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Saturday, May 25, 2013

British Attack Suspect Followed Fringe Preacher Once Considered a Laughingstock

As my colleagues John F. Burns and Alan Cowell report, one of the two knife-wielding assailants who killed an off-duty soldier in London on Wednesday, who then calmly spoke to witnesses while waiting for the police to arrive, has been identified as Michael Adebolajo, a Briton of Nigerian heritage who converted to Islam about a decade ago.

Two former leaders of al-Muhajiroun, an extremist group with a small following that was banned in Britain after terrorist attacks in London in 2005, told reporters on Thursday that the suspect was part of their circle.

The BBC discovered footage of Mr. Adebolajo standing behind Anjem Choudary, a British co-founder of the group and its successor organizations, at an Islamist protest in London in 2007.

In another part of the video, Mr. Adebolajo, who was reportedly raised as a devout Christian by his Nigerian immigrant parents, is seen holding a sign that deplores Britain's “Crusade Against Muslims.” Mr. Choudary told Reuters that Mr. Adebolajo “used to attend a few demonstrations and activities that we used to have in the past,” but that he “would not consider him to be a member of the organization.”

Sheik Omar Bakri Mohammed, a Syrian-born cleric who led al-Muhajiroun until he was expelled from Britain, said in an interview from Lebanon with The Independent that he recalled meeting Mr. Adebolajo. “I knew him as Michael when he came to the meetings, and then he converted and he became known as Abdullah,” he said. “I hear he then started calling himself Mujahid. He asked questions about religion; he was curious. He had first started coming when there was a lot of anger about the Iraq war and the war on terror. Whether I influenced him or not, I do not know. But he was a quiet boy, so something must have happened.”

Sheik Omar also suggested that the killing was not an act of terrorism or a crime according to his interpretation of Islamic law. “Under Islam, this can be justified,” he told The Independent. “He was not targeting civilians. He was taking on a military man in an operation.”

The cleric also told The Guardian that the suspect had attended al-Muhajiroun events at a community center and mosque in Woolwich, where Wednesday's deadly attack was carried out near a military barracks.

Jon Ronson, a British journalist who made a documentary about Sheik Omar's quixotic campaign to bring Britain under Shariah law in 1996, reminded readers on Thursday that he had looked more closely at al-Muhajiroun in a second film made after the terrorist attacks in London on July 7, 2005, “The Tottenham Ayatollah Revisited.”

“The Tottenham Ayatollah Revisited,” Jon Ronson's second documentary about Sheik Omar Bakri Mohammed, broadcast in 2005.

In an essay for The Guardian in 2005, Mr. Ronson argued that Britain might ultimately regret expelling the occasionally buffoonish Sheik Omar, given that his outlandish sermons acted as a powerful magnet for the most extreme young men in his community. “Without Omar clowning around on stage,” he said, “how is Scotland Yard going to monitor the less clownish people who sit in his audience?”

In the introduction to his book “Them: Adventures With Extremists,” Mr. Ronson wrote that Sheik Omar had mixed feelings about how the documentaries had portrayed him as a bumbling, somewhat comic figure making the exaggerated claim that he was Osama bin Laden's “man in London”:

I telephoned Omar on the evening of his arrest. I expected to find him in a defiant mood. But he seemed a little scared. “This is so terrible,” he said. “The police say they may deport me. Why are people linking me to bin Laden? I do not know the man. I have never met him. Why do people say I am bin Laden's man in London?”

“Because you have been calling yourself bin Laden's man in London for years,” I said.

“Oh Jon,” said Omar. “I need you more than ever now. You know I am harmless, don't you? You always said I was laughable, didn't you? Oh Jon. Why don't people believe I am just a harmless clown?”

“I have never thought you were a harmless clown,” I said.

I telephoned Omar a a few weeks later. I asked him if I could follow him around some more, now that a conclusion to his story seemed imminent. His response was startling to me. “You portray me as a fool,” he said. “I will not let you anywhere near me ever again. You hate the Muslims.”

As Mary Fitzgerald, a foreign correspondent for The Irish Times, reported on Twitter, Sheik Omar is now based in Lebanon, where he is fighting terrorist charges and taking part in televised debates on the conflict in Syria.

According to Ms. Fitzgerald, the cleric once told her that his group tended to attract young men who felt themselves to be “caught between cultures and identities” in multicultural Britain.

Mr. Adebolajo, the son of Nigerian immigrants, would seem to fit that description. As The Lede noted on Wednesday, at one point in his statement justifying the killing, as Mr. Adebolajo implored the British citizens in front of him to get their leaders to remove their troops from “our lands,” he seemed to stumble a bit as he used words that betrayed a certain confusion about which community he belonged to, saying: “Tell them to bring our troops back, so we can - so you can all live in peace.”

This post has been revised to reflect the following correction:

Correction: May 24, 2013

An earlier version of this post misspelled the name of the extremist group with which Michael Adebolajo was associated. It is al-Muhajiroun, not al-Muhijaroun.

