4:18 PM, Jan 24, 2014 • By GEOFFREY NORMAN
Steve Jobs knocked their socks off (if in fact “they" were wearing socks) when, as Megan Garber of the Atlantic writes:
Thirty years ago today, [he] did something he would go on to do many times over: He strode onto a stage and introduced the public to a product that would do its damnedest to dent the universe.
The product was, of course, the Mac which had been the star of a memorable television ad that appeared during the television broadcast of the super Bowl a couple of days earlier. The year was 1984 and the ad sold the notion that this little computer was more powerful than Big Brother. It was the technology of personal freedom and liberation.
George Orwell knew something about the possibility that technology might do that even as he was imagining his dystopia, 1984, and rule by Big Brother. In a 1945 essay about the atom bomb – new technology at the time – he wrote:
It is a commonplace that the history of civilization is largely the history of weapons. In particular, the connexion between the discovery of gunpowder and the overthrow of feudalism by the bourgeoisie has been pointed out over and over again. And though I have no doubt exceptions can be brought forward, I think the following rule would be found generally true: the ages in which the dominant weapon is expensive or difficult to make will tend to be ages of despotism, whereas when the dominant weapon is cheap and simple, the common people have a chance. Thus, for example, tanks, battleships and bombing planes are inherently tyrannical weapons, while rifles muskets, long bows and hand-grenades are inherently democratic weapons.
The Mac, undoubtedly, made a lot of people feel empowered.
3:00 PM, Oct 11, 2011 • By JOSEPH EPSTEIN
Steve Jobs, as everyone knows, died last week at 56.
As a Mac man—and I don’t mean McDonald’s—all my days on a computer, I feel a debt of genuine gratitude to Jobs for developing and manufacturing products that come with an absolute minimum of jigeroos. iMacs, iPhones, iPads, Jobs’s refinements of all these, while he was the head of Apple, were never-ending. Apple products cost more than competing items, but they hold up better, and thus bear out the apothegm—so comforting only when it proves true—that one gets what one pays for.
Prophet or master salesman?3:00 PM, Oct 10, 2011 • By PHILIP TERZIAN
"In lapidary inscriptions," said Dr. Johnson, "a man is not under oath." Still, I have been a little startled by the Princess Diana-style reaction to the death of Steve Jobs. The Internet has been weighted down with lachrymose tributes; even the mainstream press is given over to extended compliments. Bouquets of flowers have been deposited at the entrance to Apple stores, accompanied by heartfelt handwritten notes to the deceased.
3:35 PM, Oct 6, 2011 • By ADAM J. WHITE
The passing of Steve Jobs has sparked an immense amount of reflection and appreciation—just as his retirement did months ago, and the publication of Walter Isaacson's biography of Jobs will do later this month. But for all the talk of Steve Jobs and the world that he created, attention must be paid to the world that created him: Silicon Valley.
Hot products vs. hot air.12:00 AM, Apr 24, 2010 • By IRWIN M. STELZER
There are two ways to look at the profits reports that are emerging from corporate boardrooms, often after a brief stop for an added shine at the office of the firms’ accountants. One is to find out just how this or that firm has been doing in the past quarter, compared with a year ago and with analysts’ expectations. I leave that to security analysts, whose job it is to move from that information to a guess as to what it portends for the future, and from there to a “buy,” “sell,” or “hold” recommendation. With some 80 percent of companies thus far reporting exceeding analysts’ (modest) expectations, and their earnings increasing by 40 percent compared with last year, there is cheer in the counting houses.
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