Friday, October 07, 2011

Steve Jobs

I heard about Steve Jobs's death on all academics' primary information source, NPR, as I was driving home, and, like everyone else was saddened by it. (See the tribute at Roxie's World.)

This won't be news to any of you, of course, but he did fundamentally change the way we communicate with each other. I'm thinking not just of the consumer electronics Apple pioneered under his watch but also of the difference he made in teaching. Back in the olden days, teaching with computers meant standing in a computer lab and teaching rows of students sitting at dumb terminals as they stared at a blinking amber cursor on a monochrome screen and tried to figure out what Function and Control keys were. Today, we teach students whom only draconian measures can separate from their iPhones and computers for the length of a literature class. I'm thinking of all the things we used to have to teach students about technology (FTP! Floppy disks! C:\ prompt! Save your file!) that are now either obsolete thanks to Steve Jobs or handled in an elegant, intuitive way.

As his Stanford commencement speech shows, he was an idealist as well as a perfectionist, and he was passionate about his work and encouraged others to be so as well. I never knew the man, of course, except through his products and the press coverage that erupted every time he walked out his front door, but he will be missed.

[See also the posts by Historiann and Tenured Radical, both of whom make good and less rose-colored points than I do. Oh, and let us not forget The Onion, via Dr. Koshary.]


Dr. Koshary said...

RIP Steve Jobs.

undine said...

Thanks, Dr. Koshary! I had not seen this.