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Comment So many innovations. (Score 1) 1613

OK, I have had time to ponder Steve, and I'm here only to put thoughts in writing ... I gave up my /. habit years ago, but I think this is the only place where my uber-nerd appreciation for Steve might have meaning to some. So please indulge me ...

There are lots of visionaries in the tech world. Lots of people who have amazing ideas about where technology is going, or where it needs to go. It's not hard to deny that Steve was special, but for many, it's difficult to pinpoint exactly why.

After some thought, I have concluded that Steve's vision was not amazing because of how often he was right, but because of his passion about everything that he did. While he brought great innovations to the masses, his claim to fame is that he repeatedly bet the farm on them, and busted balls to see them happen.

Off the top of my head I can think of so many big things, and so many little things, that just had him written all over. In no particular order, here is a random selection of innovations both big and small, that are clearly "Jobs" things, including stuff we may have forgotten.

- GUI computing. Its origin has been discussed to death - it was the invention of Xerox. Whether Microsoft copied Apple or Xerox is irrelevant - Steve believed it was the most important thing for Apple to move towards, to the point of getting himself fired by the very stuffy, ignorant CEO he had hired. And Microsoft's products didn't even begin to approach the intuitiveness of the Mac until long after that happened.
- The first iPod demonstrated that MP3 players were ready for non-nerds. It had a convenient form factor and responsive UI. Its built-in battery charged while it plugged into the computer. No weird counterintuitive software was required to copy music to it. It sounded great. It was comfortable to hold and operate with one hand. It proved to the world at large that functionally equivalent (or superior) products have no value if they are shittily designed. It also proved that Apple could make more than just computers.
- Introduced as a trademark "One More Thing" during one of his keynotes, the PowerBook G4 was probably the most drool-inducing computer ever. This thing left all competing laptops in the dust - yes its wickedly fast G4/400 processor and discrete GPU were cool by themselves, but this freak of nature brought far more to the table: it was lightweight, only 1 inch thin, all-titanium construction, widescreen (never before seen in mainstream computing), and had amazing battery life. Technology has since made that machine obsolete (big surprise), but so many of its innovations live on in the computers we use today.
(To digress just a little, the Titanium Powerbook G4 was, as far as I know, the first device to feature an auto-sensing ethernet port, so you no longer needed to worry about whether you had a crossover cable when you simply wanted to connect it to another computer. I imagine Jobs with a prototype TiBook in his office, trying to copy files from his desktop using a straight-through ethernet cable. It doesn't work, it pisses him off, so he calls up an engineer and says "fix this in by tomorrow or find another job")
- While on the topic of laptops, the first G3 iBook laptop was the first ever computer to offer wireless networking. It was one of many emerging standards that Apple embraced under Steve's command, including...
- USB on the iMac. Get rid of (almost) every other fucking connector. Jobs sees USB as the connectivity of the future, and the iMac as the future of the Mac. That powerful-enough computer did away with everything we thought we needed, including serial ports and a floppy drive. It was the first Mac in years with no SCSI. But it was more than that ... the iMac was a celebration of the future of computer hardware. It eliminated all the legacy storage and connectivity, and celebrated with a bold new minimalist design. It was met with fear and disdain by the tech nerds, who always thought it was missing too much stuff that they couldn't bring themselves to admit that they didn't need, and instead dismissed it as a candy-coloured toy for people who knew nothing about computers.
- The radical lines and colours of the iMac marked a new direction for Apple, who would go on to push the envelope of industrial design with each new product they would go on to introduce. The next Power Macs would gain colour as well, but a simple latching door on the side suddenly made Apple's tower the envy of all hardware nerds who previously couldn't grasp expanding or repairing their computers without a screwdriver and a box of band-aids. Apple demonstrated that great design is here to stay, and today other computer makers continue to play catch-up.
- The G4 Cube, while overpriced, was clearly a Jobs-led hardware design. Although overpriced, it was the first passively-cooled computer with the performance of a modern desktop.
- The iPhone was the first handheld phone with a real web browser. It was also the first available commercial device with a multi-touch screen, and nobody saw that coming ... pinch zooming, two-finger rotation, swipes ... holy crap, this thing is Star Trek in your pocket.
- Apple was the first company to ship a mouse with a computer. Just think about that for a minute.
- The transition from PowerPC to Intel was as painless as it could have possibly been. Apple dropped support for PowerPC software (via Rosetta) in its last OS release. The timing was perfect ... no more expensive effortson Apple's part to support the legacy stuff, just as all the remaining PowerPC stuff has truly become obsolete. Brilliant execution. It was as close to transparent as it could possibly have been.

To Steve:

Every time technology was getting boring, you somehow managed to shake things up and stick a new twist on things. You put such conviction behind it, and took so many risks that many people mujst have thought you were crazy. Well ...

"Here's to the crazy ones".

I truly believe you are an impossible act to follow.

Rest in Peace, Steve.


NeoOffice 2.2.1 Available For Mac 200

VValdo writes "Following a month or so of their Early Access Program, NeoOffice, the free Office suite for OS X, has just released NeoOffice 2.2.1. New features include support for the native Mac OS X spell-checker and address book; support for high-resolution printing (more than the 300 dpi that previous versions allowed); the ability to open, edit, and save most Microsoft Office 2007 Word, Excel, and PowerPoint documents; and the latest features from 2.2.1, which is the code base for NeoOffice. X11 is not required, but for those of you who actually want to use X11, check out the new RetroOffice."

