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Daring Fireball: Universe Dented, Grass Underfoot (daringfireball.net)
749 points by ditados on Oct 6, 2011 | hide | past | web | favorite | 135 comments

Many years ago a colleague, Steve Holtzman, suddenly discovered he had colon cancer. Within a year he had faded away (it seemed almost literally) and was gone. He had money and access to the best doctors, but he wasn't vigilant (he had ignored odd weight loss and bowel trouble) and so it was too late.

Although Jobs didn't die of a "man's disease" there are lots of men killers out there that can be stopped if you look for the signs. But talking to men around me we are often reluctant to go and see a doctor for regular health checks.

If you have a smoke alarm in your home, it's not because you expect a fire, but because you want to be warned if there is one. Think the same way about your own health: a visit to the doctor for an annual medical is a smoke alarm for your body.

PS In the UK if you are over 40 then the NHS offers a free "Health Check" (http://www.nhs.uk/Planners/NHSHealthCheck/Pages/NHSHealthChe...) that screens for common adult diseases. It's free. Go do it.

In January 2009 I was Stage 5 chronic kidney disease, in July 2009 I had a kidney transplant.

Looking back there were so many telltale signs that I had over the last six months, which I was ignoring as I was busy building my startup. A regular health check has the potential to catch a problem like this. I now nag each of my friends and family in having an annual health check.

Its the best time you can spend.

This was not the first time I made a mistake like this. When I was a kid, I had trouble seeing my teacher's blackboard. I just kept moving closer to the blackboard. I saw a doctor when I had trouble understanding what the teacher was writing from the first row.

Problems like this creep up on you over years, and they are so gradual you don't realize them.

You wont run your site without a Google Analytics/Pingdom. Dont do it with your life. If you haven't had a health check, get it done today.

> I now nag each of my friends and family in having an annual health check.

I had an aunt and an uncle (from different sides and don't know each other) fight off cancer 5 years ago. After they were deemed "cured", they still didn't learn the lesson of an annual health check. Around 1 year ago they both started to feel strange symptoms and went to checkup again. They found out not only had the cancer recurred but that it had spread to many parts of their bodies. The doctors recommended a couple of treatments but weeks later they said there was nothing more they could do.

In July and August they both passed away, within 3 weeks of each other. (Right after my grandmother too, and of course it's been emotional for me.)

It appears this applied to S.J too. (If he died of recurring cancer.)

But, convincing anyone (including me, a 21 year old) of annual checkup is hard. The thinking goes: we've been fine for all our lives/ is too young to get sick, why worry?

When your trying to loose weight, finding if there is anything else that might be making it hard can be helpful. Taking a blood test and finding out you have iron problems could literally save your life. 4 Hour Body kind of drills regular testing to see how your body is doing, and those accurate tests can be a wake up call. Seeing 30% body fat from a DXA scan surprised me a bit, since I estimated I was around 25% At the very least do it once or twice if you've never had a comprehensive blood test and a DXA scan to see where you are now and possibly catch things you've never tested for even once.

If your the typical fat american too, pre-diabetes and heart attacks happen to 20-somethings too. It's estimated in about a decade from now, %50 of the US population will be diabetic/pre-diabetic. Cancer can occur also, I know people who've died of cancer in their 30s, and pretty much the only way to somewhat avoid/'cure' cancer is the earliest possible detection, and that's no where near foolproof even then.

Weight gain can sneak up on you too even if your not doing too much that's different in your diet and exercise. I'm 25 and I'm starting to thin out in my hair region. Aging can catch up to you quicker than you think and if you have health insurance and an income, taking your health seriously and spending money on things like these can really reap benefits in the future.

Look into spelling and punctuation while you're at it. You may lose your hair, but you can keep your ability to write grammatical sentences well into old age.

Berating someone on spelling and grammar on an fleeting internet forum that no one will read in a few days is reflection on your social skills too. For shame.

My berating is as fleeting as that which I berate. If I do have poor social skills, should I feel "shame"?

And I, just now, walked into my home office after a trip to my doctor for a check-up ... a check-up I'd been putting off for 2 years or so. The timing is impeccable with what happened yesterday in mr. Jobs' passing.

