what­ev­er oth­er device you please.



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Steve Jobs Plays FDR in Apple’s Rally-the-Troops Film, 1944

Short­ly after Apple aired its famous Rid­ley Scott Super Bowl com­mer­cial in 1984, the upstart com­pa­ny knocked off a cheap World War II-themed inter­nal video — a ral­ly-the-troops film — dubbed 1944.  The cause is free­dom and the mis­sion, to save the world from bad com­put­ing. The ene­my isn’t the Axis (Ger­many, Japan, Italy.) It’s IBM and its “big blue mono-blob.” And the com­man­der in chief? It’s Steve Jobs, of course, chan­nel­ing F.D.R. at rough­ly the 5:30 mark (find the iso­lat­ed cameo below).

To be sure, there’s an his­tor­i­cal qual­i­ty to this film. It offers a visu­al reminder of how Apple posi­tioned itself against IBM before Microsoft came along. (Wal­ter Isaac­son dri­ves home that point in his recent biog­ra­phy of Steve Jobs, which you can down­load from Audi­ble if you sign up for a free tri­al.) But there’s also some­thing more time­less about the film. It just goes to show that every com­pa­ny, no mat­ter how much they think dif­fer­ent, can rev­el in the same cor­po­rate gim­micks — the schwag, the fawn­ing inside jokes and the rest. Poof, there goes my chance to work at Apple one day.

via Apple Insid­er

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Open Culture was founded by Dan Colman.