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Just Me

HAGIOGRAPHY

Posted on 2011.10.06 at 20:43
HAGIOGRAPHY 
1: biography of saints or venerated persons
2: idealizing or idolizing biography

 I'm stunned by the hagiography being devoted to Steve Jobs, both in the media and among the general public.

 Yes, the guy was a canny businessman, and created an aesthetic for his company that was very successful. His brilliance is unquestioned and unquestonable, and, he brought into the world of mainstream computing common use of the GUI concept invented at Bell Labs, which was what taught consumers you don't have to be a rocket scientist to work a computer, and that was a Good Thing.

 But he also seemed to view his company as a government unto itself, and his business model in which Apple continued to have active control -- essentially, ownership! -- over the hardware they had already sold to the consumer, is frankly nothing short of sleazy: iPhones bricked, police accompanying and acting at the direction of company security to retrieve prototypes that were stupidly lost in bars, it goes on and on.

 The GUI existed before Apple. PDAs could carry and play MP3s before the iPod, and there were plenty of internet-and-multimedia-capable touch-screen smartphones before the iPhone. Kindles and Nooks were there for e-reading, and every computer manufacturer in existence has been trying to sell tablet PCs for years before the iPad. Again, Steve Jobs brought to Apple Computer Corporation a fierce aesthetic sensibility, a wedding of form and function that led to an elegant and consistent "Branding" for their products. Well done and all that.

 A good, solid engineer, and a talented businessman. But to listen the news coverage, he was the Second Coming of Jesus Christ!

 I own no Apple hardware and the only Apple software I have is Safari, just because I love having extra web browsers, to see how stubborn pages render in different software, and quicktime. No iTunes, no nuthin' but those two programs. (And I may actually have Quicktime Alternative, I'm not sure.) I still do all the smartphone calling and e-book reading and MP3 listening and mobile computing and video viewing I could want on my HTC Evo Shift 4G Android smartphone, and it all works wonderfully.

 In fact, after a day's thought, I can think of only one way I've benefited more-or-less directly from Steve Jobs: Were it not for him, and thus the iPhone, I never would have seen Blake Lively and Scarlett Johanson naked! An expensive, high-prestige smartphone with a high-quality digital camera built in? Starlets taking naked pictures of themselves was an almost inevitable consequence.

Thank you, Steve Jobs! 

Comments:


shygryf
shygryf at 2011-10-07 05:13 (UTC) (Link)
this is a very wonderful post that perfectly sums up my feelings on the matter.
alloy_
alloy_ at 2011-10-07 07:12 (UTC) (Link)
I think what Jobs (and Apple) has done is force the issue of the aesthetic, forced other manufacturers to make their products cool and practical.

I don't any Apple products, but having used some of those Pre-Iphone, Pre-Ipad offerings I must say that I'm grateful Jobs upped the anti, and that my little android phone is an indirect product of the arms race.

The business model is one of the reasons I don't have any Apple products.

In a way Jobs is the Henry Ford of our era.
(Deleted comment)
sophiamaria03
sophiamaria03 at 2011-10-07 19:05 (UTC) (Link)
'This Stuff Doesn’t Change the World’: Disability and Steve Jobs’ Legacy

http://www.wired.com/epicenter/2011/10/steve-jobs-disability/

His attention to design and pushing boundaries greatly helped thousands of people with disabilities in a way that nobody else has. By making his technology easy to use for everyone, it made assistive technology available to people who otherwise may not have had access to it.
clemgo3165 at 2011-10-08 00:38 (UTC) (Link)

Jobs changed the world...

25 years or so ago, back when I was in college, the computer wasn't on everyone's desktop and the only mouse in my world lived, you hoped, outside. I learned to use a huge monstrosity of a computer early on, but it was the Mac that allowed us to be free. With a click of the mouse I could write a book and add design directly to it, I could keep track of a budget with little programming, and I could create artwork without having to use paint or ink. All in one little box.

Jobs took what was then only used by scientists and serious math geeks and transformed it into a tool we could use every day. You didn't have to have a college degree to work a Mac, you didn't have to know programming language, you didn't even have to be a grown up, it was all right there at your fingertips.