Health and your personal well-being have never been more important to me than it is now. I've lost 50+ pounds in the last 6 months because I couldn't ignore my health problems any more. It got to be too important that I pay attention. Another thing I've lost? My sister. She was 36 years old. She died from a pulmonary embolism while she was getting ready to go to work as an ICU nurse. Ironically, she was a nurse who rarely (if ever) saw a doctor and ended up passing away because she didn't know she was prone to easy blood clotting.

If that's not a wake up call, I don't know what is.

Why will I miss Steve Jobs? Not the iphones and macbooks and ipads that I've bought and enjoyed immensely - but the lesson that tomorrow is no sure thing and to live today as if it's not. This particular lesson is what I'll always remember about this man. He helped us get all of this wonderful STUFF, purchased with money, but the journey that got Apple there is entirely without a price tag.

Hug your family members first. Tell them to literally take care of themselves immediately after.

This was not the first time I made a mistake like this. When I was a kid, I had trouble seeing my teacher's blackboard. I just kept moving closer to the blackboard. I saw a doctor when I had trouble understanding what the teacher was writing from the first row.

Until I read this, I had forgotten about my own history of mild myopia: I had a mandatory eye exam at 14, which detected the problem, but I was too vain to tell my parents about it, because I didn't want to wear glasses. 3 years of straining to read the board in class followed (which probably dropped my performance in school significantly). When I turned 17 and wanted to drive, I caved and got glasses and contacts. It was an amazing change in quality of life, and by the time I was 22 I had LASIK.

Thanks for reminding me of this: I'm going to make sure I get my own kids' eyes tested at least annually.

I'm curious about the the eye thing. Did you just need glasses? It wouldn't ruin your eyes if you could see well enough form the first row, would it?

In children, myopia typically starts as a small problem and gradually grows as the child grows. The flaw wouldn't necessarily get more serious without glasses, it's a matter of knowing that the child has it and possibly needs glasses. Not being able to see the board clearly can be an educational problem.

In my elementary school, we had mandatory semi-informal eye exams. My myopia got diagnosed around grade two or three in one of these exams.

What were the signs?

In light of this, can anyone recommend any self-employed/entrepreneur health plans in the USA that provide reasonable coverage for preventive testing and checkups?

The Freelancers Union is pretty competitive in my market (NYC). Not that it's good coverage, but they do cover a physical and vision test every two years (I think).

Of course, it's a hell of a lot more expensive than it should be, but I was unable to find anything better for a self-employed single person.

I think the stress and pressure of running a company also may have contributed to Job's health. He may have had pancreatic problems nonetheless, but the stress, lack of sleep, eating fast food at his desk, etc couldn't have been beneficial. Jobs may have contributed a lot to society, but he probably paid a huge price for it.

First of all, if you know a little bit about Steve Jobs, you'll know he wasn't likely a big fast food eater.

Secondly, I think Steve Jobs would have been much worse off if he had stepped down as CEO.

Steve Jobs needed Apple as much as Apple needed Steve Jobs.

I don't know about his diet, but I do know it's virtually impossible to have healthy lifestyle with the responsibilities he has. He might have needed Apple, but there is a chance he put his body over the limit and ignored symptoms

> I don't know about his diet, but I do know it's virtually impossible to have healthy lifestyle with the responsibilities he has. He might have needed Apple, but there is a chance he put his body over the limit and ignored symptoms

How do you know? He is reported to have spent a lot of time with his family. It is, in fact, quite possible to lead a very busy lifestyle and still remain healthy. I'm sure many of us here do exactly that.

Wouldn't you imagine when you get to his level, you really have the money/power to set your own responsibilities? At the very least, ordering whatever food you might want, having a personal trainer, the best executive health care, etc.

I have no clue whether these were things Jobs did, but he was hardly starting a company here.

He's a vegetarian for most of his life.

"There is no grass in Moscone West."

There's a gigantic grass lawn right next door, in Moscone Center.

Steve Jobs was a great man, but this remembrance hit a sour note for me. It's not about Steve Jobs, so much as it's about an outsider's fantasy of what Jobs' (very private) inner life was like. And if this bears no resemblance to reality, it's not a remembrance at all. It could even be offensive to the people who knew him best.

