The Northern Virginia Daily's Political Depot

A service for our readers outside the Northern Shenandoah Valley... a sampling of The Daily's political coverage, plus unofficial, 'reporter's notebook' stuff. And occasional dry humor...

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Location: Strasburg, Virginia

Sunday, January 01, 2006

In Memoriam: The iBook of Doom

The iBook of Doom, longtime backbone of the Northern Virginia Daily's political staff, died New Year's Eve at his home in Strasburg, of complications from acute logic board failure. He was 4 years old.

Born in Cupertino, Calif., to the G3 family, iBook was one of many children, a large number of whom tragically inherited the chipset flaw that claimed his life last week.

iBook began his working life on a note of failure. After applying to IBM for a job as system mainframe in 1965, he received a stinging rejection letter, in which corporate recruiters said he had "neither the size nor the processing power to carry off such a role." It was a rebuke he would remember for the rest of his life.

Stung by his failure in the computing arena, iBook turned his energies to politics, where, after several successful stints with various Congressional and Senate offices, he signed on with the soon-to-fail campaign of Republican presidential hopeful New York Gov. Nelson Rockefeller. The defeat forced iBook into the private sector, where he made his fortune as a subcontractor doing basic arithmetic computations for the Census Bureau in 1970.

After a successful re-vamp of his political dreams in the Nixon administration's communications shop, Watergate forced iBook into the private sector and a stint in public relations -- a career move that led the now-middle aged computer to return to his roots in Cupertino.

Signing on with Steve Jobs and company, iBook took a lower-level position with Apple, working briefly as a test bed for the revolutionary new Macintosh operating system, before moving into the advertising department. It was the iBook's fascination with George Orwell's 1984 and a the lingering sting of his initial run-in with IBM that led to the creation of the famous ad that launched the Macintosh line.

By the time of Apple's re-birth in the 1990s with the iMac line of computers, iBook had retired from the company to pursue his true love politics once more, but this time from the outside looking in.

He was hired by the Northern Virginia Daily to provide mobile newsroom services for the paper's political operations in Richmond and Washington, D.C. It was a move that took him far from his beloved California, but back to his second home in Northern Virginia.

Working initially with James Heffernan, a sudden transfer to the paper's Winchester bureau put iBook together with last collaborator, Garren Shipley. Both were later reassigned to the paper's Strasburg office in mid-2005 to begin what would be iBook's last great project: coverage of the 2005 Virginia gubernatorial race.

Even after years of computing, iBook and Shipley were planning extensive coverage of the 2006 legislative session at the time of the laptop's death.

"He will be sorely missed, by myself, my colleagues and my family," Shipley said late Sunday. "The iBook of Doom may be gone, but his archived data will live forever."

Funeral arrangements are incomplete at this time, but will likely be held at the Daily's Strasburg office, with interment to be held later in a dumpster behind the loading dock.

Statement of the Obvious: This is a joke, and a poor, inside joke at that. It did not actually appear in any publication.