NOAA Predicts Extremely Active Hurricane Season

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Gerry Bell, lead seasonal hurricane forecaster for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, warns that the 2013 Atlantic hurricane season is expected to be highly active.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration issued its 2013 Atlantic hurricane outlook on Thursday, with a warning that the United States could be hit by up to six major hurricanes this year. The seasonal average is three.

Oceanic and atmospheric conditions in the Atlantic basin are expected to create stronger and more hurricanes, setting the stage for an “above normal and extremely active” season, said Gerry Bell, lead seasonal hurricane forecaster for NOAA's Climate Prediction Center, who explained the underlying reasons in a NOAA video.

“These conditions include weaker wind shear, warmer Atlantic waters and conducive winds patterns coming from Africa,” Mr. Bell said.

Specifically, Mr. Bell predicted that 13 to 20 named storms would form in the Atlantic this year, compared with the usual 12.

Of those, seven to 11 storms could become hurricanes, with wind speeds of at least 74 miles per hour, a range that is well above the seasonal average of six.

And three to six of those storms could become major hurricanes with winds of up to 111 miles per hour, compared with the seasonal average of three.

NOAA cited three climate factors that are expected to come together to produce an active or extremely active 2013 hurricane season:

A continuation of the atmospheric climate pattern, which includes a strong west African monsoon, that is responsible for the ongoing era of high activity for Atlantic hurricanes that began in 1995; warmer-than-average water temperatures in the tropical Atlantic Ocean and Caribbean Sea; and El Niño is not expected to develop and suppress hurricane formation.

These predictions are similar to those outlined this month by researchers from Penn State University's Earth System Science Center, as well as AccuWeather and other forecasters.

“With the devastation of Sandy fresh in our minds and another active season predicted, everyone at NOAA is committed to providing life-saving forecasts in the face of these storms and ensuring that Americans are prepared and ready ahead of time,” said Kathryn D. Sullivan, the acting NOAA administrator.

A satellite image of Hurricane Sandy on Oct. 28, 2012, from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.NASA, via Getty Images A satellite image of Hurricane Sandy on Oct. 28, 2012, from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Last week, NOAA made public its assessment of its own performance during Hurricane Sandy, which which killed more than 100 people and caused more than $50 billion in estimated damages.

Over all, NOAA concluded that it “performed well in forecasting the impacts of this extremely large storm.” It noted, for example, that it issued warnings well in advance about the potential for dangerous winds and storm surge inundation of four to eight feet above ground level for the New Jersey, New York and Connecticut coastlines.

But the agency acknowledged that it needed to do a better job of communicating its forecasts - particularly the storm surge forecasts - to emergency managers and the public.

Officials in Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg's administration said they did not evacuate nursing homes and disabled residents from low-lying areas of New York City in the days leading up to the storm because of their understanding of the storm surge forecasts.

“The highest priority need identified by NOAA/NWS customers and constituents is for improved high-resolution storm surge forecasting and communication,” the report said, referring to NOAA and the National Weather Service. “In particular, there is a crucial need for storm surge graphical inundation guidance.”

The report added that “79 percent of coastal residents surveyed in March 2013 said the impact of Sandy's surge in their area was ‘more than they expected.' ”

In Video, Survivor Describes Bridge Collapse North of Seattle

Last Updated, 4:12 p.m. Dan Sligh and his wife were on their way to a camping trip for Memorial Day weekend on Interstate 5, north of Seattle, when they saw a truck that was carrying an oversized load strike the side of the bridge they were driving on.

The next thing they knew, they were plunging into the Skagit River's icy waters. “Things happened so fast, it was like a Hollywood movie unfolding in front of you, live, up close and personal,” Mr. Sligh, 47, told a reporter for KING-TV, Channel 5, in Seattle.

As my colleague, Kirk Johnson reported, Mr. Sligh, his wife and another person traveling on Interstate 5 on the bridge near Mount Vernon, Wash., were rescued and did not suffer life-threatening injuries.

“I felt the water rushing in to midbelly,” Mr. Sligh said. “I put the truck in park - emergency break. I kept asking my wife if she is O.K. I noticed that my shoulder was pretty well dislocated. I couldn't reach to get my seat belt off. I crawled underneath the collapsed overhead of the truck. She was out cold.”

He managed to pull his wife over to the driver's side and hold her head above water as he stood on the outside rail of his truck until help arrived.

Peter Mongillo, a photographer for KOMO-TV News, was at the scene and shared this photo on Twitter.

It could take weeks for the bridge spanning Washington State's major north-south artery to be repaired, according to The Seattle Times.

A bridge on Interstate 5 north of Seattle after the bridge collapsed Thursday night, sending two vehicles into the water.The New York Times A bridge on Interstate 5 north of Seattle after the bridge collapsed Thursday night, sending two vehicles into the water.

As Mr. Johnson reported, the “ripple effects of the collapse could be huge â€" for commuters, freight haulers, neighborhoods around the bridge on detour routes and politicians in Olympia, Washington's capital, who have been loudly and publicly wrestling over the hundreds of millions of dollars in state money needed to replace another aging bridge over the Columbia River that separates Oregon and Washington further south on the Interstate 5 corridor.”

