Thanks to, Steve Jobs now knows what Bloomberg News intends to say about him when he dies. The financial wire service inadvertently...

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Thanks to, Steve Jobs now knows what Bloomberg News intends to say about him when he dies. The financial wire service inadvertently published last week its obituary-in-progress for the 53-year-old co-founder and CEO of Apple. Rumors have been circulating on Wall Street about the current health of Jobs, who was treated for pancreatic cancer in 2004. No new information about Jobs’ health is in the canned obit, which Bloomberg quickly retracted.

More illuminating is the list of people Bloomberg has compiled to call if and when Jobs is no longer with us.

There are the usual suspects, such as Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak and Apple board members former Vice President Al Gore and Google CEO Eric Schmidt; and Valley insiders VC Mike Markkula, Larry Ellison of Oracle, Paul Otellini, CEO of Intel, and Scott McNealy, co-founder of Sun Microsystems.

Some of the more interesting names on the list:

• Heidi Roizen: venture capitalist who once dated Jobs: “Heidi knows a lot of Silicon Valley insiders and may put us in touch with others.”

• Jerry Brown: personal friend and California AG.

• Bill Gates: “Microsoft was among the first developers of Macsoftware.”

Bloomberg may want to check out that Gates reference in the meantime.

Under Office’s spell

After last week’s story on the team at Microsoft that makes the spell-checker, readers shared the words they wish it would include and their favorite spell-checker corrections.

• “You think Bromodichloromethane or 4-Methyl-2-Pentanone are in there? Or whenever we use borehole, the suggested correction is brothel … “

• “I’ve often wondered why a corporation based in Washington has a spell-checker that doesn’t include Walla Walla as an acceptable proper noun instead of insisting that it’s a repetition. (Only half as delicious, I’m sure.)”

• “Colocation — as in ‘Our Web site is hosted at a colocation facility.’ Microsoft Word insists that this be corrected to collocation, which is a different word entirely.”

Mike Calcagno, general manager with the Natural Language Group for Office at Microsoft, has since reported that borehole and Walla Walla were recognized in Office 2007.

Xbox enters politics

Add civic engagement to the ever-growing list of video, gaming and communication offerings on Microsoft‘s Xbox Live network. The company is ramping up a partnership with Rock the Vote that gives Xbox Live members information about the presidential candidates and help registering to vote.

The Rock the Vote site within the Xbox Live network has downloadable Gamerpics, which can be added to an individual’s Xbox Live profile, in support of Barack Obama or John McCain. There’s also voter registration information and Rock the Vote videos.

An Xbox Live presidential poll is planned for Sept. 9-14. The site will also participate in a registration drive Sept. 23.

New buzz on “Halo”

Video-game news site Joystiq has reported the October issue of the Official Xbox Magazine will carry an item suggesting a game studio other than Kirkland-based Bungie is at work on a fourth installment in the blockbuster “Halo” series for the next-generation Xbox, i.e., whatever follows the 360.

Got that straight? For the record, this is all rumor.

That was followed by a report on the blog of Variety reporter Ben Fritz, who checked with a source close to Gearbox Software, the other studio reportedly referenced in the Xbox Mag story. Gearbox reportedly has talked to Microsoft but no deal is in place.

By Joystiq’s count, the possible Gearbox “Halo 4” is the fourth “Halo” title currently on the radar. The others are:

• “Halo Wars,” a real-time strategy game from Microsoft’s Ensemble Studios due out in the first half of 2009.

• Another Bungie “Halo” project, which Bungie was set to talk about around E3 in Los Angeles last month, but Microsoft put the kibosh on the announcement.

• The long-in-the-works partnership with director Peter Jackson on “Halo Universe.” It started out as a movie deal that went south.

Download, a column of news bits, observations and miscellany, is gathered by The Seattle Times technology staff. We can be reached at 206-464-2265 or