Steve Jobs

Like Marco Arment I’m not qualified to eulogize Steve Jobs, but I owe a lot to him so I need to say something.

My first computer was an Apple //c. 1985. I spent a lot of time on that computer. A lot. Probably an unhealthy amount.

I was a nerdy kid to begin with, and I instantly fell in love with it. I spent endless hours on that computer. Playing games, writing programs in BASIC, and generally just exploring the new world that it opened up for me. Those hours spent in front of the computer paid off. I went on, years later, to write code professionally. It’s not an exaggeration to say that owning that Apple //c shaped who I became.

I’ve admired Steve Jobs since I was old enough to know who he was. When he founded NEXT, I desperately wanted one of those beautiful (and expensive) systems. I’ve seen every movie Pixar has put out. I’ve been inspired by his business sense, his design savvy, and his drive. He’s accomplished more in his abbreviated lifetime than most people could accomplish in ten. His Stanford commencement speech stands as one of the most inspiring things I’ve heard.

My latest computer is a MacBook Air. I spend a lot of time on that computer. A lot. Probably an unhealthy amount.

Godspeed, Steve Jobs.

Mac Question: What Books Should I Buy?

I’ve owned the Macbook Pro for a little while now, and am getting comfortable with OS X. I think it’s time to dig a little deeper though, so I’m going to buy a book or two.

I’m a long time computer user, and have a lot of *NIX experience, so I’m not looking for something too basic. I’d like something that will teach me the ins and outs of the whole operating system, and let me go from being “comfortable” to “power user”. I’m leaning towards Mac OS X Leopard: The Missing Manual, but I thought I would ask here if anyone else has any other recommendations.

MacBook Pro After One Week

So I’ve had the MacBook Pro for a full week now. Here’s my assessment.

  • I don’t at all regret the decision to get the refurbished model. I saved $400 and the unit appears to be flawless. That said, the Wireless Mighty Mouse I bought with it was D.O.A.

  • This thing is really, really fast.

  • Apple customer service is awesome. So the Mighty Mouse was dead. I called Apple’s tech support and explained the situation. The lady I spoked with didn’t ask any questions, she just immediately shipped a new one. No annoying “have you tried changing the batteries” type of questions - just an apology for the inconvenience and a new mouse on it’s way. This is what customer service should be like.

  • Leopard is really nice. Visually it’s beautiful, and functionally there’s a lot to love. This is my first experience with OS X so I can’t compare it to the previous versions.

  • I like the 3-D Dock. This has been panned by a lot of bloggers, but I think it looks really good. That said…

  • I hid the dock after the first day. With Spotlight, I don’t really need it. Because….

  • Spotlight is really, really fast and makes a very good application launcher. Hit Command-Space, and type the first few letters of the app you want to launch, e.g. ‘ter’ to launch Terminal, ‘adi’ to launch Adium, etc. See the image below for an example of what I’m talking about

All in all, I’m extremely happy with it.

I Bought a MacBook Pro

As a follow on to last week’s post, I ended up buying a 17" MacBook Pro this week. I went with a refurbished model (which saved me $400), and skipped the high resolution display. It should be here on Wednesday.

It’s my first Mac, and I’ve wanted one for ages, so I’m excited to get it.

Questions Before I Buy a MacBook Pro

So I think I’m about to buy a Macbook Pro - the 17" model specifically. Before I do, I have a couple of questions that I’m hoping someone can help me answer:

  • Is the High Resolution (1920-by-1200) display worth the extra money vs the 1680-by-1050 display?

  • I’m going to buy a Refurbished model from Apple, due to the substantial cost savings. Does anyone know of any reason not to? A quick google search doesn’t seem to reveal people having issues, but I thought I’d ask.

Bonus question: What are your “must have” apps for OSX?

It Really Just Makes Me Want to Buy an iPod for Spite

So, how’s Microsoft’s iPod killer being received? The Sun Times' Andy Ihnatko sums it up:

Result: The Zune will be dead and gone within six months. Good riddance.

Yeah, what he said. I’ve not seen a positive review of this thing yet.

And the junior marketing flunky who came up with “squirting” as the metaphor for transferring content wirelessly needs to find another line of work. It just sounds dirty. Like you could get slapped for saying it out loud in mixed company.

It’s possible that version 2.0 of the Zune may redeem itself (this is a Microsoft product after all), but it seems unlikely. What seems a lot more likely is that this will go down in history as a “what were they thinking” event.

My suspicion is that the people at Apple laughed hard when they first saw this thing. For something that was touted as an iPod killer, it amounts to little more than a paper cut.

Why Is It So Hard to Be Like Apple?

By now, everyone has seen this video, which shows what would happen if Microsoft redesigned the iPod packaging. It’s spot on, but it got me to wondering: Why is it so hard to be like Apple? On the surface, it seems simple. Create well-designed, simple, user-centric devices, and promote the heck out of them. It seems simple, but clearly it’s not or everyone would be doing it. There have been countless “iPod killers” brought to market over the last few years, but none of them have made a dent in Apple’s market share.

What’s the missing ingredient?