The bridge collapse raised new questions about the state of the nation's infrastructure. On Washington State's list of structurally deficient bridges, it was deemed “functionally obsolete.”

At a news conference, Gov. Jay Inslee and other officials discussed the bridge collapse and what steps needed to be taken before the bridge is repaired.

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Gov. Jay Inslee and state transportation officials discuss the bridge collapse on Interstate 5.

For Hackers, China Is a Land of Opportunity

Hackers Find China Is Land of Opportunity

Gilles Sabrie for The New York Times

A booth for a British company's products at a law enforcement trade show in Beijing. Chinese companies there boasted of their ability to hack into and monitor computers and cellphones.

BEIJING - Name a target anywhere in China, an official at a state-owned company boasted recently, and his crack staff will break into that person's computer, download the contents of the hard drive, record the keystrokes and monitor cellphone communications, too.

Pitches like that, from a salesman for Nanjing Xhunter Software, were not uncommon at a crowded trade show this month that brought together Chinese law enforcement officials and entrepreneurs eager to win government contracts for police equipment and services.

“We can physically locate anyone who spreads a rumor on the Internet,” said the salesman, whose company's services include monitoring online postings and pinpointing who has been saying what about whom.

The culture of hacking in China is not confined to top-secret military compounds where hackers carry out orders to pilfer data from foreign governments and corporations. Hacking thrives across official, corporate and criminal worlds. Whether it is used to break into private networks, track online dissent back to its source or steal trade secrets, hacking is openly discussed and even promoted at trade shows, inside university classrooms and on Internet forums.

The Ministry of Education and Chinese universities, for instance, join companies in sponsoring hacking competitions that army talent scouts attend, though “the standards can be mediocre,” said a cybersecurity expert who works for a government institute and handed out awards at a 2010 competition.

Corporations employ freelance hackers to spy on competitors. In an interview, a former hacker confirmed recent official news reports that one of China's largest makers of construction equipment had committed cyberespionage against a rival.

One force behind the spread of hacking is the government's insistence on maintaining surveillance over anyone deemed suspicious. So local police departments contract with companies like Xhunter to monitor and suppress dissent, industry insiders say.

Ai Weiwei, the dissident artist, said he had received three messages from Google around 2009 saying his e-mail account had been compromised, an increasingly common occurrence in China among people deemed subversive. When the police detained him in 2011, he said, they seized 200 pieces of computer equipment and other electronic hardware.

“They're so interested in computers,” Mr. Ai said. “Every time anyone is arrested or checked, the first thing they grab is the computer.”

There is criminal hacking, too. Keyboard jockeys break into online gaming programs and credit card databases to collect personal information. As in other countries, the police here have expressed growing concern.

Some hackers see crime as more lucrative than legitimate work, but opportunities for skilled hackers to earn generous salaries abound, given the growing number of cybersecurity companies providing network defense services to the government, state-owned enterprises and private companies.

“I have personally provided services to the People's Liberation Army, the Ministry of Public Security and the Ministry of State Security,” said a prominent former hacker who used the alias V8 Brother for this interview because he feared scrutiny by foreign governments. He said he had done the work as a contractor and described it as defensive, but declined to give details.

And “if you are a government employee, there could be secret projects or secret missions,” the hacker said.

But government jobs are usually not well paying or prestigious, and most skilled hackers prefer working for security companies that have cyberdefense contracts, as V8 Brother does, he and others in the industry say.

Self-trained, the hacker teamed up with China's patriotic “red hackers” more than a decade ago. Then he began working for cybersecurity companies and was recently making $100,000 a year, he said.

Jonathan Ansfield contributed reporting, and Mia Li contributed research.

A version of this article appeared in print on May 23, 2013, on page A1 of the New York edition with the headline: Hackers Find China Is Land Of Opportunity.

Battle Over ‘GIF\' Pronunciation Erupts

It has been called “The Great Schism of the 21st Century” and “The Most Absurd Religious War in Geek History.”

The debate over how to pronounce GIF, which stands for Graphics Interchange Format, re-emerged this week when Steve Wilhite, the inventor of the widely used Web illustration, declared it should be pronounced “jif,” like the brand of peanut butter, rather than with a hard G sound.

He made the statement first in an interview with The New York Times, then in an acceptance speech at the annual Webby Awards on Tuesday, where he received a lifetime achievement award.

Mr. Wilhite incited a debate that generated 17,000 posts on Twitter, 50 news articles and plenty of tongue-in-cheek outrage.

“You can have my hard ‘G' when you pry it from my cold, dead hands,” Tracy Rotton, a Web developer from Washington, D.C., wrote on Twitter.

“Nannernannernanner,” wrote one person on Twitter.

posted another.

So what is going on? Elizabeth Pyatt, a linguist at Penn State University, has a theory: Cultures typically associate a “standard” pronunciation as a marker of status. Mispronouncing a word - even a technical term - can cause feelings of shame and inadequacy. If people believe there is a logical basis for their pronunciation, they are not apt to give it up.

In the case of the GIF, there is logic to saying it with the hard G used to pronounce “graphic.”

