Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Thank you, Steve Jobs

I was really sorry to hear the news from one my friends today that Steve Jobs had died.  The term "visionary" gets thrown around a lot these days, but if there was anyone who deserved that term, it was Jobs.  You may not be a dedicated Apple computer user, like our family is.  But did you realize that the whole point-at-a-picture-and-click-to-make-your-computer-respond interface that prevails in today's personal computers came from Job's vision?  I remember the first time such a way to interact with your computer first showed up, in the long defunct Lisa Computer (from Apple).  Lisa didn't last, but it was such a harbinger of the future--a vision, yes, of a computer that could be used by those who hadn't learned computer code, which was the only way to run computer before Apple Computer redefined computers.  Windows was merely a copy, a catch-up, to Apple's game-changing software interface.  So pretty much all of us who aren't code-crunchers owe a debt to Steve Jobs.

Of course, that wasn't his only gift to us.  How many of us own iPods, or other MP3 players that were inspired or influenced by Apple's foray into the digital music business?  And, indeed, the iPod technology has arguably changed the entire music business as much as anything since the earliest recording technologies.  Eventually, that morphed into the iPhone--where you could stay connected to email and WWW and such using your phone--and then to the iPad, a design for the digital book, plus much more.  Again, that entire line was driven by Job's vision for a digital technology that could transform our lives.

Even the youngest among us has been touched by Job's genius.  Is there any children's movie makers today who have had such an unbroken line of hits as Pixar, which Jobs bought from George Lucas and turned into an digital movie company that has enjoyed an unparalleled success, both critically and commercially.

There is so much that we could all learn about the leadership path of Jobs over the years, and perhaps I will write something more about that in a later post.  But right now, I just want to express my gratitude to the man who had done so much to make computers so easy for us to use.  Particularly as a homeschooler, I don't know how I could teach without the easy operation of computer technology that he helped to facilitate.

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