What with all the starry-eyed tributes to Steve Jobs, I found this harsher piece by Maureen Dowd refreshing: The Limits of Magical Thinking (NYT, 20111025). In 850 words, she remembers his mood swings, obsession with control, and unpleasant behavior in relationships with women.
- It's not clear to me that knowing more details about someone's life — especially those based on hearsay — necessarily increases my understanding of how his mind is organized, and that is one of the central things to think about in this life. But at a minimum, hearing unpleasant details in a brief, literate column is an antidote to the overreporting about celebrities that gushes through much of the media.
- During the years when I was a a strictly non-technical consumer of technology, I was enthusiastic about the Macintosh brand and Apple, and their underdog status didn't lessen their charm. More recently I have felt turned off by Apple's restrictive design decisions, to say nothing of its marketing gleam. Jobs' business successes have ripened my preference for drab graphics and command-line interfaces.