Mr. Wilhite created the file format in 1987 when he was working as a programmer for CompuServe, the nation's first major online service. The company wanted to display color weather maps, but existing image technologies took up too much bandwidth for slow dial-up connections. Mr. Wilhite thought he could help.

“I saw the format I wanted in my head and then I started programming,” he said in an e-mail. Mr. Wilhite primarily uses e-mail to communicate now, after suffering a stroke in 2000.

The first image he created was a picture of an airplane. Today, GIFs are commonly used for short animations on the Web.

Tuesday night, Mr. Wilhite was greeted onstage at the Webby Awards by David Karp, the 26-year-old founder of Tumblr who this week sold his company to Yahoo for $1.1 billion.

The Webby Awards, a 17-year-old annual event where more than 60 awards are given for everything from online journalism to design, has a timesaving tradition: All acceptance speeches must be five words or less.

Mr. Wilhite displayed his five-word speech on a screen above the stage: “It's Pronounced ‘JIF' not ‘GIF.'” The audience roared with approval, and it appeared as though the question was settled.

Not so. Those who had been pronouncing GIF with a hard G were shocked, or as one blog headline put it, “Flabber-jasted.” Mr. Wilhite was attacked as a “soft-g zealot,” and dissenters said his decree made as much sense as calling graphics “jraphics.”

White House staff members also weighed in on Twitter to remind the country that the Obama administration had already ruled on the subject, in a chart released on April 26, which explained the administration's Tumblr strategy and highlighting GIFs, noting the hard G pronunciation.

The “JIF” camp, meanwhile, was giddy with feelings of righteousness.

The uproar was a boon for a certain peanut butter brand. The J. M. Smucker Company, which owns Jif, quickly produced an animation that merged their product with a pronunciation guide and posted it online. One Twitter user asked, “how much does Jif love Steve Wilhite today?”

“We're nuts about him today,” the bread spread responded in a gentle attempt to turn the conversation toward nut butters. They swiftly produced an animated GIF to lend visual support to their cause.


“We're nuts about him today,” the bread spread responded.

Among such vivid enthusiasm, there were of course those who found the debate tedious, a rehashing of a decades-old debate. In the same vein, a certain category of computer user found the occasion as a chance to tout their Internet bona fides.


The editor of the Oxford English Dictionary was noncommittal, writing on a tech blog that the dictionary accepts both pronunciations.

Ms. Pyatt of Penn State believes that the debate is not likely to be settled anytime soon.

“Language change isn't always easily controlled,” she said, “I suspect if most people are now saying GIF I think that pronunciation is probably going to be the one that survives. It may not be fair to the person who created it, but that's just how language and community works.”

Whitman Says H.P. Is ‘Not Mortgaging the Future\'

5:06 p.m. | Updated Coming off a quarterly earnings report that pleased investors even as revenues fell, Hewlett-Packard's chief executive, Meg Whitman, declared Thursday that “we feel good about where we are.”

In an interview with David Faber and Jim Cramer of CNBC, Ms. Whitman was asked whether the company had a strategy of “shrinking to profitability,” given its continuing decline in revenues. “We are investing a lot in our business,” she said. “We are not mortgaging the future.”

“We are embarked on a five-year turnaround journey, we're about 18 months into that journey, and I think we're right where we thought we would be, in fact probably a little ahead of schedule,” said Ms. Whitman, the longtime eBay chief who took over at H.P. 21 months ago.

As Quentin Hardy reported in The New York Times on Thursday, analysts are far from certain that H.P. can make the transition from its traditional businesses to a field increasingly dominated by cloud computing and mobile devices. And Ms. Whitman acknowledged the challenge.

“We are growing businesses that power the new style of I.T.; we've got declining businesses that powered the old style of I.T.,” she told CNBC. “So we're in that knothole that one has to get through.”

In the most recent quarter, the company's net income fell 32 percent, and revenue was down 10 percent. But its earnings per share exceeded expectations, and H.P.'s stock gained 17 percent in Thursday's trading.

While the company does not expect growth this year, Ms. Whitman said, “we do believe growth is possible in 2014, probably not in every business, but we hope over all.”

She said that printing was a bright spot, asserting that H.P. was “innovating around the business model,” including offering higher-cost printers but lower-cost ink in developing countries, and developing a subscription model for ink in the United States market.

And she reaffirmed that H.P. was not considering spinning off any of its businesses, a move considered under her predecessor, Léo Apotheker. “We believe that keeping H.P. together is the right thing to do,” she said.

Tax Protest in Britain Focuses on Google

In Britain, the debate over tax-reduction strategies employed by American technology giants is taking a populist turn.

While a United States Senate panel scrutinizes Apple's use of Ireland as a tax shelter, attention in Britain has focused on Google, which employs a similar system.

A group of drama students plans to take to the streets of London on Friday to promote what it calls a “Google Free Day.”

The goal, the students say, is to protest what they see as Google's minimal contribution to the British treasury. In 2011 the company paid about $10 million in taxes in Britain, where it recorded more than $4 billion in sales. The protest is also intended to highlight Internet users' growing dependence on Google's online services, ranging from its search engine to Google Maps to YouTube.

