Comments: Failure

He died a billionaire!!!

Posted by Mike Meyer at October 7, 2011 06:20 PM

Since YOU mentioned "shot in the head", I ALWAYS put mine on SPEAKER and kinda hold it away.

Posted by Mike Meyer at October 7, 2011 06:25 PM

I always thought the icons, fonts, and textures of the old monochrome Mac Plus / SE era were the epitome of great aesthetic design on limited hardware.

Here is a blogspot template in homage: http://www.eblogtemplates.com/retro-mac-os/

Posted by Cloud at October 7, 2011 06:32 PM

Apple has more power than at any time in its history, and it is using that power to make the computing experience of its users less free, more locked down and more tightly regulated than ever before. ... Today there is no tech company that looks more like the Big Brother from Apple’s iconic 1984 commercial than Apple itself, a testament to how quickly power can corrupt.

QFT

Posted by Cloud at October 7, 2011 06:40 PM

And they always make me feel like this whenever I look at them: it's wonderful that people are able to invent and build something so beautiful, and it's horrible that people somehow aren't able to bring the same intelligence and effectiveness to invent and build better societies.

LIKE.

Posted by Amand Rex at October 7, 2011 09:41 PM

Today there is no tech company that looks more like the Big Brother from Apple’s iconic 1984 commercial than Apple itself, a testament to how quickly power can corrupt.

Dead on. As I've said before, Apple is to Microsoft as Obama is to Bush (and Steve Jobs is a piss-poor choice for a secular saint -- just Bill Gates with better PR). As I've dodged the encomiums for this corporate aristocrat, I've just been thinking about the tens of thousands of people who died uncelebrated deaths that same day.

Posted by John Caruso at October 8, 2011 12:30 AM

John: you mean, like Fred Shuttlesworth and Derrick Bell. (Amy Goodman had a nice piece about both.)

Posted by bobs at October 8, 2011 10:27 AM

I think the Big Brother charge lacks nuance. At the level of apps, Apple indeed runs a tight ship, though it still has more apps than anyone else. But at the level of open source, it's a tricky issue. The commoditization of computing is unlikely to have happened (at least so quickly) without big-brotherly closed systems.

Posted by bobs at October 8, 2011 10:32 AM

In OUR society thems that die owning the most toys, wins. For Americans, Steve Jobs was a winner. That's what counts. The guy(what's ez name) who ACUALLY INVENTED the PC probably isn't a billonaire.

Posted by M at October 8, 2011 01:31 PM

I don't own an Apple device. Never have, never will. I don't long for one and I am blissfully happy without one. There are more important things in life than owning an Apple whatsit.

Posted by S at October 8, 2011 05:17 PM

There was a pretty good post on more-or-less this by Ethan Iverson from the Bad plus the other day:

http://dothemath.typepad.com/dtm/2011/10/power-corrupts.html

Though I understand the "suicide factory" thing referred to in one of his links isn't really accurate, it's clearly not a place you'd want to work (if maybe not bad by Chinese factory standards, for what that's worth).

It has occurred to me that Gates apparently is a pretty serious philanthropist, whereas Jobs supposedly flirted briefly with philanthropy before abandoning it.

Posted by godoggo at October 8, 2011 09:32 PM

Saying we need better government is like saying we need better cancer.

Posted by rob payne at October 9, 2011 03:11 AM


That fine post has a nice spirit, Jon. Like Amanda, I LIKE.

Aside re what Caruso wrote:

"As I've dodged the encomiums for this corporate aristocrat, I've just been thinking about the tens of thousands of people who died uncelebrated deaths that same day."

--I remember someone saying almost exactly this same thing, with some self-satisfaction, on the day that John Lennon died thirty years ago. Personally, I don't think it's an insult to people who die publicly uncelebrated deaths to mourn someone rich who dies a celebrated public death. Those poor bastards who die celebrated public deaths have to live public lives first, which has to get old. And tributes to them, like all public activity, are not really about them. Hell, we didn't really know Steve Jobs THE PERSON. We knew Steve Jobs The Public Persona.

Back to the JS blurgpost:

It would be nice to get people to care as much about others as they do about their iphones. And some people do. The thing is, if you give away all your money and try to help others, there are always still many more you can't help. Man isn't JUST at the mercy of man.

In the US, we don't often get shot in the head for trying to come up with better ways for organizing society and politics, because people with that goal get neutralized other ways (somebody powerful might get shot in the head for pissing off the Pentagon too often, but that's another story). But JS's point about the weakness of Frank Oppenheimer's observation is dead on. Nobody needs a genius to invent a better way to organize politics and society. The folks who control the means of production, as old Grandpa Karl might have put it, just need to stop opposing better ways of organizing politics and society. I would bet that the Board of Apple, though certainly not Koch Industries and whether or not it acts like Big Brother sometimes, will not be voting to sponsor any grassroots egalitarian political organizations any time soon.

Posted by N E at October 9, 2011 06:32 AM

"just Bill Gates with better PR"

There's a lot of truth in this. Plus, Steve Jobs and Apple are cuter names that Bill Gates and Microsoft.

Never underestimate the appeal of cuteness in America. Hell, Walt Disney built an empire on making a repulsive, beady-eyed little rodent cute.

Posted by Paul Avery at October 9, 2011 07:45 AM

moreover:
http://gawker.com/5847344

Posted by Jenny at October 9, 2011 12:35 PM

>> Saying we need better government is like saying we need better cancer.