Remember the man for the person that he was, not for the person that you imagined him to be.

Jobs' (very private) inner life. [..] Remember the man for the person that he was, not for the person that you imagined him to be.

Do you not see a problem in pointing out his very private nature, then scorning people for imagining that instead of knowing it?

It could even be offensive to the people who knew him best.

And now you're chastising people for fantasizing about SJ because of how you fantasize his friends reacting? Come on.

"Do you not see a problem in pointing out his very private nature, then scorning people for imagining that instead of knowing it?"

No. Maintaining a private life does not give anyone carte blanche to fill in the details with fiction. People may do it, but that doesn't make it right.

The idea that he went for a walk in the grass. That's the idea you have a problem with. What the fuck dude.

Steve Jobs meant something different to each of us, and for the vast majority it's just fantasy. I think this blog was a tad touching, and a tad overwrought, but not sour.

> ...meant something different to each of us, and for the vast majority it's just fantasy.

This is true of just about everything.

As a complete aside to Steve Jobs, I have to say that one of my all time favorite memories of the last decade is sitting on top of the Moscone Center (for the fifth day in a row) a few years back at an Oncology show - in a very transitional period of my life. If you've never been there, it's hard to describe. Below you in the halls is a barrage of activity and noise and up there it's peaceful and tranquil.

I've been to convention centers on every continent, on a weekly basis for the last five years. I've seen more of hotels/conference centers than I have of my family and friends in that time, but I still think back to sitting on top of that building with sound of laughter, happiness & peace, while eating a meal with a it's own hand picked/hand chosen tea, plate, cutlery and everything else, picked to go just with that one meal on the menu and think of it's basic, intrinsic magical symphony. I guess in someways that's why I think of that memory today and how that memory relates to Steve Jobs, Apple and all he created.

Which part Gruber's image do you think would be offensive to those that knew him best? The walking, being in the grass, or being with his family and holding hands? Or are you just you looking for a reason why it's wrong for Gruber to have written this?

Gruber is saying that there is no grass in Moscone West, the west-most hall at Moscone Center. Where the majority of his time would be spent preparing for the keynote.

Remember the man for the person that he was, not for the person that you imagined him to be.

Is this actually possible of anyone?

I imagine that timr thinks it is.

You know what? This code can wait. I'm going to take my son for a walk.

This 1 line had a greater emotional impact on me than anything I've read or heard since Steve's passing. Thanks.

I spent the entire day walking and hiking by a river. First time in years.

Yeah, I came straight home and took my daughter to the park. Perspective.

Yes. It is so easy to forget ...

You know what? This has got to be the best comment in this thread.


Gruber's talent for writing never ceases to amaze me. It's always incredible that a tech blogger can write so well and, in this case, poetically.

Five minutes ago I had just watched Jobs' commencement speech on CNN for the at least the 50th time. I put work on hold just to hear it again. Every time I hear it I gain strength. I've never had a dad but I did have heroes. Steve Jobs is one of them.

> I've never had a dad but I did have heroes. Steve Jobs is one of them.

Funny — I was reflecting on exactly this today. No dad, either. Thanks for sharing it.

I think Jobs is the only person outside of my immediate family whose passing could hit me in the gut quite this way. I grew up looking to his example. A man I never met but who nonetheless showed me, in small but meaningful ways, how to be a man.

Funnily I got the exact opposite impression. I thought it was cheesy and kitsch.

I should track down the actual post in which JMS (the "Babylon Five" guy) pointed out that even Shakespeare has only about a 50% approval rating.

Meanwhile, I'm not sure you could conduct a proper tribute to Steve Jobs without throwing in a little kitsch. Have you seen the "1984" ad? The "Think Different" ads? Steve Jobs' taste was not constrained by a self-conscious fear of cheese. ;)

It's only cheesy if it's not sincere.

Steve Jobs was a grandmaster of sincerity.

Very surprising to read this. Was there anything in particular that bugged you about it?

To me, Gruber captures Jobs as both a loving family man and a visionary who is selective with his attention to detail. This is a nice lesson, as I often spend time focusing on the wrong details.

