Wednesday, October 5th, 2011

Steve Jobs, Dead at 56

Who is this man? He's the anchor baby of an activist Arab muslim who came to the U.S. on a student visa and had a child out of wedlock. He's a non-Christian, arugula-eating, drug-using follower of unabashedly old-fashioned liberal teachings from the hippies and folk music stars of the 60s. And he believes in science, in things that science can demonstrate like climate change and Pi having a value more specific than "3," and in extending responsible benefits to his employees while encouraging his company to lead by being environmentally responsible.

A man named on hundreds of patents died today. Here's how he'll be remembered.

50 Comments / Post A Comment

bassknives (#2,903)

"but wait. there's one more thing…"

joe2 (#73,152)

i don't see what all the fuss is about. he was disloyal and dishonest (ripped off woz multiple times), he was mean and arrogant (yelled abuse at employees) and all he did is design some overpriced luxury electronics. the douchebag even parked in handicapped spots (back before he got sick). what a jerk.

Villa (#2,985)

@joe2 don't forget tax evasion!

Danzig! (#5,318)

@joe2 Well, he was a once-in-a-liftime PR grandmaster. I don't think Apple's products (many of which are subpar to a gadget enthusiast such as myself but fantastic for laymen) would have cornered the markets they have without him, frankly.

Was he an asshole? I have no reason to believe otherwise. By all accounts he was a Kubrick-esque asshole genius. He was certainly unapologetic about keeping draconian, often anti-gay control over what could be used on his devices (some non-christian hippy), but I don't begrudge him a moment of silence. He was an important dude. I have yet to see many hagiographies, but I'm sure they're on the way.

riggssm (#760)

@joe2 You stay classy, Redmond …

Niko Bellic (#1,312)

@joe2 "ripped off woz multiple times"

Ah, so he ripped Woz off of the ability to speak for himself?

@joe2 Yep. He was a creep. He brought Apple back from the dead and thereby saved us from a crappy Windows-only world. However, he was still not such a great person. Even so, he made Apple what it is, and it will never be as good as it was when he ran it.

And "anchor baby?" I know you're only quoting something written way back when Jobs was still walking among us, but giving up a child for adoption, as Job's "radical Muslim" father did, abrogates whatever immigration benefits could have been awarded to himback in 1955. Oh wait, the U.S. didn't give any of those back then. That was part of the Kennedy Immigration Act of 1965

Even if it weren't wholly inaccurate, it's still highly inappropriate to link Anal Dash's shitty little jeremiad to the memory of a man, far better than him, who just kicked the bucket today.

I am going to say this in all sincerity:

We are not present at a funeral. We are not clad in black suits. Most of us are not friends and family! We can all remember the man however we like. And we all have a different relationship to death.

I choose to remember him largely politically, and as an inventor, as it turns out I've never met him (and we're doing this through a piece of writing that regards Jobs as something like a saint, actually?).

So while I'm sorry that it doesn't ring the bell on your taste-meter, somehow, because you see ill intentions in it, to the point where you're coming around and swearing at people on websites, but really if you're that upset and feeling that fragile about someone's death, you might want to stay off the Internet today.

La Cieca (#1,110)

@Choire Sicha That still doesn't explain why two consecutive posts link to that self-serving drivel from Brian Lam.

lawyergay (#220)

@Choire Sicha Oh God. I swore at…well everyone, when I commented on a cat-related post over at Gawker yesterday. In my defense, I just used "fucking" as an intensifier. As in "I fucking love cats and don't want them to suffer when they're old and can't shit where they want to."

Jasons_Johnson (#3,341)

He was a great man who had great ideas and made great things.

By exploiting cheap Chinese labor like everyone else. To say this guy was extending his drug/hippie philosophy to his employees is a gross misrepresentation of the whole field of labor it takes to make these Apple things.

Clip Arthur (#2,024)

@joe2 He did the following; apologies if I miss anything or skip a step but I know the basics of why Steve Jobs is critically important.

0) First—and foremost—while Steve Wozniak was a great tech, without Steve Jobs Steve Wozniak’s work would have been just relegated to the homebrew computing world.

1) With the creation of the “Apple I” he and Wozniak created a very popular homebrew computer that eeked the world of computing away from recluse hobbyists to a larger world.

2) With the “Apple II” he created an affordable, pre-manufactured PC that brought the world of “business machines” to more people and more uses. Kids who could program on an Apple II could grown and program real computers. Word processing changed the workplace. Not to mention how tools like VisiCalc allowed small businesses to streamline their accounting/book keeping without paying an arm and a leg to IBM or more esoteric PC makers.

