Happy Birthday, Steve!

February 24, 2011

Happy Birthday, Steve (Jobs)! I’m a bit conflicted, how to view your legacy. For many years I admired your ingenuity and your taste. I felt sympathetic when I learned that you were a vegetarian and a Buddhist (or at least interested in Buddhism) and one of only a few industry bosses who supported liberal causes. Normally I don’t sympathize with billionaires, you are an exception — I just wonder, what philanthropic cause you could support with your 5.5 billion US$ in Apple and Disney shares.


I include in my wishes that this is not your last birthday and that the dinner with president Obama was not you last public appearance. I am a cancer surviver myself, so I know how it feels to be confronted with a potentially terminal illness. New reports about your declining health and certain infos that I found in the Wikileaks archives are disheartening, but who knows…

I don’t worry about Apple, the company will go on with or without you.

Jonathan Ive, the shy englishman who designed the iMac, iPod, iPhone and iPad, will continue to create designs for products everyone wants to use and own. Phil Schiller will continue to envision new product concepts, and COO Timothy Cook could take over as CEO without breaking the momentum, he has successfully kept Apple functioning during your three absences.

Recommended reading:


When my two stepsons visited at Christmas, they had of course both their smart phones and occasionally were checking emails or logging in at social networking sites. Ben uses a BlackBerry, Martin an iPhone. I have to say, that I pitied Ben, because his BlackBerry looked so crude and inelegant compared to the iPhone and the user interfaces were similarly contrasting with iOS significantly more intuitive and easy.

I can remember how in 2006 Microsofts Zune was hyped and promised to be the iPod-killer. The Zune brand is practically dead now, while iPods are still all over the place. In the same way Motorola’s Droid was advertised as iPhone-killer — we know the outcome. There is even a website iphonekiller.com and I really wonder, to what great length Apple’s rivals have to go, to give their products a competitive chance against Apple products. At present new tablets from Motorola and HP are hyped and their presumed advantages to the iPad discussed by various pundits…

Until now the consumers have ignored the Apple – bashing and they made their own comparative reviews and head to head match-ups and the judgement was unequivocal and resulted in record profits for Apple.

In January Apple announced financial results for the last quarter. The company posted a revenue of 26.74 billion US$ and a net quarterly profit of 6 billion US$. This were the highest revenue and the highest earnings ever, revenue grew 71 percent and earnings grow 78 percent.

Apple sold 4.13 million Macs during the quarter, a 23 percent increase over the year-ago quarter. The company also sold 16.24 million iPhones in the quarter (86 percent more), 19.45 million iPods and 7.33 million iPads. Apple has now a ten percent share in the US computer market and is the second highest valued company after Exxon Mobil.

I don’t sympathize with big corporations, not even if they are as iconic as Apple.

I use computers now since 30 years (some 40 units until now). The first few were self built, even self designed (based on the 6502 microprocessor). I remember spending a whole summer writing code for the operating system in 6502 assembler. Tired of soldering and coding I started with MSX-computers from Yamaha and tinkered with the CX5M sound modules (what became quite a lucrative side business), after that I worked for years with Atari ST. When the Atari ST platform faltered it was a logical step to continue with Apple’s Macintosh, because I had already run a Macintosh emulator on the Atari ST. I owned beige Macs, mostly G3s, various G4s (two of them are still operable but shelved) and 11 Mac Minis. I still have 8 Intel Minis (2 2007, 4 2009, 2 server late 2009). I like this computer, I consider it the most eco-friendly computer ever built (rating EPEAT: Gold). I removed the HDs from the server models and put SSDs in, which increased the performance significantly and reduced the power consumption to around 10 Watt.

One of my first blog posts was: The Apple Mac “Kristallnacht”

No, I don’t sympathize with big corporations. I was an Apple evangelist when the software platform was threatened, but I’m not an evangelist anymore, OSX is well established. I’m not an Apple evangelist and I would have never considered myself an Apple “fanboy”. I still pity the poor souls, who have to cope with Windows and Linux, and I have done everything to avoid their fate, but I don’t try to convince anybody and just enjoy quietly smiling the advantages of OSX.

I also own three iPods and they are very useful for field recordings, for note taking, for listening to podcasts (they replaced my satellite radios). I don’t own an iPhone, I’m weary of cellphones and Wi-Fi, I removed all Airport and Bluetooth antennas from my Mac Mini’s and from the router.

For many years I used to listen to shortwave radio (mainly BBC, it was a time when BBC was still respectable and trustworthy). But the reception got worse and worse and I had to give it up and switch to satellite radio (via satellite dish). The main reason for the demise of shortwave radio was the increasing background noise of stray EMF radiation from cellphone towers, cellphones, computers, microwaves, power lines and insufficiently shielded appliances.

A friend from Sweden used an old FM radio to check the EMF radiation of his laptop and since then the laptop is not placed on his lap anymore. I will occasionally buy an EMF meter.

A colleague of 30 years had always his cellphone in his trouser pocket. Two years ago he was diagnosed with lever cancer. He is retired now, battling a seemingly incurable decease. We were very close, he was the head teacher of the music school where I still work (part time retired) and I was his deputy.

I wonder what caused Teddy Kennedy’s brain cancer? Where did Steve Jobs have his iPhone?

I used cellphones between 1998 and 2004 and I was glad and relieved when I finally could kick the habit and cancell the contract. My wife has a cellphone but it is rarely used and always in a corner of the kitchen far away from my place. Am I fear mongering? Maybe, though I would never dare to approach a cellphone user and warn about the dangers of EMF radiation. People shall be happy with their mobiles and their laptops and tablets. For my part I am too timid to join and assist in this gigantic field experiment.



Steve, I don’t plan to buy any Apple products in the next years. I intend to use my Mac Minis as long as possible and to repair and update them. Apple is a US company and I boycott American products, I explained the reasons for this policy at the end of my blog post Am I an Anti-Semite now?

Apple will prosper without me and your legacy as one of the most iconic personalities in the history of computing is secured. You had a great life and you could go peacefully, though I wish that you will not go soon!

One comment

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