“The tax issue is kind of a case in point,” said Adam Taylor, a graduate student at the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama. “This is what happens when you have all these services going through one organization.”

To make their case in a creative way, Mr. Taylor and a group of about 15 other students plan a campaign that blends high- and low-tech elements.

On Friday, he said, the students will encourage Internet users to send search queries through Twitter, where they have set up the hashtag #askmum for the occasion. They will then take these questions out onto the streets of the London neighborhood of Camden, where they will ask pedestrians for answers.

“We're calling it a proxy search engine,” Mr. Taylor said. “It might be a bit slower than the 0.6 seconds that it takes on Google. Maybe two or three minutes.”

Yahoo\'s Design Chief to Depart

Tim Parsey, the senior vice president of user experience design at Yahoo, is leaving the company, he said in an interview Thursday.

Mr. Parsey said he was hired last year to help infuse a culture of design at the company. “The type of role I feel I'm better at is when I'm able to lead a transition of design at a company, and that job is done at Yahoo,” he said. “I'm very proud of that.”

A Yahoo spokeswoman confirmed that Friday would be Mr. Parsey's last day but declined to comment further.

Over the last several months, under the leadership of Marissa Mayer, Yahoo's chief executive, the company has started to redesign several of its flagship sites including the Yahoo home page, Yahoo Mail and Flickr, its photo-sharing Web site. But many of those updates have been publicly lambasted.

John C. Dvorak, a writer for PC Magazine, criticized Yahoo's new home page in February. ”The face-lift yields an extremely cluttered interface that befits the need for the cramped ugliness that you find on many Asian sites,” he wrote.

After Yahoo redesigned Flickr this week, a blog post explaining the changes quickly generated more than 20,000 responses users who said they disliked the redesign. Hundreds of people begged the company: “Change it back!”

While at Google, Ms. Mayer was involved in the company's design and branding and drove the development of Google's brightly colored interface. Since her departure, Google has redesigned its brands, creating a flatter and cleaner look and feel on its home page, Gmail and Google Plus.

On Mr. Parsey's LinkedIn page he notes that his job at Yahoo involved weaving together a consistent user experience across the entire company and managing more than 200 designers and researchers.

In an interview last year with the Economic Times of India, Mr. Parsey voiced frustrations with the company's approach to design. “Most of it in the past years was about people developing brands and imposing it on people,” he told the newspaper regarding Yahoo's numerous sites. “I'm building a culture of design that is rational, emotional and meaningful.”

Mr. Parsey's departure was first reported by AllThingsD.

Daily Report: An Early Apple Computer for More Than $100,000

The astronomical run-up in the price of the original Apple-1 machines - made in 1976 and priced at $666.66 (about $2,700 in current dollars) - is a story of the economics of scarcity and techno-fetishism, magnified by the mystique surrounding Apple and its founders, as the company has become one of the largest, most profitable corporations in the world, Steve Lohr reports in The New York Times.

In November, an Apple-1, also commonly known as the Apple I, sold for $640,000 at an auction in Germany. That sale surpassed the previous record of $374,500 set only five months earlier at Sotheby's in New York. The next test of the Apple-1 market will come on Saturday, at the same auction house in Cologne, Germany, where the record sale took place in November.

Even the auctioneer, Uwe Breker, expressed some surprise at the price reached last fall. For this week's auction, the reserve price - the minimum sale price - is $116,000, and Mr. Breker conservatively estimated the likely range of $260,000 to $400,000. “But we will see,” he said.

The auction market for the vintage machines, experts say, is thin and uncertain. For example, a nonworking Apple-1 failed to attract its reserve price of just over $75,000 at an auction last year in London. The record-setting auctions last year were of working originals, as is the Apple-1 going under the gavel on Saturday.

The sky-high prices suggest irrational exuberance. But technology historians say there is a rational appeal to possessing an Apple-1. “It is Apple's creation story, the physical artifact that traces this incredible success to its origins,” said Dag Spicer, a senior curator at the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, Calif.

Laurene Powell Jobs and Anonymous Giving in Silicon Valley

In Silicon Valley, people get very rich, very fast, often when they are very young. As a result, they are often criticized for not giving away enough of that money.

There are signs that is changing, as people like Mark Zuckerberg become more philanthropic. But many in tech are still in their 20s, and say they are working long days running companies and trying to improve the world with their products, and will be able to focus on philanthropy later in life.

There is another story line, though, one brought to light by the tale of Laurene Powell Jobs. She is the widow of Steve Jobs, one of the tech titans who received the most criticism for a lack of philanthropy. Yet for more than two decades, his family has been giving away money - anonymously.

“We're really careful about amplifying the great work of others in every way that we can, and we don't like attaching our names to things,” Ms. Powell Jobs said in an interview for a profile that Peter Lattman and I wrote in The New York Times last week.

One of the main ways she is able to do that is because of the way she has structured her organization, Emerson Collective. It is an LLC, like a small business, instead of a tax-exempt 501(c)(3), like a charitable organization or foundation. That means that Emerson can make grants, for-profit investments and political donations - and does not have to publicly report its donations as a foundation does.

