This beautiful piece by Carl Sagan has been around for a long time, and I love this latest animated visual interpretation.
Hi blog. Long time no see!
I spent some Saturday me-time at the cinema yesterday, taking in Robert Reich’s new film Inequality for All.
Back in the air now after 10 days in the Philippines, I finally have a chance now after a busy ten days to reflect a bit and write. Thankfully my iPad is loaded with a fair amount of music, and the Kings of Convenience (as always) provide a languid and contemplative soundtrack to the goings-on around me. I swear this duo’s music just gets better and better with each listen.
If you live in Japan and have kids you’re almost certain to attend one or more undokai (運動会, or Sports Day) each year. With two young girls I get to enjoy them perhaps more often than I would like, but usually manage to have a good time, even with the criminally early Saturday start time and hours of standing around in the sun.
This year I came equipped with a DSLR and zoom lens, and filled the spaces between the various sporting events by snapping pics of the people participating in and attending the event. These fifty faces of Sports Day are what I came away with.
|From Autumn Undokai – Fifty Faces|
I find myself feeling unexpectedly shocked and saddened this morning by the news of Steve Jobs’ passing. I don’t know if it’s the (perhaps misplaced) underdog quality I associate with him, his role as one of this generation’s most successful visionaries, or simply his very key role in in changing so dramatically for the better my relationship with technology.
As I write this I’m surrounded by the output, the fruition, the product of a creative vision that puts people and user experience ahead of technology. Multiple manifestations of the idea that simple elegance is more important than endless bulleted lists of features, or functionality for its own sake. Technology and products that just work, are a pleasure to use, and are beautiful to behold. I can think of no one else in recent memory who has had, and continues to exert, such influence on my day-to-day life.
I use an iMac all day at work, pick up my iPhone countless times daily, take my iPad practically everywhere I go and sync and share data across all of them effortlessly. I rarely have to tinker, tweak, fiddle with or configure anything. I worked for a decade as a system engineer and am well-versed in the arts of tinkering and configuration. These days I have no interest in doing either, and (in large part) thanks to Steve, I don’t have to.
Steve Jobs and Apple introduced us to the idea that powerful technology doesn’t have to be complicated, or rife with idiosyncrasies and inconsistencies which just have to be tolerated. The idea that, for the things you do all most of the time with your phone or PC, if you need a manual to know how to use it, well, it’s too complicated. Microsoft has never understood this, and the various UNIXs out there don’t care to. Without the vision and efforts of Steve and the others at Apple we’d all still be spending a lot more time rebooting, ranting, fumbling and flailing. I’m reminded daily of how glad I am for now doing so little.
I didn’t know Steve, never met him, and–sadly–I never will. But I nonetheless feel close to him, and an odd kind of indebtedness for the ways in which he’s made my life that much easier, more interesting, and more fun.
Rest well, Steve. And thank you.