Wall Street would agree.

Posted by bobs at October 9, 2011 01:14 PM

Interesting: http://politics.salon.com/2011/10/08/steve_jobs_and_drug_policy/singleton/

Posted by Cloud at October 9, 2011 01:35 PM

Like Caruso, I guess, I don't understand the concept of mourning the death of a celebrity. Reading about the death of a 56-year old man with a family made me sad. So Jobs's death made me sad. But then if I spent the same time reading about the death of a 56-year old Afghan farmer leaving behind a family I would be equally sad. Death is sad. But the only sadness about Jobs's death is that it made me pause to think about a middle-age man's death and that alone is sad. But that a celebrity died -- be it Jobs or Lennon or Diana or Jackson -- left me completely indifferent. And I wonder if the tears flowing on behalf of a media creature one has never met is not a form of narcissism. I never "got" why anyone would care about Lady Diana's death -- especially when leaving behind two kids was not the reason for the tears. Perhaps the little princess living inside the mind of so many women died. But then the mourning was that of an illusion not of a human being.

Posted by bobs at October 9, 2011 01:37 PM

One can say Steve Jobs was one hell of a salesman if nothing else and I imagine the internet system owes him a lot. Sure his death is sad. Prostate cancer CAN'T be an called an easy way out of this world. YEARS of suffering as ANY death by cancer is, so yes, his DEATH is sad. Its his LIFE that was kinda ruthless. A dedicated businessman to say the least.

Posted by Mike Meyer at October 9, 2011 07:36 PM

I believe Steve Jobs had pancreatic cancer, not prostate cancer. Horrible way to die....

Posted by Susan at October 9, 2011 11:54 PM

Jon, your quote from Frank Oppenheimer is very interesting: "...[S]o one might expect that social invention will follow growing sociological understanding. We are desperately in the need of such invention, for man is still very much at the mercy of man."

The Constitution of the U.S. of A. was an attempt at social invention - I have been wondering why it's floundering so badly, and I have concluded that the answer was identified by Hugh Romney, no relation to the plutocrat, and better known by his stage name Wavy Gravy: "As I told my mirror this morning, it's all done with people."

In particular, the ruling class who wrote the Constitution could not have envisioned the general personal degeneracy of our current MICFiC - in their time, psychopaths without personal honor were a minority.

More later.

Posted by mistah 'MICFiC' charley, ph.d. at October 10, 2011 11:20 AM

"the unfortunate reality that anyone who tries to invent a better way of organizing politics and society will be punished severely"

This may eventually apply to OWS but lets hope not.

Posted by Dredd at October 10, 2011 11:33 AM

... the unfortunate reality that anyone who tries to invent a better way of organizing politics and society will be punished severely.

Nope, though I suppose it depends partly on what you mean by "better." We don't need anyone to invent a new way of organizing politics and society; we already know what needs to be done. We have plenty of technocrats who claim to offer better ways of organizing politics and society, and they're in no danger of being punished severely. They aren't as well rewarded as Steve Jobs or Bill Gates, because they haven't really delivered, but they are welcomed in the same circles. The trouble from their point of view is that people have too much freedom and autonomy, and society will be much better off if the rabble can be controlled. For freedom and autonomy there is no technofix.

By what criterion is the iPhone a "better" cell phone anyway? From what I hear there are plenty of problems with it. I finally bought a cell phone last year, the most basic I could get. More bells and whistles and toys don't make them "better."

Posted by Duncan at October 10, 2011 11:54 AM

Susan: THANX for the correction.

Posted by Mike Meyer at October 10, 2011 01:16 PM

"and it's horrible that people somehow aren't able to bring the same intelligence and effectiveness to invent and build better societies."

I find it fascinating that a strong progressive like yourself has the exact same take as arch-reactionary Mencius Moldbug (although his language is a bit more epic): " And this is our special torture: as the planet rots, as fools rule and hyenas feast, as nations lie prostrate, churches decompose, and the Devil with a knife owns London, Paris, New York after dark, fell in our hairy hands the real work of a real King, an Able-man, Ken-ning - who served God, or right at least, and could bend small armies to obey. And make - a toy. So near we are to salvation; so infinitely far away. Rest in peace, Steve."

The reason why a Steve Jobs can exist in the toy business, but not in the governing business is that our political system does not have a real executive. Steve Jobs can and did fire entire divisions at the snap of his fingers. No president has the legal authority to fire ordinary employees, much less entire divisions. Steve Jobs could enforce total control over the user experience in order to make everything work together flawlessly. No Mayor or Governor can exercise the same design control over urban planning.

If you want a city designed designed as well as an IPhone, you need a real executive - a CEO, a King, or in perjorative terms, a "dictator". The Executive should be held accountable to a board of trustees, but should have full power to hire and fire, set policy, and design public spaces.

Posted by Devin Finbarr at October 10, 2011 02:26 PM

This only adds to the Op-Ed by Mike Daisey......
I say, "Means are as Important as Ends".

"An Alternative Eulogy for Steve Jobs"
By Peter Certo, October 10, 2011
here

http://www.fpif.org/articles/an_alternative_eulogy_for_steve_jobs

Posted by Rupa Shah at October 10, 2011 05:09 PM

For those who feel the "Big Brother" charge lacks nuance, consider the "Apple Gestapo."

Jobs' views on teachers' unions are about what one would expect.

Posted by Save the Oocytes at October 11, 2011 10:20 AM