Monday, 17 October 2011
Thoughts on the Passing of Steve Jobs, Media softness, and the Surrey International Writers Conference.
So the sun has once again chosen to show itself in the Chilliwack district. So I guess with the bright sunshine I should come up with something equally as bright to blog about. As I have said in the past this is a little more than difficult since I really don’t know what readers would like to hear. That being said I thought I’d go over a little bit of the recent events and thoughts I’ve had about them. It was with great sorrow that we lost Steve Jobs. The man was a visionary and has left a significant impact on our world, not just for the tech savvy but also for just the general public. It was with the significant amount of sadness that I read how he wasn’t this kind of a man. At least this seems to be the case if you read some of the blogs and some of the comments after his passing. While, I understand there is a little bit of Internet toughness or anonymity behind the keyboard. I still felt that the comments made by many were inappropriate. One such comment that jumps to the forefront of my attention was the idea that he was nothing more than just money making technology thief. That he somehow stole ideas from Windows and other operating software like Linux. While I do not doubt for a moment that he borrowed some of the ideas on how to get a GUI, which was the first name for a window, to operate within a UNIX environment. This borrowing of ideas was hardly specific to Steve. Each operating system copied each other freely. The simple fact that there are 1.6 smart phones for every person in the United States speaks to this man’s visionary influence. The simple fact that I can blog from my iPhone to an audience almost too vast to comprehend provides more than a little evidence of this man’s global influence. Leonardo da Vinci influenced his society with wonderfully creative art that merged science and technology in ways that hadn’t been thought of before. In a very similar way, Mr. Jobs did the exact same thing. The Apple Computer has come such a long way from its meager beginnings. I remember typing away on my Apple prior to having a numbered designation, looking at a cathode ray tube display of green letters. I remember thinking jealously when one of my good friends got his new Apple and it had an Amber display. Back then the word processing powerhouse was Magic Words, and it came with a 2nd disc, Magic Spelling. I wrote my 1st stories on the old Mac. It wasn’t all easy and wasn’t at all as smooth as writing is today. No, now I can sit mouse in hand finger on the delete key, and speak out loud and watch the letters magically appear on my screen. My concern no longer which big disk to stick in the drive, or how much memory I was using. No, now all I have to do is make sure that my stutter words or misspoken grammar doesn’t show up on screen as I’m speaking it. So to the naysayer and proponents that believe Mr. Steve Jobs was just some money grabbing lying geek thief, I say shame. For whatever sour grapes or product brand loyalty you feel, it is not okay to steal or hijack the accomplishments of one of the most visionary computer, and corporate, moguls of this century.
I blame this partly on the media. No one wants to hear the good news story, as scandals sell so much better. What he died of supersedes and becomes more important than what he created. The sound bite short vision of today’s media outlets hampers the consumers understanding. For example, I remember listening with fascination to the O.J. Simpson trial. At that time it was being touted as the trial of the century. Really? Trial of the century? Funny, I already thought we had those back in Nürnberg. While the lethal assaults allegedly committed by Mr. Simpson were horrible, I don’t really think they compare to having several Nazis on trial for war crimes. Now we have the Michael Jackson Dr. on trial for murder and the occupy Wall Street movements. All of this dispensed in 30 second sound bites to a growing group of people with a 30 second attention span. It is very difficult to get a feel, or read, on an actual event occurring in a different part of the world. I have been to events similar to occupy Wall Street, and then watching them on the news later wondering to myself was I actually there? The viewpoint put forward was so dramatically different than my observations that the reporter and I could not have been at the same rally.
So this is the week for the large Surrey International Writers Conference. I look forward to this conference every year, as it is by far one of the best I have attended. The access to authors and other literary professionals is second to none. It is so very cool to meet your childhood writing heroes, men and women who shaped your early development into an adult. Visionaries and Masters at their talent that challenge you to look inward at yourself and outward as to how you shape the world you live in. Perhaps this was unintentional, I know in writing Gray Redemption that many people are reading more into the book than I originally intended. I think this is a good thing, I’ve said before that each person brings something personal to the reading of any book. What one person gets out of it is significantly different than what someone else may get out of it. What I took away from Boys Life, or Baal, was a great deal different than what my friends took away from the book. For me it was a personal space that allowed me to come to terms with and, create coping mechanisms for my severe attention deficit hyperactive disorder. It basically got me through my teen years, raging hormones, and at the time a not correctly diagnosed disability. I know the politically correct term is challenged, or disadvantaged. But a label is just a label, making it softer is akin to calling a psychopath morally challenged. This year the writing conference actually included me in the book-signing event. Being so included with such masterful authors is extraordinarily humbling. It also caused a resurgence of that author fear; What If No One Shows up! I easily signed over hundred and fifty books at the Chapters event just a few months ago. So it is really hard to imagine that someone else has a book left that needs to be signed. But I posted it up on my Facebook page, and sent out a tweet. So we shall see if there is any real interest. I have got a couple of e-mails from people that are going to try and make it to the Surrey Sheraton, but I’m not holding my breath. What I will take away from this event is far more important. The classes and course material, panels and keynotes, go such a long way to improving and inspiring the job that is writing has no equal. Nor are the contacts and friendships that develop at such a small and intimate venue. While missing the glitzy glamour and large venue of say the London book fair. It more than compensates for this by being so hands on, smoothly run, and delivered. It is a conference that I encouraged many to attend and will continue to do so. I believe hands down that it is impossible to get as much bang for your buck in your ongoing writers education.So with that I believe I will sign off, kick the soapbox back under the bed, and work towards completing my list of tasks before heading deep into the darkest Surrey. I look forward to seeing everyone at the conference.