Nineteen eighty-four was not like 2014. When Steve Jobs launched the Macintosh, he had to generate excitement about a product — a computer — that was unfamiliar to most people, if not downright scary. His creation would eventually entice them into changing their minds, but first, they had to be intrigued enough to learn about it.
The Macintosh was new, but the media would have to be old. There were no tech blogs, no Facebook, no Twitter, and certainly no Mac rumor websites. There were no websites at all. So Jobs had to generate his own campaign to tell the world about the computer that he would announce on January 24, 1984, 30 years ago today.
On October 23, 2001, Steve Jobs convened a group of tech reporters and Apple fans at the company’s Cupertino headquarters to announce a new product: the iPod. It was a launch that would lead the company, six years later, to drop the “Computer” from “Apple Computer.” It was a launch that would change ”the destiny of Apple.” It was a launch that would, as one slightly melodramatic analyst puts it, ”reshape society completely.”
But on October 23, 2001, if you didn’t happen to be Steve Jobs, you might not have seen the iPod’s society-reshaping potential. You might have seen the iPod, instead, for the other thing it was: just another MP3 player. On the day of its release—when the iPod was simply a consumer electronics product in search of its consumers—reactions to it were decidedly … mixed. (“Apple’s iPod spurs mixed reactions,” reads a CNET summary of the launch.) The iPod, after all, wasn’t the first portable jukebox. Its software and FireWire ports made it available, in its first iteration, only to Macintosh users. (At the time, only about 7 million people owned iPod-compatible Macs.) The iPod, from that perspective, was a small step forward, not a leap. And, at $399, it was an expensive little step.
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Know your [tech] history.
Top-secret janitor. Pollster to the spies. Classified comic book artist. Any organization sufficiently large is bound to have the odd job opening within it. But few organizations are as freakin’ colossal as the U.S. military intelligence industrial complex, with an estimated 4.9 million Americans holding security clearances today. Which means there are thousands of unconventional positions to fill at any given moment.
Here are some of the wilder military and intelligence “help wanted” ads we found online. Some classifieds are for truly wacky jobs. Others are for slightly more standard positions — but presented in an odd way.
Let’s talk about Steve Jobs. I know, I know. It’s been a year since his death. What is there possibly left to say about him, and why are so many people still saying it?
There will be scores of stories about Steve Jobs published today. That may seem tiresome and overwhelming, if not totally unnecessary. Perhaps you are sick of hearing about him or never really liked Apple products and don’t get what all the fuss is about. Or maybe you just think that for all this genius, he was a horrible human being. Me too. I feel you. But we’re both living in his shadow and will for the rest of our days. So settle in, because all of us are going to be talking about Steve Jobs for decades to come.
Jobs has joined the pantheon of greats who advanced science and industry and society itself — a modern-day Tesla but appreciated in his own lifetime. He’s our Thomas Edison or Henry Ford, one of those rarefied individuals who had not only a vision but the will and force of personality to execute it through America’s greatest cultural triumph: the public corporation.
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