Journal-Times (Grayson, KY)

Wednesday's Post

October 19, 2011

More than the richest man in the cemetery

Oct. 19, 2011 —     Thomas Edison. Eli Whitney. Alexander Graham Bell. Orville and Wilbur Wright. Samuel Colt. Henry Ford. Steve Jobs.

    Without question, the skinny college dropout who founded Apple computers not only deserves to be listed with these giants of American invention, he probably should be at the top of the list.

    Steve Jobs died two weeks ago at the age of 56 with a remarkable life story that most likely only could have happened in America.

    Born to unwed parents, he was supposed to be adopted by an attorney but ended up with a blue collar family that could not afford to send him to college.

    Like fellow high tech billionaires Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg, he did not graduate from college because he was too busy trying to follow his creative instincts in technology.

    Jobs told an interviewer several years ago that his goal in life was not to be the richest man in the cemetery but to leave the world a better place than he found it.

    He obviously accomplished both in splendid fashion.

    I learned of his death in an e-mail alert which linked me to a news site on a personal computer by navigating onscreen images with a device called a mouse.

    It struck me that the computer and the mouse concept both came from the brilliant mind of Steve Jobs.

    I picked up my iPhone, the most popular phone in the world and another Steve Jobs’ invention, to share the news with my son, a longtime Jobs admirer and a “techie” himself.

    One of my co-workers said he read the news on his iPad, the revolutionary tablet computer also invented by Jobs.

    At the same time, another colleague was listening to music on her iPod, a miniaturized digital recorder with incredible music playback qualities, another Jobs invention.

    My mind flashed back to when I sat with my grandchildren and watched “Toy Story”, the first computer-animated feature film which was produced by Pixar, a company created by Jobs and later sold to Disney.

    I picked up my iPhone and touched the screen for the iTunes application to listen to a song I had purchased from that online music store created by Steve Jobs and hailed as the solution to music piracy on the Internet.

    I “Googled” his name and found that his office door at Apple’s corporate headquarters identified him as the iCEO.

    He was a titan of technology and he forever changed how we communicate with each other and how we entertain ourselves.

    His artistic side insisted that the iMac and his other magical machines not be ugly. He used the apple as his logo because it symbolized education in a whimsical way.

    As I read the tributes to this inventive genius from Silicon Valley, I spotted a one-word condolence that expressed exactly how I felt about the death of this gifted man.


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