I never knew you.
Or at least, I knew you only insofar as what you did impacted on my life.
That started in the early 90’s when I went to University. In my second year, after miserable failure in my first year, I changed my major, and needed to start writing essays. I was using the “computer labs” to write the essays, rooms set up with free-to-use desktop computers for the students. I am not sure why they were called “labs”, but I ended up spending a lot of time in the Mac Lab. There was also a Lab set up for PC’s, but I very quickly decided I didn’t like using them and became a bit of an Apple fan.
During my last couple of years at Uni I owned a Mac (LC 575 Performa – although it might have been a 580, I can’t remember now) and kept it for many enjoyable years. It was a solid workhorse, that only really failed when the internet developed too far past what it had been designed for. It still did what it did do well, but the future was the internet. So my Performa ended up at the dump. It was quite emotional actually, I was sad to say goodbye, I had developed quite an attachment. It has seen me through some formative years, and many a night writing or gaming into the small hours.
After that I got a transitional computer, a Wintel PC, I never developed any connection with that. And as soon as the opportunity and the finances permitted, I got another Mac. A Mac Mini, pretty much the bottom of the line model, and one of the last of the PowerPC models. But guess what, it is still running, and well. The only trouble I have ever really had was trying to run Adobe Flash on it.
Am I an Apple fanboy?
Yes and no. I have done my fair share of prothletising.
On the other hand I also grew to appreciate the things that Microsoft did do well (and there is some things) – inspite of their many major sins(more on that below). And even Apple has stumbled occasionally.
But in general I appreciated and admired what Apple, and Steve Jobs, have achieved. Where they were at their best, was when they did the opposite of Microsoft. They didn’t pre-announce vaporware. They didn’t cynically exploit their power/customers, they made elegant products, they did what they said they would do, they always tried to move forward even if it meant cannibalizing their own products rather than resting on their laurels. Their computers were easy to use and didn’t suffer the viruses and malware that PC’s were riddled with. Apple treated their customers with some respect. And the objective of what they did, was to supply the customer with the best possible experience, rather than to exploit whatever leverage they had to extract the maximum revenue.
Apple was criticised for having expensive hardware. But I always found that when comparing whole-of-life costs, Apple computers actually worked out cheaper. My computer lasted longer before becoming obsolete, the free bundled software was often better, there was no extra costs of security – and it essentially did (as advertised) “just work”. As a whole package, it was for me simply better, by a long way.
And that can be credited to Steve Jobs. I have read any number of articles that have said that Steve was a perfectionist and would harry and bully until the finished product was right. Half baked simply wasn’t good enough. In a way, that really reminds me of my mother, interestingly, she too died at 56.
I surprised myself that I literally shed a tear when I heard of Steve’s death, and was reading some of the tributes posted and anecdotes from his life. If you had asked me a week ago if that would have been possible, I would have dismissed it. Hey, I never knew him personally, why would I care that much? (on that note…)
Maybe because of the resonance’s with my mother. Like him, she knew for a number of years before her death that she was on a short lease. That made her difficult to live with, she wouldn’t accept half-baked either. For her, if it was worth doing at all, then it was worth doing right, with commitment, belief and integrity. No room for slacking. But in the end, I was the better for her love and dedication. And we are the better for Steve’s.
If we want to look for things to nitpick, then we can find them no doubt. (why would you at this time)
But he cast a long shadow and left a great legacy. One that is even more relevant in this current era. Ethical, admirable, inspirational.
Taken too soon, perhaps – missed, definitely. iSad 😦
* “Be a yardstick of quality. Some people aren’t used to an environment where excellence is expected.”
* “The only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it.”
* “We’re here to put a dent in the universe. Otherwise why else even be here?”
* “Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma… Don’t let the noise of other’s opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition.”
* “Some of the things I am most proud of, is the things we decided not to do.”
* ” Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.”
Finally – who else do you know who’s received an epitaph like this:
~ Bill Gates: “The world rarely sees someone who has had the profound impact Steve has had, the effects of which will be felt for many generations to come. For those of us lucky enough to get to work with him, it’s been an insanely great honor. I will miss Steve immensely.”
Update – 04/11/11
On the other hand… Anti Apple