John Gruber, over at http://daringfireball.net has a discussion regarding Steve Jobs and what he was, in terms on an "inventor", tinkerer, etc.
It surprises me that people don't seem to get what Jobs was more clearly: He was a Synthesist. I immediately think of Professor Reisfeld from Robert Heinleins Have Spacesuit, Will Travel":
Pee Wee: He's the synthesist. Everybody else specializes. Daddy knows everything and puts the pieces together"
Jobs excelled at seeing where the pieces needed to be. The idea that people rattle off, that it was choo-choo time and therefore someone was going to make the railroad ignores the fact that no one else did. Would we have had the "iPad"? Sure. Maybe in another 4-5 years someone other than Jobs would have introduced something kinda like the iPhone. Or tablets might have morphed into what is now the iPad.
But I feel it's a lot more likely that it would have been 7-10 years of different designs (look at Android) being tried out, warring with each other instead of Jobs/Apple coming out with the correct design*.
Coming out with the correct design, and I want to stress this here, ON THE FIRST TRY.
Sure it needed faster hardware, better cell phone infrastructure, but the fact is that the iPhone was a grand slam, on the first try at the bat.
Of course, that was because Apple (under Jobs' tutelage) dumped EVERY design that wasn't what we saw as the final iPhone. I'll bet there were some real dogs in there. Likely we'll never see what they looked like.
So, yes, Jobs did us good, and he was a genius as a synthesist. The greatest works of Genius are the ones that are obvious after they come out. Anyone could have "discovered" gravity, as the character "Dirk Gently" states, after dropping a pencil, "see? they even keep it on weekends." But Newton did. I don't hear people griping about that.
*How do I know it's the "correct design? As Gruber notes, look at what phones looked like in 2007 and what they look like now. Take the hint.
Where was I? Staring at my iPhone, wondering, hoping someone at AP had screwed up. not ONE site confirmed this:
It took 10 minutes before I was able to get confirmation, and then the news flooded in:
Well, it's been just over 17 hours, and most of my responses to the death of Steve Jobs have been reactive. Posts to Twitter and Facebook. I figured I might as well sit down now that the shock and initial reaction are wearing off.
It's hard for me to sum up how I feel about it, because in some very obvious ways I'm not reallyconnected to Jobs in any way. I've never met him, or even seen him in person, to my knowledge.
He seemed like a jerk and a royal pain in the ass in a lot of ways.
"There was a world with Steve Jobs in it, and a world without him in it, and I'm now living in the latter." - Andy Ihnatko
But I'm a jerk in a lot of ways, and a royal pain in the ass sometimes, so maybe that was why I felt a connection to him. Completely aside from all the great technology stuff everyone is going to be writing about for next year.
Steve Jobs showed me that you can screw up. I mean screw up BIG, and you can still recover and excel, you just have to keep your head up or down, and charge ahead. Not blindly, you have to learn from your mistakes, but you can't let them weigh you down and stop you. You should always try and move on to the NeXT (sorry :)) big thing.
Think about it; The guy becomes one of the founding members of the "we started the Personal Computer as envisioned by science fiction writers" club, THEN gets pushed out...pushed out of the company that he helped found. Ten years later he's back at that company...Ten years after THAT, the company has revolutionized at least 3 industries, and introduced something so sci-fi (the iPhone) that we're still seeing the shock waves now, 4 years later - and we still don't know where it will all end.
If that's not a kicker for the universe having a narrative sense of humor, I don't know what is.
I won't harp on how hard it must have been, being kicked out of a company that you helped build - I've had experiences like that, and they couldn't have been anything as hard as that must have been and I can only hope that I deal with these experiences half as well as he did. And then there was the cancer, and Steve covered it best in his commencement speech at Stanford. [video][Text]
He dusted himself off and went on. It's what we all should do, and sometimes we don't, and it's why I'm thankful for the example of Steve Jobs. Apart for all the other things, he showed me what you can do if you just keep trying.
Steve Jobs spoke to design and function being part of technology, that it's about the people who use the tools, not about the tools themselves. He was willing to be wrong, he was willing to be outspoken, and he was willing to be himself and follow his dreams.
So yes, he was a jerk, and a pain in the ass, and an egomaniac, and a showoff, and a showman, and a dreamer, a dropout and a catalyst, philosopher, and entrepreneur, madman.
You can quote him, disagree with him, glorify or vilify him, but about the only thing you can't do...is ignore him. Because he changed things. He pushed the human race forward. He really did. (alternate Youtube Video)
Thanks for the push, Steve - we'll take it from here, man. Requisat In Pace.
So, (oh, right. Hi everyone, sorry it's been so long since I've posted anything on here) I've been getting repetitive mail from these assholes over at techwebevents-sf for...I dunno...years. I keep unsubscribing from the specific event and then they send me mail for a different event, and I can never recall whether that was the one I had unsubscribed from.
ANYways, I finally got off my ass and looked, and found a "universal opt-out": http://www.ubmtechnology.com/united-business-media-llc-privacy-notice/ It's about halfway down the page.
Here's hoping it works. And if it doesn't , you'll hear more about it, no doubt.*
Yes, my first post in over 6 months is me bitching about spam. Original.
Sorry, but most of my posting needs have been satisfied by Twitter/FaceBook. So, go follow me there. :)
*I'm still deciding whether I should write an article about the spamming assholes over at Michael T. Peterson.
