Like many others, I received a push notification on my iPhone that Steve Jobs has passed away. I can’t decide if that is ironic, fitting, or a little of both. My first computer was an Apple 2e that I wrote junior high school papers on and took many trips on down the Oregon Trail. I bought the first generation Blueberry iBook when I started graduate school and now I sit here typing this on the MacBook that is seeing me to the completion of my PhD (and I’ve never lost a byte of data). Steve brought both efficiency and inspiration to my life, the inspiration to dream big, think creatively toward new visions of doing things in my own field, and maintaining integrity to that vision. This past summer I spent two weeks doing missions work in Costa Rica. I watched news feeds of people with visions of freedom armed with smartphones (both iPhones and others modeled after it) wresting control away from dictators. I also spent time teaching four different college courses, interacting with students (on four different continents), answering questions, and grading assignments. I did all of this from the same iPhone that just delivered this sad news to me. Steve led the way to the creation of the personal computer as we know it, transformed the music industry (so much for the better), took phone technology light years ahead of where it was, and brought the tablet out of science fiction and into reality. He has given us many tools, all with the capability of doing what that hammer did in 1984. My condolences to all of you who lost a personal friend and mentor. I have great hope that his spirit and legacy will live on strong through all of you, through all of us.
If you haven’t read the commencement address Steve gave at Stanford in 2005, you should (it is perhaps the best eulogy for him anyone will give). You can also watch it on Youtube here.
Rest in peace, Steve Jobs. Godspeed to you and your loved ones.