January 20th, 2012 | 21 comments »
Posted by Roz Tedford
Rosalind Tedford (left) and Giz Womack with their electronic editions of Steve Jobs.
Join us in February 2012 for a lively discussion of Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson with WFU librarians Roz Tedford and Giz Womack.
Category: Steve Jobs
Your invitation to join the conversation sparked my college roommate to ping me regarding the Apple 2e we had in our room. We regularly had to kick our friends out of our room so that we could get some sleep and occasionally, having forgotten to lock the door, would awaken to the sound of an uninvited guest playing Ultima 4.
Thanks for dredging up old friends and fond memories.
When I was at Bowman Gray (now called Wake Forest School of Medicine), the medical library had 2 Apple computers. All of our lectures were recorded and stored on cassette tape there. We brought our own blank cassettes and made copies. Instead of taking notes in class (although I did attend) I went to the library, copied the tapes, and used the apple word processor to type outlines of each lecture as I listened. The screen had emerald letters on a dark background. When finished typing, I would print on a dot matrix printer using paper that came as a continuous piece. The pages were separated by perforation not unlike bathroom tissue, and if I did not line it up properly, I was filleting sentences lengthwise when I separated the pages.
I had been on the fence about this tome; both Einstein and Franklin were enjoyable, but I wasn’t sure about a biography of someone so recently departed. I am ready to order the book, but Am torn between using iBooks on iPad or the audio version from iTunes on the iPhone. Any help in deciding would be appreciated. Siri has been no help on this one.
Fred – Siri would probably say ‘you should buy them all.’ But truth be told, I read the first half of the book in print because I wanted to mark it up to prepare for this book club but the second half I read on my Kindle Fire during a recent business trip (shhhh, don’t tell Steve Jobs) but I have the Kindle app on my iPad and iPhone so I can read it there, too. Giz listened to at least part of it as an audiobook as he was recovering from eye surgery. I will say, that I am not a reader of biography in general, but I found this to be a particularly even-handed treatment of an exceptionally complex, influential and divisive character. I hope you do read it, and that you enjoy it, but even if you don’t you are welcome here! I’m hoping our topics for discussion will hold interest for people no matter how much of the book they have read.
Thanks Roz- I will begin the book this weekend. Please enlighten me on how the club itself works- will you be posing questions and topics for discussion to which we respond in the same forum and format in which I now writing?
Correct – we will post a topic or two each day on the blog site and people can respond to as many or as few as they wish. I just put up a new topic this morning about the intersection of the humanities and sciences that Jobs and Isaacson talk about a lot in the book.
I read this in the print format. Sort of like reading a Gutenberg bio in a manuscript copied down by monks.
In 1979 I was in Duke’s MBA program. Our classes met in the evenings and John McCann, our marketing class professor that semester, invited us one evening over to his office at dinner break to help set up his new computer. It was an Apple II computer. As he unboxed the computer and began connecting the monitor, computer and printer he gave us his take on how this miniature computer would change the world. Mind you, just five years earlier I was wowed by the HP computer just installed in the basement of Salem Hall at Wake Forest and how it relieved us chemistry majors from all night efforts at getting onto the TUCC network and running our painstakingly created paper tape programs on a balky paper tape reader. Professor McCann’s insights that evening in the summer of 1979 regarding personal computers came true.
My next encounter with an Apple computer was in December 1986 when we got a Macintosh Plus replete with MacDraw, Microsoft Word, Microsoft Excel and Microsoft Flight Simulator for our fledgling business. Our young sons enjoyed repeated simulated plane take offs and crashes. Susan and I used the computer to take our then home based business to the next level as we were able to better communicate with potential customers through graphically enhanced documents printed on our Laserprinter and to manage a myriad of company needs (payroll, accounting, product design, database records, etc.).
Today our business predominately uses Macintosh computers for nearly all functions excepting 3-D CAD work where software written for PCs continues to dominate. I read the Isaacson biography of Steve Jobs and learned much about Apple that can be applied to our business. The aspects relating to how product design and software creation at Apple is shared via the three long tables in the center of the research building was intriguing. I was struck by how prototypes of all products are laid out and continually being changed piece-wise via an open collegial observation and commenting process.
We’ve come a long way since paper cards running Fortran programming on the computer in Reynolda Hall in 1970. It will be interesting to see what the Millenials write thirty years from now regarding personal technology advances.
I too was a mainframe person, beginning with punch cards and teletype interfaces. Then I met one-on-one computers when my daughter started kindergarten in 1986. The school had a “computer lab” with Apple 2e’s and 2c’s. I got one for home so that she could do more of what they were doing in school. It was so pleasant having graphics and audio. Reader Rabbit, some goose that went on treasure hunts, seems like there was a math animal also. Lots of freeware and shareware floppies. A lot of fun — for both of us! So much more accessible than the big mainframe that took up the whole basement of the building and needed heavy a/c, brrrr. And yes, this is a fascinating book about a fascinating individual. I’m glad you’re doing this book club and I look forward to the interplay.
I have a Nook and a Kindle pretty full, but with this offereing, I will just have to stop avoiding Steve Jobs’ bio….