3) When IBM and PC clone makers started to kill of the general pre-GUI PC world, Apple started to move toward a GUI with the Apple IIGS. That would eventually lead to the Lisa which would eventually lead to…

4) The Macintosh. A fully GUI computer that not only made computing easier for not techs it also—and this is critical—ushered in the wold of desktop publishing. What before was relegated to storefronts that touted “Linotype” services was now in the reach of anyone who wanted to make a smaller investment and buy a Mac. And heck, they didn’t even need a laser printer in their setup. All they had to do is save the stuff to a floppy, go to a copy shop and have them print it out. THAT was massive. The days of paste-ups were going away thanks to this.

5) Desktop publishing grows and grows, Steve Jobs is kicked out, Apple is then turned into a schlocky PC company that sold various beige boxes on the Home Shopping Club.

6) When Steve Jobs returned to Apple, the company went back to the “keep it simple stupid” philosophy with the iMac that really made computing easy and fun again for the vast majority of non-techs out there.

7) When Apple released the iPod it changed the music industry. Can people still full grasp that, but a mere 10 years ago, physical media was still king and Napster was illicit. I still remember talking to someone in 1999 about how great MP3s were and how they berated me over sound quality. Whatever. It’s not that bad. And no worse than most CDs. The market responded and the Apple Store became the world’s record store.

8) iMove comes out and that is massive. Video editing was always clunky before even with Adobe Premiere. But this democratized personal video creation. And when Final Cut Pro was released *BOOM* there went Avid’s stranglehold on video editing. There was now a better and more user friendly alternative that brought pro editing to a larger group.

9) The iPhone is released and I have to admit, I was non-plused. But I have an iPod Touch now. The thing is amazing. It does everything Palm could have and should have done with their PDAs but simply didn’t. And it changed the phone market from being just about phones and maybe SMS messages to something much more useful. Seriously, Blackberry can’t come close to what an iPhone is.

10) The iPad comes out and I have no need for it, but it’s a great personal machine for passive consumption of media. A great e-book reader and video viewer. For many people who just surf and answer e-mails, it can be considered their only machine. And this is after decades of attempts at touch screen technology. Apple did it right. Even with the no-contract/month-to-month 3G which is an amazing feat in the mobile market in the U.S.; a way to get nationwide connectivity without being in debt for life.

The guy might have been a “jerk” as a manager, but all managers are jerks. And I personally think people leaving flowers and candles at Apple Stores is really, really, really creepy, but the guy deserves respect. Maybe—pay attention detractors—not for the cult of personality he fostered in the last 10 years of his life, but for the true tech innovations he created and his drive to bring computers and tech away from the muckety mucks and to average folks. He’s definitely on the same level as other great CEOs and innovators, so keep that in mind and ignore the creepy cult-like memorials. The guy did good. And I’m pretty confident none of his peers—even Bill Gates—will ever be considered in the same light.

@drwitchdoctor@twitter I definitely see him as an inventor as well.

From all the different types of tributes at you can tell many people loved him for different reasons.

deepomega (#1,720)

Is this a safe space for me to make all my best Steve Jobs jokes?

keisertroll (#1,117)

@deepomega I'm at my local coffeehouse open mic right now, REALLY trying not to do my "All-In-One Recently Dead Celebrity Impression".

roboloki (#1,724)

*am i doing this right?

dntsqzthchrmn (#2,893)


keisertroll (#1,117)

@dntsqzthchrmn RiP

deepomega (#1,720)

@dntsqzthchrmn "It's too soon. TOO too soon."

keisertroll (#1,117)

@deepomega You haven't heard of my Weird Al-esque parody of The Silhouettes' "Get A Job", "RIP Steve Jobs".

keisertroll (#1,117)

The co-founder of Apple will live on in PIXAR's "JOBS", coming Christmas 2012

Villa (#2,985)

So this morning I was all frustrated about my linux system I just switched to. My geek bf who's been holding my hand through the transition said, "You know Linux doesn't have a relentless man like Steve Jobs constantly demanding an entire engineering team to refine the usability of it's programs." He then got real quiet for a second and said, "And it's likely that Apple won't continue now that he's gone." Interesting changes are afoot for geeks, gadget-fiends and designers in fancy glasses. I'll drink to that.

I'm using this as an opportunity to clean house on Facebook by unfriending everyone who posts "RIP Steve Jobs" or some variation.

keisertroll (#1,117)

@Clarence Rosario What if I write the words "RIP STEVE JOBS" over a photo of Bill Gates?

@keisertroll Still counts. Unless it's RIP STEVE JOBS over a photo of Justin Long.

keisertroll (#1,117)

@Clarence Rosario YOU'RE ON.

riggssm (#760)

@Clarence Rosario Interesting. My FB account hasn't even registered his death yet. It's all still shit from early this morning. "Recent Stories," indeed …

C_Webb (#855)

@Clarence Rosario: NYT kept Sarah Palin not doing something as their lead story for 30 minutes after his death was announced, so you might want to drink to them.