Even the structure of the article -- a vignette with a narrative device built from a small detail -- is a tribute to Jobs's legendary focus on details.

Beautiful on multiple levels.

Personally I loved the observation about the grass stains and how they just weren't important enough to be something Steve cared about, but I thought the image of him walking hand in hand through the grass with his family was a bit saccharine.

It's enough just to invoke the idea that Steve had found time to get outside - whatever he was doing and whoever he was doing it with and that he did so by focusing on what was truly important but part of great writing is leaving a little bit to the reader and I felt he could have left it there.

But hell, what do I know, I post the odd thing on HN, Gruber earns six figures blogging...

(Don't get me wrong, I like Gruber and I like the piece, just that paragraph).

I'd agree, that last part was a bit saccharine. On net though, I thought it was great too.

> a loving family man

He denied paternity of his daughter Lisa, even testifying in court that he was infertile. Lisa's mother was on welfare for a time because of this. So if you are going to say he was a loving father, you should also mention that he was a neglectful one.

Hero worship is empty. If you want to admire something, admire the man, not some two dimensional pr bullshit.

He denied paternity of his daughter Lisa, even testifying in court that he was infertile. Lisa's mother was on welfare for a time because of this. So if you are going to say he was a loving father, you should also mention that he was a neglectful one.

You left out the part where he accepted paternity, supported his daughter financially, and had a very strong relationship with her until his death.

No one is perfect, but how can you hold mistakes he made decades ago (this happened in the 1980s) and subsequently rectified against him?

When he was 23. I think Lisa and her mother would forgive him for that long time ago.

In his own words about his biography: I’ve done a lot of things I’m not proud of, such as getting my girlfriend pregnant when I was 23 and the way I handled that. But I don’t have any skeletons in my closet that can’t be allowed out.

If there ever was a time to be cheesy and kitsch, it's now.

Newsflash: People die.

Yes, it's bad, but they do. Deal with it. Stop being so pathetic. Did you even know him in person? If not, why do you think now is the right time for kitsch? Why not yesterday when lots of people - like everyday- died of hunger and poverty all over the planet? Yeah right, those people never sold you overprized gadgets made in Chinese sweat shops, where people commit suicide by the dozen.


Agree completely. Yerba Buena Gardens anyone? http://g.co/maps/wy2se

The whole thing is contrived and smacks of just the sort of prying, cultish obsession with the private lives of celebrities that Steve Jobs treated with scorn. If it wasn't appropriate to write crap like this when he was alive, I don't see why it is now that he's dead.

Of all the tributes, this is the one that brought a tear to my eye.

I worry that the long hours and extraordinary commitment to our craft may not be worth the sacrifices we make. The time is now for me, and I'm driving hard to a personal goal. Late nights and early mornings, essentially every waking hour is spent preoccupied by building a great product. And I see it in my son's eyes that he's missing me.

Reading Gruber's final paragraph reminds me that I'm going to regret this lost moment in time with my family, and that any success achieved will be paid for by their commitment to stand by me along the way.

Tonight, I'm going to kick off early and go watch his Hockey practice. And then enjoy a few periods of the Leaf opener tonight with the kid. He deserves it.

I am not a big Gruber fan. Actually, I disagree with most of his opinions. But this text is just beautiful.

Came here to make the same point. I kinda hate his fanboyism, but damn if he can't find the angle nobody else sees.

I hate this admonishment of fanboy-ism that permeates the discussion anytime MG or Gruber are mentioned.

We need fanaticism to counter balance apathy.

There is nothing more empowering than a belief in what you do, why you do it, or who you do it for.

*said as someone who ran a fan site for 16 years

There is no need for fanaticism to counter balance apathy, well-written, factual and objective articles work fine.

That isn't how culture works.

I wish more people could be closer to the middle.

The middle is only achieved by meticulously removing all emotion and dissecting the words down to structure only. Passion for anything drives us to the edges.

I guess I would rather have the vibrant edges and a sense of civility that, frankly, has never been there(1) than the gray landscape of the middle.

(1) see various sources on the election of 1800 for a nice historical example

Most people are closer to the middle. The middle isn't what we need. Compassion, caring, and humility in our passions are.

