Remembering Steve

Pig drinks from the screen

Where were you when Steve Jobs died?

I was where I usually am. Pounding away at this MacBook Air. Looking at my Apple 30-inch cinema HD display. With my MacMail open. With Safari open. Working in Pages. Listening to iTunes. My iPhone 4 just a few inches away.

It’s never more than a few inches away.

Moments after as I heard the news, I had to leave the house for an acupuncture appointment. I walked down my street to Sunset, passing two groups of people. They were both talking about Steve Jobs.

I walked the half mile to my appointment, my mind on Steve’s passing, my thumb on my touchscreen. I looked down and realized: I almost always hold my phone. Even with all the walking I do, all the adventuring across the city, wearing an obnoxiously large purse on my shoulder, that iPhone rarely leaves my hand. It’s because I’m always using it. I’m mapping my location. I’m locating buses. I’m checking my mail. I’m doing research. I’m posting tweets. I’m reading books. I’m using it to put on makeup. I’m finding restaurants. And I’m taking photos. Like this one, as, at that moment, on my way to acupuncture, I just happened to peer into an open garage, and spot this iMac box perched on a table:

Steve is everywhere you look

Steve is everywhere we look.

But Steve has also changed the way we see.

Many people have thanked Steve for his presence in their Mac-centric lives. I suppose I could write my stories on a different computer or do my research on a different Internet browser. But I don’t think I would have been able to make this step—the part that included choosing to move about my city a different way, to experience this new rhythm of Los Angeles—without an iPhone. I started my car-free life without it, of course, and many navigate the city without one every day. But it has made something that seemed impossible not only plausible, but pleasurable. It made walking more fun.

Now, I can’t imagine being out on the streets without that little glowing rectangle that helps guide me towards my destination, and keeps me entertained along the way. It has truly changed the course of my life.

Reading on the bus

And since the iPhone is solely responsible for increasing the amount of reading I do, a few of my favorite pieces I read last night about Steve:

A story by former Gizmodo editor Brian Lam about Steve’s reaction when they found the iPhone 4 prototype

Alexis Madrigal’s piece on why Steve mattered at The Atlantic Tech

Wired’s obituary by Steven Levy, who has been interviewing Steve since 1983

Cliff Kuang’s piece at Fast Company’s Co.Design on Steve’s legacy as technology’s greatest fan

Walt Mossberg’s very personal encounters with Steve as the tech reviewer for the Wall Street Journal

The voluminous New York Times obituary (with some pretty amazing quotes)

And if you haven’t seen it yet, his Stanford commencement address is getting linked everywhere for one reason: It’s truly awesome. Here’s the end:

“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma—which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.”

Thank you for helping all of us to follow our hearts and intuitions. We  you, Steve.

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