15 November 2011

Link of the day: Steve Jobs the tweaker

Steve Jobs's passing prompted a deluge of news articles from all corners of the world, it seemed. I was never happy about the cult of Apple. The company makes good products but there is far too much hype. Why do people pay so much attention to computing products when the world is dealing with economic crises and environmental destruction? Computing technology make some things more efficient, but also saddle us with information overload, invasion of privacy, security problems, and too much email. The world is definitely changing, but is it becoming better? I don't know the answer to that question, but I also don't blindly believe that more technology is always good.

One of my favorite writers, Malcolm Gladwell, argued in, The New Yorker, that Steve Jobs wasn't an innovator, he was a tweaker. He had really good taste in ideas and had an incredible talent for transforming good technology into a beautifully designed status symbol. But he was not some kind of Einstein who came up with ideas that no one had even remotely thought about. I don't denigrate Jobs's accomplishments, but I don't think they should be the object of worship either.

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