I guess I considering myself in the middle. I'm extremely passionate about a handful of topics. But at the same time I've learned to not allow it to alienate myself from the majority. The alienation is where I consider the edge to start. It's counter productive because you're just viewed as a crazy.

I think we agree but our scales of the edges and the middle might be different.

Without the edges, you don't have a middle.

Now I think of it though, I remember when the most fun you could have was standing in the middle of a see-saw whilst your friends sat on the ends.... I don't think it would have been anywhere as much fun if everybody was standing in the middle and there was nobody on the ends to upset the balance.

The middle is the most boring place to reside. Nothing happens there.

They are. You only hear the loud ones.

It's funny how many of the comments here start the same way. You guys probably agree with him more than you think.

"I like to think that in the run-up to his final keynote, Steve made time for a long, peaceful walk. Somewhere beautiful, where there are no footpaths and the grass grows thick. Hand-in-hand with his wife and family, the sun warm on their backs, smiles on their faces, love in their hearts, at peace with their fate."

Beautifully written.

And I'm glad it took Gruber some time to post this after the news broke yesterday, it would make me glad to know that he didn't have it ready and waiting to be published.

Don't discount something just because it's quickly written. Strong emotions are a powerful source of artistic inspiration. Sometimes, you can create in 5 minutes something which hours or months or even years of labour could not equal.

very good point - and probably even more true when it's something emotional like this.

I like to think he had mowed grass. That is what a common man does in the U.S., and it would be a sign of his humanity. I also like to think he just wore the shoes because he was sick, in pain, and he needed a comfortable pair of shoes.

Not sure why this was downvoted. Seems reasonable to me.

FYI Steve was famous for always wearing the same thing, including the shoes.

Overall something about Gruber's piece felt off to me. But none of us is a perfect writer and this is an emotional time.

It makes me think of this photo of Steve in a garden a few years ago. http://www.flickr.com/photos/katsanes/1636555794/in/photostr...

Gruber uses the word 'Raconteur' in his Twitter Bio. I didn't know what the word meant, I looked it up. Well, for me, he is truly a raconteur (along with Joel).

RIP, Steve.

For those (like me):

rac-on-teur: A person who tells anecdotes in a skillful and amusing way.

Also, found this interesting site in the process of defining that word: http://www.theraconteurs.com/

Or, if you are a A Song of Ice and Fire fan, Tyrion Lannister. Sorry for the off-topic.

FWIW, Lion users on new-ish hardware should be able to use three fingers to double-tap on words to define them: http://cl.ly/3w2r3p42261w1z2j1X3F

This function has been there at least since Leopard and the old shortcut still works: cmd+shift+D. Saddens me that Chrome still doesn't support it at all, and it breaks in Safari when web-fonts are involved.

With additional dictionaries, this feature is pure gold for language learners.

Works for me in the latest Chrome, except the shortcut is Ctrl+Cmd+D (I think it always has been?). For a long time it didn't work, though.

Thanks for both corrections. I just downloaded the beta and both methods of invoking the dictionary work. Great news, I am a happy switcher now.

I'm not what you would call a Gruber fan, but this is a beautiful and inspiring piece of writing.

Apple, and thus Jobs, has always been "them" to me. With the exception of the CoCo way back in the day, I've never been much of a fanboy, but my computer affiliations have always been with something other than Apple: CBM PET, COSMAC Elf, CoCo I/II/III, Amiga, Dos, Windows, Linux - always something else.

But in all that time, I always felt that, over rated and over hyped as they might be, Apple and Jobs we worth of respect and admiration, most especially for their inspiration.

Inspiration inward, in the sense of invention, discovery, and art.

Inspiration outward, in the sense of leadership, drive, and motivation.

Somehow, a kernel of that inspiration is expressed by this vignette.

Freshly cut grass has the greatest staining ability. My sneakers turn green only when I mow a green lawn on foot. Had Steve been walking behind a lawnmower? I know I enjoy cathartic effects from clipping grass. Having billions of dollars and fans shouldn't change that.