That strategy is becoming more common, as people seek flexibility, freedom and anonymity in their investments, said Laura Arrillaga-Andreessen, who teaches philanthropy at Stanford, runs her own philanthropy and is a close friend of Ms. Powell Jobs.

“The beauty of having an LLC in today's world is No. 1, you have the ability to act and react as nimbly as need be to create change, and you have the ability to invest politically, in the for-profit sector and the nonprofit sector simultaneously,” she said.

“And the reality is,” she added, “we are now seeing a blurring of the lines between the sectors in a way that was not even discussed 10 years ago. The way that we are going to solve social problems is by working with multiple different types of investing.”

Ms. Powell Jobs said that Emerson did not need the tax structure of a foundation, and that “doing things anonymously and being nimble and flexible and responsive are all things we value on our team.”

One of those things is College Track, the college prep organization that Ms. Powell Jobs co-founded in 1997.

“I've always appreciated that being the wife of Steve Jobs, she could have played that as much as possible, but she doesn't,” said Marshall Lott, who has worked at College Track since the beginning and is now chief advocate of college completion. “This is what she's always been passionate about. As much as he had his work, this is her work.”

On a recent Monday afternoon, College Track students hooked arms in a giant circle as tutors talked about sessions like preparing for finals and managing stress. They were in the rough Bayview neighborhood of San Francisco in a new, colorful building, which used to be an abandoned auto shop. Light streamed in the classrooms, named after colleges.

“It's like my second house,” said Chris Seruge, 17, who comes each day for tutoring and will apply to college next year with the help of College Track. “Without it, I'd be struggling.”

Though Ms. Powell Jobs is a major financial supporter of the organization, as well as chairwoman of the board, she does not disclose how much she gives. But there is evidence of other contributions related to the Jobs family. Each year, Pixar, which Mr. Jobs helped start, hosts a screening of a film to benefit College Track. This year, tickets are $1,000 to see “Monsters University.” (The Apple laptops the students use, though, were purchased, not donated.)

And College Track's supporters include a who's who in tech: Sergey Brin, co-founder of Google; Marissa Mayer, chief executive of Yahoo; Ron Conway, the angel investor; and Marc Benioff, founder of Salesforce.com.

“Laurene is a private person, they are a humble family, and they have certainly been generous,” said Ted Mitchell, chief executive of NewSchools Venture Fund, where Ms. Powell Jobs serves on the board. “And I think that the fact that they've not needed to splash their name around speaks quite highly to their intense focus on the work.”

How Vintage Apple Computers Used to Sell

Original Apple-1 computers are now sold at professional auctions and can command hundreds of thousands of dollars, as I wrote about in an article published Thursday on the Web and in Friday's paper.

But the old computers have been sold more informally for years, at far more modest prices. The story behind the 1997 sale of an Apple-1, which now resides at the Computer History Museum, shows how the market used to work, when the transactions were simpler but more personal.

The buyer was a young New York entrepreneur “with a nerd's love of technology,” in his words. The seller was a single mother at the time, living in Oregon, who used the proceeds to “pay off debts and keep me and my kids afloat,” she recalled.

Ian Lynch Smith bought the Apple-1, also commonly known as the Apple I, for $10,000. He had been writing games for Apple's Macintosh computer since shortly after he graduated from Vassar College. His company in Brooklyn, Freeverse, had made some progress, and he stretched a bit to make the purchase. Mr. Lynch, now 42, comes from family of antique dealers, and his mother, Patricia, encouraged him, saying the scarce machine (an estimated 175 to 200 Apple-1's were produced) would prove to be a good investment in the long run.

Mr. Smith showed off his Apple-1 at the Freeverse booth at the Macworld conference in New York in 1998. Later, he loaned it indefinitely to the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, Calif. “It's better cared for, and serves a real educational mission,” he said.

The seller, Janet Keim, bought the Apple-1 at a fund-raising auction for KMUN, a public radio station in Astoria, Ore. Ms. Keim said she was later told that the machine was donated for the auction by a member of the Homebrew Computer Club, where Apple's founders, Steven P. Jobs and Stephen G. Wozniak, first showed off the Apple-1.

In a telephone interview on Thursday, Ms. Keim said she did not recall the name of the former Homebrew member, who long ago moved away.

A friend posted a picture and short description of the Apple-1 on a Web site. And Ms. Keim did some research and found out if she wanted to sell the machine, it would be far more valuable if it was authenticated as an original Apple-1.

So Ms.Keim put the computer in her car, and drove down to San Francisco, where The Computer Museum of Boston, had an office, and was making a permanent move to Silicon Valley (and renamed The Computer History Museum). Dag Spicer, a computer historian, did the authentication, and acted as a kind of go-between in the sale from Ms. Keim to Mr. Smith.

One thing Ms. Keim apparently declined to mention at the time was how much she paid for the Apple-1 a year earlier, in 1996, at a radio fund-raiser. She paid $90, she said on Thursday.

Told of the price in an e-mail, Mr. Spicer replied, “I didn't know about the $90 - holy cow!”

Then again, Mr. Spicer noted, “Ian got a great deal too in light of today's prices.”

