Saturday, October 08, 2011

Steve Jobs

Of all the tributes I've heard this week, I was most moved by people who told how the works of this man changed their lives. I must raise my hand and declare myself one of these.

Back in 1986 I was in bad need of a job. Both my private business and marriage had just failed. Counter intuitively, I felt that it was a great opportunity to finally quit stalling and begin to work on my dream of becoming a published author. But I needed income, something to get by with while I took the time to write.

I interviewed around town for a job. My most marketable skill in those days was as a graphic designer. I had worked at the local paper for a few years. They had turned my boyhood training in fine art into a rough and ready commercial art skill. I sold and laid out auto and real estate ads, a lot of them full-page ads during those boom times. The newspaper taught me the skills to manually lay out a mechanical, a blueprint of sorts in different colored inks on tissue paper. The typesetters, compositors, camera, and others in production used them to build the ads, Within the confines of the medium, I grew to feel quite proficient, if not artful.

So in 1986, I was lucky to interview with the owner of Express Copy & Graphics for a job. She had a full time designer position to fill, one of the earliest Mac computers, laser printers, and version 1.2 of PageMaker.

Thus I arrived at the ground floor of the digital revolution in printing. Desktop publishing, launched on Apple's machines, eventually brought down an entrenched giant of an industry--traditional printing. And I was not only witness to the complete upheaval, but served as a grave digger. It took me almost a year to translate my manual layout skills onto the Mac, and I never looked back. What with practicing, teaching, and free-lancing, I earned my bread and butter for over 20 years in graphic design on ever-improving models of Macs.

The fall of traditional printing was followed by the fall of traditional publishing, a revolution we are witnessing these days with ebooks. In this the iPad, revolutionary in so many other areas, is running a distant third (I'm only guessin) behind Kindle. The Kindle Fire, just released, could be the final nail in the coffin of print books as big business.

But by far the newest technological revolution Steve Jobs cast upon the world has been largely unnoticed in the press. I'm talking about Siri, the personal assistant on the new iPhone 4S, which was released on the day before Jobs died. I wonder if he had any free attention in those last hours to marvel at the little wonder he had just tossed into the world. I've heard that people were expecting Apple to announce the iPhone 5 and were disappointed when it didn't. Don't they know that the lucky owners of the iPhone 4S will hold in their hands the first iteration of . . . wait for it . . . the first iteration of the belt valet? Trust me, boys and girls, this is major. Even if Siri flops, like the Newton tablet did, the AI assistant cat is out of the bag. Thank you, Steve Jobs. We won't soon forget you.


Anonymous said...

I just purchased (legally) at Amazon - Mind over ship(new!) for two dollars, how come this possible?

Anonymous said...

p/s RIP S.J.

David Marusek said...

@Anon 1--Sorry it took me this long to respond. About 6 weeks ago the paperback inventory of MOS was remaindered by Tor. That's why you can buy a copy for so cheap. You didn't say whether you bought a hardback or paper, but I suspect you could find either for two bucks. The hb were remaindered a year ago. Thank goodness the future is in ebooks.

Anonymous said...

Unfortunately for authors, ebooks easier to hack and put to free acess on Web.
Btw, my name - Igor (nice to meet U) along with John Wright(for his GoldenAge) and Peter Watts(Blind sight) , You are the author, I consider extremely worth following...

Anonymous said...

Right after getting a long overdue hardware upgrade and moving to the iPhone 4s, I eagerly acquainted myself with both the new phone and with Siri. I could immediately perceive the vast potential of the application. I was soon sending an excited email to a friend (another reader of your works) stating that I think that with Siri the seeds of the future belt valets have been sown. It will be exciting to see what happens with the technology.

And speaking of excitement, I really look forward to reading what you give us next.

Keep dreaming the big dreams.

One Fan from 51°00'N 114°10'W

Aris said...

Dear David,
this is exactly why we read you, to know how things like belt valets will function in the future. So that nothing new in this world will come unexpectedly. Probably the people at Apple read you too.