Good writing is set apart through an honest expression of emotion and experience. As much as I usually despise Gruber's particularly disingenous brand of tech writing .. this is nicely put. We can all take something from his example.

Very nice post. Reading through the comments brought this back to me:

You could do Richard Branson's job. Most of the time anyway.

Except for what he does for about five minutes a day. In those five minutes, he creates billions of dollars' worth of value every few years, and neither you nor I would have a prayer of doing what he does. Branson's real job is seeing new opportunities, making decisions that work, and understanding the connection between his audience, his brand, and his ventures.

This remembrance squares nicely with Walt's about how Steve set a goal of walking a bit further every day. I guess at the time of WWDC he was still making it to the park regularly.

I am not a huge fan of daring fireball either but it was a good post. It is strange how we notice things about people and then remember them like that.

I've never read so many inspiring and life changing stories about anyone. Steve Jobs was one of the greatest men to have ever lived.

> Steve Jobs was one of the greatest men to have ever lived.

Don't you think that's a little over the top?

Depends how many people you include in that list. 5? 100? 10,000?

Gruber changed the background of his site to a darker shade of grey in mourning.

Update: Used to be #4A525A and now is #222222

Also switched back from the Yankees DF logo. Which, fuck that shit. Go Tigers!

In my mind Jobs was the kind of guy that soils his sneakers while running, not while peacefully walking. The image painted by Gruber here is a kitschy one - and kitschy is probably the adjective least fitting to Jobs and his creations.

That is of course contradicted by the many, many tales of how much Steve Jobs enjoyed walking, and in particular, walking for long distances.

Jobs famously would take people on walks and talk with them.

I didn't mean that literally. All I'm saying is that a hypothetical portrait of Jobs I would made would be closer the today's apple.com welcome page: simple, elegant, almost raw and in some magical way both sterile and emotive - like most of the Apple's products. 'A melancholic, warm family photo took in a sunny day' seems like a thing from a different culture - but maybe Jobs privately was closer to that picture. Certainly Gruber knows better than me.

I can say that I touched Jobs by using his beautiful products.

What wrong did I say here? Can't we techies be poetic and emotional?

Turn sorrow into poetry. I love this.

"Those grass stained sneakers were the product of limited time, well spent."

-1 Seriously, a fantasy story about a man taking a walk in a park? is that it? 732 upvotes. sigh...

He was a great man. But, he wasn't perfect. He basically took credit for Woz's creation, backed the losing Lisa (and prior to that the Apple III) rather than the Mac and jumped ship to the Mac when the Lisa tanked. The OS X technology was written by NeXT before Apple bought them. iPod (etc.) was a design win and a business win, but Jobs just helped hire good people. He makes a great front-person, was a stellar businessman, and helped make Silicon(e) Valley what it is today. He seems to have been a great father and husband also. My heart goes out to his family and friends for their loss. But seriously- the man was a front man for great technology that people use.

I feel like I'm living in a real-life Simpsons episode: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CZGIn9bpALo

There's a lot of nonsense in your comment

> jumped ship to the Mac when the Lisa tanked.

Jobs was taken off the Lisa team before it even shipped (he joined the Mac in 1982, the Lisa did not ship before '83)

> The OS X technology was written by NeXT before Apple bought them.

Of course, what would have been the point of buying NeXT otherwise? NeXT was founded by Jobs.

> iPod (etc.) was a design win and a business win, but Jobs just helped hire good people.

Most of them he actually brought with him from NeXT (the NeXT acquisition has often been referred to as a takeover). Or he found rotting inside Apple itself (Ive had been working for Apple for 5 years before Jobs came back and put him in charge of Industrial Design). And Jobs's main role has never been to be in the production trenches (it's easy to see that from Folklore.org), I don't understand what you're trying to achieve taking down irrelevant strawmen.

> But seriously- the man was a front man for great technology that people use.

What you're trying to achieve is apparently being high as a kite.

"iPod (etc.) was a design win and a business win, but Jobs just helped hire good people."

That's like saying the iPod developers just helped write code, or the iPod designers just helped design. Hiring good people is huge.

A walk outside in nature: something I can heartily recommend all the folk stoking up their teenage emotion tsunami while swamping HN with endless Steve tributes.