AppleWorks/ClarisWorks Dies Quietly 220

Several readers noted that Apple has quietly discontinued AppleWorks, in the week that the company's spreadsheet solution, Numbers, debuted in its iWork suite. The AppleWorks website now directs users to the iWork section of the Apple site. AppleWorks was introduced — before the Macintosh — in 1984 and began its long twilight as abandonware in 1999.
The Internet

Submission + - Facebook tries to fend off copyright-infringement

StonyandCher writes: Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg will defend against copyright-infringement allegations on Wednesday, when his lawyers ask a judge to dismiss a complaint filed by three former classmates of Zuckerberg who say he stole the idea for the social-networking site while they attended Harvard University.

Brothers Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss, and Divya Narendra say Facebook was their idea and are asking a judge to give them all of the assets and ownership rights to the site, which could be worth several billion dollars. In 2002, they say, they began developing a business plan for a Web site originally called the Harvard Connection and later renamed ConnectU. The next year they engaged Mark Zuckerberg to complete the computer program software and other work for the Web site. But they accuse Zuckerberg of using their ideas and code to launch Facebook before finishing the work he promised to do for ConnectU and claiming the idea as his own.
The Courts

Cisco Extends Negotiations on iPhone 74

An anonymous reader writes "Apple and Cisco have just a short while longer to discuss the use of the iPhone name for Apple's new product. Cisco has extended the deadline for a resolution out to February 21st. The two companies are seeking a peaceful resolution to their problems, and the deadline was extended to 'reach an agreement on trademark rights and interoperability.' Early this month, Cisco put their lawsuit on hold to start these negotiations - it's easy to understand why they wouldn't want to scrap a whole month's worth of discussion over a few final details."

Mac OS X May Go Embedded? 129

VE3OGG writes "Apple Insider is reporting that Apple may very well be developing an embedded version of OSX. The report details what they believe will be the next step in Apple's future, which is extending its consumer electronics division. The first child of such a marriage between OSX and consumer electronic may be the oft-rumoured, not-yet-materialized iPhone — which it also asserts may well be released next fiscal quarter. It seems to be their opinion that with both the desktop and the phone running operating systems with similar underpinnings, 'expansive opportunities' would emerge."

PS3 Lines Already Forming In America 452

Wowzer writes "Nine days until Sony's PlayStation 3 launches in America, and lines are already forming. From the article: "Someone went to Best Buy this morning and saw about 7 people waiting outside. He went inside and one of the workers told him that they had been there since Monday. It must be a tough job being such big PS3 fans and being the butt of many passer-by jokes like 'Where is the line for PS4? Is it on the other side?'"

Wireless Sensors To Monitor Power Grids 72

Roland Piquepaille writes "Major power outages like the ones which affected the New York state last month or Western Europe ten days ago are becoming more frequent — even if their causes were different. In some cases, the utility companies have to dispatch electricians all over the place to discover the cause of the power failure or simply to restore power. Engineers at the University of Buffalo think they have a better solution: deploy wireless 'nanotech' sensors to monitor the networks and to find the exact location of a failure. They also say that even if the technology is almost available, several years of research are necessary before such a solution can be used by electrical companies. Read more for additional details about this attractive solution."

HomePNA Achieves 320Mbps With Copper 114

illeism writes "Ars Techinca is reporting that the HPNA has made a significant stride in copper speed. From the article: 'The HomePNA Alliance, backers of a networking spec that works over coaxial or twisted pair wiring, has announced the release of the HPNA 3.1 specification. The big news comes in the form of a speed jump from 128Mbps to 320Mbps, which pushes it above competing networking standards HomePlug AV and MoCA (Multimedia over Coax) for the title of fastest networking tech outside of gigabit Ethernet and makes it a more attractive option for triple-play providers.'"

Nvidia Launches 8800 Series, First of the DirectX 10 Cards 149

mikemuch writes "The new top-end GeForce 8800 GTX and GTS from Nvidia launched today, and Loyd Case at ExtremeTech has done two articles: an analysis of the new GPU's architecture, and a benchmark article on PNY's 8800 GTX. The GPU uses a unified scalar-based hardware architecture rather than dedicated pixel pipelines, and the card sets the bar higher yet again for PC graphics." Relatedly an anonymous reader writes "The world and his dog has been reviewing the NVIDIA 8800 series of graphics cards. There is coverage over at bit-tech, which has some really in-depth gameplay evaluations; TrustedReviews, which has a take on the card for the slightly less technical reader; and TechReport, which is insanely detailed on the architecture. The verdict: superfast, but don't bother if you have less than a 24" display."

Want To Know About the New Apple MacBook Pro? 310

An anonymous reader writes to tell us about an extremely helpful user who is answering questions from all comers about the new MacBook Pro. "A few days ago, a user by the name 'bcavanau' posted on the forums that he had just picked up a new MacBook Pro. Forum members started asking him about features, specifications, and benchmarks. He was happy to oblige, posting responses to everyone's questions. Eventually the forum thread got out of hand, and he set up a website devoted to answering the questions. If you have a question that hasn't already been answered, email him at the address on the site. He is responding daily and sometimes within minutes. This guy is dedicated. Thanks 'bcavanau', you get two thumbs up." The link to the site is cached via the Coral Content Distribution Network.

Journal Journal: Sweet Jeezus.

This Mac Pro rocks. 2.66 GHz X 4 Xeon. I never thought I'd see the day when I had more processing power than I need for Logic Pro.

Apple Unveils MacBook Pro with Core 2 Duo 673

daveschroeder writes "Apple has just announced the upgraded MacBook Pro (15.4- and 17-inch models) with the Intel Core 2 Duo ("Merom") 64-bit dual core processor. The standard hard drive sizes have been increased, a FireWire 800 port has been added to all models (again, reaffirming that FireWire, and specifically FireWire 800, is not dead, and that Apple responded to customer requests to add it to the 15.4-inch model), and the optical drive is now dual-layer-write-capable on all models."

The universe seems neither benign nor hostile, merely indifferent. -- Sagan