RIP Reverend Fred L. Shuttlesworth.

deepomega (#1,720)

@armagnacforbreakfast MMHMM

keisertroll (#1,117)

@armagnacforbreakfast I was about to make a "He Got Game" joke, but Rev. Shuttlesworth was a true hero in the fight for civil rights.

BirdNerd (#4,196)

@armagnacforbreakfast Teared up last night listening to his NPR interview from the 80's. Shuttlesworth was a fuckin bad ass dude.

Multiphasic (#411)

Whatever. Bloomberg scooped you by three years.

keisertroll (#1,117)

Also, RIP Charles Napier.

Danzig! (#5,318)

He never got to see the iBrain take off :'(

Charley (#135,633)

RIP Steview, we all remember what you did. Vawncast aloha!

iplaudius (#1,066)

While I totally appreciate the sentiment behind that remark, Jobs's biological mother was American, and his biological father was a Syrian Muslim.

His biological parents gave him up for adoption.

I don't think he can be called an "anchor baby." He was half-American, and his parents didn't use him as an "anchor." He was raised by other people.

I do think Anil Dash's larger point still stands. If you haven't read it, do read the whole post. It's a beautiful statement.

HiredGoons (#603)

@iplaudius: so he can still vote in Chicago.

HiredGoons (#603)

"You get shocked when people you know die," Wozniak said. "And this was closer to when John Lennon died, or JFK or Martin Luther King."

I better not have to put up with this shit for more than 3 days.

NominaStultorum (#1,638)

@HiredGoons: After those 3 days have passed, come with me, and we shall roll away the stone from the entrance of the Fifth Avenue Apple Store.

SeanP (#4,058)

@HiredGoons Generally I'd view a remark like that with a pretty big eye roll too, but perhaps Woz can be forgiven under the circumstances.

evajce (#136,198)


hipoteczny (#136,456)

RIP Steve, we all remember what you did.

euolea24 (#136,594)

Steve Ty, for your unique and innovative mind.

lawyergay (#220)

Does anyone who read Brian Lam's remembrance think he was being way too hard on himself while also kind of missing the import of his interaction with Jobs over Gizmodo's iPhone 4 scoop?

Apple's banishment of Gizmodo from all Apple events in the wake of the iPhone 4 incident is the kind of obnoxious and at least in my view unethical behavior politicians, corporate execs, and people in power everywhere use to punish journalists who fail to do their bidding.

I mentioned this over at Wirecutter, but I admire Lam for sticking to his guns when Jobs tried to bully him into giving back the iPhone prototype.

We need more brave and ballsy journos like Lam, who aren't afraid to play hardball with a corporate and political class that has run amok and rightly views most establishment media as part of its PR operation.

@lawyergay Except that now he thinks he did the wrong thing and is being a bit of a weenie about it.
But yes, I feel like much of the interest in that whole story was in the fact that Apple employees – the high priests of the Tech world – screwed up so badly. I mean, the Tech geeks were spooging (sorry) over the specs, but the rest of us couldn't believe that they let that happen. It was like seeing the man behind the curtain!

But ultimately, they lost the phone. Was Gizmodo a little childish in the way they handled their coverage of finding it? Yes. But they found (or procured) the phone, and at that point, they could do whatever the hell they wanted with the information it contained. In the end, Apple's reaction was even more childish than Gizmodo's was.

La Cieca (#1,110)

@HeyThatsMyBike "…they found (or procured) the phone, and at that point, they could do whatever the hell they wanted with the information it contained"

I'm not sure how in a qualitative sense this is different from saying "…once News of the World found (or procured) the information from the hacked phones, at that point they could do whatever the hell they wanted with it."

"You acted like a dick and so now I'm entitled to act like a dick too" is no ethical argument outside of kindergarten or a Quentin Tarantino screenplay.

Reading Lam's piece again several times last night, I realize calling it "drivel" as I did above is quite unfair. It's admirable to see Lam at least wrestling with the issue of moral agency in the context of an organization whose only god is pageviews.

Anyone who interprets Lam's narrative as "sticking to his guns" I think misread the piece even worse than I did.

@La Cieca Agree to disagree on that first point, unless they actually paid somebody to steal the phone. I honestly don't know enough about that whole situation to comment on that part of it. Maybe they stole it! I had always heard somebody left it at a bar and they bought it off the guy that found it, in which case that guy is the dick, but in any case, that's the information I'm working off of in that comment.
But yes, he's basically doing the opposite of sticking to his guns, and he was not playing hardball with the corporate and political class. He was mostly surfing.

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