Look, you gotta give people 24 hours to get out their tributes. I don't see anything wrong with that. Just accept that the newsday today will be all about Jobs. You'll live longer if you give in to a little tolerance and patience.

I have similar thoughts about 'mourning tourism' and the questionable relationships people have in their heads with public figures, but we humans are irrational creatures. Tolerating our irrationality is a good policy. I'm not saying you should go and implement sharia law or become a creationist, I'm saying you should just give people a chance to vent and leave them alone for 24 hours.

You might want to spend the day reading a site that isn't full of people inspired by Steve Jobs, be it his products, his work ethics, or his ideas, then.

Come back and say it on your real account, chief.

Why? So the hordes of mawkish Steve idolisers can downvote the blasphemer? There are penalties from differing from the hivemind (slowban, hellban etc). Anonymity is the only way to communicate my level of amazement at the current mania.

So forgive me if I don't do that.

I think your behaving like a dick is probably more the trouble than your amazement.

This guy meant something to a lot of people. It's okay that you're different. But let people have their moment. Go for a walk. People exist for their own purposes, not your pleasure.

An anonymous ass will probably be an ass with a real account too. It's a matter of time.

Look, I'll say it on my real account. I'm not that guy. I find the outpouring of grief repetitive at best and embarrassing at worst. It's the time of year for everyone to strut out their favourite Steve stories and anecdotes. Gotta tell everyone how you feel.

Tell me you can read a comment like http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=3078323 with a straight face.

Life is a lot more enjoyable when you accept, as I've just mentioned in a cousin, that people exist for their own purposes and not your pleasure. Some people express their feelings in saccharin ways. Okay. And? Does it make those feelings, or those people, less valid that they're more Hallmark than Bob Dylan?

Death is difficult. Cut people a damn break.

I'm human. I judge people and form opinions based on their behaviour. I'm not denying them the right to those behaviours. Sometimes I can't resist voicing my opinions. If you don't, I'm really happy for you.

I'm confident 99% of commenters didn't know Steve Jobs personally. If his death is difficult for them, it's a problem they themselves have created.

> If his death is difficult for them, it's a problem they themselves have created.

That's, uh, a... Penis thing to say.

People form attachments to those they've never met because humanity doesn't require reciprocal contact for personal impact. I knew Jobs only through his work, words and passion. I make my salary, doing a job I absolutely love, because of things he decided had to be built.

I will endlessly be in his debt for the world he helped create and the example he so consistently set. His passing tears at me more than I ever would have guessed.

It is not a problem I created. It's a man who earned my respect and admiration, gone. Forever.

That is something so profoundly difficult for me to process, entire systems of ritual and belief were created thousands of years ago in an attempt to address the helplessness.

Human impermanence is hard.

> That's, uh, a... Penis thing to say.

Yes. Doesn't make it any less true.

No offense, but it doesn't make particularly MORE true either.

That humans have emotions isn't a solvable problem, or generally, even a problem at all. It's those emotions that allow us to strive for more, that allow us to love those that are close to us, that allow us to form long and lasting relationships, that allow us the compassion for charity and the will to help the world. In some cases, yeah, it causes us to perhaps have fondness, or perceived attachment to someone we haven't met.

Regardless, many view Jobs as an inspirational figure. I personally know of more than one successful entrepreneur who would say that something Steve Jobs did was their motivation for starting a company, or excelling at what they did, or gave them the insight that made their company more successful.

I myself am not an overly sentimental person, but I recognize that "If his death is difficult for them, it's a problem they themselves have created." is a line of completely trite bullshit.

Sympathy isn't a problem, and even if it were, it likely isn't one any of the people could have avoided making, even had they so consciously chosen to try.

It has the virtue of being both dick and untrue, as I dedicated the rest of my comment to explaining.

It's okay. We don't have to agree. I can only say that when human impermanence next strikes closer to your squishy bag of feelings, those around you will show more compassion than you've shown here. Good luck, fellow traveler.

"If his death is difficult for them, it's a problem they themselves have created."

