The principles that rule this blog

Principles that will govern my thoughts as I express them here (from my opening statement):

  • Freedom of the individual should be as total as possible, limited only by the fact that nobody should be free to cause physical injury to another, or to deprive another person of his freedoms.
  • Government is necessary primarily to provide those services that private enterprise won't, or won't at a price that people can afford.
  • No person has a right to have his own beliefs on religious, moral, political, or other controversial issues imposed on others who do not share those beliefs.

I believe that Abraham Lincoln expressed it very well:

“The legitimate object of government is to do for a community of people whatever they need to have done, but cannot do, at all, or cannot
so well do, for themselves — in their separate, individual capacities.”

Comments will be invited, and I will attempt to reply to any comments that are offered in a serious and non-abusive manner. However, I will not tolerate abusive or profane language (my reasoning is that this is my blog, and so I can control it; I wouldn't interfere with your using such language on your own!)

If anyone finds an opinion that I express to be contrary to my principles, they are welcome to point this out. I hope that I can make a rational case for my comments. Because, in fact, one label I'll happily accept is rationalist.

Thursday, October 06, 2011

The passing of Steve Jobs

At least three of the blogs I look at had posts about Steve Jobs, who passed away yesterday, so I guess I ought to put in my own 2¢.

Jobs was, like Howard Schultz at Starbucks, the man who made his company go. In both cases, when they left their companies, the companies tanked, and only when they came back, their companies revived again. Perhaps Jobs' successor as Apple CEO, Tim Cook, can keep the company going, but at one time before, Jobs left and Apple foundered, so we have to see.

But there are some misconceptions as to what Jobs actually did. Some people believe that Jobs invented the easy interface, sometimes called the WIMP interface (Window/Icon/Mouse/Pointer). But in fact it was developed by the Xerox Corporation at its Palo Alto Research Center. The thing Jobs (together with another Steve, Wozniak, who seems to be forgotten these days) did at Apple was to make it a marketable product. Xerox never figured out how to market, or at least how to market anything but the copiers they grew famous on. That was Jobs' real contribution: making computers something that anyone could use was part of it, but making computers something that everyone wanted was the bigger part. And later on, he continued with these products that caught people's fancy: the various “i-P's” (iPod, iPad, iPhone). (I must admit, I have none of these three, though this makes me a distinct minority!)

Unlike Bill Gates, Jobs never made lots of enemies. He found a way to make you want his products without resenting it — while Gates made people feel that he was bullying people into buying his products. And this was Jobs' real genius.

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