Biz Break: When Barbra Streisand needed IT help, Steve Jobs answered

Top Of The Order:  

Steve On Speed Dial: Picture this. You just bought a new laptop, say a Macbook Air. And you have all this data, information, photos and who knows what else on your old Macbook that dates from President Obama’s first term in office. You set things up like you’re told to in order to get all that stuff off the old box and into the shiny new one. And you start waiting.

And 36 hours later, you’re still waiting. In fact, for at least 12 hours, the screens have said there’s “less than a minute” left in transferring everything over. Maybe this is what happens when you use your home Wi-Fi network and data goes across at only 2 megabytes a second. Anyway, what you do is you call Apple tech support, they transfer you to a friendly tech support person who is definitely not in the United States (and you know this because, when she asks when you would like a return call, she asks what time zone in America you are in) who suggests trying an Ethernet-to-Thunderbolt connection that will help speed up the data-transfer process. You do all of this, and then, a mere 40 hours after the whole process started, you are done.

This is what happens when you need tech support for you and I. This is not what happens, however, when you are Barbra Streisand.

Already, we all know about Babs calling Apple Chief Executive Tim Cook to complain about how Siri pronounced her last name. (A little too much “Z” in “StreiZand,” apparently.)

So, when Streisand has a problem with something, she goes right to the top. Like she did when she had some sort of tech problem a few years ago and she got Steve Jobs on the case.


Yes. Steve Jobs. Why not? The guy started Apple in his parents’ garage 40 years ago, so he must have known something about how to fix a Mac in the following years. According the British news site The Guardian, Streisand had some issue with one of her computers and, needing some help, got Jobs on the phone to try to sort it out.

As reported by The Guardian:

“The US singer told Good Morning Britain: “I couldn’t figure out something on my computer and nobody could figure it out, no IT guy, so I said; ‘Can you get Steve Jobs on the phone?’”

Now, this begs the question, who did she ask about getting a hold of Jobs? One of her minions? Husband James Brolin? God, Himself?

Whoever it was, they put Jobs on the phone, and can you imagine the disappointment/rage that Streisand felt when not only Jobs couldn’t figure it out, but, according to the singer, neither could his IT guy?

I guess Tim Cook has better tech connections. Streisand said Cook got on the case and the ego-shattering and gratuitous pronunciation flaw involving her name is supposed to be corrected with the next iOS software update, set for Sept. 30.

Middle Innings: 

Autodesk Is Automatic: Let’s give a tip of the hat today to San Rafael-based Autodesk. On a day when much of the stock market, and tech sector, suffered in the wake of Fed Chairman Janet Yellen’s comments about the economy, Autodesk flexed its muscles.

Autodesk, which makes design-automation software, saw its shares climb by more than 8 percent Friday to end the week at $68.87. The impetus for the gains was Autodesk reporting a surprise second-quarter profit, excluding one-time items, of 5 cents a share on revenue of $551 million. Analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters had forecast Autodesk to lose 13 cents a share, with sales of $512 million for the quarter that ended in July. The company said it added 109,000 subscriptions during the quarter, to give it 2.82 million.

Autodesk also got in investors’ good graces Friday after it forecast a third-quarter loss of 22 cents to 27 cents share, on revenue of $470 million to $485 million. That was better than the 28-cents-a-share loss and $468.5 million sales forecast that Wall Street analysts had expected.

Bottom Of The Lineup: Here’s a look at how some leading Silicon Valley stocks did Friday…

Movin’ On Up: Gains came from Sigma Designs, Silver Spring Networks, Advanced Micro Devices, Glu Mobile and Zynga.

In The Red: Decliners included Brocade Communications Systems, Splunk, Workday, FireEye and Nimble Storage.

The tech-focused Nasdaq Composite Index edged up by 0.1 percent to 5,218.

The blue chip Dow Jones Industrial Average shed 0.3 percent to close at 18,395.

And the broad-based Standard & Poor’s 500 Index gave up 0.2 percent to finish at 2,169.

Quote Of The Day: “Happiness in intelligent people is the rarest thing I know.” —  Ernest Hemingway.

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Photo: In this June 12, 2016 photo, Barbra Streisand presents the award for best musical at the Tony Awards in New York.  (Evan Agostini/Invision/AP)


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