One year ago: Steve Jobs, 1955-2011

Last night when Apple announced that Steve Jobs had died, my Twitter exploded with heartfelt tributes, quotes, and instagrams of Apple products. To me, it has always been strange when a public figure dies and the world at large has this very public, and very emotional, reaction to it. But this time around, I can understand it a bit more.

Update — October 5th, 2012

On the anniversary of Steve Jobs’s death, Apple has put together a short slide show remember his life and the products his company created over the last 40-some years. You can watch the slide show (with some great quotes from Jobs) on

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Original — October 6th, 2011

Last night when Apple announced that Steve Jobs had died, my Twitter exploded with heartfelt tributes, quotes, and instagrams of Apple products. To me, it has always been strange when a public figure dies and the world at large has this very public, and very emotional, reaction to it. It’s especially strange when the person in question is “just” the head of a very large, very corporate, and very wealthy technology company.

But, obviously, for a lot of people Steve Jobs wasn’t just a CEO, he was a symbol for something. What I’ve learned since Michael Jackson died (which was the last famous guy whose death blew up my Twitter), is that these much-loved public figures remind us of important and formative times in our lives, and when these people die…it is sad.

This is probably obvious to people with more life experience than myself.

I was just in Chicago for a local news conference that brought together twelve of the most successful local/hyperlocal news publishers in America. Every single one of those publishers used a MacBook. Over half of them had an iPhone. The final day of the conference overlapped the iPhone 4S event, and the group had to be specifically told to turn off the keynote. In our industry we’re never more than a few inches away from an Apple product.

RVANews is a “Mac Shop.” At last count, our team of five has: two MacBook Pros, four iPhones, four iPads, a MacBook, an iMac, and a MacBook Air. What started as having a MacMini for Safari testing has grown into an obsession. We use these tools every day to run RVANews, write our stories, take photos, and live tweet events. They are essential for our business.

And that’s why I felt emotions when I saw Wil Wheaton tweet:

iRIP, Steve Jobs. Thank you for making incredible things, so we can live in the future.

These incredible things that he helped make have made RVANews possible. And, that’s what I think of when I think of Steve Jobs.

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Feel free to leave your Jobsian tales below in the comments.

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Ross Catrow

Founder and publisher of RVANews.

Notice: Comments that are not conducive to an interesting and thoughtful conversation may be removed at the editor’s discretion.

  1. I write this on my iMac. I read about Jobs’ death on my iPhone last night. I tweeted about it on my Macbook Pro. Apple products are a part of my life for a variety of reasons. Yes, the are certainly very, very cool. Cool to play with, cool to work with, cool to call my own.

    But Apple devices have done more than upped my “coolness” factor. It’s allowed me to do the things that I love to do.

    One of the first duties that I had at RVANews was live-tweeting the Flying Squirrels home opener. I used by iPhone to not only tweet developments, but also to take pictures and video of the game.

    I also used the phone to take pictures of the “mysterious black van” that turned out to be UCI officials scoping the city for the 2015 Road World Championships, which the city ultimately won the privilege to hold.

    I often have my iPad at the ready to consume local and national news via Twitter, using the diminutive, yet powerful, device to send emails and write copy.

    My parents are continually amazed at this technology. I take this technology for granted. Although Jobs freely admitted that his success was largely predicated on the quality and quantity of talented people with whom he surrounded himself, that talented worked around his unique visions and ideas.

    Visions that resulted in the products that allow me to do the job that I love.

  2. MattOnFire on said:

    I put this on my tumblr and didn’t feel like rewriting:

    I still have my 2001 model iPod. Of course, I don’t use the old brick anymore, but at the time, 1,000 songs in my pocket was a fucking miracle. I remember booting up the old Graphite G4 Powermac (which was expensive as hell back in 2000, and I pretty much maxed out all my credit to buy it) solely for the purpose of illegally downloading music. Any music I could find. Music that I hadn’t heard in years. Music that was never played on the radio. Music that I otherwise would never have heard. I jammed every note I could fit onto that thing – just so I could listen to music (and look cool) while walking a Bichon Frise.

    For the past 10 years, I’ve had some form of iPod, whether it be a Nano, Shuffle, Classic or an integrated part of my iPhone. And every day EVERY SINGLE DAY I listen to music through this technology. Thousands of songs held in the palm of my hand. Just think how many CDs and LPs that would be.

    Our collective musical tastes have been broadened and heightened because of iTunes and the iPod. And I can never thank Steve Jobs enough for that.

    Now, most people who know me would tell you that I am, indeed, an Apple fanboy. I’ve always used Apple computers – I grew up on them. And in college, I was one of a handful of people who would only use the Mac lab. Over the years, I’ve owned some of Steve’s greatest inventions. From a personal computing standpoint – the iMac was (and is) a revolutionary device. Computer and monitor in one compact design? No tower? More powerful than any other consumer-grade desktop computer on the market?

    My first laptop, a Powerbook, is in my attic collecting dust. I lugged it everywhere. And I just don’t have the heart to get rid of it. It’s sad how I have a personal connection to these machines, but they became an extension of me. I poured every bit of my personality into emails, photos, papers, blogs … These devices may be dead and unusable by today’s standards, but they represent important moments in my life.

    This morning, I was thinking about how far reaching Steve’s influence is. I thought about my daily life. Watching movies with AppleTV, using my iMac to get work done, using my iPad to catch up on news or play a game, using my iPhone to talk, text, take photos, tweet and browse, using my MacBook air to edit videos and update social networks … then looking through my DVD collection and seeing Toy Story, remembering Steve’s role in Pixar.

    Steve Jobs was a part of everyone’s life in some way or another. Even if you’ve never owned an iPod or used a Mac, chances are you’ve somehow enjoyed the benefits of this man’s genius. If you’re a die hard Windows or Android user, you can tip your hat to the man who participated in the competition between these platforms and inspired each developer or inventor to build a better, more intuitive and more user-friendly product.

  3. I could do my job on anything with a keyboard, but I do like my iPhone. Thanks for the sweet tools, dude. (You’re welcome for all my money over the years.)

  4. George on said:

    I would probably never have found my favorite hobby, of home recording, had it not been for Garageband.

  5. Sean Yeager on said:

    Much of what Jobs did for computing and gadgets wasn’t necessarily in the product, but how it worked and how you interacted with it. While other companies were putting out products that did lots of things, Apple was putting out products that did lots of things and did them well, with an ease-of-use and reliability that no other company could match.

    Things like the Mac OS interface, the iPod’s scroll wheel, the multi-touch pad on the MacBook… other products did the same thing, but none were as easy, intuitive, and well thought out as Apple’s.

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