Over the years he's done more of the same. Turning the mp3 player into a pocket-sized jukebox, wedding form, function, and access. The iPad was the same. Others had the tablet, but none managed to put all of the functions together at the same time so that you didn't need a separate eReader or mp3 player, you could do it all on the same device with no wires or mice needed.

I'm amazed every day that the computing capability I had on my first computer is now contained in many multiples in a device I can hold in my hand and use wherever I go. My world is certainly different for Steve Jobs being in it.
Jonathan Andrew Sheen
leviathan0999 at 2011-10-08 01:15 (UTC) (Link)

Re: Jobs changed the world...

Steve Jobs didn't invent the desktop personal computer. There was a whole industry racing to find a way to do it, and plenty of others did it as well or better. He didn't invent the GUI that made all that available to you with the click of a mouse, that was Bell Labs.

He didn't invent the MP3 player that puts a jukebox in your pocket, either. My Palm Pilot did that for me before the iPad was on a drawing board. He didn't get the music industry to go digital, Napster made that unavoidable.

He didn't invent tablet computing.

If his Mom's garage had been destroyed while he was in college, and, with noplace to start a company, he'd bought a McDonalds franchise instead, your world would not be appreciably different. There would still be desktop computers running GUIs and WYSIWYG software. you'd still have a digital music player, and a tablet, and they probably wouldn't be as overpriced as Apple products.
clemgo3165 at 2011-10-08 02:11 (UTC) (Link)

Re: Jobs changed the world...

I never said he invented any of those things. What he did was innovate. Taking those ideas and putting them together in one simple, elegant package that didn't take a genius-level IQ to use. He took the idea of the desktop computer and put it in a box that i could pick up, he used the GUI interface to simplify use and he added the mouse so all I had to do was point and click.

Sure, Napster made digital music unavoidable, but it was Jobs who coupled it with the iPod, making it seamless.

He didn't invent tablet computing either, but he did put it all together in a way that nobody else had done.

While we'd likely still have lots of the things we ended up with, I don't think we'd have ended up in the same place without Jobs. Many people have the big ideas, but most can't put them together in the same way.
Jonathan Andrew Sheen
leviathan0999 at 2011-10-08 09:21 (UTC) (Link)

Re: Jobs changed the world...

He created an aesthetic-driven brand, sacrificing function for form again and again, charging premium prices for bog-standard junk, which even once you bought it, you didn't really own.

If Apple products float your boat, good for you, but you can have stuff that's just as good and just as useable, without the creepy grasping fingers of the manufacturer still controlling it, by buying other brands.

Steve Jobs no more changed the world than Orville Reddenbacher or Frank Perdue.
violet
amythis at 2011-10-08 15:16 (UTC) (Link)
How do you feel about Hagridography?
Jonathan Andrew Sheen
leviathan0999 at 2011-10-09 15:08 (UTC) (Link)
Entirely called-for! Grea' man, Hagri', grea' man!
violet
amythis at 2011-10-09 17:12 (UTC) (Link)
One might almost say there's no Hogwarts without him.
Ashaherazade
ashaherazade at 2011-10-11 20:38 (UTC) (Link)
I'm with you Jonathan
First let me say I'm in no way trying to slam Apple or Steve Jobs but by the same token I'm not a huge fan of Gates and M$ either.
I've never owned, or even used an Apple computer *and I worked at the only authorized Apple dealership in Springfield Illinois back in 1986* It is worthy of note that those of us doing actual work (aside from the sales staff) at that store literally never touched an Apple product, it was all non-Apple PCs and sometimes working on the mini (we did offsite backups, etc. for businesses).
Yes, Apple did offer some innovations - and for the physically challenged there were/are some benefits to having a one button mouse - but the vast majority of folks I know who are deeply into Apple are not into business.
My husband (the computer geek who repairs ANY computer for a living) even has a business customer who does motion picture work and they do the graphics on Apple products and everything else on non-Apple computers. Hubby does say they are physically well made but he won't own or use an Apple product for the same reasons you give Jon. :-)
Steve Jobs' death was a loss of an innovator and a good businessman too early in his life due to an awful disease but my world is far more affected by the Baseball playoffs than it is by his death, and I don't follow baseball!

And Amythis? LOVED IT!!
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