Boom! We'll miss you Steve.
While we all knew that Steve Jobs wasn't a well man, his death this week took everyone by surprise.
Maybe it's a testimony to how integrated technology has become with our lives, but I at least was surprised to see the tributes to Jobs flowing in from all quarters. One thing's for sure: Jobs and Apple shaped and redefined technology to a degree few others have.
What's more, today's geek world would've been much duller without the often eccentric ideas of Jobs and his associates. Quite a few of the ideas failed for a variety of reasons, which is great by itself because while Apple wobbled and stumbled, it didn't die unlike just about every other company would have.
Image by Jonathan Mak.
Apple staffers and shareholders will miss Jobs, but he seems to have made an indelible impression on heaps of people. Some of the better tributes:
Les Chapman, whose brother Dennis set up one of the early New Zealand tech successes, Swichtech, says Jobs was "a difficult bugger to work with", probably an entirely true statement of the man who claimed to be in the intersection of technology and liberal arts.
The Australian Science Media Centre forwarded some quotes from the University of Sydney; my favourite one is from Jayne Ion, a web developer at the faculty of science there:
".... he was a visionary, but he was so much more - organ donor activist, CEO of the Decade, user based design guru, philanthropist, tech oracle, and today has achieved a Twitter Fail Whale message as the Twitterati made for the digital airwaves to mourn his passing."
Twitter did indeed melt down for a while as news of Jobs passing away echoed around the Internet.
"If Jobs were not so talented, if he were not so visionary, if he were not so canny in determining where others had failed in producing great products and what was necessary to succeed, his pushiness and imperiousness would have made him a figure of mockery."
That's not quite right by Levy to say that. Jobs was "intense" like few others, and Dan Lyons picked up on it in his brilliant Fake Steve Jobs blog.
Fake Steve Jobs was very funny, but couldn't have been done about anyone else than the Real Steve. Noone else was that much out there, and worth writing about. Now it ends though, and check out Lyons' tribute to Jobs on the blog.
Walt Mossberg, who became "Goatberg" in Fake Steve Jobs' blog, wrote a very good piece on the late man. He banned Jobs from using his favourite presentation tool, slides (and good on Mossberg too).
Will Apple be able to continue without Jobs? The world is a very different world to when Jobs and Woz started Apple, and returned to the company after Sculley and Co almost ran it to the ground. Maybe what Jobs has done to reshape the world will live on, and Apple will be fine. I can't say.
What I can say is it'll be impossible not to miss someone who has had such influence on our field. Even vile idiots like the Westboro Baptists recognise Jobs' greatness, albeit without realising it.
Sigh. Who's going to go Boom! from now on? Rest in peace, Steve.
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