Saturday, October 8, 2011

The difference between Apple and generic peecees was real

Promise.  After this, I really am going to let Steve Jobs rest in peace.  But Apple really was the most interesting Producer Class story of the last 30 years and so there are good reasons why it should be examined as a sociological / anthropological phenomenon.

Besides, I like my Mac and know enough about its workings so I can keep my friends' Macs running too.  Because these things are so trouble-free, Mac upkeep is a lousy way to make a living.  For example, last weekend, I helped a guy set up his new Mac Pro. This thing has 8 CPU cores, 32 gigs of Ram, a gig of vram, 4 terabytes of HDD PLUS an SDD boot drive. It runs a sophisticated version of UNIX called Lion. This is NOT a toy! Yet this monster was running smoothly in the hands of a mostly computer illiterate when I left—and I doubt if I'll be needed to help run this thing again for several years.

So my friend who manages an enormous catalogue of artwork for a card company now owns a computer with considerably more horsepower than the Defense Department had when I was in high school, and runs it himself without having to know anything about how computers actually work.

Thanks to Apple.  And to Jobs who made it his mission to get this sort of computing power in the hands of people who don't understand computers and never will.  He understood why people wanted in the computer-users club without needing to belong to the computer builders / fixers / programmers club.
Anyway, here is the long-lost video of Jobs introducing the Macintosh to the world. It's like a rock concert—only this time the audience is reacting to the new possibilities of a computer for non-nerds.

It is not surprising that Jobs tried every route possible to stimulate his thinking.  But it should be noted that the overwhelming majority of folks who ate acid didn't change the culture.
Steve Jobs: "Acid Was One of the Best Things I Did in My Life"
The legacy of the legendary Apple genius is quickly being drafted by a worshipful worldwide media. But most obituaries omit his longtime love for LSD.

The death of Steve Jobs, the legendary co-founder and CEO of Apple, appears to have touched people around the world in a deeply personal way. Photos of memorials—from the makeshift to the high-tech; from Palo Alto, Calif., where he lived, to Pakistan and Peru—are circulating on millions of MacBooks and iPads and iPhones and other revolutionary products that he designed and retailed with such genius. Today his face is everywhere, his rags-to-riches saga retold, his entrepreneurial impact on the tech industry classed with the likes of Thomas Edison and Henry Ford. The media is already drafting his legacy, tossing out wise and witty things he said over the four fearless decades of his career. One of the most meaningful to us at The Fix was what he said in a commencement address at Stanford University in 2005, a year after his cancer diagnosis: "Your time is limited, so don't waste it living someone else's life. Don't be trapped by dogma—which is living with the results of other people's thinking. Don't let the noise of others' opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition.…Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven't found it yet, keep looking. Don't settle."

But equally suggestive, at least to us, is a quote from Steve Jobs to New York Times reporter John Markoff, who interviewed him for his 2005 book What the Doormouse Said: How the Sixties Counterculture Shaped the Personal Computer. Speaking about his youthful experiments with psychedelics, Jobs said, "Doing LSD was one of the two or three most important things I have done in my life." He was hardly alone among computer scientists in his appreciation of hallucinogenics and their capacity to liberate human thought from the prison of the mind. Jobs even let drop that Microsoft's Bill Gates would "be a broader guy if he had dropped acid once." Apple's mantra was "Think different." Jobs did. And he credited his use of LSD as a major reason for his success. more

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