At the public-radio auction in 1996, a friend told Ms. Keim that the Apple-1 might be valuable. She knew nothing about computers, or the Apple history, she said. Ms. Keim said she was working three part-time jobs at the time, was in debt and had to borrow money to raise the $90 for the purchase.

Ms. Keim's laughs when discussing today's sky-high prices for Apple-1's. She betrays no second thoughts about having sold it years ago, a deal that gave her a financial lifeline at the time.

“It was good for me and good for the machine,” said Ms. Keim, who is an operator of a napkin-making machine in a Georgia-Pacific plant.

“That computer went to someone who really understood what it meant and could really appreciate it,” she said

Mr. Smith's company, Freeverse, which made popular games for the iPhone and iPad, was sold to a competitor, Ngmoco, in 2010. Mr. Smith said he recently started a new venture, Secondverse. He will not disclose its product plans, other than to say it will make software that runs on Apple's iOS operating system for iPhones and iPads.

Given today's prices, is Mr. Smith's Apple-1 for sale? He certainly has no current plan to put it on the market. In an e-mail, Mr. Smith said he has always thought of the vintage machine “more like a rainy day investment that I enjoy owning, so it's not really for sale.”

“Maybe,” he added, “my kids can donate it to the museum and claim a tax break on any estate taxes at some point in the future.”

Twitter Lets Brands Reach Viewers of Their TV Ads

Twitter Lets Brands Reach Viewers of Their TV Ads

For those inclined toward social media, using Twitter while watching television has become a ritual, with viewers commenting on everything from sports events to nighttime dramas. On Thursday, executives from Twitter discussed how they planned to capitalize on that activity by allowing advertisers to send ads to people who are watching specific programming.

The new product will help brands match advertisements with Twitter commentary by viewers. Brands can then send messages to selected Twitter users who have already seen their ad on television.

“When people turn on TV they turn on Twitter,” said Matt Derella, the director of brand and agency strategy, who led a presentation on the product in Manhattan.

Twitter also announced it would work with a number of media companies, including Time Inc., Bloomberg, Discovery, Vevo, Vice Media, Condé Nast Entertainment and Warner Music Group, to sell advertisers content, in a partnership called Twitter Amplify. The content will probably be digital video or television content like clips from shows. It can then be shared on Twitter, and advertisers can run ads before the videos are viewed.

The format is similar to a partnership Twitter announced last year with ESPN and Ford, which embedded replays from football games in posts sent via Twitter. ESPN and Ford promoted the posts to people who had been identified as being interested in sports based on the accounts they followed on Twitter and the subjects of their posts.

Jim Nail, an analyst at Forrester Research, said Twitter would have to be careful about the number of advertisements it allowed on its platform. By injecting too many ads into a user's feed during a television show, “they risk driving those fans away and having those fans unfollow the show,” Mr. Nail said. A representative from Twitter said the company already had limits on how many ads users would see in a day.

“This will allow us to really align much more of the work we're doing day in and day out,” said Tim Castree, the chief operating officer at MediaVest USA, part of the Starcom MediaVest Group, of the new advertising offerings. Instead of focusing advertising during major events, advertisers can now “extend the time period for the spot we already had planned.”

Last month, Twitter signed a multiyear deal, estimated to be in the hundreds of millions of dollars, with Starcom to, among other things, allow the companies to combine some of the resources they use for measuring and tracking data and advertising.

This week, Twitter made other brand announcements including a two-step authentication process that would provide more security for Twitter accounts. The accounts of several prominent brands, including Burger King and Jeep, were hacked in February.

The company also announced a feature that allows users to sign up for offers from brands without having to leave the site.

This article has been revised to reflect the following correction:

Correction: May 24, 2013

An earlier version of this article described the Twitter Amplify program incorrectly. It involves Twitter's media partnerships, not its advertising targeting program.

A version of this article appeared in print on May 24, 2013, on page B2 of the New York edition with the headline: Twitter Lets Brands Reach Viewers of Their TV Ads.

A Best-Selling Phone? It\'s Not Just a Good Phone

Making a good phone isn't enough to compete in the brutal handset market. Just ask HTC, BlackBerry, Nokia and just about any company that isn't Apple. Chetan Sharma, an independent telecommunications analyst who does consulting for carriers, has come up with a formula to help explain how a phone becomes a big seller or a flop in the United States.

In Mr. Sharma's report, which will be released next week, he explains that a company must successfully execute a number of factors. Not only must it deliver a good product, it also has to have tight control over the supply chain to gain access to the components needed to make the phones - because if a phone is suddenly in high demand, the company can only sell as many handsets as it makes.

Samsung, which makes components, and Apple, which has strong influence over suppliers, are clearly at an advantage when it comes to controlling the supply chain. HTC, on the other hand, has struggled partly because its new flagship smartphone, HTC One, has faced inventory issues since the phone was introduced because of trouble getting some parts.

Another big piece is marketing, Mr. Charma said. Everything from TV ads to Web ads, and from in-store promotions to billboards, helps build buzz for a product. The phone carriers, AT&T and Verizon Wireless, play a large role in marketing. They decide how much they want to promote the handsets inside their stores, as well as how much to train retail employees on selling the phones to customers.

