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Steve Jobs 1955-2011

abstract:We all expected it, but the news still came as a shock. Steve Jobs dead at 56. He was a genius, a visionary and an aesthetic rebel. Like the products he produced and the industries he affected. He made tech cool. As the accolades pour in for him I reflect on the impact he's made in my life and the lives of my family. We bought the first MacIntosh in 1984. (In fact we only recently gave it to a computer recycling depot after storing it for over 20 years.) My husband used it in medical school and upgraded religiously as newer models came along. We've always been a Mac family and so when my son entered into the gaming world and preferred to program with a PC we took it personally. (Don't worry, he's got lotsa Mac stuff now.) There has always been a Mac/PC schism in the world of geeks which is reflective of Steve Jobs own rebel attitude in business - he twice organized a coup of his company board and regularly addled executives. But his persistence paid off. PC users loved their key commands and code, while Mac users loved our intuitive operating system and attention to design elements. We've always bragged about the "plug and play" facility of Mac products and scorned the "blue screen of death" that our PC friends endured regularly. Start an Apple product and begin work instantly. Start a PC product and you have to take a coffee break before it's ready to use. That was the old LOL.

Today we can thank Steve Jobs for


October 06, 2011
— his work at Pixar and the injection of life into Disney that occurred with Toy Story and other Pixar animated films. (Design people and creative artists in film and music have largely been Mac users.) And we can thank him for revolutionizing the way we download and listen to music, films and even television programming. I've not watched television in 15 years. Or bought a CD or DVD in ages. We use apple products for all our home entertainment needs and anyone else who does knows how small a footprint that technology makes.

So that brings us up to the ipod, the iphone, the ipad and the itunes and App store. Suddenly people discovered all the things they could do with their phone, and all the stuff they could stick into the old entertainment center spaces in their homes. People laughed at Mac when they announced they'd be opening their own brand retail stores. But have you ever visited a Mac store that wasn't packed with people lined up to test and purchase products?

So what is the world going to do without this visionary? Here's the SteveJobs website's final paragraph... "Steve Jobs is undeniably an extraordinary man by any standard. He has left his mark on no less than five industries: personal computers with Apple II and Macintosh, music with iPod and iTunes, phone with iPhone, and animation with Pixar. The middle-class hippie kid with no college education that he was built a computer empire and became a multi-millionaire in a few years, was fired from his own company before coming back a decade later to save it and turn it into one of the world’s most influential corporations, with millions of fans around the world..."


[Late addition] I just discovered the exclusive biography of Steve Jobs (Simon & Schuster Oct 24, 2011) written by biographer and Aspen Institute's CEO Walter Isaacson. Isaacson was chairman of CNN and the managing editor of Time magazine. He is the author of Benjamin Franklin: An American Life and of Kissinger: A Biography, and the coauthor of The Wise Men: Six Friends and the World They Made. He lives in Washington, D.C., with his wife and daughter.
You can pre-order the Steve Jobs available in hard cover 10/24/11, or download the Kindle version now.



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