Thursday, October 6, 2011

When Titans Fall

I've never gotten use to the feeling that comes over me when the Titans of Our World fall. It affects me on so many levels.

I never met Steve Jobs, yet I knew a great deal about Steve Jobs, so much that I almost felt I knew him. I was a late comer to the Apple World. I tend to get into ruts I guess like many other people. I have close friends who are devoted Apple groupies. One who even camps out in front of the store to be among the first to purchase the next new thing. But in spite of their admonishments to me that I should give Apple a try I resisted.

Steve Jobs 1955 - 2011
Yet, as I write this article, I hold a piece of Steve Jobs in my hands because I am writing it on my MacBook Pro which I purchased less than a year ago. On my bedside table downstairs is my iPad on which I just finished reading the morning edition of the Houston Chronicle and on which I read Time Magazine's weekly edition. In my left pocket is my iPhone. Of course, phone is kind of a misnomer for the device because it is so much more than a phone. It's really just an extension of me. It contains so much information that defines and describes who I am. It's really a very personal thing which Steve Jobs provided to me and millions of others around the world. Out in the garage, my iPod is in the center console box of my Ford Explorer, hooked up to Ford's Sync System via a USB connection. I simply have to speak to the system and it will play one or as many as I choose of over a thousand of my personal favorite songs. I can tell it to play a particular song, the songs of a particular artist, the songs that fit into a particular genre or any of several playlists which I have put together or which the iPad put together for me based on what it knows about the music I like to listen to. I am literally surrounded by the genius and the insight that was Steve Jobs, as are millions and millions of others around the world.

Steve Jobs was no saint. No one will refer to him as such in the volumes of material that will be written about him with his passing. He was just a extraordinary man who had a passion and the courage to follow that passion. If Steve Jobs had his faults, and he did, one of the biggest was perhaps his stubbornness. It could and did get him into lots of trouble. He also had trouble playing well with others and that carried over into the whole Apple world. But his redeeming trait was that while he often had to be hit over the head pretty hard, he did learn from his mistakes and in the end he was not afraid to make changes in his thinking that would affect the products of his genius for the better.

My iPod Nano 2
And there is no doubt that it is the products of his genius through which most of the world knew the man. I don't know that I would have ever embraced the genius of Steve Jobs had it not been for a Christmas Gift from my wife a few years ago. I'm one of those people who is notoriously hard to buy for. I'm picky about my clothes and prefer to pick them out myself. If I want something, I usually go out and buy it, so anything I want, I more than likely have. But my wife has her own stubborn streak and she makes it a point to try to surprise me with something unexpected which I'll like. More often that not, she succeeds. On that particular Christmas her gift to me was wrapped and under the tree very early and it was quite small and light. I was, frankly, baffled. I couldn't think of a single thing I would want or like that could be in such a small package, made no sound when I shook it and weighed next to nothing.
I was not necessarily impressed when I opened the gift and found the iPod. To tell you the truth, I had no idea how the damn thing even worked. Luckily my daughter did and she patiently introduced me to iTunes and helped me to install it on my PC. Finding that the iPod only worked in conjunction with iTunes didn't impress me much for sure. I saw it as just a way to pull more money out of my pocket.

So, at first, rather than purchase anything I simply loaded my favorite CD's into iTunes and then loaded them into the iPod. That was all it took to impress me. That the mountain of CDs I had collected over the years could be loaded into this little piece of technology and there still be room for more amazed me. That I could strap it to my arm  with a holster and go to the gym and do my workout and never know it was there except for the music I was working out to was amazing to me.

It wasn't very long until I decided I would like to have some of my favorite songs from the 1960s in my iPod, but those songs only existed on my old LPs and so I reluctantly made my first shopping trip to the iTunes Store. Again after trying it once and enjoying the convenience and ease of the experience, I was hooked. I've downloaded hundreds of songs from iTunes over the last few years and my current wish list is extensive. My daughter loves it because she knows I'm no longer hard to buy for on my birthday or at Christmas. I love to receive iTunes Gift Cards.

It was the quality of the workmanship, the genius of the design which made it so easy to use that sold me on that first Apple product. My son, seeing how much I enjoyed the iPod bought me an iPad for Father's Day. I love it though I spend a fortune buying books from the iTunes Store or from Amazon to download to it. For an older guy like me, being able to set the font to whatever size I want makes reading a joy again.

My love of those first two products led me to purchase first an iPhone and finally a MacBook Pro. The genius of Steve Jobs and the team with which he surrounded himself has simply dragged me into the Apple world. I love the fact that I can be reading a book on my iPod and if I find myself waiting in the Doctor's waiting room or somewhere else with time on my hands, I can pull my iPhone out of my pocket and take up reading the book on the page I left off on my iPod. It automatically keeps it all synced between the devices. It's probably not nearly as impressive to young kids who have grown up with these miracles of technology, but for a boy whose family never even had a telephone until I was 10 years old, it's as impressive as hell.

It's hard to imagine that such a force as Steve Jobs could be gone. How could one so much a part of life not always be a part of life? I felt the same way the day John F. Kennedy died. I felt the same way the day my own father died.  The answer is, of course, that men who leave such impact on our lives never truly die. They live on in the work, the ideas and the ideals they left behind. Steve Jobs will no doubt join in the list of names that include Henry Ford and Thomas Edison and others who almost single handedly transformed the world into a better place.

Thanks Steve Jobs for being an American hero! Thanks for living and sharing your dreams.

Jack Scott

1 comment:

  1. A nice write-p and appreciation of the man's impact. I like the personalized style.


I deeply regret that I must reinstate the verification process for those who want to leave comments on my blog. This is due to the intolerable amount of spam that spammers are attempting to leave on the blog.

At the same time I am changing settings so that those of you who have a Google Blogger ID or other recognized blogger ID will not have to have your comments moderated. My hope is this will encourage more readers to take the time to comment. The fact is I want to read comments with those of you who disagree with me as well as those of you who agree with me. All I ask is that you keep your comments clean and non-threatening.

The only reason I take the time to write this blog is to spur your thoughts and comments. Please do not let the spammers cause you not to comment. I know entering the verification words and numbers is a pain in the ass, but I hope you will not let the spammers cause you not to comment.

I still very much look forward to hearing from you.

Jack Scott

Anyone can comment on what I write in this blog. Regretfully, the recent amount of spam in my email account as required that I reinstate the word verification process for comments which I personally hate.

But at the same time I have loosened the comment moderation process so that those of you who have a Google Blogger ID or other recognized blogger ID will no longer need to wait for your comment to be moderated. I'm hoping this will tempt you to take the trouble to comment.

The truth is I want respectful comments both from those who agree with me and those who do not. All I as is that you keep comments to the point, clean and non-threatenting.

I look forward to hearing from each of you.

Jack Scott