Branding - how a consumer perceives the company - is also a major factor. Apple and Samsung both have strong brand recognition, whereas a company like HTC is barely known in the United States.

“One has to be effective on all fronts to be a leader,” Mr.  Sharma said. “Apple used to dominate on all fronts. Its product was far ahead of anyone in the industry, but lately others have caught up.” Samsung, for instance, has been catching up on brand equity with marketing, he said.

Field Notes: Tech Titans Choose Small or Secretive Ceremonies

Tech Titans Choose Small or Secretive Ceremonies

Michael Buckner/Getty Images//Noah Kalina/Facebook, via Associated Press/Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

Clockwise from above left, Sean Parker and Alexandra Lenas, who will marry next week in what is said to be an extravagant event; Mark Zuckerberg and his college sweetheart, Priscilla Chan, in the backyard of their home in Palo Alto, Calif., where they were wed; and Sergey Brin and Anne Wojcicki had a casual wedding on an island in the Bahamas.

It's not easy being a billionaire nerd. Just ask Sean Parker. When details recently leaked about the Napster/Facebook/Spotify mogul's lavish plans to marry the singer Alexandra Lenas next weekend at a resort in Big Sur, Calif., many mistakenly jumped to the conclusion that Mr. Parker, 33, would host a medieval-themed event. A big, fat geek wedding, if you will.

It didn't help that he had sent out engraved save-the-date rocks and hired Ngila Dickson, the Oscar-winning costume designer of “The Lord of the Rings” film trilogy, to outfit the couple's more than 250 guests with custom attire. There will be fake ruins and faux waterfalls built especially for the wedding that seem suspiciously like a Tolkien backdrop, too.

Mr. Parker, whose net worth is estimated to hover around $2 billion, and who has a daughter with Ms. Lenas, quickly took to Facebook and Twitter to set the record straight. “This is not a theme wedding and there will be nothing ‘medieval' about it,” he announced. “Ngila Dickson created a series of outfits that are based on modern suits and dresses with some elements of Victorian flair.”

What he did not address, however, was the cost of the affair, reportedly about $9 million. It is being overseen by the celebrity event designer Preston Bailey, who also orchestrated Donald Trump's 2005 wedding. Considering that Mr. Parker has committed to spending $350,000 on a temporary dance floor, it is easy to see how things might add up.

Even if Mr. Parker's budget is a million or two less, it's a huge expenditure, even by Hollywood standards. Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes, for instance, were reported to have spent an estimated $2 million when they married outside Rome in 2006. And in Silicon Valley, ostentatious displays tend to draw more scorn than awe.

Alexia Tsotsis, an editor of the San Francisco-based industry Web site TechCrunch, said: “Outliers like Parker serve as a warning for the rest of the group. Everyone here just wants to give off the aura that they're working hard.”

That may explain why tech titans typically go small or secretive when marrying. Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook and Larry Ellison of Oracle were both married in low-key backyard ceremonies. (Granted, the backyard of Mr. Ellison's 45-acre Japanese-style estate with a waterfall in Woodside, Calif., is hardly your typical lawn, and the 2003 marriage, which ended in divorce, was his fourth.)

Chris Hughes, another Facebook founder, also chose a small backyard ceremony at his home in Garrison, N.Y., when he married the political activist Sean Eldridge last July; afterward, they celebrated with a couple of hundred more guests at a party at Cipriani Wall Street with a big band.

If they prefer a destination wedding, like Google co-founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page, or even Bill Gates, their choice is usually a lush private island with enough security to thwart interlopers by air or sea.

According to Alice Marwick, an assistant professor at Fordham University and the author of “Status Update: Celebrity and Attention in Web 2.0,” “the culture of modern technology has a very idealistic underpinning to it.”

She added, “There's a sense that you're doing something good for the world, and that doesn't go hand in hand with flashy weddings or buying a Prada backpack.”

Clearly, Mr. Zuckerberg wasn't swayed by any traditional trappings. Last May, when he married his college sweetheart, Priscilla Chan, in the backyard of their home in Palo Alto, Calif., guests dined on simple Mexican fare and sushi catered by local restaurants. Instead of splurging on a fancy multitiered wedding cake, the couple served cute chocolate mice (about $3.50 each) from an artisan chocolatier.

Some speculated that the simple affair was a strategic business decision: Just 24 hours before the wedding, the then-28-year-old immortalized in “The Social Network” saw his net worth skyrocket to an estimated $19 billion after the frenzied initial public offering of Facebook.

With just a touch of irony, some media outlets called out the billionaire for his frugality. TMZ posted an item about Ms. Chan's ruby ring that a jeweler had estimated to cost around $25,000, and sneered, “If Mark Zuckerberg's new wife was expecting a massive diamond on her wedding ring ... she was sorely disappointed.” The New York Post simply referred to the event as “Mark's cheap nups.”

A version of this article appeared in print on May 26, 2013, on page ST15 of the New York edition with the headline: Tech Titans Choose Small or Secretive Ceremonies.