Don't anyone mail me to say "hey moron, your CAPTCHA's broke!"
Of course, that's likely because the only people who've tried to log in have been bots, but still. Damned inconsiderate bots.
I've changed the CAPTCHA, so if you ACTUALLY wanted an account, and are not spamming pharmacology, c'mon (back) in.
Alternate title: having a plan in the first place.
So I imagine it's pretty clear that my site has "just growed", in that after my first site, a decade or so ago, in which I actually designed it and then built it by hand, the subsequent sites have all been Content Management System (CMS) based.
This has been great from a "slapping crap onto the site" perspective, but a nightmarish POS from an esthetic/personalization standpoint.
So this time I'm going to do my whole site as a Flash-based design.
Ok, enough bitching about something I dislike, and on to something I like;
I'd kind of been ignoring "Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog", until attending the "Shadow cast" (Think Rocky Horror Picture Show floorshow, for you old-timers out there) at Arisia 2010. Until then, I'd only seen the first half of the first Act.
It's really excellent. It's a great mix of ridiculous humor/plotline, actual ly really good classical story and well. It's just great. If, on the off chance that you haven't seen this, go to YouTube or iTunes right away and grab it.
They did a GREAT job on this, especially considering it was virtually no budget...the ending..man.
My daughter was unsure what to make of it, but on viewing it straight, she's been humming some of the songs tonight.
I've read that there are rumbles of a "sequel", I kind of hope not. Some things are one-shot, they come together and anything following just detracts, the ending just says "Period. Done."
"Billy? You're driving the spork into your leg."
"Huhn? So I am...Hilarious!"
In other news - I'm finally reading Discworld, yes I'm just Mr. "cutting edge", huhn?
Tell you what all you people who are out there whining about how "Apple is just blocking Flash content to protect their Oh-So Precious Garden".
Give it a rest, huhn?
Let me be clear here. Sure, I've blocked Flash forever, but that was to block annoying ads, which are not Adobe's fault. But I enjoy a game of Diner Dash as much as the next fellow.
But I am very glad that Apple is keeping flash off the iPhone.
Let's start with an easy-peasy one, shall we?
Adobe: Fix your damned plugin on Mac OS X, and then you can stop acting all surprised that Apple (you know, the company that makes Mac OS X?) doesn't want your crash-prone plugin on something that runs on the same underlying OS that you can't seem to stop making your plug in stable under.
'Cos the fact is, your plugin is CPU intensive and crash-prone.
John Nack gets all teary about how hard "Poor little Adobe has tried, awnest, they has, even though that siwwy old Mac OS X thing is only 5% of the market place, really they dud their best!"
And now Apple has a hugely popular smartphone, and they left you morons at the dock, while they sailed away. Are y'all familiar with the terms "just desserts"? Now the "iPad" is rolling down the ramp, and again, standing at the dock is Adobe.
Sucks when you get what's coming to you, huhn? I mean, do you really think that Apple build Preview, a replacement for Adobe Acrobat Reader because they thought "Hey, we're kind of bored around here, let's make a free replacement for a free program and bake it into the OS."
Really? Or do you kinda think that it was because Adobe Acrobat on Mac OS X is a dog?
Are we starting to see a trend here? Starting to see some places that maybe Adobe could have changed the outcome? I sure do.
And you know what? I'm even willing to admit that the whiners could be correct. Apple is keeping Flash and Java off the iPhone/iPod Touch/iPad to protect their sales of content.
But right now, Adobe is the company that could have fixed things with their apps, and they've been steadfastly ignoring their Mac users, aside from their cash cow, Adobe Creative Suite. (I'm being generous here, I do support for designers, hoo boy)
Fix Flash on Mac OS X, Adobe - then you at least can say that it's Apple's fault, 'cos right now.
It's all you.
Daring Fireball: "The print publishing industry should be so lucky to have iTunes do for them what it%u2019s done for music."(Via .)
Shuh, "McGraw-Hill content? No, I'm sorry, we don't have any McGraw-Hill content." - Steve Jobs
So, over at Wet Asphalt, Eric Rosenfield has written an article about some...concerns he had after attending Arisia 2010 and found it to be a bit more of a "Lifestyle Con" (It isn't, but that's the term he used).
After posting some thoughts on his concerns and telling a commenter there who turned out to be Eric's "partner/co-poster" on the site that he was full of shit" (oopsie :)), I found a track of thought that I'd been wondering about while I was at Arisia.
What do we want to get out of these panels?
Eric was talking about how at a West Coast con, a Dr. Who panel, for example, would have people from the show, whereas at Arisia (in this case) you basically had fans who ended up talking about their favorite episodes. Which is all cool, and I've been at panels like that, but...how does this differ from just getting a bull session going in a hallway? Is it better? Worse?
What about the one with the people from the show? A chance to ask questions about the show? Can't I just watch the DVD extras and get the same things? Read about the show on their website? How is that different?
How much of the "Is there a -name- in a panel?" interest comes from wanting to rub elbows with the celebs? Or do you get something more useful?
At the "Future of School" panel, one of the best comments an attendee made was "if you vote, this is something you can go out, right now and do that will actually have an effect." (He was talking about campaigning against standardized testing). That alone was worth having suggested that panel, so that there were other commenters, is just a bonus.
So, going forward, as I suggest MORE panels for Arisia next year, I'm going to be thinking "what do I want people to get out of this panel?"