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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.

4 comments:

  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! :)

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  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).

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  3. Lance, your concluding remark was:

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    [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." :)

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  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

    ReplyDelete