I remember when I was 16, seeing the cover of some magazine that featured Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak. Actually I don’t really remember if Wozniak was on the cover or not, all I remember is thinking that Steve Jobs is really cute! I also remember thinking, wow, he’s just a few years older than me, so young to be so rich and successful. And then, “I wonder if he has a girlfriend…”
Steve never became my real life boyfriend, but he’s always been my pretend techno-geek boyfriend. I’ve always had a crush on him, I’ve always had a thang for smart geeky guys.
Steve changed the world in many ways, not the least of which, he showed the world that geeks can be hot and that being a geek can be a cool thing.
But the biggest way he changed the world is in how we communicate and stay connected, how we learn and how we process creativity.
When the news broke yesterday that Steve Jobs had died, I read different reports on his life and what various people had to say about him. They talked about all he had accomplished and how he changed the world with his products. And it’s true, because of the products he envisioned and brought to market, people can do more in less time, be more creative, share more, connect more, learn more. I am one of those people.
I’ve always been a big fan of the “i” products and recently splurged on an iPad2 for Sean and I. We love it with a deep intensity and use it all the time. I have loaded it up with educational games for him and photography and design apps for me and just all kinds of fun and cool stuff.
Last night Sean and I went out for an early dinner at Chili’s. He confiscated the cardboard coasters off several nearby tables so that we had a deck of about 20. While we waited for our food we tried stacking the coasters in different configurations to see what kind of load-bearing structures we could make and how much weight they could bear. Answer: Triangle structures can bear the weight of a drinking straw – if you hold your breath and no one bumps the table. When we got bored with that, we divided up the coasters. I asked him spelling and math questions and if he answered right, he got one of my cards; if he answered wrong, I took one of his cards. Very low tech, but fun for geeky geeks like us and just a tad educational. But most importantly, we were engaged.
As Sean and I were playing our silly made-up coaster games, I noticed a mom and little girl in the booth across the way. The mom was staring into her iPhone and the little girl was watching something on her iPad, both bathed in the glow of their devices, a separation of less than two feet, but worlds apart. I am not making a judgment here, just an observation. I realize there are many many reasons why a mom might need to decompress and veg out and that I have no idea what she’s dealing with. But I will say that AD and I have taken note of how often we see this when we go out, families out to eat together, but not together – silent and zombie-like, the face and spirit of each lit up by their personal device.
I thought about Steve Jobs and how everyone is talking about how he changed the way we live for the better, that we are better connected than ever. But, I have to wonder, if perhaps in other ways, we are not changed for the better, if our beloved devices are more of a wedge than a bridge, if we are not more connected than ever, but more disconnected than ever.
What do you think?
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Addendum: Found this post along the same lines from Jon Acuff who writes Stuff Christians Like: http://www.jonacuff.com/blog/how-to-improve-your-marriage-instantly/