A Low-tech tribute to the Man who Shaped This Century

You can't fault him for not trying to keep up right? Humble thanks and grateful acknowledgment to to55er's blog at wordpress

[ Note from Noel : Belated happy birthdays to Jocelyn Sy- Chionglo (1st October), Dexter Yu (4th), and happy birthdays to Richard Yao (8th) and a wonderful, wonderful friend, Arlene Ayuste (8th) ! ]

Remembering I’ll be dead soon is the most important tool I’ve ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life.  Your time, is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. – Steve Jobs, on self-motivation

YOU’VE PROBABLY guessed that, just between you and me, I’m one of the most hopelessly low-tech persons I know.  To my everlasting discredit, I’ve resisted change at every turn, and I’m technologically handicapped to the point of embarrassment, and I’m not exaggerating.  If someone even more destitute than me hadn’t asked for it, I would still be using the Nokia 5110 albatross forming a huge bump in my back pocket today, still pause to ask if it’s possible to send telegrams to the provinces, and wonder why they don’t sell typewriter ribbons at the bookstore, rent out Betamax tapes or use Dymo labels like they used to.

But I do recognize that technology is a primal force that properly harnessed, can change our way of life, enhance all the beauty all around us, or destroy the planet beyond recognition.  Indeed, who was it who said that there is one thing more powerful than all the armies in the world, and that is an idea whose time has come?

Surely it wasn’t Steve Jobs, but it might as well have been him.  As I implied earlier, I’m the least qualified person to put on electronic paper a tribute, eulogy or short-notice bio on him (we all know h0w much has been written about him since he died Thursday morning) but I CAN tell you how he changed my life personally.  And that’s the awesomest thing about him : how he has touched almost every life on Earth not just with his extraordinary gifts, but the way he pushed himself to make best use of those gifts.

From the thumbnail obits that I read, his story was larger than life, and it was like life imitating art.  From the Personal Computer (PC) prototypes he soldered together in his dad’s garage with Steve Wozniak, famously cutting the latter out of his share of bonus  for helping develop the iconic game Breakout for Atari, to his admitted use of recreational and mind altering drugs the early part of his adulthood, walking miles across town for a free meal from Hare Krishna, tramping around India with little more than the clothes on his back on a road of self-discovery through Buddhism, his seduction of and selection of John Sculley as Apple CEO, the man who would later oust him from his own company, his tyrannical helmsmanship of probably the most important company in the 21st century, Apple Corp, and his near-fanatical focus to produce the perfect multimedia consumer good/s namely the iPod, iPhone and recently the iPad, his made-for-cinema estrangements from and reconciliations with a daughter and long-lost sister, to his scrambling against time to do as much as he could before pancreatic cancer killed him … really, it doesn’t end.

If you were looking for a fairy tale about genius and drama, serendipity, and the realization that one man acting purposefully is capable of changing the world, then your search would start and end with Steve Jobs.  Except that every blown up detail of his life, which he vainly tried to keep private, is real.

But eventually, after the morbid interest that you and I voyeuristically maintain in other people’s lives (and admittedly his is more interesting than most) dwindles, our shock and awe will be reduced to that machine that sits in front us (the PC / laptop, as if you didn’t know), as well as the mouse we use to make such machine useful to us.  As it was with T. Edison to the light bulb, Jobs didn’t invent the PC, the mouse, or even the operating system that makes all these usable and useful to the 6 billion people who inhabit God’s planet, but at one point or another, he made all of these wonderful things accessible, socialized its benefits, integrated the various systems on which they ran, and ultimately made it possible for them to make life easier and liveable for us, our children, and our children’s children.

Again like I said, I’m basically a very  low-tech person.  I bike to work, I’d rather read a good book than play a video game, watch a movie only when it’s hyped enough, and still enjoy writing the occasional letter to my folks.  But when I bike I like to listen to my outdated iPod Shuffle (that’s already bored with OPM and 1980s ballads it drones out), when I watch a movie it’s sometimes recorded on a USB drive that benefitted from Apple-related technology, and of course when I write to Mom and Dad it’s on a PC clunker that traces its roots from the Palo Alto, California garage where Steve and Gary tried to put magic in a bottle, and in a roundabout sort of way, succeeded in ways they could never have imagined…

Or could have imagined, but we’ll never truly know now, sadly.  Goodbye and thank you, Steve Jobs.

3 thoughts on “A Low-tech tribute to the Man who Shaped This Century

  1. simple yet well-written tribute to Steve jobs.. I appreciate this better than those hundreds of wall messages on facebook to Steve Jobs when in all honesty, I know little facts about him 🙂 Thanks Noel. ~Desu

    • And thanks to you Desu for your kind comment, we can’t deny that we’ve all been touched by his genius, despite his many human failings 😉 Like you, I don’t know much about him, merely that the world lost a great source of creative genius last Thursday. Thanks again !

  2. Pingback: A Pinoy (techie) illiterate’s 5 minutes on Steve Jobs « YLBnoel's Blog

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