He was a visible figure in people's lives. To attach emotion to someone present in your life, even if they aren't physically there, even if you don't know them in any intimate way, is natural. I recently saw a documentary where elephants walked by the skeletal remains of fallen elephants along their water migration path and touch their trunk to them in what observers deem a tribute. They likely don't even know the deceased. Would you call that a problem?

That's the vexing thing about celebrity: Their seemingly open-book lifestyle (I know, he was a supremely private individual but, hey, Steve could've let anyone else do those keynotes and demos) lets us connect to them in ways that the celebrities cannot even fathom.

Nope, didn't know him personally, but his works gave me great joy and changed my career path. It is in some / most people's nature to care about those we will never meet, and I have more reasons for caring about this soul then some killed in various tragedies. I would imagine some on HN also have similar touchstones or perhaps have lost or almost lost people to cancer. Things like this are close to home for many.

So I guess you're also the kind of guy who goes to a funeral and tells the people there to just get over it and move on?

I wouldn't say I went to Steve Jobs's funeral, unless you consider showing up on the internet today that.

Actually, given his influence, yeah, it kind of is. The fact that you bump into articles about him everywhere (even on my blog! http://swombat.com/2011/10/6/steve-jobs ) kind of demonstrates that.

Oh, sorry. I'll go hide in my house while the funeral takes place in my backyard.

edit: by the way, "If you read this far, you should follow me on twitter here" - classy.

It's not so far fetched as you seem to think. The Internet is not your backyard, it's ours. It belongs to all of us. So if you go on the web today and visit places where geeks (many of whom are touched by this event) hang out, expect to see people talking about it.

If you don't like it, get out of our backyard - you're welcome back after the funeral.

"Gotta tell everyone how you feel."


I've got a feeling the iPhone 4 Steve is a very clever marketing ploy by Apple. "I'll be buying an iPhone 4 Steve this friday." Emotional manipulation in its subtlest form.

Seriously. Princess Diana level craziness.

The difference is that Princess Diana made very little difference to most of our lives. Steve Jobs made such a huge impact in all of our (technologists, programmers, consumers) lives. Do you remember what mobile phones used to be like before the iPhone? How OSX kick-started the style of graphic design that is still in-trend, with aqua? How ugly consumer devices generally were? How he made design matter again? How darn productive he made many of us, thanks to amazing tools.

We're sad because today the world of technology seems a little less exciting than it did yesterday. We owe that man a debt. If you don't like reading this stuff, come back in a couple of days.

It's a fair comment. Perspective in terms of what Apple have actually positively contributed on a world scale is maybe slightly lacking. A great man and an impressive legacy .. but I think the world might eventually view the changes he instigated with a more critical eye in the future.

Rich people can buy apple products, lots of poor people have been killed and maimed by landmines. It's best not to be so glib about how important a god to consumers was when some people did important charitable things despite being a figure in the tabloids.

I apologise if this came off as glib, it certainly wasn't meant to be. I spent four weeks in Laos last December and visited the COPE center in Vientiane; the landmine issue is a horrible, real thing that people have to cope with (and get killed by) every day, and I didn't mean to imply that what Diana did wasn't amazing.

BUT, to most (lucky) people reading Hacker News, Steve Jobs has had more of an impact on our day-to-day lives. He was a hero to many of us, and I don't think it's correct for some people to decide who is and isn't a valid hero. It's all about context.

It is just too obvious that saving lives are more important than making a product prettier. However, I think the best way to less evil for this world is not always that sending your money to Africa, but rather that everybody should work hard for truth_good_beauty.

Apple makes beautiful product and provide nice educational resources to this world, Steve worked hard for this with all his life. So he is far more than "a god to consumers" to me.

Not really. Look, Steve Jobs was an extremely important dude in the field of computers. If you go round reading a news site for and by people who work in the field of computers on the day he dies then yes, you're going to find a lot of tributes to the man. If you don't like it, go read something else for a while.

Some people are going too far, like whoever left the two bunches of flowers I noticed outside the door of my local Apple store last night. But hey, maybe they knew him personally. Death is hard, and I've got better things to do than look down my nose at other people for their reactions to it.

> Death is hard, and I've got better things to do than look down my nose at other people for their reactions to it.

Well said.

exactly my thoughts. ima outta here.

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