Do you have any thoughts of trying an on campus (library) book club meeting rather than all virtual meetings?…My local book club is somewhat satisfying… but this new one would get my husband (’74) to work with you all (and me.) You have terrific choices posted…of course. thank you for this extra outreach and work. (My choice for this year in the local club is The Sibling Effect…jeffrey TIME mag science ed)
Olivia – we have thought about having at least one meeting for each book on campus – perhaps in the library auditorium one evening. We could even Skype or WebEx in folks who are not in town but want to join. We were waiting to see if it would take off and judging from today’s responses it looks like it will. We will talk about it from our end and let folks know about as soon as we have a plan! Thanks for your interest!
It was 1983 and with 2 colleagues, went to Notre Dame for a computer workshop illustrating the use of the Apple IIe. We came back and purchased one of the first Apples at Elon. We were forced to have a non Apple office PC that was replaced by a Macintosh as soon as possible. Have had Macs ever since!
My first exposure to computers was a mainframe and punch cards! Then my business career took me down the PC path while my brother was an early Mac adopter and continually lobbied me to convert. Eventually I realized I could handle both.
So, about the book, or rather, its subject–I was fascinated by his unconventional thinking and but a bit disturbed by his narcissistic tendencies. And I’m fascinated by how his outsider status manifested itself as opposed to the way it did for Woz.
Love this idea, but haven’t yet read the book. May we have a bit of a headsup about the next book so we can get it read? Currently reading Team of Rivals for my own book club and it’s a big thick one!
Nancy – the next book will be “The Marriage Plot” by Jeffrey Eugenides. The book for April will be “The Disappearing Spoon” by Sam Kean. Feel free to be a lurker for this book and we hope you can join us on these other ones!!
While my father was learning BASIC and battling our Texas Instruments home computer, I was sneaking over to my neighbor’s house to play on their lovely Apple 2e. I believe I was 8 years old at the time. Even though my neighbor, a boy my age with the same first name as me, with some strange psychiatrist parents, and a funky smelling house – there was always someone crying – was my arch rival in the neighborhood, I would ignore the stench and our past beefs, sweet talk my way into his house just to sit for a moment at the throne of that Apple 2e. Of course, I wanted to play video games, marvel at the ease of the word processing software, or just watch the floppy disks eject but entry into the kings chair required a series of Jedi mind tricks including, but not limited to me pretending that I was invited or feigning that we were best friends now or even apologizing for a bloody fistfight that happened the day before. Usually, my Apple 2e face time was brief, ending with his parents kicking me out (Josh would get jealous when I’d start typing and would cry to his parents). Occasionally there were peaceful or at least semi-peaceful endings. Once, my Dad came over to round me up, walking right into a friendly yet spirited debate and proceeded to support my case to my neighbor (and his family) that there was indeed a number called a “google” or “googleplex.” Although his family didn’t buy it, and you just couldn’t Google “google” in 1883, my Dad was right and had at least perplexed the PhD neighbors. As for me, I left that night, feeling as I often have, that I could take on all comers in a “my Dad is smarter than your Dad” face off. As and aside, I also remember being at that house in front of that computer and envisioning a big supercomputer where every sound, song, movie quote, and speech ever recorded would be available for download by anyone with a computer and dollar (like a massive record store on you computer screen). So I guess my first memory of the Apple computer is my neighbor’s smelly house, crying children, fun video games, fist fights, a brilliant idea that no one will believe that I came up with, and of course my genius father, even though BASIC and the TI died off — or was killed when my father threw the machine out of our second story window. But that’s another story.
Before I was a student at Wake (’91), I worked in a bio lab at Wake (Dr. Wayne Silver) programming and Apple IIe to operate solenoids in a lab setup that ran an experiment. In the lab we also had an Apple Lisa at one time. Upon graduation, my wife (Kathee Anderson, PhD ’91) got a Mac Classic with a 20MB hard drive and we thought it was the greatest thing ever! Since that Mac I’ve been a PC user for 20 years, until I got myself a MacBook Pro a month ago. Now I’m a PC guy struggling to learn about the Mac all over again…
Well, hello @Jeff from another faculty brat. Isn’t it funny to think that a 20MB hard drive was MASSIVE?? Great to see you here! In some ways it is like learning a new language, so I know what you mean – I’m primarily a mobile apple addict (iPhone, iPad, iPod), but I am sensing a full-on switch is in my future as well.
Great book…the author’s style is fantastic and reads like fiction…..Even though you know the outcome, I’m on the edge of each page waiting for the next insight into this unique individual. There are a number of fascinating business learnings (good/bad). I love it…
I am in. I haven’t started it because I am tackling Stephen King’s 11/22/63 (my first King novel in probably 20 years). So, this will get me motivated.
Dirk, I promise that once you start the Jobs biography, you will not be able to put it down!
I was living and working in Japan. And Apple was actually my first introduction to computers. I remember the little smiling computer face that would pop up. I loved it from day one. Since that time, I have owned three desktop Apples, two laptops, five iPods, four iPhones and one iPad. I’m an Apple girl…”til the day I die!”
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