Tech blog

Tech blog

Steve Jobs: Life and times

»The official biography of Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson will release in November this year, three months ahead of schedule. The book is based on 40 interviews with Jobs, who also gave Isaacson unlimited access to his family, friends, present and former colleagues.

Jobs made no attempt to influence the book and encouraged even the people he had fallen out with, former colleagues he had fired, to speak to his biographer. Jobs is a notoriously difficult and demanding boss to work with. Nor has he built a saintly halo to hover over his head. “I’ve done a lot of things I’m not proud of, such as getting my girlfriend pregnant when I was 23 and the way I handled that, he said. But I don’t have any skeletons in my closet that can’t be allowed out,” Jobs says.

The most-awaited book of the year is likely to yield a rich profile of Jobs, who has single-handedly pushed the world to the post-PC era and widely credited for having revolutionised six industries: PCs, animated movies, music, phones, tablets and digital publishing.

Jobs best achievements came towards the later part of his life. For much of his adult life, he was a niche player, who despite his brilliance and cult-following, trailed Bill Gates by a long distance. He got fired from Apple, the company he co-founded and fronted, from the man, John Scully, he personally chose to run it. But when a sinking Apple turned to him, he made a dramatic comeback and went on to reinvent the company.

What was Jobs’ secret sauce?
As the Apple tag line puts it, it was thinking different. He was not an engineer and that worked to his advantage. Instead of confining to technical boundaries, he tried to find creative ways to tap it to enhance human experience.

“…Technology alone is not enough. …It’s technology married with liberal arts, married with the humanities, that yields us the result that makes our hearts sing,” says Jobs. A mighty lesson here for Indian ‘techies’ who are raised on C++ and usually know nothing beyond their PHPs and Javas.

Future is software
»When Mark Andreessen speaks, most people listen. He co-founded Netscape, the company which made the world’s first popular browser and helped shape the web as we know it. He is a visionary, who knows how to profit from his insights. He was an early investor in Facebook, Groupon, Skype, Twitter, Zynga, Foursquare and LinkedIn.

In an interesting article in Wall Street Journal he predicts that software is poised to take over the large swathes of world’s economy. In many industries, software companies have disrupted existing brick and mortar businesses and taken control: retail (Amazon), entertainment (Apple, Spotify, Pandora), Photography (Shutterfly, Snapfish and Flickr), marketing (Groupon, Google) telecom (Skype) recruiting (LinkedIn).

In many others such as automobiles, defence, agriculture and financial services, software is moving to the center stage. Over the next 10 years, a new breed of Silicon Valley-style start-ups will ‘invade existing industries with impunity’ and unleash epic battles with incumbents.

What has given software this change the world?  The maturing and convergence of six decades of computer revolution, four decades of microprocessor and two decades of modern Internet.

Andreessen also predicts that that at least five billion people worldwide will own
smartphones in the next 10 years and gain instant access to the Internet, every moment of every day.

Is there a freeware or an interesting download you would like to share with Cyberspace readers? Please send your contribution to  science@deccanherald.co.in  with a brief description of the software.

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