Sunday, November 20, 2011

The Jobs Bio

I just finished the Walter Isaacson biography of Steve Jobs. Seems like everyone in the blogosphere has analyzed every sentence in the book, so I won't do that.

Instead I viewed the book as a trip down memory lane. The Apple II was my second computer and while I never owned a Mac you can't avoid them in the CS community. My family has by now gone through a dozen or so iPod/iPhone/iPad devices.

The biography opens up the curtain and you get to see the man behind these devices. Jobs was not a computer scientist or even a computer engineer. He was a designer who understood computers enough to make them beautiful and make them work better. His simplicity sometimes goes too far, I like the context-sensitive menus from a right mouse button and often double click the one button on my iPhone instead of single click or vice-versa.

I found myself least interested in Jobs' personal life, most of the problems he dealt with were of his own doing. He wasn't a nice guy and often got upset with people who don't share his values. But he also knew how good technology should work and we're better off for it.

I love reading biographies of successful people, you really get to see a fuller picture both the good and the bad. Walter Isaacson's book is rather unique, rarely do we get such a complete picture so soon after his untimely death.

If Steve Jobs isn't your thing, try Isaacson's bio on Einstein instead, another great read.


  1. In honor of Steve Jobs, my two sons and I booted up our old Mac Classic this weekend (1MB of RAM, OS 6.1, and a 40 MB BackPc HD).

    Amazingly, after 18 years sitting in a closet, that old Mac Classic booted up and ran flawlessly -- a tribute to Apple's engineering -- and all the games were still fun to play. Apple engineering rules! :)

  2. I heard that the Apple ][ (yes, it's written with brackets) had much of the design philosophy of the other Steve, Wozniak, which is why it had for example several extension slots (a rarity for that pre-PC time, and not in line with Jobs's design philosophy).

  3. Lance, your concluding remark was:

    [Steve Jobs] knew how good technology should work and we're better off for it.

    This suggests a natural response to Oded Goldreich's essay "On the status of intellectual values in TOC" (which you tweeted about).

    Namely, let Steve Jobs (or people sharing his values) peer-review all TOC articles and research proposals. The thesis being ...

    [Steve Jobs] knew how good TOC should work and we're better off for it.

    For sure, the TOC of the ensuring 21st century "Jobs Era" would be "The TOC for the rest of us." :)

  4. Dear Admin..Can you help me please? i have a question like this:
    show that RAM computation model is equivalent to DTM (Deterministic Turing MAchine.
    Thank you.

    Paul-Timor Leste